Anjem Choudary appeals for funding for jihad - Investigation of former Al Muhajiroun leader urged
March 15, 2009
Hate cleric leads jihad cash appeal
Anjem Choudary, who led protests against returning British troops, has urged his followers to send money to 'mujaheddin'
Anjem Choudary, the former head of al-MuhajirounAbul Taher and Daniel Foggo
From The Sunday Times (London) March 15, 2009
AN Islamic cleric, whose supporters led a hate-filled protest against British troops returning from Iraq, has urged his followers to give cash to front-line mujaheddin fighters.
A recording has emerged of Anjem Choudary, a self-styled sharia judge and former leader of the banned group Al-Muhajiroun, telling his followers to stop spending their money on their families and divert it to Muslim soldiers waging jihad, or holy war.
There were demands for Choudary to be investigated by police. He has previously called for British women to be forced to wear burqas and for adulterers to be killed. Several radical preachers have previously been jailed for urging British Muslims to give money to Al-Qaeda-linked insurgents in Iraq.
The emergence of the tape coincided with the death yesterday of a British soldier in Afghanistan, the 150th to die there since 2001. The soldier of the 2nd battalion, Royal Welsh regiment, was on foot patrol.
Last week Choudary's followers shouted abuse at soldiers from the Royal Anglian Regiment as they paraded through Luton, calling them "butchers and killers". Choudary later called the troops "cowards who cannot fight".
Patrick Mercer, chairman of the Commons subcommittee on counterterrorism, said: "It is crucial that Choudary is investigated by the police and if the evidence stacks up he must be charged." Geoffrey Bindman, a leading lawyer, said: "There's an element of ambiguity in the term ‘mujaheddin' but in the context it's possible he would be held to be seeking to raise money for terrorist purposes."
Choudary supporters taped a meeting last year at which he was preaching to disciples. A copy of the recording has been passed to The Sunday Times.
At one point on the tape Choudary says: "People [are] looking for a place for their money to go so they can go to the front line and they can't find it. You should not think to yourself ‘my money, my money' . . . you have [an] opportunity to carry da'wah [the spread of Islam] to society . . . and you have money that can go towards the da'wah, you have money that can go towards the mujaheddin. One day you will not have that. Then you will regret the time when you said, ‘When I had that time, when I was with people, I did not invest it properly'."
Choudary added: "When you are working collectively . . . people supporting the mujaheddin, people collecting money for the da'wah or giving money to the mujaheddin, he [the ‘shaytan', or devil] will come to you then. He will divert you, he will say to you, ‘This money is needed for your family'."
When confronted, Choudary said: "I don't think I've ever said to people ‘raise money and send it to Al-Qaeda and the Taliban', which is what you are suggesting."
Imam Abdul Jalil Sajid, a leading Muslim cleric, said: "When people like Choudary say mujaheddin, they mean armed struggle against Britain and America."
Firebrand risks jail in call for jihad cash
Islamist extremist Anjem Choudary has been caught on tape urging an audience to raise funds for the 'mujaheddin'Abul Taher and Daniel Foggo
From The Sunday Times (London) March 15, 2009
OUTWARDLY he presents an innocuous image as a be-spectacled father of three trained in the law. But Anjem Choudary is now considered by many politicians and religious leaders as the most dangerous Islamist extremist in Britain.
He has previously made no secret of his demands that the country be placed under sharia - Islamic law. This would mean all women would have to wear veils, adulterers would be stoned to death and drunks whipped in public.
Last Tuesday Choudary and his small but obsessive group of followers turned their bile on British troops parading through Luton after their return from service in Iraq.
While his placard-waving "students" fomented a near-riot by branding the men and women of the Royal Anglian Regiment as "butchers" and "cowards", Choudary, who was not present, did not shrink from fanning the flames of outrage.
Within hours of the ugly confrontation in Luton, he had posted a message on the Islam4UK website, calling the troops "pompous" and accusing them of murdering women and children in Iraq.
He later gave a glimpse of his vision of Britain in a newspaper interview, calling for the "black flag of Allah" to be raised over Downing Street.
In the absence of his former guru, Sheikh Omar Bakri Mohammed - a firebrand preacher banned from Britain - and with Abu Hamza, the hook-handed cleric of Finsbury Park mosque, in jail, Choudary appears to have installed himself as the country's most vocal Islamist.
He has always been at pains to keep his public proselytising within the boundaries of British law.
Now Choudary, 41, a founder member of the British wing of Al-Muhajiroun, an extremist group, has been caught on tape urging an audience to raise funds for the "mujaheddin" - a phrase usually associated with insurgents in Iraq and Taliban fighters in Afghanistan.
Under the Terrorism Act 2000, it is an offence to "invite another to provide money or other property" for the purposes of terrorism. Offenders risk a prison sentence of up to 14 years.
Last year Abu Izzadeen, another radical preacher, was one of several men jailed after their sermons at the Regent's Park mosque in London were found to be inciting terrorism and calling for its funding.
Last night Patrick Mercer, the Tory MP, asked for a police investigation into Choudary's activities.
"He is certainly subverting and suborning vulnerable youngsters with a view to turning them into mujaheddin," said Mercer.
Cracking down on extremists such as Choudary - who reportedly lived a typically debauched student lifestyle before turning to radical Islam in the mid-1990s - is proving more difficult than some had first imagined.
In 2004 Al-Muhajiroun was disbanded by Bakri and Choudary, allegedly for fear of being prosecuted. Immediately afterwards, two offshoots from the group were created - Al-Ghuraaba and the Saviour Sect - both led by Choudary and understood to contain the same followers.
Both of these groups were banned by Tony Blair after the 7/7 bombings. Since then they appear to have sprung up again under the names of Islam4UK and Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaah.
Certainly Choudary, who lives on benefits at the taxpayers' expense, seems to enjoy his burgeoning notoriety, which he has stoked with inflammatory statements.
In 2006 he organised a rally in central London against Danish cartoons that had been deemed insulting to Islam. Three extremists, all followers of Choudary, were later jailed for incitement to murder