Influential Islamist hate preacher Anjem Choudary has been convicted of supporting the Islamic State. He will be sentenced on September 6 and faces up to 10 years in jail.
Choudary is the founder of the now-banned extremist group Al-Muhajiroun and was one of Britain’s most notorious Islamist clerics for many years.
He was interviewed by Clarion Project.
Along with co-defendant Mohammed Mizanur Rahman, 33, Choudary was convicted of supporting the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) in July, but details of the verdict were only just made public.
The pair reportedly exhorted their supporters to travel to Syria and pledge allegiance to ISIS in a series of YouTube videos.
Choudary also reportedly personally swore and oath of allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the self-proclaimed caliph of the Islamic State.
He is thought to have been linked to the terrorists who went on to carry out the 7/7 bombings in the UK and the man who beheaded army Drummer Lee Rigby
Security sources believe Choudary has links to as many as 500 British jihadis now fighting for the Islamic State, as reported by The Independent.
Choudary told Sky News before his conviction he was simply exercising his right to free speech.
“If you look at my speeches, I have said the same thing for 20 years. For me, it is a matter of worship,” he said.
“If people are implementing the sharia, then I cannot shy away from what the divine text says in relationship to that. If you cannot say when you believe in something and you cannot share that view, then you don't really have freedom to express yourself in this country.”
His being put in prison is no reason to assume Choudary will cease to be a threat. In 2014, he said, “If they arrest me and put me in prison I will carry on in prison. I will radicalize everyone in prison.”
Ironically, after convicting Choudary, the UK allowed two more hate preachers to enter the country.
Pakistani clerics Muhammad Naqib ur Rehman and Hassan Haseeb ur Rehman are currently on a seven-week preaching tour of mosques in the UK. The pair was involved in the campaign to support Mumtaz Qadri, the man who assassinated the liberal governor of Punjab, Salman Taseer, in 2011 after Taseer suggested discussing amending the country’s blasphemy law.
Qadri was hailed as a martyr following his execution for murder earlier this year. Despite their involvement in the campaign to support Qadri, the clerics were allowed into the UK and Muhammad Naqib ur Rehman was even welcomed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the highest ranking priest in the Church of England, which has some 80 million followers worldwide.
For more information about the Islamic State and its efforts to radicalize Western Muslims, please see Clarion Project's Special Report: The Islamic State (ISIS, ISIL)