Anjem Choudary, one of U.K.’s most notorious radical clerics, is now facing up to 10 years in prison after being convicted of inviting people to support ISIS.
Choudary, 49, has always leaned toward extremism, and has apparent links with some of Britain’s most dangerous terrorists. Yet he managed to avoid arrest for years. He and his co-defendant, Mohammed Rahman, 33, were convicted in July at Old Bailey after jurors heard they had sworn allegiance to ISIS. Details of the trial have just been released.
Choudary, who acted a media spokesman for Islam4UK, posted speeches on YouTube between August and September 2014 encouraging support for ISIS. On numerous occasions, he appeared on talk shows and interviews where his extremists views got him into heated arguments with panelists and journalists.
Interestingly, this hate preacher doesn’t even slightly represent the opinion and views of Muslims on the whole. A group on Facebook called “Muslims against Anjem Choudary” is proof of just that.
In a talk with Fox News’ Sean Hannity, Choudary supported the 2015 attack on French satirical weekly newspaper, Charlie Hebdo. In stark contrast just this week, more than 30,000 Muslims from across the world met in the U.K. to reject ISIS and Islamic extremism. This clearly goes to show how Muslims are in fact peace-loving people and Choudary’s ideology is quite different from the teachings of Islam.
Apparently, Choudary is even linked to one of British soldier Lee Rigby’s killers, Michael Adebolajo, and Omar Bakri Muhammad, an Islamist militant leader. On many accounts, he professes support for ISIS and its terrorist actions. He and Rahman even asked others to support ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and travel to Syria for the same “cause.”
“Over and over again we have seen people on trial for the most serious offenses who have attended lectures or speeches given by these men. The oath of allegiance was a turning point for the police — at last we had the evidence that they had stepped over the line and we could prove they supported Isis,” Commander Dean Haydon, head of the Metropolitan police’s counter-terrorism command, said.
According to Haydon, 20 years worth of data and 333 electronic devices with 12.1 terabytes of information were assessed and taken into account during the investigation.
Choudary's own words were used against him as evidence, such as this speech: “Next time when your child is at school and the teacher says, ‘What do you want when you grow up, what is your ambition?’ they should say to dominate the whole world by Islam, including Britain, that is my ambition.”
Choudary and Rahman will be sentenced on Sept. 6.
Banner/thumbnail credit: Reuters