Anjem Choudary

British citizen Anjem Choudary is an internationally designated Islamist cleric and convicted ISIS supporter. British authorities arrested Choudary and his associate Mohammed Mizanur Rahman in September 2014 for suspected membership in ISIS.Martin Evans, “Anjem Choudary charged with supporting a terror organization,” Telegraph (London), August 5, 2015, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/terrorism-in-the-uk/11784970/Anjem-Choudary-charged-with-supporting-a-terror-organisation.html; Daniel Sandford, “Choudary and Others Arrested In Islamist Terror Investigation,” BBC News, September 25, 2014, http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-29360297/; Vikram Dodd, “Anjem Choudary denies breaking terrorism laws,” Guardian (London), June 28, 2016, https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/jun/28/anjem-choudary-denies-breaking-terrorism-laws. Both men were charged in August 2015 with promoting support for ISIS between June 29, 2014, and March 6, 2015. The pair pled not guilty to the charge but were ultimately convicted in July 2016 of inviting support for ISIS.Jamie Grierson and Shiv Malik, “Preacher Anjem Choudary charged with encouraging support for Islamic State,” Guardian (London), August 5, 2015, https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/aug/05/cleric-anjem-choudary-charged-with-encouraging-support-for-islamic-state; “Anjem Choudary and Mohammed Rahman convicted of inviting support for Daesh,” Crown Prosecution Service, August 16, 2016, http://www.cps.gov.uk/news/latest_news/anjem_choudary_and_mohammed_rahman_convicted_of_inviting_support_for_daesh/; Alexis Flynn and Jenny Gross, “U.K. Preacher Anjem Choudary Convicted of Inviting Support for Islamic State,” Wall Street Journal, August 16, 2016, http://www.wsj.com/articles/u-k-preacher-anjem-choudary-convicted-of-supporting-islamic-state-1471361122. In September 2016, Choudary and Rahman were each sentenced to five years and six months in prison.Stephen Castle, “Anjem Choudary Is Sentenced to Prison for Promoting ISIS,” New York Times, September 6, 2016, http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/07/world/europe/anjem-choudary-sentenced-isis.html. Choudary was released on October 19, 2018, only halfway through his sentence due to British probation rules that allow for early release after the completion of half a sentence.Martin Bentham, “Release of Islamist hate preacher Anjem Choudary next month 'is danger for us all', prisons minister warns,” Evening Standard (London), September 11, 2018, https://www.standard.co.uk/news/crime/release-of-hate-preacher-anjem-choudary-next-month-is-danger-for-us-all-prisons-minister-warns-a3932731.html. The British government imposed several restrictions on Choudary as part of his release. Several of those restrictions expired in July 2021. Choudary subsequently opened accounts on multiple social media platforms and began posting Islamist diatribes calling for the creation of an Islamic caliphate ruled under sharia law.Abu Taher, “Hate preacher Anjem Choudary boasts he is joining TikTok sparking fears he will target children with vile Islamist propaganda,” Daily Mail (London), last updated August 30, 2021, https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9936571/Hate-preacher-Anjem-Choudary-boasts-joining-TikTok.html; Anjem Choudary, Telegram channel, August 20, 2021. He continues to meet with former associates to promote an Islamist agenda.Dominik Lemanski, “Fears of reinstating terrorism group as extremist leaves prison and meets old friends, Express (London), November 28, 2021, https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/1528390/terror-muslim-group-abu-izzadeen-trevor-brooks.

For years before his 2014 arrest, Choudary’s Islamist speeches, anti-Western rhetoric, and declared support for foreign Islamist movements such as ISIS drew the attention of British authorities, who connected Choudary to multiple terrorist-related cases in the United Kingdom and Europe.

Days before his October 2018 release, the U.N. Security Council added Choudary to its al-Qaeda and ISIS sanctions list, freezing all of his financial assets.“SECURITY COUNCIL COMMITTEE PURSUANT TO RESOLUTIONS 1267 (1999) 1989 (2011) AND 2253 (2015) CONCERNING ISIL (DA'ESH) AL-QAIDA AND ASSOCIATED INDIVIDUALS GROUPS UNDERTAKINGS AND ENTITIES,” U.N. Security Council, accessed October 18, 2018, https://www.un.org/sc/suborg/en/sanctions/1267/aq_sanctions_list/summaries/individual/anjem-choudary. Choudary’s designation was reportedly by request of the British government, which also added Choudary to its Consolidated List of Financial Sanctions Targets prior to his release.“Consolidated List of Financial Sanctions Targets in the UK,” Gov.UK, last updated October 17, 2018, http://hmt-sanctions.s3.amazonaws.com/sanctionsconlist.htm; Lizzie Dearden, “Anjem Choudary's assets frozen days before prison release for supporting Isis,” Independent (London), October 17, 2018, https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/anjem-choudary-isis-prison-release-islam-terrorist-restrictions-asset-freeze-un-sanctions-a8587311.html. On October 19, 2018, Choudary was remanded to a probation hostel in London for six months, after which he may return to his family’s London home under strict surveillance. In the hostel, Choudary will be under 24-hour police surveillance and required to wear a GPS tracker. Through the remainder of Choudary’s sentence, British authorities imposed what are reportedly the most stringent living conditions ever levied on a British citizen.Robert Mendick, “Hate preacher Anjem Choudary is banned from speaking to children on jail release,” Telegraph (London), October 15, 2018, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/10/15/hate-preacher-anjem-choudary-banned-speaking-children-jail-release/; Laura FitzPatrick and Patrick Sawyer, “Anjem Choudary, notorious Islamist hate preacher, a free man after release from prison,” Telegraph (London), October 19, 2018, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/10/19/anjem-choudary-pictured-free-man-released-prison/. A violation of these condition would likely result in Choudary’s return to prison.“Anjem Choudary: Radical preacher released from prison,” BBC News, October 19, 2018, https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-45911160. In addition to standard probation rules on regular visits with a probation officer and avoiding further legal infractions, Choudary is:

The U.K. government has also reportedly arranged for additional security around Choudary to prevent attacks from right-wing extremists angered by his release. In all, Choudary’s security arrangements will reportedly cost £2 million per year.Laura FitzPatrick and Patrick Sawyer, “Anjem Choudary, notorious Islamist hate preacher, a free man after release from prison,” Telegraph (London), October 19, 2018, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/10/19/anjem-choudary-pictured-free-man-released-prison/; Lizzie Dearden, “Anjem Choudary: How Islamist preacher sparked rise of Tommy Robinson and the far-right,” Independent (London), October 18, 2018, https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/anjem-choudary-tommy-robinson-islam-preacher-far-right-edl-luton-protests-islamists-terror-a8589236.html.

Choudary is the son of Pakistani immigrants and grew up in a secular home in London. He began to become more religious in the 1990s. It was then that he met Islamist cleric Omar Bakri Muhammad at a mosque in Woolrich, England.Robert Mendick, “Hate preacher Anjem Choudary to be freed from jail despite remaining ‘genuinely dangerous,’” Telegraph (London), September 11, 2018, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/09/11/notorious-hate-preacher-anjem-choudary-released-prison-despite/. Bakri Muhammad and Choudary founded al-Muhajiroun in 1996 after Bakri Muhammad was expelled from the international Islamist network Hizb ut-Tahrir. Al-Muhajiroun was modeled on a similar organization Bakri Muhammad created in Saudi Arabia in the 1980s.Robert Mendick, “Hate preacher Anjem Choudary to be freed from jail despite remaining ‘genuinely dangerous,’” Telegraph (London), September 11, 2018, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/09/11/notorious-hate-preacher-anjem-choudary-released-prison-despite/; Richard Watson, “Has al-Muhajiroun been underestimated?” BBC News, June 27, 2017, https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-40355491. Choudary and al-Muhajiroun have been linked to several notable extremists, and the group openly praised the 9/11 attacks.Andrew Anthony, “Anjem Choudary: the British extremist who backs the caliphate,” Guardian (London), September 6, 2014, http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/sep/07/anjem-choudary-islamic-state-isis. U.K. officials have noted that Choudary is a “deeply pernicious, destabilising influence.”Robert Mendick, “Hate preacher Anjem Choudary to be freed from jail despite remaining ‘genuinely dangerous,’” Telegraph (London), September 11, 2018, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/09/11/notorious-hate-preacher-anjem-choudary-released-prison-despite/. Among others, Choudary is believed to have influenced al-Muhajiroun members Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale, who in 2013 beheaded British soldier Fusilier Lee Rigby in southeast London.Chris Greenwood, Neil Sears, and Sian Boyle, “Muslim firebrand is arrested as police hold nine rabble-rousers,” Daily Mail (London), September 25, 2014, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2769098/BREAKING-NEWS-Nine-men-arrested-counter-terror-police-London-suspicion-encouraging-terrorism.html. Choudary also reportedly radicalized Abdul Latheef Mohamed Jameel, one of the nine suicide bombers who blew himself up in Sri Lanka on April 21, 2019, killing more than 250 people during the Easter Sunday attacks. Jameel reportedly attended Choudary’s lectures and met with the propagandist while studying in London.Anbarasan Ethirajan, “Sri Lanka attacks: The family networks behind the bombings,” BBC News, May 11, 2019, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-48218907; Alasdair Pal and Shihar Aneez, “The Western-educated bomber who botched Sri Lanka hotel attack,” Reuters, April 26, 2019, https://af.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idAFKCN1S21PM. Islamist propagandist Abu Izzadeen at one point worked as an enforcer for al-Muhajiroun and a bodyguard for Baki Muhammad.Murray Wardrop, “Islamic hate preacher arrested on terrorism charge,” Telegraph (London), November 3, 2011,http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/terrorism-in-the-uk/8865616/Islamic-hate-preacher-arrested-on-terrorism-charge.html. Choudary condemned Izzadeen’s February 2007 arrest as part of a “witch hunt” led by British Prime Minister Tony Blair.“UK police arrest outspoken Muslim,” CNN, February 8, 2007, http://web.archive.org/web/20070210045235/http://edition.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/europe/02/08/britain.arrest.reut/index.html.

Khuram Shazad Butt, one of the attackers in the June 3, 2017, London Bridge attacks, also allegedly belonged to al-Muhajiroun.Mark White, “London Bridge attackers were part of banned jihadi network,” Sky News, June 6, 2017, http://news.sky.com/story/london-bridge-attacker-khuram-butt-was-part-of-banned-jihadi-network-10906091. In a 2016 documentary on individuals in the Islamist group, Butt is seen holding a black banner after one extremist cleric proclaimed that it would soon hang over the British prime minister’s residence.Paul Cruickshank, “Who was London attacker Khuram Butt?” CNN, June 6, 2017, http://www.cnn.com/2017/06/05/europe/khuram-butt-london-attacker/index.html. Butt also allegedly defended comments Choudary made in the aftermath of the Rigby murder. Butt reportedly confronted counter-extremism advocate Mohammed Shafiq, who criticized Choudary as a traitor.Mark White, “London Bridge attackers were part of banned jihadi network,” Sky News, June 6, 2017, http://news.sky.com/story/london-bridge-attacker-khuram-butt-was-part-of-banned-jihadi-network-10906091.

Choudary and Bakri Muhammad dissolved al-Muhajiroun in 2004 ahead of a pending 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 of Savior Sect, Ahl ul-Sunnah Wa al-Jamma, and Al Ghurabaa. In 2010, the U.K. government banned al-Muhajiroun and its other iterations.“Ministers ban suspected aliases of banned extremist group,” BBC News, June 26, 2014, https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-28049374; “Proscribed Terrorist Organizations,” Home Office, accessed August 16, 2016, 6, https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/538297/20160715-Proscription-website-update.pdf; “London cops sweep up 9 terror suspects,” CBS News, September 25, 2014, http://www.cbsnews.com/news/london-cops-sweep-up-9-terror-suspects-anjem-choudary/; Eilish O’Gara, “Radical UK Preacher Anjem Choudary Charged With Inviting Support for ISIS,” Newsweek, August 5, 2015, http://europe.newsweek.com/radical-uk-preacher-anjem-choudary-charged-inviting-support-isis-331221. In May 2019, media reports surfaced that al-Muhajiroun was regrouping after the release of Choudary and other members from prison. Though Choudary remained under tight communications restrictions and surveillance, his release has inspired others to revive al-Muhajiroun, according to British authorities and former members of the group. The network has reportedly begun meeting again in London, Luton, and the county of Bedfordshire.Ceylan Yeginsu, “One of U.K.’s Most Prolific Extremist Cells Is Regrouping,” New York Times, May 18, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/18/world/europe/uk-extremist-cell-anjem-choudary.html.

Among his controversial views, Choudary has advocated for Islamists and would-be jihadists to live off of British welfare, as Choudary has done with his wife and four children in East London. Choudary has reportedly referred to this practice as the “jihad seeker’s allowance.”Robert Johnson, “Muslim Preacher Tells Followers Getting Welfare Cash For Holy Wars Is Easy And Right [VIDEO],” Business Insider, February 18, 2013, http://www.businessinsider.com/anjem-choudary-muslim-preacher-explains-government-assistance-to-fund-jihad-holy-war-2013-2. In late 2014, however, Choudary told an interviewer that he would immigrate with his family to Syria if the British government would allow him to keep his passport.Clarissa Ward, “Campaigning for ISIS in the West,” 60 Minutes, November 2, 2014, http://www.cbsnews.com/news/recruiting-for-isis-60-minutes/.

Following ISIS’s declaration of a caliphate in June 2014, both Choudary and Rahman pledged allegiance to the ISIS’s leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi over a Skype call with a convicted terrorist in Indonesia, according to authorities.Alexis Flynn and Jenny Gross, “U.K. Preacher Anjem Choudary Convicted of Inviting Support for Islamic State,” Wall Street Journal, August 16, 2016, http://www.wsj.com/articles/u-k-preacher-anjem-choudary-convicted-of-supporting-islamic-state-1471361122; “Anjem Choudary and Mohammed Rahman convicted of inviting support for Daesh,” Crown Prosecution Service, August 16, 2016, http://www.cps.gov.uk/news/latest_news/anjem_choudary_and_mohammed_rahman_convicted_of_inviting_support_for_daesh/. Choudary then began to support ISIS over social media, as encouraged by his associate Abu Rumaysah, who left Britain in late 2014 to join ISIS in Syria.Jamie Grierson, Vikram Dodd, and Jason Rodrigues, “Anjem Choudary convicted of supporting Islamic State,” Guardian (London), August 16, 2016, https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/aug/16/anjem-choudary-convicted-of-supporting-islamic-state. In a September 2014 interview with London’s Guardian, Choudary referred to Baghdadi as “the caliph of all Muslims.”Andrew Anthony, “Anjem Choudary: the British extremist who backs the caliphate,” Guardian (London), September 6, 2014, http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/sep/07/anjem-choudary-islamic-state-isis.

Choudary has supported terror attacks during appearances on international television. In January 2015, Choudary was featured on the Fox News show Hannity and defended the Islamist attacks on the Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris.“Radical imam Anjem Choudary on Charlie Hebdo attack,” Fox News, January 8, 2015, http://www.foxnews.com/transcript/2015/01/08/radical-imam-anjem-choudary-charlie-hebdo-attack/. After the May 3, 2015, attack on a “Draw Muhammad” contest in Garland, Texas, Choudary appeared on Fox News and told contest organizer Pamela Gellar she should have expected a violent response.“Radical Imam: Pamela Gellar Deserves to Die,” Fox News, May 6, 2015, http://www.cbsnews.com/news/recruiting-for-isis-60-minutes/.

Source: Fox News
Source: Fox News

Choudary has encouraged British Muslims to refrain from participation in U.K. politics. Preceding May 2015 parliamentary elections, Choudary launched a campaign on social media called #StayMuslimDontVote. The campaign sought to warn Muslims that voting in man-made elections is a sin under Islamic law.“Radical Imam: Pamela Gellar Deserves to Die,” Fox News, May 6, 2015, http://nation.foxnews.com/2015/05/06/radical-imam-pamela-geller-deserves-die.

During Choudary’s trial, prosecutors presented evidence that Choudary had argued online for Muslims to pledge allegiance to ISIS’s Baghdadi. According to Commander Dean Haydon of the Metropolitan Police Service’s Counter Terrorism Command, Choudary and Rahman had developed careers as spokesmen for extremists, but always avoided crossing the line into criminal speech. “Their recent speeches and the oath of allegiance were a turning point for the police — at last, we had the evidence that they had stepped over the line and we could prove they were actively encouraging support of ISIS,” he said.Stephen Castle, “Anjem Choudary Is Sentenced to Prison for Promoting ISIS,” New York Times, September 6, 2016, http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/07/world/europe/anjem-choudary-sentenced-isis.html.

The U.S. government sanction-designated Choudary in March 2017. According to the U.S. Department of State, Choudary has expressed a desire to continue promoting ISIS’s cause—and even recruit for the terror group—from prison.“State Department Terrorist Designations of El Shafee Elsheikh, Anjem Choudary, Sami Bouras, Shane Dominic Crawford, and Mark John Taylor,” U.S. Department of State, March 30, 2017, https://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2017/03/269306.htm. Ahead of Choudary’s October 2018 release, U.K. Prison Minister Rory Stewart called him “genuinely dangerous” and lamented that the government could not circumvent the law that would set him free.Robert Mendick, “Hate preacher Anjem Choudary to be freed from jail despite remaining ‘genuinely dangerous,’” Telegraph (London), September 11, 2018, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/09/11/notorious-hate-preacher-anjem-choudary-released-prison-despite/. Other government sources reportedly condemned Choudary as a coward radicalizing others to become foreign fighters while refusing to fight himself.Laura FitzPatrick and Patrick Sawyer, “Anjem Choudary, notorious Islamist hate preacher, a free man after release from prison,” Telegraph (London), October 19, 2018, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/10/19/anjem-choudary-pictured-free-man-released-prison/; Lizzie Dearden, “Anjem Choudary: How Islamist preacher sparked rise of Tommy Robinson and the far-right,” Independent (London), October 18, 2018, https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/anjem-choudary-tommy-robinson-islam-preacher-far-right-edl-luton-protests-islamists-terror-a8589236.html.

On July 19, 2021, more than 20 government restrictions on Choudary expired. Among the expired restriction was a ban on public speaking. Later that day, Choudary held a press conference in a park near his east London home, during which he proclaimed his innocence and labeled himself a “prisoner of faith” who could not receive a fair trial in the United Kingdom.Max Stephens and Gareth Davies, Anjem Choudary free to preach again as he gives first public statement since release from prison,” Telegraph (London), July 19, 2021, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2021/07/19/anjem-choudary-free-preach-gives-first-public-statement-since/. He went on to condemn the criminalization of people for their opinions, referring to himself as a normal Muslim who never had any ties to extremism. He further labeled the government-imposed restrictions on him after his release as “draconian.”Jonathan Reilly, “HATE SPEECH Terror preacher Anjem Choudary calls for release of terrorist HOURS after his ban on public speaking ends,” Sun (London), July 19, 2021, https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/politics/15633294/anajem-choudary-release-terrorist-ban-public-speaking/. Choudary also called for the release of Bakri Muhammad from Lebanese prison.Jonathan Reilly, “HATE SPEECH Terror preacher Anjem Choudary calls for release of terrorist HOURS after his ban on public speaking ends,” Sun (London), July 19, 2021, https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/politics/15633294/anajem-choudary-release-terrorist-ban-public-speaking/. Choudary created new Twitter and Facebook accounts shortly after the expiration of the government restrictions. He also created a new “official blog.” Choudary posted his first essay on his blog on July 27, calling for Bakri Muhammad’s release.“Press Release,” Anjem Choudary Official Blog, July 27, 2021. On July 28, Twitter permanently suspended Choudary. Facebook reportedly followed on July 29. Twitter claimed Choudary had been banned for violating the rules of its violent organizations policy. Choudary told Sky News he did not understand why he had been banned as, he claimed, his posts had been “quite moderate.”James Gant, “Anjem Choudary is BANNED from Facebook and Twitter just FIVE days after the Islamic hate preacher set up social media accounts,” Daily Mail (London), last update July 30, 2021, https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9840649/Social-media-accounts-radical-preacher-Anjem-Choudary-suspended.html; Mark White, “Anjem Choudary: Islamist hate preacher banned from Twitter,” Sky News, July 29, 2021, https://news.sky.com/story/anjem-choudary-islamist-hate-preacher-banned-from-twitter-12367411. Choudary has also used the Facebook-owned encrypted messaging service WhatsApp to send essays on sharia and promote his new social media accounts. On August 2, Choudary created an Instagram account under the handle “anjemchoudary1967.” Instagram suspended him within several hours of the account’s creation. According to a company spokeswoman, Choudary “was removed from our platform for violating our Dangerous Individuals & Organisations policies. Under these rules, we ban organisations or individuals that proclaim a violent mission or engage in organised hate or violence.”William Cole, “Islamist hate preacher Anjem Choudary is kicked off Instagram days after he was banned from Twitter and Facebook,” Daily Mail (London), August 3, 2021, https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9855415/Islamist-hate-preacher-Anjem-Choudary-kicked-Instagram.html. On August 4, the professional networking website LinkedIn banned Choudary hours after he created a profile.Jacob Thorburn, “Now Anjem Choudary is kicked off LinkedIn: Islamist hate preacher fails in bid to join social media network after being booted from Facebook, Twitter and Instagram,” Daily Mail (London), August 4, 2021, https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9860841/Preacher-Anjem-Choudary-joins-LinkedIn-kicked-Facebook-Twitter-Instagram.html. On August 10, Choudary began posting essays to a Blogspot website called Shariah is the Future. While a second “official blog” went offline in March, Choudary has continued to use the Blogspot platform to post essays assailing democracy and Western values as un-Islamic.Shariah is the Future, accessed April 25, 2022. Blogspot is the subdomain of Google’s Blogger content management system.

In mid-August 2021, Telegram shut down Choudary’s channel, but he soon after created a second channel on the platform called “Islam is the Answer.” Choudary has used the platform to call attention to what he calls the “plight” of Bakri Muhammad and call for his release from prison in Lebanon.Anjem Choudary, Telegram channel, August 20, 2021. In another post, Choudary penned an open letter to the Taliban after the group completed its violent takeover of Afghanistan earlier that month. Choudary called on the Taliban to establish a government based on sharia and reject any foreign interference, including from the United Nations and other human-rights organizations. He further called for the abolishment of Afghanistan itself and for the Taliban to establish an Islamic caliphate that would shut down all non-sharia courts and implement violent punishments as demanded under strict sharia, including cutting the hands off of thieves and stoning murderers. According to Choudary, the Taliban’s willingness to implement sharia would demonstrate whether Afghanistan was truly an Islamic state or “just another country choosing Islam to be part of its name that it wishes everyone to call it by.”Anjem Choudary, Telegram channel, August 20, 2021. On October 14, 2021, Choudary created the fourth iteration of his Telegram channel.Anjem Choudary, Telegram channel, accessed October 18, 2021. He has continued to use the platform to call for the release of Islamists such as Bakri Muhammad and Abu Hamza al-Masri, who was convicted and sentenced to life in the United States in 2015 on terrorism charges.“Radical cleric Abu Hamza jailed for life by US court,” BBC News, January 9, 2015, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-30754959. In an October 15, 2021, press release on his Telegram account, Choudary accused the United States of consciously deciding to allow Abu Hamza to die in prison.Anjem Choudary, Telegram channel, October 15, 2021.

In September 2021, Choudary issued a call on his Telegram channel for the release of Aafia Siddiqui, a suspected al-Qaeda terrorist imprisoned in the United States. He wrote, “The obligation upon us is to either free her physically or to ransom her or to exchange her.”Annabelle Timsit, Souad Mekhennet, and Terrence McCoy, “Who is Aafia Siddiqui? Texas synagogue hostage-taker allegedly sought release of ‘Lady al-Qaeda,’” Washington Post, January 16, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2022/01/16/aafia-siddiqui-texas-synagogue-hostages/. On January 15, 2022, British national Malik Faisal Akram took four hostages at the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue in Colleyville, Texas, during Saturday morning services. Akram reportedly demanded to speak with Siddiqui. All four hostages escaped unharmed and Akram was killed later that night.Jake Bleiberg, “Ranting man takes hostages at Texas synagogue,” Associated Press, January 15, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/religion-texas-fort-worth-70bf98670cb880156cf5e1f1e4e08dcd; Alaa Elassar, Michelle Watson, and Alanne Orjoux, “FBI identifies hostage-taker at Texas synagogue,” CNN, January 16, 2022, https://www.cnn.com/2022/01/16/us/colleyville-texas-hostage-situation-sunday/index.html. Investigators suspect Akram may have been motivated by a desire to have Siddiqui released. Congregation Beth Israel is 24 miles from the Federal Medical Center, Carswell, in Fort Worth, where Siddiqui is incarcerated. Akram’s relationship to Choudary is as-yet unclear and the FBI continues to investigate the influence of Siddiqui’s case on Akram.Zia ur-Rehman and Michael Levenson, “Officials Investigating Synagogue Attacker’s Link to 2010 Terror Case,” New York Times, January 17, 2022, https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/17/world/europe/texas-synagogue-hostages-aafia-siddiqui.html. The day after Akram’s attack, Choudary renewed his calls online for a “Twitter storm” demanding Siddiqui’s release.“British Pro-ISIS Preacher Anjem Choudary Uses Texas Synagogue Hostage Incident As Opportunity To Launch New Twitter Storm Demanding Release Of Aafia Siddiqui,” MEMRI, January 19, 2022, https://www.memri.org/cjlab/british-pro-isis-preacher-anjem-choudary-uses-texas-synagogue-hostage-incident-opportunity. Choudary called for a scheduled Twitter storm on January 21 using the hashtags “#free_sister_aafia” and “#FreeTheAseer” at specific times in New York, London, Istanbul, Riyadh, Karachi, and Sydney.Anjem Choudary, “The Tragic Truth About Aafia Siddiqui!,” Anjem Choudary Official Blog, January 20, 2022.

Choudary has continued to seek out social media platforms. On August 30, 2021, the Daily Mail reported Choudary had joined Pinterest, Snapchat, and TikTok. Pointing to viral videos of people singing and dancing, Choudary told the Daily Mail there is a lot of “rubbish” on TikTok and he would use the platform “Islamically.”Abu Taher, “Hate preacher Anjem Choudary boasts he is joining TikTok sparking fears he will target children with vile Islamist propaganda,” Daily Mail (London), last updated August 30, 2021, https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9936571/Hate-preacher-Anjem-Choudary-boasts-joining-TikTok.html. Choudary boasted to the Daily Mail how easy it is to join social media and how he has “them all up my sleeve” and is “signed up to all of them… I’m on everything.”Abu Taher, “Hate preacher Anjem Choudary boasts he is joining TikTok sparking fears he will target children with vile Islamist propaganda,” Daily Mail (London), last updated August 30, 2021, https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9936571/Hate-preacher-Anjem-Choudary-boasts-joining-TikTok.html. By October 25, 2021, the fourth iteration of Choudary’s Telegram account had been deleted.Anjem Choudary, Telegram channel, accessed October 25, 2021. Nonetheless, Choudary has boasted of creating new accounts, while his followers continue to spread his messages to social media platforms from which he is personally banned. In Choudary’s October 15 Telegram essay on Abu Hamza, for example, he called for a “Twitter storm” in support of the cleric.Anjem Choudary, Telegram channel, October 15, 2021. An October 2021 study by the United Kingdom’s Community Security Trust found Choudary’s name mentioned more than 43,000 times on Twitter since the expiration of the government restrictions.Lizzie Dearden, “Anjem Choudary orchestrating online campaigns in support of extremists despite Isis conviction,” Independent (London), October 24, 2021, https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/anjem-choudary-twitter-telegram-prison-b1943749.html. At the end of October 2021, Choudary created a channel on the video-sharing site Odysee. By the beginning of February 2022, he had posted more than 60 videos to the channel, though he had only nine followers.Anjem Choudary - Collection, Odysee, accessed February 7, 2022. Choudary’s website also hosts issues of Al-Aseer (“The Prisoner”), an English-language monthly magazine highlighting imprisoned jihadists.“Al-Aseer Magazine,” Anjem Choudary Official Blog, accessed February 7, 2022. In the magazine’s first issue in November 2021, Choudary wrote an essay calling the imprisonment of radical clerics a “humiliation” for Muslims as their only crime was “to believe in Allah.”Anjem Choudary, “The Tragedy of Muslim Prisoners In Our Times!,” Al-Aseer, November 2021, 3-4. The magazine’s second issue featured an essay on Siddiqui. Authorities suspect the magazine may have influenced Colleyville attacker Akram.Isaac Crowson, “‘ACT OF TERRORISM’ Brit hostage-taker who stormed Texas synagogue ‘influenced by hate preacher Anjem Choudary,’” Sun (London), January 17, 2022, https://www.the-sun.com/news/4479894/brit-hostage-texas-synagogue-influenced-by-anjem-choudary/.

Choudary’s so-called official blog was offline as of early March 2022, but he continued to post to his Blogspot-hosted Shariah is the Future website while seeking other ways to raise his public profile. On March 4, Choudary made his first public appearance at a demonstration since his release from prison when he attended a protest outside of Saudi Arabia’s embassy in London. Choudary reportedly attended to demand the release of prisoners and to demand Saudi Arabia adopt a strict form of sharia.Isaac Crowson, “ON THE STREETS Hate preacher Anjem Choudary attends demo after strict restrictions on his movements end,” Sun (London), March 5, 2022, https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/17851410/anjem-choudary-attends-demo/. Two days later, he reportedly spoke about filing a complaint with London’s Metropolitan Police for the return of more than 200 personal items confiscated from him in 2011. Among the items Choudary demanded back were a PlayStation and two Nintendo consoles. One source told the Sun Choudary was “fuming.”Isaac Crowson, “‘FUMING’ Hate preacher Anjem Choudary moans as cops kept his gaming consoles seized in raids,” Sun (London), March 6, 2022, https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/17862944/anjem-choudary-gaming-console-not-given-back/. Tory parliamentarian Nigel Mills called it “ironic” Choudary was “lobbying for the return of Western luxuries such as games consoles when he hates the West.”Isaac Crowson, “‘FUMING’ Hate preacher Anjem Choudary moans as cops kept his gaming consoles seized in raids,” Sun (London), March 6, 2022, https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/17862944/anjem-choudary-gaming-console-not-given-back/.

As of early May 2022, Choudary’s Telegram channel had once again been deleted. However, Choudary had created another “official blog” on Blogspot. His new official blog mirrored his Shariah is the Future site in design and content with essays and videos assailing Western values. Content on the sites dated back to March 2022. Both sites remained online as of May 10, 2022, despite Blogger’s ban on hate speech. Blogger defines hate speech as content that “promotes or condones violence against or has the primary purpose of inciting hatred against an individual or group on the basis of their race or ethnic origin, religion, disability, age, nationality, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, or any other characteristic that is associated with systemic discrimination or marginalization.”“Blogger Content Policy,” Blogger.com, accessed May 10, 2022, https://www.blogger.com/content-policy. Both Blogspot sites were active as of May 10, 2022, but had been removed as of May 12.

While Choudary’s essays do not specifically call for violence, they debase non-Muslims and call for the elimination of non-Islamic ways of life. Choudary declares on his blog “Islam is superior and will never be surpassed,” as well as “shar’iah is the solution.”Anjem Choudary Official Blog, accessed May 10, 2022. In his biography on his sites, Choudary declares his devotion to seeing “the domination of the world by Islam.”Anjem Choudary Official Blog, accessed May 10, 2022. Choudary expresses his hope to one day see the United States, Europe, China, the United Kingdom, Russia, and the rest of the world “governed by and under the authority of the Muslims implementing Islamic Law,” and turning away from “the false Gods of Democracy and Freedom.”Anjem Choudary Official Blog, accessed May 10, 2022.

Evidence of Choudary’s ongoing influence continues to emerge. On October 15, 2021, Ali Harbi Ali stabbed to death British parliamentarian David Amess.Peter Stubley, “Ali Harbi Ali: What we know about suspect in murder of Sir David Amess MP,” Independent (London), October 18, 2021, https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/amess-murder-mp-ali-harbi-ali-b1939934.html; Peter Nicholls and Ben Makori, “UK PM Johnson visits church where lawmaker stabbed to death,” Reuters, October 16, 2021, https://www.reuters.com/world/uk/uk-pm-johnson-visits-church-where-lawmaker-was-stabbed-death-2021-10-16/. Ali had reportedly radicalized online and began watching Choudary’s lectures on YouTube while in high school. Friends allegedly warned Ali that Choudary was an extremist who hated the West, but Ali continued to watch Choudary’s videos.Isaac Crowson, Tom Wells, Nick Pisa, and Mike Sullivan, “TWISTED BY HATE Sir David Amess murder suspect ‘radicalised after watching YouTube videos of hate preacher Anjem Choudary,’” Sun (London), last updated October 18, 2021, https://www.the-sun.com/news/3876488/david-amess-murder-suspect-radicalise-anjem-choudary/. The day after Amess’s murder, Choudary suggested Amess had been killed for holding pro-Israel views. He emphasized he did not condone the murder, however.Abul Taher and Dominik Lemanski, “Preacher Anjem Choudary sparks fury by suggesting Sir David Amess may have been killed for being 'pro-Israel,’” Daily Mail (London), last updated October 17, 2021, https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10099513/Preacher-sparks-fury-suggesting-Sir-David-Amess-killed-pro-Israel.html. On April 11, 2022, London’s Central Criminal Court found Ali guilty of murder and preparing terrorist acts. During the trial, Ali claimed he targeted Sir David because of his votes in favor of airstrikes in Syria. On April 13, Ali was sentenced to life imprisonment.Holly Bancroft, “Sir David Amess: Ali Harbi Ali given whole life sentence for murder and planning terror attacks on other MPs,” Independent, April 13, 2022, https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/sir-david-amess-ali-harbi-ali-murder-terror-attack-b2056986.html; “ISIS supporter found guilty of killing British lawmaker David Amess,” Associated Press, April 11, 2022, https://www.cbc.ca/news/world/britain-david-amess-killing-verdict-1.6415564. Following Ali’s sentencing, Choudary blamed Amess’s death on the United Kingdom’s refusal to allow Ali to leave the country to join ISIS.Dominik Lemanski, “David Amess would be alive if killer had joined IS, claims hate preacher,” Express (London), April 17, 2022, https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/1597194/sir-david-amess-murder-ISIS-Anjem-Choudary-Ali-Harbi-Ali-syria-latest. In an online blogpost, Choudary accused the United Kingdom of radicalizing Ali through its “foreign policy in Syria and Iraq.”https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/18286915/anjem-choudary-blames-britain-radicalising-mp-david-amesss-killer/. Choudary also wrote the media would “paint Ali as a monster.”Isaac Crowson, “‘DISGRACEFUL’ Hate preacher Anjem Choudary blames Britain for ‘radicalising’ MP David Amess’s killer,” Sun (London), April 17, 2022, https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/18286915/anjem-choudary-blames-britain-radicalising-mp-david-amesss-killer/. Since the end of government restrictions on his speech and movement, Choudary has resumed meeting with past associates. In November 2021, Choudary admitted to London’s Express newspaper to meeting with Abu Izzadeen and other former associates from al-Muhajiroun. Referring to Izzadeen as a “close friend,” Choudary told the newspaper he would continue meeting with former associates and speaking out about a “clash of civilisations” between Islamic and Western culture.Dominik Lemanski, “Fears of reinstating terrorism group as extremist leaves prison and meets old friends, Express (London), November 28, 2021, https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/1528390/terror-muslim-group-abu-izzadeen-trevor-brooks. Izzadeen told the paper he and Choudary would continue to “come out in society and challenge the dominant thoughts and ideas.”Dominik Lemanski, “Fears of reinstating terrorism group as extremist leaves prison and meets old friends, Express (London), November 28, 2021, https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/1528390/terror-muslim-group-abu-izzadeen-trevor-brooks. Referring to Choudary as his “close brother,” Izzadeen declared they both want “to offer an Islamic alternative.”Dominik Lemanski, “Fears of reinstating terrorism group as extremist leaves prison and meets old friends, Express (London), November 28, 2021, https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/1528390/terror-muslim-group-abu-izzadeen-trevor-brooks.

While Choudary has continued to meet with his former colleagues and distribute propaganda online, he has also attempted to overturn his conviction. In October 2017, London’s Court of Appeals rejected an appeal of Choudary’s conviction. The court ruled Choudary does not have “arguable” ground of appeal, and that his conviction was not “arguably unsafe.”George Keate, “Hate preacher Anjem Choudary cannot appeal Isis conviction,” Times (London), October 19, 2017, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/hate-preacher-anjem-choudary-cannot-appeal-isis-conviction-mt79p5wfk. In late January 2022, Choudary filed an appeal with the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) to overturn his 2016 conviction. Choudary told London’s Express newspaper his appeal was about “putting the facts of his case in the public domain.”Domink Lemanski, “‘Does he hold us for fools!?’ Anjem Choudary lodges new appeal with European Court,” Express (London), January 30, 2022, https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/1558011/anjem-choudary-appeal-european-court-human-rights. He claimed there “was no support, verbal or otherwise for the Islamic State.”Domink Lemanski, “‘Does he hold us for fools!?’ Anjem Choudary lodges new appeal with European Court,” Express (London), January 30, 2022, https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/1558011/anjem-choudary-appeal-european-court-human-rights.

Also Known As

Extremist entity
ISIS
Type(s) of Organization:
Insurgent, territory-controlling, religious, terrorist, violent
Ideologies and Affiliations:
Islamist, jihadist, pan-Islamist, Salafist, takfiri
Position(s):
Propagandist, Islamist preacher, cleric

ISIS is a violent jihadist group based in Iraq and Syria. The group has declared wilayas (provinces) in Egypt, Libya, Algeria, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the North Caucasus. ISIS has also waged attacks in Turkey, Lebanon, France, Belgium, Iraq, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, Tunisia, and Kuwait.

Extremist entity
Al-Muhajiroun
Type(s) of Organization:
Islamist transnational political organization
Ideologies and Affiliations:
Islamist, jihadist, pan-Islamist, Sunni
Position(s):
Founding member, propagandist, Islamist preacher, cleric

ISIS is a violent jihadist group based in Iraq and Syria. The group has declared wilayas (provinces) in Egypt, Libya, Algeria, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the North Caucasus. ISIS has also waged attacks in Turkey, Lebanon, France, Belgium, Iraq, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, Tunisia, and Kuwait.

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United Nations

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On September 30, 2017, there was a small explosion at Myanmar’s embassy in Cairo, Egypt, though there were no casualties. Hasm later claimed responsibility for the attack, the militant group’s first on a civilian target, saying it was a warning in response to the Myanmar’s military crackdown on Rohingya Muslims. 

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