British Islamist hate preacher Anjem Choudary and his al-Muhajiroun network has been named as “the single biggest gateway to terrorism in recent British history,” according to a large and significant investigation of the group.
The investigation, conducted by the anti-extremist organization called “Hope Not Hate,” found that Choudary’s network “facilitated or encouraged” close to 80 young Muslims from the UK as well as between 250 and 300 from other locations in Europe to join radical jihadi groups linked to Al Qaeda fighting with rebel forces in Syria.
“While painted by some as a figure of fun, an extremist crackpot whose media stunts are rightly ridiculed, Anjem Choudary has become a serious player on the international Islamist scene,” the report states “Perhaps it is time to start concentrating on his role as a facilitator of terror. Al-Muhajiroun has quite simply been the single biggest gateway to terrorism in recent British history.”
Although Choudary has been on the government’s radar for many years for his extremist views and preaching of hate, British authorities have never taken action against him (with the exception of a fine of 500 pounds –$800 — for an illegal protest outside Denmark’s embassy in London in connection with the Mohammed cartoons).
Moreover, Choudary flaunts the fact that he lives off of the largesse of the British government, receiving what he calls a “jihad seeker’s allowance”: $39,000 a year in benefits (including housing and income support) while living in a $500,000 house in East London.
This latest investigation into Choudary shows that close to 70 people associated with his network have been convicted of terrorism or terror-related charges in UK or have been killed in operations outside of the country in the last 14 years. Moreover, the report charges that the 7/7 London bombers also were connected to Choudary’s groups.
In addition, those convicted of planning major terrorist attacks in the UK were also associated with the groups. Those attacks included plans to bomb a shopping center in Kent, the Ministry of Sound (an enormous nightclub), various gas targets, a 2010 Christmas bombing planned to hit Big Ben, the London Eye (a giant ferris wheel) and the U.S. embassy, among other targets.
The “Hope Not Hate” report was called “very thorough and much needed,” by Ghaffar Hussain of the Quilliam Foundation, a think-tank dedicated to countering extremism. “Al-Muhajiroun has inspired many terror plots and continues to be a menace,” Hussain said. “I hope this report can be followed up by a challenge against the poisonous ideology this group propagates.”
Although Choudary is not specifically mentioned in the following video, this BBC reports follows a young jihadi, from his ideological radicalization in the UK to his joining an Al Qaeda-linked group fighting in Syria:
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