Outspoken: British hate cleric Anjem Choudary has described the Islamic State as the sort of society he would ‘love to live in’ with his family
British hate cleric Anjem Choudary has described the Islamic State as the sort of society he would ‘love to live in’ with his family, while insisting that he does not know terrorist beheader ‘Jihadi John’.
The radical activist said he admired the makeshift state set up by militants in Syria and Iraq, believed to be home to several million people.
However, the 47-year-old said that while he views his British passport as nothing more than a travel pass, he would not move to Syria as he was born in Britain, and that if he were to try he would be arrested by British police.
‘From what I understand from people living there, they have security, schools are now being set up where their children are taught about Islam, and they have the basic needs of food, clothing and shelter,’ he told The Observer newspaper.
‘They don’t see in the public arena things like alcohol, drugs, gambling, these kinds of vices. They’ve been completely wiped out. I think in many respects it’s the kind of society I’d love to live in with my family. Many people I know think the same. That doesn’t mean that we’re going to train and come back and carry out operations here.’
More than 500 young British Muslims are thought to have left the UK to fight for jihadi groups in Iraq and Syria over the last three years.
A 2013 report by campaign group Hope Not Hate labelled groups linked to Choudary as the ‘single biggest gateway to terrorism in recent British history’, and claimed he was the link between groups who encourage the safe passage of British and European Muslims into Syria where they join Al Qaeda-linked forces.
It also suggested that he should be considered a ‘serious player’ in the promotion and recruitment of young Muslims to terrorist cells.
According to the study, organisations affiliated with Choudary have encouraged in the region of 80 young British Muslims to join the fighting in Syria and may also have had a hand in the recruitment of 300 more on the continent.
Previously, the father-of-four from Leytonstone in East London has made statements about how he would like to see the Prime Minister David Cameron and the American President Barack Obama killed.
Unknown: Choudary insists he does not know terrorist beheader ‘Jihadi John’, seen in the brutal beheading video of journalist James Foley
Terrorist: The man, who speaks with a London accent, was seen holding a knife in both of the shocking videos, his face hidden with a scarf
No information: Choudary said he knew nothing of the capture of British aid worker David Haines
He is also known to have links with Michael Adebolajo, the Muslim convert who murdered Fusilier Lee Rigby.
However, Choudary has always been carefiul not to break the law and has never been charged or convicted of a crime related to terrorism.
He has only ever been fined £500 by the authorities – which came after he organised a protest outside the Danish embassy in London over cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed.
Choudary insisted that he does not know the British terrorist nicknamed Jihadi John, and seen in the brutal videos depicting the beheadings of journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff.
The man, who speaks with a London accent, was seen holding a knife in both of the shocking videos, his face hidden with a scarf.
‘I’d recognise his voice if it was someone I knew,’ he said.
Without giving his backing to the killing, Choudary said there were crimes which, under sharia law, were dealt with using capital punishment.
The former lawyer added:’If you look at the death of James Foley, you only have to listen to the person who is executing him to know that the blame is the Americans’ because of their own foreign policy. The fact is that decades of torture, cruelty and mass murder will have repercussions.’
He also said he had no information about the capture of British aid worker David Haines, 44, who is being held hostage by extremists, and has been earmarked as the next victim, following the deaths of Mr Foley and Mr Sotloff.
A CATALOGUE OF CONTROVERSY: ANJEM CHOUDARY’S COMMENTS
A former leading member of the banned extremist organisation Al-Muhajiroun and an ex-spokesman for Islam4UK, Anjem Choudary is known for his outspoken criticism of the UK’s wars with Iraq and praise for those responsible for the 9/11 and July 7 attacks.
He referred to the September 11 terrorists as ‘magnificent martyrs’, and refused to condem those behind the London bombings in July 2005.
In September 2006, Choudary was investigated by the Metropolitan Police over comments made during a protest about Pope Benedict XVI.
The pontiff had cited the 14th-century Byzantine emperor Manuel II Palaiologos, stating: ‘Show me just what Mohamed brought that was new and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.’
The speech was criticised by many Muslims around the world, and at during the protest outside Westminster Cathedral, Choudary had told reporters: ‘Whoever insults the message of Mohammed is going to be subject to capital punishment.’
Police concluded that ‘no substantive offences’ had been committed during the protest.
Choudary, who believes Sharia law should be implemented in the UK, is also credited with helping to convert Lee Rigby’s killer Michael Adebolajo to Islam.
In an interview with Radio 4 in December last year, he repeatedly refused to condemn the killing, insisting David Cameron and British foreign policy were to blame for the soldier’s death.
He added that he was ‘very proud’ of Adebolajo as ‘a practising Muslim and a family man’, but ‘differed’ with him about the interpretation of Islam which he used to justify the murder.
He has also attacked the charity Help for Heroes, which helps care for injured British soldiers, saying they cannot be heroes because they ‘shoot children in Afghanistan’, and in the past has planned to disrupt the minute’s silence on Remembrance Sunday.
Choudary has previously beeen warned by the Metropolitan Police that he is ‘constantly’ under surveillance to see if his comments are breaking the law, but has never been charged or convicted of a terrorism-related offence.
Last February has was secretly filmed saying Islam will overrun Europe, David Cameron and Barack Obama should be killed and calling the Queen ‘ugly’.
However, when asked about the footage he said he had been ‘joking’, and his words had been misconstrued.
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