Terrorist designated Anjem Choudary a Nightmare to Non Muslims ?: Early life journey and conviction UK

Anjem Choudary has written many pamphlets and articles, including Human Rights: Comparison between the Declaration of Human Rights and Divine Rights in Islam and Groups and Parties in Islam: The Islamic Verdict. is this human rights activist asks the Taliban to Impose Jijiya On No Muslims?

Aug 23, 2021 - 14:25
Aug 23, 2021 - 14:26
Terrorist designated Anjem Choudary a Nightmare to Non Muslims ?: Early life journey and conviction UK

Anjem Choudary (Urdu: انجم چودهرى‎; born 18 January 1967) is a British Islamist and a social and political activist convicted under the Terrorism Act 2000 of inviting support for a proscribed organisation, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. He was subsequently subject to sanctions by both the U.S. State Department and the U.N. Security Council freezing his assets. With Omar Bakri Muhammad, Choudary helped form an Islamist organisation, al-Muhajiroun.

The group organised several anti-Western demonstrations, including a banned protest march in London for which Choudary was summoned to appear in court. The UK government banned Al-Muhajiroun. Choudary was present at the launch of its intended successor, Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jamaah. He later helped form Al Ghurabaa, which was also banned. Choudary then became the spokesman for Islam4UK until it was proscribed.

He has been denounced by mainstream Muslim groups, and has been heavily criticised in the UK media. A critic of the UK's involvement in the wars in Iraq (2003–11) and Afghanistan (2001–16), Choudary praised those responsible for the 11 September 2001 and 7 July 2005 attacks.

He promotes the implementation of Sharia law throughout the UK, Poland and India. He marched in protest at the Jyllands-Posten cartoons controversy, following which he was prosecuted for organising an unlawful demonstration.

During a protest outside Westminster Cathedral in 2006, Choudary told demonstrators that the Pope should be executed for insulting Islam. On 6 September 2016, Choudary was sentenced to five years and six months in prison following a conviction for inviting others to support the proscribed organisation ISIS.

He was released automatically on licence in October 2018 under specific conditions as being banned from speaking in public and conversing with anyone from the media. On 18 July 2021, Choudary's ban on speaking in public was lifted.

Born in London on 18 January 1967, Anjem Choudary is the son of a Welling market trader and is of Pakistani descent; his parents migrated to what became Pakistan during the partition of India. He attended Mulgrave Primary School, in Woolwich. In 1996, Choudary married Rubana Akhtar, or Akhgar, who had recently joined al-Muhajiroun, which he led at the time. She later became the group's head of women.

The couple have four children. He enrolled as a medical student at Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, where he was known as Andy, but failed his first-year exams.

While attending university, he was reputed to have indulged in drink and drugs. Responding to claims that he was a "party animal" who joined his friends in "getting stoned", in 2014 Choudary commented "I admit that I wasn't always practising... I committed many mistakes in my life.".

He switched to law at the University of Southampton and spent his final year as a legal student (1990–1991) at Guildford, before moving to London to teach English as a second language. He found work at a legal firm and completed his legal qualifications to become a lawyer.

Choudary became the chairman of the Society of Muslim Lawyers but was removed from the role of solicitors (the official register of legal practitioners) in 2002.

Jihadist military training in Britain - Anjem Choudary

On 7 November 1999, the Sunday Telegraph reported that Muslims were receiving weapons training at secret locations in Britain. Most of those who trained at these centres would then fight for Osama Bin Laden's International Islamic Front in Chechnya, while others would fight in such places as Kosovo, Sudan, Somalia, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Kashmir.

The report identified Anjem Choudary as a key figure in recruiting for these training centres.

Al-Muhajiroun Choudary embraced Islamism and, with the Islamist militant leader Omar Bakri Muhammed, co-founded al-Muhajiroun, a Salafi organisation. The two men had met at a local mosque, where Bakri was giving a tafsir (an interpretation of the Qur'an).

In 2002, following a bazaar organised by al-Muhajiroun (advertised by leaflet and word of mouth), Choudary gave a talk on education at Slough. His lecture outlined his ideas for a parallel system of Islamic education in the UK and included elements of the group's ideology.

In the same year, although they were refused a permit by the then Mayor of London Ken Livingstone, on 25 August the group held a rally in London.

Choudary was summonsed to Bow Street Magistrates' Court in January 2003, on charges which included "exhibiting a notice, advertisement or any other written or pictorial matter", "using apparatus for the amplification of sound", "making a public speech or address" and "organising an assembly".

In 2003 or 2004, he organised an Islamic-themed camping trip, at which Bakri lectured, on the 54-acre (220,000 m2) grounds of the Jameah Islamiyah School in East Sussex. Advertised by word-of-mouth, the trip was attended by 50 Muslim men, most of whom were members of al-Muhajiroun. Bakri later claimed the camp's activities included lectures on Islam, football and paintballing.

In September 2006, following allegations that it was used in the training and recruitment of terrorists, police searched the school. According to testimony from Al Qaeda suspects held at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp, in 1997 and 1998 Abu Hamza and groups of around 30 of his followers held training camps at the school, which included training with AK47 rifles and handguns, and a mock rocket launcher.

No arrests were made, and students and faculty were allowed to return on 23 September 2006, the first day of Ramadan.

The UK government had investigated expelling Bakri even before the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001, and in July 2003 the headquarters of al-Muhajiroun, and the homes of Bakri and Choudary, were raided by the police.

The following year, under new anti-terrorist legislation, the government announced that it wanted to ban al-Muhajiroun. In 2005, Bakri learned that he was at risk of prosecution for his support of the 7 July 2005 London bombers, and in August left the UK for Lebanon, where he claimed that he was on holiday.

After leaving a television station where he said "I will not return to Britain unless I want to go there as a visitor or as a tourist", he was detained by Lebanon's general security department and held in a Beirut prison. Several days later, Bakri was excluded from returning to Britain by the Home Secretary, Charles Clarke, on the grounds that his presence in Britain was "not conducive to the public good."

Choudary condemned the decision and demanded to know what Bakri had done to justify the ban. He claimed that ministers were inventing rules to ensure that Bakri could not return. In November, Choudary and three other followers of Bakri were deported from Lebanon and returned to the UK.

Choudary blamed the Foreign and Commonwealth Office for orchestrating their deportations, claiming that the four were there to help Bakri set up a madrasah. Following his deportation, Choudary attended the launch in London of Ahlus Sunnah wal Jamaah, the intended successor organisation to al-Muhajiroun. Choudary said that Bakri was not on the committee of the new group, but that "we would love for the sheikh to have a role."

The organisation operates mainly through an invitation-only internet forum, to which Choudary contributes under the screen name Abou Luqman.

A reporter visiting the site found calls for holy war, and recordings by Osama Bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and Omar Bakri Mohammed. Al-Muhajiroun attempted a relaunch in June 2009 at Conway Hall, in Holborn. Several speakers were invited to share a platform with Choudary, but some later claimed that they had been invited under false pretences.

When the group refused to allow women into the meeting, the chairman of the society that runs the hall cancelled the event. He was heckled by many of those in the audience. Choudary took the microphone from the chairman and led chants of "Sharia for UK", saying in reference to the exclusion of women: "Jews and Christians will never make peace with you until you either become like them or adopt their ways."

Outside the hall, Choudary criticised British society, predicting that Muslims would make up the majority within one or two decades. When asked why, if society were so bad, he lived here, he replied: "We come here to civilise people, get them to come out of the darkness and injustice into the beauty of Islam."

Al Ghurabaa Choudary was also a spokesman for Al Ghurabaa, believed to have been an offshoot of al-Muhajiroun. It was proscribed in 2006 by the then Home Secretary John Reid.

Choudary was outraged: "The easy option when one is losing an argument is to ban the opposition voice. ... We [al-Ghurabaa] are not a military organisation; we have only been vociferous in our views—views concerning everything from the government's foreign policy in Iraq and Afghanistan to the host of draconian laws, which they’ve introduced against us in this country."

Islam4UK In November 2008, Choudary organised a meeting of the then recently formed Islam4UK, which, according to its website, was "established by sincere Muslims as a platform to propagate the supreme Islamic ideology within the United Kingdom as a divine alternative to man-made law", and to "convince the British public about the superiority of Islam ... thereby changing public opinion in favour of Islam in order to transfer the authority and power ... to the Muslims in order to implement the Sharee’ah (here in Britain)".

According to Ed Husain, co-founder of the counter-terrorism think-tank the Quilliam Foundation, Islam4UK was a "splinter group of al-Muhajiroun and Hizb ut-Tahrir, the originators of extremism in Britain."

The meeting, advertised as a conference to "rise to defend the honour of the Muslims", was held at the Brady Arts and Community Centre in Tower Hamlets. Choudary then announced that Bakri would be speaking, via a video-conference link, although technical problems meant that his address was instead given over a telephone line. When asked by a Muslim woman how the comments of one of the event's speakers could be justified, with regard to Islam being a religion of peace, Choudary stated, "Islam is not a religion of peace ... It is a religion of submission. We need to submit to the will of Allah."

The rich resources of Afghanistan, its position on the cusp between the Indian sub-continent, Southern Russian, Asia and China and its populations [sic] call for the Shari'ah are the real reasons why the military has sought to establish a permanent role there, no matter what the cost to the lives and wealth of the indigenous people or indeed their own. Pivotal in this is the desire to prevent Muslims from running their own affairs and establishing an Islamic State if they so wish but rather to maintain a puppet in the area (Mr. Karzia) to maintain and protect Western interests. Anjem Choudary (3 January 2010), open letter published on Islam4UK website and reprinted in The Telegraph.

With the announcement by Islam4UK that it planned to hold a protest march through Wootton Bassett (known for the military funeral repatriations of dead British soldiers returning from the war in Afghanistan), Choudary said "You may see one or two coffins being returned to the UK every other day, but when you think about the people of Afghanistan its a huge number [being killed] in comparison ... I intend to write a letter to the parents of British soldiers telling them the reality of what they died for."

Choudary's open letter was published on 3 January 2010. It explained his reasons for proposing the march, endorsed his religious beliefs, and claimed that UK politicians had been lying about the war. Choudary wrote that the proposed march was to "engage the British public's minds on the real reasons why their soldiers are returning home in body bags and the real cost of the war." In an interview with Sky News, he stated that the location was chosen to effect a level of media attention which "it would not have gained anywhere else".

The proposal was condemned by the British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, who said that to offend the families of dead or wounded troops would be "completely inappropriate". The Minhaj-ul-Quran International UK centre in Forest Gate also condemned the proposal, as did the Muslim Council of Britain, which stated that it "condemns the call by the fringe extremist group Islam4UK for their proposed march in Wootton Bassett." The planned march was cancelled by the group on 10 January 2010.

From 14 January 2010, Islam4UK was proscribed under the Terrorism Act 2000, making membership illegal and punishable by imprisonment. Choudary condemned the order. In an interview on BBC Radio he said "we are now being targeted as an extremist or terrorist organisation and even banned for merely expressing that" and "I feel this is a failure of the concept of democracy and freedom."

Following his arrest and subsequent release in September 2014 on suspicion of encouraging terrorism, Choudary claimed he was questioned about his membership of or support for proscribed groups including Islam4UK and Need4Khalifah, both of which the government believes are successors to al-Muhajiroun.

Choudary referred to the 11 September 2001 terrorists as "magnificent martyrs". In 2003, he said that al-Muhajiroun would "encourage people to fulfil their Islamic duties and responsibilities", although he also said that the group was a political movement and not responsible for individual actions.

In 2004, he said that a terror attack on British soil was "a matter of time". He refused to condemn the 7 July 2005 London bombings, but accused the Muslim Council of Britain (who had) of "selling their souls to the devil". He blamed the 2013 murder of Lee Rigby, an off-duty British soldier, on British foreign policy.

Choudary has voiced support for the Muslim community in Somalia, who, he claims, have been "violated" by Christian-backed Ethiopians, and has also called for other members to fight jihad.

The Wall Street Journal describes Choudary as a supporter of "the fundamentalist strain of Islamic teaching known as Salafism". He believes in the primacy of Islam over all other faiths, and the implementation of Sharia Law, in its entirety, in the UK. In 2001, he stated that his allegiance is to Islam, and not a country. He believes that, for a true Muslim, "a British passport is no more than a travel document."

In October 2006, he addressed an audience at Trinity College, Dublin to oppose the motion that "This house believes that Islamist violence can never be justified". In February 2008 the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, commented that "as a matter of fact certain provisions of sharia are already recognised in our society and under our law". Choudary responded by saying that Sharia "has to be adopted wholesale", and that "it will come either by embracing Islam because it is the fastest-growing religion in the country or by an Islamic country conquering Britain or by elements embracing Islam and imposing it."

In 2008, he spoke of the "flag of Sharia" flying over Downing Street by 2020, claimed that some Muslim families in east London were having "10 or 12 children each", and that hundreds were converting to Islam each day. Choudary has spoken against elements of the Christian faith. In December 2008, he posted a sermon on an Islamic website, in which he stated: "Every Muslim has a responsibility to protect his family from the misguidance of Christmas because its observance will lead to hellfire. Protect your Paradise from being taken away – protect yourself and your family from Christmas".

In an interview with Iran's Press TV (which was subsequently posted online on 11 April 2013), Choudary stated "As Muslims, we reject democracy, we reject secularism, and freedom, and human rights. We reject all of the things that you espouse as being ideals ... There is nothing called a republic in Islam. When we talk about the shari'a, we are talking about only the shari'a. We are talking about rejecting the U.N., the IMF, and the World Bank."

In 2013, the British pressure group Hope not Hate presented a report which identified Choudary as "a serious player on the international Islamist scene", saying that although there was no evidence that he was directly responsible for instigating any terrorist plots, "he helped shape the mindset of many of those behind them" and "through his networks linked them up to terror groups and supporters across the world." Choudary dismissed the claims as "fanciful", saying that if they were true, UK security services would have arrested him.

In September 2014, Choudary described Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, as "the caliph of all Muslims and the prince of the believers".

Facing a court sentence for inciting terrorism, Choudhary wanted to move to the Islamic State and said that he thought it a much better society in terms of welfare benefits and other factors.

Conviction and imprisonment

On 5 August 2015, Choudary was charged with one offence under section 12 of the Terrorism Act 2000 for inviting support of a proscribed organisation, namely Islamic State, between June 2014 and March 2015. The trial was postponed to 27 June 2016 and was expected to last no more than four weeks. Anjem Choudary was convicted on 28 July 2016.

At the Old Bailey on 6 September 2016, Mr Justice Holroyde sentenced Choudary to five years and six months in prison, telling him that he had "crossed the line between the legitimate expression of your own views and a criminal act".

Choudary was released from prison on 19 October 2018. Shortly after his release, it was reported that Choudary would be placed in a probation hostel in London Borough of Camden for six months where he would be required to abide by a number of conditions, such as a ban on speaking in public and talking to the media.

Terrorist designation

On 30 March 2017, Anjem Choudary was declared a Specially Designated Global Terrorist by the United States Department of State. The designation blocks his assets and prohibits him from engaging in trade or financial transactions with US persons.

On 15 October 2018, Anjem Choudary was added to the Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee list of the United Nations Security Council. The designation means that each UN member state is legally obliged to freeze financial assets belonging to Choudary, prevent him from entering or transiting their countries and stop any weapons reaching him.

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