British Islamist preacher charged with directing, encouraging support for a terrorist organization

The Metropolitan Police have charged a 56-year-old Islamist preacher with three terror offenses, including directing a terrorist organization. 

Anjem Choudary, a Pakistani-British dual citizen born in southeast London, was arrested by the police at his home in Ilford during an early morning raid. The officers then searched three other addresses in east London, according to The Times.

Choudary was charged with three offenses under the Terrorism Act 2000, which included membership to a proscribed organization, directing a terrorist organization, and addressing meetings to encourage support for a proscribed organization.

According to the Associated Press, prosecutors say that the charges are in relation to al-Muhajiroun, a group that was banned by the British government in 2010.

Prosecutors said that the group has since operated "under many names and guises," including the Islamic Thinkers Society.

Chondary allegedly gave lectures for the Islamic Thinkers Society "on the establishment of an Islamic state in Britain and how to radicalize people."

Canadian Khaled Hussein, 28, was also arrested with Choudary and charged with being a member of a proscribed organization, which violates section 11 of the Terrorism Act 2000. The two men appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ court on Monday.

“On July 17, Met counterterrorism detectives investigating alleged membership of a proscribed organization arrested a 56-year-old man in east London and a 28-year-old Canadians national at Heathrow Airport after he arrived on a flight,” a Met spokesman said.

“They were held under section 41 of the Terrorism Act 2000 and detectives were granted warrants of further detention allowing them to detain the men until Monday, July 24. Both men have been remanded in custody to appear at Westminster magistrates’ court on Monday, July 24.”

Choudary was once considered Britain’s most high-profile Islamist preacher before being imprisoned in 2016 for urging support for the Islamic State. He was released in 2018 after serving just half of his five-and-a-half-year sentence.

He is also the former head of the now-banned organization al-Muhajiroun. He apparently praised those responsible for the attacks on 9/11, saying that they were “magnificent martyrs.” He also wished to convert Buckingham Palace into a mosque.

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