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Key Points

Through al-Muhajiroun and its various successor organizations, Anjem Choudary has influenced hundreds of violent extremists around the world.

British authorities arrested Choudary in 2014 for supporting ISIS and sentenced him in 2016 to five-and-a-half years in prison. Choudary was released on parole in October 2018 after serving half his sentence.

British media has reported that former al-Muhajiroun members drew inspiration from Choudary’s release and started to revitalize the network, even though authorities continue to closely monitor Choudary’s movements and communications.

British citizen Anjem Choudary is an internationally designated Islamist cleric and convicted ISIS supporter. Choudary’s Islamist speeches, anti-Western rhetoric, and declared support for violent Islamist movements drew the attention of British authorities, who connected Choudary to manifold terror-related cases in the United Kingdom and Europe. Choudary was arrested in 2014 after he pledged allegiance to ISIS, but he was released on parole in 2018 after serving only half of his sentence. Though British police continue to monitor his movements and communications, Choudary remains a dangerous and influential figure. The Counter Extremism Project (CEP) has compiled a list of violent individuals and organizations that Choudary influenced or communicated with throughout his career.

Choudary led the now-banned al-Muhajiroun Islamist network in the United Kingdom with his mentor, Omar Bakri Muhammad. Between 1999 and 2016, Choudary and al-Muhajiroun were reportedly linked to almost one-quarter of the terror plots in the United Kingdom.* Authorities have noted Choudary’s influence in the failed 2004 fertilizer bomb plot, a failed 2012 plot to blow up a Territorial Army base with an explosives-filled toy car, and the 2017 London Bridge attack, among other plots. British police have identified at least 600 members of al-Muhajiroun who have been linked to terrorism. Nonetheless, a June 2019 report in British media revealed that none of these individuals were actually prosecuted for membership in al-Muhajiroun.*

Notable violent extremists directly linked to Choudary include Lee Rigby murderers Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale, London Bridge attackers Rachid Redouane and Khuram Shazad Butt, and suicide bomber Bilal Mohammed. British authorities jailed Richard Dart, Jahangir Alom, and Imran Mahmoud in 2010 for plotting a terror attack in England. Demonstrating the extent of Choudary’s influence, Choudary had previously converted Dart to Islam and publicly defended him after his arrest. Dart’s stepbrother, Robb Leech, told British media that Choudary had become a father figure to Dart. Choudary allegedly told Leech that “some brains need washing.”*

Choudary is also reportedly linked to some 300 individuals who have traveled to Syria to become foreign fighters for ISIS.* British media dubbed Mohammed Reza Haque the “new Jihadi John” after he appeared in a 2016 ISIS execution video. Before traveling to Syria, Haque served as a bodyguard for Choudary at al-Muhajiroun rallies. * Siddhartha Dhar, a.k.a. Abu Rumaysah, fled to Syria in 2014 and wrote an ISIS recruitment manual for Western foreign fighters. Choudary associate Mohammed Mizanur Rahman initially converted Dhar to Islam, and Dhar later encouraged Choudary to support ISIS.* Rahman was arrested alongside Choudary in 2014 for supporting ISIS. Rahman was released early in 2018, though some British authorities reportedly consider him a bigger threat than Choudary because of his relative youth.*

Choudary and Bakri Muhammad dissolved al-Muhajiroun in 2004 ahead of a pending U.K. government ban. They reorganized the group under various aliases, including Islam4UK, Muslims Against Crusades, Call to Submission, Islamic Path, London School of Sharia, the Saved Sect or Savior Sect, Ahl ul-Sunnah Wa al-Jamma, and Al Ghurabaa. Al-Muhajiroun also launched a youth campaign with a conference, Muslim Youth: The Spark of the Fire, featuring extremist Choudary associates Abu Waleed and Abu Uzair.* Muslims Against Crusades threatened in April 2011 to disrupt the royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton. The group planned what it called a “forceful demonstration” and warned that unless Prince William “and his Nazi best man” Prince Harry immediately withdrew from the military, the “day which the nation has been dreaming of for so long will become a nightmare.”* The U.K. government banned al-Muhajiroun and its other iterations in 2010.*

Despite the ban, media reports surfaced in May 2019 that al-Muhajiroun had begun to regroup. Though Choudary remains under tight surveillance, his October 2018 release from prison inspired others to revive al-Muhajiroun, according to British authorities and former members of the group. The network reportedly began meeting again in London, the county of Bedfordshire, and Luton, an English town previously known for its large al-Muhajiroun presence and regular Choudary lectures before his arrest.*

 

CEP has profiled

143

entities—110 individuals and 33 organizations—with links to Choudary. Eleven of these organizations are aliases of al-Muhajiroun that were subsequently banned in the United Kingdom.
Of the 110 individuals:

  • 18

    Successfully carried out terrorist attacks.

  • 50

    Attempted to carry out a terrorist attack.

  • 19

    Became or attempted to become foreign fighters.

  • 36

    Are Islamist propagandists or recruiters.

  • 17

    Committed crimes in the pursuit of
    Islamist extremism.

  • 11

    Do not fit into any of the above categories
    but have participated in Islamist causes.

  • 1

    Is a global terrorist.

Some individuals are represented in multiple categories.
Individuals Organizations