He’s been a comedian or ironist for awhile, Umran Javed has. He was doing the playful postmodernist irony thing in Birmingham way back in 2003.
Posters have appeared around Birmingham describing the September 11 hijackers as the “magnificent 19.” The posters, which have been branded illegal by Birmingham City Council, also feature Osama Bin Laden, the twin towers on fire and advertise a political meeting to be held on the anniversary of the attack…A small radical Islamist group called Al Muhajiroun are featured on the posters. Al Muhajiroun spokesman Umran Javed said: “For us to air our views with regard to this issue, should in fact fall into the category freedom of speech. I don’t see how people should have a problem with it. We believe what these individuals carried out on September 11 was an extraordinary event.”
Extraordinary, yes, but was it ‘magnificent’? But that’s postmodernist wordplay for you, of course. Magnificent on the posters, extraordinary when talking to the press. And then of course there’s that same familiar irony of defense of freedom of speech coming from someone who shouted ‘bomb, bomb Denmark’ because of…cartoons. I just love postmodernist irony, I just can’t get enough of it. Which is good, because there’s lots of it around.