The UK’s most infamous hate preacher is set to be released from prison next month after serving only half of his five-and-a half-year sentence. Anjem Choudary is one of the 80 prisoners (out of 193 convicted on terrorism offenses) slated for release by the end of the year.
Choudary was convicted of inspiring Muslims to support ISIS through his well-know lectures posted on YouTube. Founder of the now-banned extremist group Al-Muhajiroun, Choudary has connections to as many as 500 British jihadis who fought for ISIS, according to British security sources.
He was also linked to the terrorists who carried out the 7/7 bombings in the UK and the man who beheaded British soldier Lee Rigby on a London street in 2013.
Choudary reportedly personally swore and oath of allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the self-proclaimed caliph of the Islamic State.
For years, Choudary was allowed to spew his hatred and extremism in the UK.
UK Prison’s Minister Rory Stewart said Choudary remained a “deeply pernicious, destabilising influence.” Saying that Choudary holds “extremely contorted, dangerous and horrifying views of the world,” Stewart added people like Choudary “can’t change.”
Nevertheless, Stewart announced a pilot program to train an “elite corps” of Muslim prison chaplains to deradicalize prisoners. However, each chaplain will receive only a week’s training in how to counter extremist ideologies of prisoners.
A number of years ago, it was revealed Choudary received £25,000 ($39,000) a year in benefits from the British government while living in a £320,000 ($500,000) home in East London.
Figures showed the extremist cleric received £15,600 ($24,200) a year in housing benefits, a £1,820 ($2,800) council tax allowance, £5,200 ($8,000) in income support (which is more than some of the British soldiers fighting in Afghanistan make) and £3,120 ($4,800) in child benefits.
Choudary called the benefits, a “jihad seeker’s allowance” and urged his followers to claim the same allowances. “You need to get support,” he said to them at the time. “The normal situation is to take money from the kuffar [non-believers]. You [the non-believers] work, [and] give us the money, Allahu Akhbar (God is greatest)!”
Born in Britain, Choudary, is a former lawyer and chairman of the Society of Muslim Lawyers. He is a self-declared cleric who tells his audiences that sharia law must be implemented in the UK, and claiming welfare benefits is part of their struggle to bring about this state.