Wednesday 17 January 2018

UK hate preacher faces years in jail for supporting Isil

Hate preacher Anjem Choudary. Photo: Nick Ansell/PA Wire
Hate preacher Anjem Choudary. Photo: Nick Ansell/PA Wire

Michael Silke

Hate preacher Anjem Choudary, who helped radicalise a string of terrorists, including British soldier Lee Rigby's killers, is facing years in jail for drumming up support for Isil.

The British-born 49-year-old encouraged backing for the terrorist group in a series of talks posted on YouTube, and recognised a caliphate - a symbolic Islamic state - had been created under an Isil leader after it was announced on June 29, 2014, the Old Bailey heard.

Despite being a leading figure in the banned group al-Muhajiroun (ALM), and a series of former supporters going on to be convicted of terrorism, Choudary stayed on the right side of the law for two decades before investigators were able to pin him down.

Choudary and co-defendant Mohammed Mizanur Rahman, (33) were found guilty of inviting support for Isil between June 29, 2014 and March 6, 2015. The verdicts were delivered on July 28, but for legal reasons could only be reported for the first time yesterday.

As the pair were convicted, Mr Justice Holroyde said: "You have made your disregard for the court abundantly plain."

Choudary faces a maximum possible sentence of 10 years in prison.

Police pounced after Choudary, along with three other influential radicals, lent their names to an oath of allegiance to Isil which was posted on the internet.

The trial heard that the preacher, viewed by officers as a key force in radicalising young Muslims, had been the "mouthpiece" of Omar Bakri Mohammed - the founder of ALM.

He courted publicity by voicing controversial views on Sharia law, while building up a following of thousands through social media, demonstrations and lectures around the world.

In one speech in March 2013, Choudary set out his ambitions for the Muslim faith to "dominate the whole world".

Supporters included Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale, the murderers of Lee Rigby, and suspected Isil executioner Siddhartha Dhar.

Choudary, of Hampton Road, Ilford, and Rahman, of Sidney Street in Whitechapel, east London, will be sentenced on September 6.

Irish Independent

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