The conviction of Michael Adebowale and Michael Adebolajo is further proof of the insidious and dangerous role played by Anjem Choudary and his al-Muhajiroun network.
Both Adebowale and Adebolajo had been active supporters of his group. Adebolajo had spoken at their rallies while Adebowale had attended their activities as recently as five months before the murder. Both remained friendly with other al-Muhajiroun activists at the time of Lee Rigby’s murder.
Anjem Choudary has always denied he has been involved in any terrorist plot or that he advocates terrorism. He never ceases to cite the ‘Covenant of Security’ which he claims precludes him from attacking the country in which he resides.
But this is just a convenient fig leaf. While there is no evidence that Choudary has conspired to commit any acts of terrorism in the UK or been party to any plots, he should take responsibility for the people he has radicalised who went on to be involved in terrorist plots.
HOPE not hate has identified 75 British citizens who have been convicted of terrorism or terrorist-related offences over the last 15 years who have been through al-Muhajiroun or one of its front groups.
Many were still linked to al-Muhajiroun at the time of their arrests. They include:
- Mohammed Chowdhury, ringleader of the 2010 Christmas bomb plot, was a key lieutenant within the organisation and was filmed helping Choudary set up a Skype call with Omar Bakri Mohammad less than three weeks before he was arrested. The other eight people convicted in the bomb plot were all al-Muhajiroun activists.
- Habib Ahmed, convicted in 2006 for being a member of an al-Qaeda terror plot, was al-Muhajiroun’s Manchester organiser at the time of his arrest.
- Mohammed Benares, who was convicted in 2012 for having a gun and downloading bomb-making equipment, was a key al-Muhajiroun activist in Birmingham up until the time of his arrest.
- Richard Dart, who was convicted in 2013 of a plot to bomb Royal Wooten Bassett, converted to Islam under the direct tutorship of Anjem Choudary. His fellow conspirators were also active in al-Mujahiroun.
- One of Choudary’s key minders today is Mikael Ibrahim, a former Hackney gangster who was jailed for 14 years for a shooting in Leeds. Ibrahim was converted in prison by Dhiren Barot, the ringleader of 2004 Financial Centre plot.
- Several people convicted of terrorist related offences remain active in al-Muhajiroun. They include Abu Izzadeen, Abdul Muhid, Mizanur Rahman and Sulayman Keeler.
Hundreds more have been convicted of lesser offences. Only a fortnight ago, three of his key London activists were convicted for violence during their Muslim patrols in East London. Muslim Patrols that Choudary authorised and took part in.
Anjem Choudary and his al-Muhajiroun network have been linked to over 75 people convicted of terrorism or terror-related offences. It is time he was held to account for the hatred he preachers and the confrontational and violent ideology he espouses.
Constantly feted by the media – from BBC Newsnight to the Daily Star – yet often treated as a ‘clown’, it is dangerous to ignore the threat posed by Choudary and his followers. As well as acting as a gateway to terrorism, the actions of these extremists leads to the stigmatisation of the entire Muslim community and the shameful idea of collective responsibility.
Enough is enough. It is time the authorities acted against this preacher of hate.