College was a confusing time. When I say college, I mean the schooling I received between 16-18 years, what Americans refer to as High School. It was at college I was first exposed to Islamicists, and their extreme ways.
When I first entered the college building, I was surprised at how many women there were. The next thing I was surprised at was how many men there were. The women and men seemed in equal number, but that number was large. I realised that with all these people, I would not stand our from the crowd.
Two weeks into my college life, and it was going well. I had made a number of friends, and things seemed OK. The college had been very gracious in supplying a small airing cupboard for our Friday prayers, and we dutifully prayed on the shelves. However, two things became apparent. One, the main khutbah always seemed to refer to ‘Our Brothers in Chechnya, Kashmir and Tottenham’. The Imam, who came from the local mosque, was obviously a Tottenham Hotspurs fan. I became a little upset. We were based in Leyton, surely our loyalties should have been to Leyton Orient. Sure, they played on a pitch that was worse than the local marshes, and yes, they were really rubbish at football, but they were local. I felt that the loyalties should have been to our local brothers rather than some far off place.
The second thing that became apparent was the lack of space. The shelves were very small, and we had to crouch down and pray. To an observer, it became very difficult to know what state of prayer we were in as the standing, bowing, sitting and prostration positions were almost identical, tiny variations in our neck movements differentiating them.
It was then that I became involved with my first Islamicist group, the Hizb-ut-Tizer (party of Tizer). They wanted to get rid of corrupt Muslim states and replace them with a superstate, based in Scotland, made from girders. They felt this would strengthen the Muslims. They successfully lobbied for a new prayer space, and we got a lobby. It became a little crowded with people passing through our prayer area, but we were happy. The Hizb-ut-Tizer had come through for us. Little did we know, we had become Hizbutized.
The Hizb seemed very hierarchical, with a very long initiation ceremony. I was told that if I worked hard and was obedient and made a Scottish khalifate my priority, I would be successful. I took to wearing a kilt and turban, and attending meetings. After all the problems I had been through with my family, here was a clearly cut vision I could plug into. I did not seem to be very high up in the Hizb hierarchy as other people seemed to speak a lot more. I realised early on that importance was directly proportional to hyperbole, a lesson I draw upon today.
The Hizb were particularly concerned with the needs of the Ameer. It was only after a few months that I realised Ameer was a title, and not someones name. The Ameer of Hizb-ut-Tizer was a certain Abu Tesco bin Bakery. In my next post, I shall detail my initiation into the Hizb, meeting bin Bakery, and moving up the Hizb-ut-Tizer hierarchy, and my quest for a sassenach-free halal state.
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