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Anjem Choudary convicted of supporting Islamic State

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Re: Anjem Choudary convicted of supporting Islamic State

Post  Admin on Tue 23 Aug 2016, 6:29 pm

The flag of Islam will fly over Downing Street, was his favourite ... The evidence now shows that Anjem Choudary is one of the most dangerous men in Britain. He should have been convicted of Treason he would have been sentenced for life.  Elaine

How Anjem Choudary's mouth was finally shut
Dominic Casciani Home affairs correspondent
16 August 2016
 Photo From the section Magazine Anjem Choudary, 2015, outside Regent's Park Mosque
For 20 years Anjem Choudary stood on street corners, in shopping precincts, outside mosques, embassies and police stations and used his megaphone to drive a wedge between Muslims and the rest of Britain. Now he has been convicted of inviting others to support the Islamic State militant group.
The scenes would change - but not the words.
The flag of Islam will fly over Downing Street, was his favourite prediction, followed by some kind of rhetorical flourish. "The Muslims are rising to establish the Sharia... Pakistan, Afghanistan and perhaps, my dear Muslims, Londonistan."
He would greet the journalists with a smile, and some guile, dressed up as charm.
One day outside Regent's Park Mosque (he was banned from ranting inside its premises) he told the crowd he was honoured that I had turned up to hear him speak. He liked playing games. It gave him a sense that he was winning.
Except it wasn't a game. The evidence now shows that Anjem Choudary is one of the most dangerous men in Britain. Not a bomb-maker. Not a facilitator. But an ideologue, a thinker, who encouraged others not to stop and think for themselves before they turned to violence to implement their shared worldview.
Anjem Choudary in 2010 in LondonImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Choudary's mindset is really simple. There are two worlds - the world of belief, meaning Muslims, and the world of disbelief, everyone else. Assuming for a moment that the world neatly divides into such camps, these worlds are incompatible because the way of life of one threatens the existence of the other.
In his head there can be no compromise, no meeting of minds. Liberal democracy, personal freedom, the rule of law mandated by the people is all an affront to the will of Allah.
And the solution to all of this? A single Islamic state, under Sharia, for the whole world, for all areas of life.
What if you disagree? Well then you are not with him. You are against him - you're a hostile.
Adam Deen was one of the early recruits to the network that Choudary helped forge.
Jump media playerMedia player helpOut of media player. Press enter to return or tab to continue.
Media captionAdam Deen explains why Choudary appealed to him
"What attracted me was the simplicity, that I was a Muslim, that I should represent these ideas and I belonged inside an Islamic state and everything else was wrong and evil," he said.
"This was extremely comforting as a young man immersed in a world where I was seeing complexity and not knowing who was right and wrong.
"It's a type of outlook that is completely splitting the world in a cosmic battle of good and evil. And on the side of good is everyone who agrees with what he says.
"That polarisation creates a type of mindset towards non-Muslims - and then you can start rationalising acts of violence."
But Choudary would never have been charged or convicted of a violent plot - if he saw a bomb recipe he wouldn't have known where to start.
Instead, he and his network took the ideological ingredients of hate and division and poured them into the minds of a band of brothers who hung on his every word.
And then he left it to them to make the final decision. Men like Omar Sharif, a British suicide bomber who attacked Tel Aviv in 2003, and Brusthom Ziamani, jailed 12 years later for planning to kill in the streets of London.
Omar Sharif's passportImage copyrightAP
White line 10 pixels
Brusthom Ziamani at a demonstration in 2014Image copyrightDEMMOTIC
Image caption
Brusthom Ziamani at a demonstration in 2014
"I never heard Anjem overtly condoning acts of violence and terrorism," says Adam Deen, who now works in counter-extremism for the Quilliam Foundation think tank.
"But there was an attitude and atmosphere that would tacitly approve it and at one point it became policy not to condemn acts like 9/11 because it would be seen as supporting the kuffar [disbelievers] and the infidels. So there was a tacit approval behind closed doors."
And that's why the charge that led to Choudary's conviction was perhaps the only one he would ever face - inviting others to support Islamic State, a banned organisation bent on doing what he would never actually do himself. But it would take years, and the freak circumstances of the war in Syria, to lead to the evidence.
Anjem Choudary could probably have been anything he wanted to be.
Now 49 and a father of five, he went to university to study medicine. Then he did that rare thing and jumped to law instead, qualifying as a solicitor, and ending up working on civil and human rights issues, such as race discrimination.
Anjem Choudary drinking as a young man and posing with a pornographic magazineImage copyrightSOLENT NEWS AND PHOTO AGENCY
Image caption
Anjem Choudary - the student
He drank and partied his way through part of his student days but then found God - and more specifically - Omar Bakri Mohammed. The Syrian-born cleric founded one strand of the complex world of Islamist-jihadist politics that developed in the UK during the early 1990s.
Bakri is now in prison in Lebanon - but 20 years ago he split from the influential international Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir to form the British group al-Muhajiroun.
He believed the whole world should fall under Sharia law - not just the historic lands of Islam - and Choudary became his right-hand man.
Bakri fled the UK after the 7/7 bombings - although he was not directly involved - and the student became the master. Choudary loved the limelight and revelled in media attention.
In one talk about the welfare state - from which he benefited greatly - Choudary quipped: "Not that I am not on jobseeker's allowance. I'm on jihad seeker's allowance."
Michael Adebolajo and Anjem Choudary
Image caption
Michael Adebolajo (left) followed Anjem Choudary (right) before killing Fusilier Lee Rigby
One man who took Choudary very seriously was Michael Adebolajo. Alongside Michael Adebowale, he murdered Fusilier Lee Rigby outside Woolwich barracks in south-east London in May 2013. Adebolajo once stood alongside Choudary at demonstrations.
When this self-proclaimed "holy warrior" recorded his murder scene video, the rhetoric was straight out of the Choudary network's book of soundbites.
Choudary said he didn't "agree" with the killing. But he didn't condemn it. And he didn't condemn the 7/7 bombers either.
Richard Dart, a young man seeking answers to life, was converted by Choudary himself. He's now in jail for trying to train in bomb-making in Pakistan. He had also talked about targeting the Wiltshire town of Royal Wootton Bassett, a focal point for the repatriation of soldiers killed in Afghanistan.
Dart's step-brother Rob Leech, a film-maker, has spent years trying to get inside Anjem Choudary's head.
"The reason why he is so influential is because of his charisma," he said. "He is incredibly charming and he is clever and he knows how to manipulate people. If you are a young guy who meets him for the first time quite often you're overawed by him.
"He knows exactly what you want and what your needs are - a lot of these guys have things missing from their lives and he provides them."
Ideologues and the authorities
Abu Hamza al-Masri addressinga rally Trafalgar Square, August 2002Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Abu Hamza al-Masri: Found guilty of supporting terrorism by a court in New York and sentenced to life in prison in 2014. He was extradited from the UK where he had already been jailed for inciting murder and racial hatred. Born in Egypt, he moved to the UK in 1979. (Pictured above.)
Omar Bakri Mohammed: Banned from the UK in 2005, where he had lived for nearly 20 years, because his presence was considered "not conducive to the public good". He is now serving a life sentence in Lebanon for forming a militant group with the purpose of weakening the government in Beirut. He was born in Syria.
Anwar al-Awlaki: Radical American Muslim cleric killed in a US drone strike in Yemen in 2011. He was linked to a series of attacks and plots across the world - from 11 September 2001 to the shootings at Fort Hood in November 2009.
But other than a minor conviction for failing to notify police of a demonstration - Choudary stayed the right side of the law - until June 2014 rocked his world.
Militants smashed through the border between Syria and Iraq and declared they were now "The Islamic State". A state supposedly ruled by Sharia law, under a supposed leader, or caliph. The group said that it had fulfilled the ancient criteria to claim the title.
The West didn't know how to respond - and neither did Anjem Choudary.
This was his moment of truth. Whatever he had failed to say in the past, he now had to make a call.
For three days he came under intense sustained pressure from his acolytes to put his money where his mouth had always been.
Was this the Islamic State he had always called for in his long, long lectures?
Dhar in Syria
Image caption
Siddartha Dhar turned up in Syria after Choudary's decision
One of his closest confidants, Siddartha Dhar, demanded action. "We have to declare our position - enough stalling!" he said in a private social media message.
Choudary and his lieutenants met and ate in one of their favourite Indian restaurants on the Mile End Road in London's East End.
Two hours later he sent a single word message to his wife, Rubana. "Done," he wrote.
"Allahu Akbar," she replied. "I'm so happy."
And later that night he sent a simple tweet. "May Allah grant success to the Caliph."
He had backed the Islamic State - and went about telling others in more long lectures about how it met the historic and long-hoped for criteria that he was in a learned position to judge.
He thought he had avoided breaking the law because he was supporting a political concept - not the proscribed terrorist group behind it.
The distinction was lost on supporters who were packing their bags. Siddhartha Dhar - one of those who had lobbied hardest - skipped police bail while under investigation. He reappeared in the war zone with his child in one arm and a rifle in the other. He's believed to be the latest Briton to appear in a black mask in an IS execution video.
Choudary claimed he would go to sample the simple Sharia life if only the home secretary would return his passport. He later told his trial that he wouldn't go because he had work to do in London, spreading the good word of Islam.
Poster behind Choudary includes small print words Image copyrightDEMOTIX
Image caption
The poster behind Choudary at this April 2014 demonstration includes the words "Islamic State Is Solution" - the initial letters spell ISIS
Was there now an opportunity to charge him? Scotland Yard reviewed 20 years of intelligence. The Crown Prosecution Service found the key in Section 12 of the Terrorism Act 2000. Anjem Choudary was charged not because of his beliefs in "an" Islamic state - but because he had invited others to support "the" Islamic State group.
Police arrested and later bailed him as they began months of trawling social media for precise evidence that could meet the prosecution test.
When I spoke to Choudary last year, he thought he'd beaten the rap and was absolutely fired up by what was coming over the horizon in Syria and Iraq.
He wasn't the least bit concerned about the beheading of hostages, the taking of slaves and rape of women and girls by IS fighters. In fact, he offered me a box of sweets to celebrate the momentous unfolding events.
But he was wrong. Detectives found the evidence - including a crucial IS oath of allegiance published by one of his Indonesian supporters that could be traced back to private social media conversations.
And so as his trial approached, he began to look nervous. Not quite broken - but not the Anjem we knew.
He tried in vain to get the Supreme Court to stop the prosecution. He asked some journalists if they would act as character witnesses (I wasn't one of them).
He didn't rant in the witness box - he kept his cool - and there were flashes of the old Anjem. Confident, witty and, in his head, winning.
We debated how he would react as the great victim, were he to walk free from court.
Instead, when the guilty verdict came, he said nothing.
Anjem Choudary's mouth had finally shut.

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Re: Anjem Choudary convicted of supporting Islamic State

Post  Admin on Wed 17 Aug 2016, 5:02 pm

How safe is it to lock up Anjem Choudary in prison with Muslims he could radicalise?
17 AUGUST 2016 • 1:54PM
 Radical Islam preacher Anjem Choudary court trial begins today Anjem Choudary trial, London, UK - 27 Jun 2016
The conviction of the cleric Anjem Choudary for inviting support for the Islamic State (Isil) brings into sharp focus a longstanding concern about prisons and radicalisation. The spectre is that jailed Islamist extremists – or indeed any other kind of political extremist – find that there is no better recruiting ground for their cause than prisons themselves.

We know, for example, that a number of extremists behind recent terror attacks in France associated with Isil had spent time in the French prison system and had been radicalised there. Now a man described as the “most dangerous man in Britain”, who counter-terrorism chiefs have spent the best part of two decades pursuing on charges of radicalisation, will most likely be sent to prison for many years. What might he achieve in the potentially fertile recruiting ground of British prisons?

As it happens, and possibly with the looming conviction of Choudary in mind, the former Secretary of State for Justice Michael Gove commissioned a review into Islamist extremists in prison. That review is yet to be published, and with the appointment of Elizabeth Truss to the Ministry of Justice its future is currently rather uncertain. We do know, however, that the review found that such extremism is a growing problem within prisons (although we do not know what data the review relied upon to reach this conclusion). The review also found the National Offender Management Service, which oversees the prison system, lacked a coherent strategy to deal with the problem. Some 69 recommendations were made for change.

While radicalisation is a problem faced by prisons, there are some important caveats to be made. When the Howard League has looked at this issue, we have found that the staff workforce in prisons is not terribly diverse and certainly doesn’t reflect the diversity of prisoners. This is particularly true in high-secure prisons, which tend to be located in isolated rural areas. That can mean misunderstandings arise. Just because a group of Muslim prisoners are praying together does not automatically mean they are terrorists. They just have their religion and background in common. Religion can also play a positive role in people turning away from crime.

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Anjem Choudary convicted of supporting Islamic State

Post  Admin on Tue 16 Aug 2016, 10:59 pm

Anjem Choudary convicted of supporting Islamic State
Notorious hate preacher faces up to 10 years in prison after swearing allegiance to Isis, it can now be revealed
Anjem Choudary video profile
Jamie Grierson, Vikram Dodd and Jason Rodrigues
Tuesday 16 August 2016 15.32 BST Last modified on Tuesday 16 August 2016 17.04 BST
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Anjem Choudary, one of the most notorious hate preachers living in Britain, is facing jail after being found guilty of supporting Islamic State.

Having avoided arrest for years despite his apparent sympathy for extremism and links to some of Britain’s most notorious terrorists, Choudary was convicted at the Old Bailey after jurors heard he had sworn an oath of allegiance to Isis.

The 49-year-old, who has links to one of Lee Rigby’s killers, Michael Adebolajo, and the Islamist militant Omar Bakri Muhammad, also urged followers to support Isis in a series of talks broadcast on YouTube.

Choudary and his co-defendant, Mohammed Rahman, 33, told their supporters to obey Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the Isis leader, who is also known as a caliph, and travel to Syria to support Isis or “the caliphate”, the court heard.

They were convicted in July but details of the trial, including the verdict, could not be reported until now.

Choudary and Rahman face up to 10 years in jail for inviting support for a proscribed organisation. They will be sentenced on 6 September at the Old Bailey.

Commander Dean Haydon, head of the Metropolitan police’s counter-terrorism command, said: “These men have stayed just within the law for many years, but there is no one within the counter-terrorism world that has any doubts of the influence that they have had, the hate they have spread and the people that they have encouraged to join terrorist organisations.

“Over and over again we have seen people on trial for the most serious offences 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.”

Haydon said 20 years’ worth of material was considered in the investigation, with 333 electronic devices containing 12.1 terabytes of storage data assessed.

It can now also be revealed that Choudary was encouraged to support Isis by a notorious British Isis fighter who fled to Syria while on police bail.

The court heard that shortly after Isis was proscribed as a terror group Choudary was in contact with an individual named as Subject A. It can now be revealed Subject A was Siddartha Dhar – known on social media as Abu Rumaysah – who was arrested alongside Choudary before he fled to Syria to fight with Isis while on police bail.

Dhar encouraged Choudary to express support for Isis on social media. Following on from Dhar’s encouragement, both defendants made their position on the newly declared caliphate clear in the “oath of allegiance”.

Prosecutor Richard Whittam QC said: “The prosecution case is that whichever name is used, the evidence is quite clear: when these defendants were inviting support for an Islamic state or caliphate they were referring to the one declared in Syria and its environs by Ibrahim [Abu Bakr] al-Baghdadi at the end of June 2014.

“Terrorist organisations thrive and grow because people support them and that is what this case is about. Do not confuse that with the right of people to follow the religion of their choice or to proclaim support for a caliphate.”

Choudary, who has a long history with groups involved in radical Islamist demonstrations, such as the now-banned al-Muhajiroun and Islam4UK, denied he was inviting support for Isis and claimed to be a “lecturer in sharia law” giving “the Islamic perspective”.

He began studying sharia law under Syrian-born Bakri Muhammad, a Salafi Islamist militant leader who formed al-Muhajiroun with the aim of promoting sharia in the 1990s, the court heard.

Bakri Muhammad fled to Lebanon in 2005, where he was joined by Choudary for about 10 weeks. Bakri Muhammad was ultimately jailed in Lebanon for terror offences.

 Anjem Choudary leaves an Islam4UK press conference in London in January 2010
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 Choudary leaves an Islam4UK press conference in London in January 2010 after the group was banned from marching through Wootton Bassett to honour Muslims killed in the conflict in Afghanistan. Photograph: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images
Choudary admitted he was media spokesman for Islam4UK during a time in which the controversial group put out “incendiary statements” calling for Buckingham Palace to be turned into a mosque and Nelson’s Column to be destroyed.

On the ninth anniversary of the London terror attacks – 7 July 2014 – Choudary and Rahman posted an oath of allegiance online under their kunyas or Islamic names, Abu Luqman, used by Choudary, and Abu Baraa, used by Rahman, on an extremist website.

Between August and September 2014, Choudary and Rahman posted speeches on YouTube encouraging support for Isis.

An audio clip, lasting one hour and six minutes and uploaded to Choudary’s YouTube channel on 9 September 2014, was played to jurors.

Titled How Muslims Assess the Legitimacy of the Caliphate, the speech was played over the image of a map of northern Africa, the Middle East, north-west Asia and southern Europe.

Choudary begins by setting out his views about the requirements of a legitimate Islamic caliphate, then explains why he sees Islamic State as meeting the criteria.

“The lesson from this narration is that obedience to the caliph is an obligation, if they rule by the sharia. And to obey them obviously means they must be established,” Choudary said.

He added: “I would just say, uh you know, for people who want to live under sharia law, obviously this is a great thing, and for those people who say we are promoting Isis, they are not even called Isis any more. Rather, you have an Islamic state where you have millions of people who are governed by the sharia law and I don’t think it is against the law to go and live there and want to abide by sharia law.”

The prosecution also played an older lecture given by Choudary in March 2013, which did not form part of the charge but was provided to the jury for background.

We don't have any borders … it is about time we resumed conquering for the sake of Allah
In the lecture, titled Duties of the Khilafah State, Choudary makes clear his desire for the establishment of a caliphate as well as his support for the military action of Islamic State.

He said: “That is why the kuffar [non-believers] are worried, my dear Muslims. When the Muslims of the subcontinent gather together. When the Taliban inshallah [God willing] and the mujahideen take Afghanistan and then declare jihad against the mourtad of Zardini and his army of tawaghit, and when they annex and take India and they take Bangladesh and they take Indonesia, you have over a billion Muslims in the area.

“We don’t have any borders, my dear Muslims. It is about time we resumed conquering for the sake of Allah.

“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.”

The prosecution told the court that the defendants were “acutely aware” of the potential criminal implications of being overt in their support for Isis.

Whittam told the court: “The prosecution alleges that this led to great care in the way in which the defendants expressed themselves publicly, particularly after Isil was proscribed as a terrorist organisation by the home secretary.”

Choudary also took to social media to express support for Isis, the court heard. In late July 2014, he engaged in a series of messages with others as to the authority for the declaration of Eid (the Islamic festival) coming from “the office of the Islamic State”.

Born in north London, he initially studied medicine at Barts medical school before changing courses and enrolling at Guildford College of Law. He opened his own solicitor’s practice in his late 20s but told the court that by that point he had become religious and his beliefs did not sit easily with certain aspects of the law.

Sue Hemming, Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) head of counter terrorism, said: “These two men knowingly sought to legitimise a terrorist organisation and encouraged others to support it. They used the power of social media to attempt to influence those who are susceptible to these types of messages, which might include the young or vulnerable.

“Both men were fully aware that Daesh is a proscribed terrorist group, the brutal activities they are carrying out and that what they were doing was illegal. Terrorism can have no place in our society and those that encourage others to join such organisations will be prosecuted.”

British Muslims had complained about the media attention paid to Choudary, the impression given to audiences that he was representative of British Islamic thought.

Miqdaad Versi, of the Muslim Council of Britain, told The Guardian: “Mr Anjem Choudary has long been condemned by Muslim organisations and Muslims across the country, who consider him and his support for Daesh [Isis] to be despicable and contrary to the values of Islam and our nation.

“Many Muslims have long been puzzled why this man was regularly approached by the media to give outrageous statements that inflamed Islamophobia. We hope the judgment serves as a lesson for anyone who follows this path of advocating hate and division.”

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