- Muslim hate preacher has been charged under the Terrorism Act today.
- The 48-year-old extremist from Ilford has been detained in police custody.
- He is due to appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court at 2pm today.
- Another man, Mohammed Mizanur Rahman, 32, also faces the same charge.
Controversial Islamic preacher Anjem Choudary has been charged under the Terrorism Act for ‘inviting support for ISIS’, Scotland Yard has said.
The 48-year-old extremist from Ilford, north east London, is being held in police custody and is due to appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court at 2pm this afternoon.
He has been accused of supporting the organisation in lectures published online along with another man, Mohammed Mizanur Rahman, 32, from east London.
The offences – which can carry a maximum prison sentence of 10 years – are alleged to have happened between June 29, 2014 and March 6, this year.
They were arrested in September 2014 by the Metropolitan Police’s Counter-Terrorism Command on suspicion of being members of the proscribed organisation and have remained on bail since.
In a statement today, the police laid out the charges for both as: ‘Between 29 June 2014 and 6 March 2015 invited support for a proscribed terrorist organisation, namely ISIL, also known as ISIS or the Islamic State, contrary to section 12 Terrorism Act 2000.’
Before answering his police bail at Southwark police station this morning, Choudary was confident he would be rebailed and criticised the government’s policy of cracking down on hate crime.
Mohammed Mizanur Rahman, 32, from east London (pictured) faces the same charge today
He said: ‘The whole issue is about people supposedly preaching hate but there’s so much hate preached by people, by the far right, by animal rights activists.
‘If people have strong views why should they be curtailed? If you believe in freedom of expression then why should they be curtailed?
‘The government talks about British values – but what are they? Fish and chips? God save the Queen? One of the 7/7 bombers worked in a chippie.’
Sue Hemming, head of special crime and counter terrorism at the Crown Prosecution Service, said: ‘Following an investigation by the Metropolitan Police’s counter terrorism command, we have today authorised charges against Anjem Choudary and Mohammed Mizanur Rahman.
‘We have concluded that there is sufficient evidence and it is in the public interest to prosecute Anjem Choudary and Mohammed Rahman for inviting support for ISIS.
‘It is alleged that Anjem Choudary and Mohammed Rahman invited support for ISIS in individual lectures which were subsequently published online.’
Choudary became well known globally after he refused to condemn the 9/11 and 7/7 attacks and supports the implementation of Sharia law across the UK.
He is most notorious for fronting radical Islamic group Al-Muhajiroun, which was set up in 1986 and has also re-emerged as Islam4UK and Need4Khalafah.
A report revealed earlier this year says half of terror attacks carried out or plotted in Britain involve members of this extremist group.
Author Raffaello Pantucci found that since its formation in the 1980s, the group has been central to Islamic extremism in the UK.
At least one of the bombers who carried out London’s 7/7 bombings had met a key supporter of al-Muhajiroun, Omar Khyam, before the attacks which killed 52 people on underground trains and a bus in 2005.
Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale, who murdered Fusilier Lee Rigby in a street in Woolwich, south-east London in 2013, had both attended events organised by the group.
Despite having been banned in 2005, the group has morphed to take on a series of other names, and its influence continues to be felt, with Brustholm Ziamani, who was sentenced in March for plotting an attack inspired by that on Lee Rigby, also having been inspired by al-Muhajiroun.
Research shows that out of 51 attacks and plots carried out or foiled in Britain, al-Muhajiroun had influence in at least 23.
‘SUPPORTING ISIS’: WHAT THE CHARGE MEANS UNDER THE TERRORISM ACT
Under the Terrorism Act 2000, clause 12 ‘support’, states:
(1)A person commits an offence if—
(a)he invites support for a proscribed organisation, and
(b)the support is not, or is not restricted to, the provision of money or other property (within the meaning of section 15).
(2)A person commits an offence if he arranges, manages or assists in arranging or managing a meeting which he knows is—
(a)to support a proscribed organisation,
(b)to further the activities of a proscribed organisation, or
(c)to be addressed by a person who belongs or professes to belong to a proscribed organisation.
(3)A person commits an offence if he addresses a meeting and the purpose of his address is to encourage support for a proscribed organisation or to further its activities.
(4)Where a person is charged with an offence under subsection (2)(c) in respect of a private meeting it is a defence for him to prove that he had no reasonable cause to believe that the address mentioned in subsection (2)(c) would support a proscribed organisation or further its activities.
(5)In subsections (2) to (4)—
(a)’meeting’ means a meeting of three or more persons, whether or not the public are admitted, and
(b)a meeting is private if the public are not admitted.
(6)A person guilty of an offence under this section shall be liable—
(a)on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years, to a fine or to both, or
(b)on summary conviction, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months, to a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum or to both.