How Roshonara Choudhry got there

The United States has done many terrible things to many people throughout the course of its history; as a byproduct of European colonialism replete with the ideology of supremacy, greed and arrogance which characterize Western conquest it’s actions – within that historical context – is logical.

That conquest naturally extended to the Muslim world – long the source of European resource theft and cultural anxiety –  and the list of crimes is too long to list. But what the U.S. did to Iraq – supporting dictatorship and regime change, the Gulf War, sanctions and occupation – is probably the worst thing it ever did; worse than what it did to Palestine, Iran, etc.

So, no one can really blame Roshonara Choudhry for being so angry that she attempted to assassinate British MP Stephen Timms for his supporting the invasion and occupation. When considering the reality of this occupation – such as the body count that Wikileaks showed the civilian death count to be around 285,000 or the suit in front of the British High Court that alleges 220 Iraqis were subjected to abuse and torture in British detention – it’s absurd that Choudhry is going to prison for attempted murder, while Timms escapes prosecution for his complicity in mass murder.

Such is the hypocrisy that marks political life. The judge that sentenced her even had the audacity – and racism – to differentiate the substance of Timms and Choudhry’s religious values:

“I understand that he brings to bear his own faith, which upholds very different values to those which appear to have driven this defendant.”

But the fact remains that instead of working to build an anti-occupation movement, she chose to stab a politician; an act that’s bound to feed into the growing anti-Muslim sentiment in Britain (as well as Europe and the USA) and hence, counterproductive to combating racism and occupation. She was motivated in part by Islamic fundamentalism, and she was inspired by a website called and the infamous American-born Yemen-based Imam Anwar Al-Awlaki.

According to the New York Times, the site praised Choudhry and called on Muslims to “raise the knife of Jihad.” It’s doubtful the 21-year old Choudhry was motivated by the theocratic agenda of Islamic fundamentalism as much as her hatred of British (and hence American) imperialism, but it’s because of imperialism that she found her way to Islamism.

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