Daesh-supporting preacher Anjem Choudary released from British prison
The notorious British Daesh supporter Anjem Choudary, who was sentenced to five-and-a-half years in prison for encouraging support for the Takfiri terrorist group, has been released from prison.
Choudary, 51, has served half of his sentence and will complete the rest under strict supervision from the authorities. He was released on Friday morning. Police are preparing up to 25 measures to maintain close control of his activities.
Choudary, from east London, is expected to wear an electronic tag, face a night-time curfew and be barred from contacting anyone who has been charged with extremist-related offences unless he receives prior approval from authorities.
In addition, Choudary’s name has been added to a UN sanctions list, which means the government can freeze his assets and bar him from travelling.
Choudary’s release, halfway through his five-and-a-half-year sentence, has sparked outrage after the prisons minister himself admitted he was still “genuinely dangerous.”
Speaking exclusively to Press TV, Mojtaba Ali Masood, a documentary maker who interviewed Siddhartha Dhar, a follower of Choudary’s who fled Britain for Syria in 2014 to join Daesh, told us that: “Choudary is seen as a polarizing figure not just outside the Muslim community, but within as well.”
“He has been banned from numerous Mosques and Islamic centers. His support has dwindled rapidly in the UK and the only real concern is the potential for the media and far-right to give him attention and provide a mischaracterization of Muslims in the UK.”
Once a leading figure in the now banned extremist group al-Muhajiroun, Choudary has been described by UK authorities as a prolific terrorist recruiter and is linked to hundreds of people who left to fight on the battlefields of Syria and Iraq for Takfiri groups.
When questioned on Choudary’s release in Brussels on Thursday, Theresa May said: “If and when any terrorist offender is released, well-rehearsed plans are put in place to keep the public safe.”
She continued: “The police, the prison, the probation service and other agencies have a range of powers available to them. They also have significant experience in dealing with such offenders.”
However, during Choudary’s peak, the British mainstream media would use him for incendiary quotes with the subtext being that all Muslims think as he does.
Far-right Islamophobic groups often used to refer to Choudary as an example of why Islam is incompatible with British society.
The larger television news channels such as the BBC and Channel 4 would also regularly interview him, much to the frustration of many within the British Muslim community.
Choudary and his supporters have a history of stoking sectarian sentiment in the UK which has spilled into violence. In 2014 some of his followers were convicted after starting fights during an anti-Shia demonstration in London promoting sectarian ideological beliefs.
Radical preacher Anjem Choudary has been jailed for five and a half years for inviting support for the Daesh terrorist group.
Choudary has also been linked to the so-called “Shariah patrols” which involved a group of vigilantes stalking east London’s streets, intimidating local non-Muslims. Three of the patrol members were convicted and sentenced in 2013 over charges of assault and of using threatening words and behavior.
On Friday, the Metropolitan police’s assistant commissioner and the UK’s national lead for counter-terrorism policing said it was important not to overstate Choudary’s significance.
Mark Rowley, who was serving in the role when Choudary was prosecuted, said: “At the end of the day he is a pathetic groomer of others. That is what he has done in the past. He is not some sort of evil genius we all need to be afraid of,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today program.
“I think we have to recognize that radicalizers look to generate a profile, look to prey on the vulnerable and we need to be thoughtful about how we report their activity.”
In prison, Choudary was offered counseling to try to change the narrow extremist views that led to his conviction. It is not known if those efforts were successful.