‘Political correctness’ allowing Islamist extremism to flourish in British prisons, report warns

Political correctness in prisons is allowing extremism to flourish because guards are too afraid of confronting Muslims, a report has found.

A review into Islamist extremism in the British justice system has found that “cultural sensitivity” towards Muslim prisoners is preventing staff “challenging unacceptable extremist behaviour and views”.

The report, by Ian Acheson, a former prison governor, warns that supervising staff are being “pressured” to leave prayer rooms during collective worship.

Islamist prisoners are also attempting to prevent searches by “claiming dress is religious” and are also getting access to extremist literature that is available in chaplaincy libraries or from individual prisoners.

Mr Acheson’s report concluded that extremists are “exploiting…staff fear of being labelled racist”.

It also warned that “charismatic Islamist extremist prisoners [are] acting as self-styled ‘emirs’ and exerting a controlling and radicalising influence of the wider Muslim prison population”.

The Government has said that it will implement a number of the report’s recommendations.

Liz Truss, the Justice Secretary, has already announced that the most dangerous extremists will be locked up in isolated high-security prisons within prisons to prevent them from radicalising other inmates.

On Monday, she will also announce that governors and prison officers will be given new training to “prevent influential extremist prisoners exerting control and radicalising others”.

Scrutiny of the issue resurfaced last week when it was revealed that Anjem Choudary, one of Britain’s most prominent Islamist clerics, faces years in jail for drumming up support for Islamic State.

Choudary, one of the UK’s most notorious hate preachers, was convicted earlier this year. He will serve 10 years in jail after being found guilty of pledging allegiance to Islamic State.

Anjem Choudary convicted of supporting Islamic State

Anjem Choudary, one of the most notorious hate preachers living in Britain, is facing jail after being found guilty of supporting Islamic State.

Having avoided arrest for years despite his apparent sympathy for extremism and links to some of Britain’s most notorious terrorists, Choudary was convicted at the Old Bailey after jurors heard he had sworn an oath of allegiance to Isis.

The 49-year-old, who has links to one of Lee Rigby’s killers, Michael Adebolajo, and the Islamist militant Omar Bakri Muhammad, also urged followers to support Isis in a series of talks broadcast on YouTube.

Choudary and his co-defendant, Mohammed Rahman, 33, told their supporters to obey Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the Isis leader, who is also known as a caliph, and travel to Syria to support Isis or “the caliphate”, the court heard.

They were convicted in July but details of the trial, including the verdict, could not be reported until now.

Choudary and Rahman face up to 10 years in jail for inviting support for a proscribed organisation. They will be sentenced on 6 September at the Old Bailey.

Commander Dean Haydon, head of the Metropolitan police’s counter-terrorism command, said: “These men have stayed just within the law for many years, but there is no one within the counter-terrorism world that has any doubts of the influence that they have had, the hate they have spread and the people that they have encouraged to join terrorist organisations.

“Over and over again we have seen people on trial for the most serious offences who have attended lectures or speeches given by these men. The oath of allegiance was a turning point for the police – at last we had the evidence that they had stepped over the line and we could prove they supported Isis.”

Haydon said 20 years’ worth of material was considered in the investigation, with 333 electronic devices containing 12.1 terabytes of storage data assessed.

It can now also be revealed that Choudary was encouraged to support Isis by a notorious British Isis fighter who fled to Syria while on police bail.

The court heard that shortly after Isis was described as a terror group Choudary was in contact with an individual name as Subject A. It can now be revealed Subject A was Siddartha Dhar – known on social media as Abu Rumaysah – who was arrested alongside Choudary before he fled to Syria to fight with Isis while on police bail.

Dhar encouraged Choudary to express support for Isis on social media. Following on from Dhar’s encouragement, both defendants made their position on the newly declared caliphate clear in the “oath of allegiance”.

British Muslims had complained about the media attention paid to Choudary and the impression sometimes given to audiences that he was representative of British Islamic thought.

Miqdaad Versi, of the Muslim Council of Britain, told the Guardian: “Mr Anjem Choudary has long been condemned by Muslim organisations and Muslims across the country, who consider him and his support for Daesh [Isis] to be despicable and contrary to the values of Islam and our nation.

“Many Muslims have long been puzzled why this man was regularly approached by the media to give outrageous statements that inflamed Islamophobia. We hope the judgment serves as a lesson for anyone who follows this path of advocating hate and division.”

 

British police charge Anjem Choudary

Authorities in London charged the extremist Islamist preacher Anjem Choudary with “inviting support” for the Islamic State, which could lead to his trial and imprisonment. Investigators said that Choudary was encouraging people to back the jihadists through a number of lectures that were later published online.

The move is a high-profile test case for new counter-extremism initiatives launched by British Prime Minister David Cameron.

Choudary is a known entity who infuriates many, including the vast majority of British Muslims, as Media Matters lays out:

The advocacy group Hope Not Hate has described Choudary as “the single biggest gateway to terrorism in recent British history,” saying he has “facilitated or encouraged” many Muslims to join the anti-Assad militants in Syria. Muslim groups in the United Kingdom have also denounced Choudary. The Muslim Council of Britain called him “a self-serving publicity seeker,” and the Islamic Society of Britain said Choudary “has no legitimacy in the Muslim community.”

The description of Choudary as “a self-serving publicity seeker” is particularly apt. He unabashedly espouses radical fundamentalist views and has been repeatedly given a platform by Western journalists to voice them.

Anjem Choudary claims all Muslim MPs and voters are ‘apostates’ sinning against Islam

Radical preacher Anjem Choudary has claimed that all Muslim MPs and voters are “apostates” as the general election approaches. Writing on Twitter that voting is a “sin” against Islam, he argued that Parliament violated religious law because Allah is “the only legislator”. Mr Choudary wrote: “The only excuse is for a new Muslim or someone totally ignorant about voting and also what’s known from Islam by necessity.”

 

In a stream of messages using the #StayMuslimDontVote hashtag, the cleric called Muslims who vote or run as an MP are “apostates”, meaning they have abandoned their beliefs. The Muslim Council of Great Britain declined to comment but member Talha Ahmad told Al Jazeera last month: “Almost all major Muslim organisations say it is a civic obligation for us to participate in the electoral process because we have an opportunity to make our societies better, not just for Muslims but for everyone.”

 

Akmal Hanuk, from the Muslim Council of Wales, told the BBC: “It is not representing the view of the majority of Muslims. I think the majority of Muslims want to vote and will.”

Tucker Carlson Confronts Islamic Preacher Who Wants to Implement Sharia Law

December 20, 2013

By Josh Feldman

 

Tucker Carlson filled in for Sean Hannity on his show Friday night, and he brought on Anjem Choudary, a Muslim preacher responsible for an effort to threaten Muslim-owned business to stop selling alcohol lest they receive 40 lashes. Carlson confronted Choudary about this stunt and his desire to implement Sharia law in England.

Choudary pushed back against Western “propaganda,” saying he is simply trying to encourage the following of Islamic law in a “den of iniquity.” Carlson shot back, “This isn’t Pakistan, this is Great Britain!”

He continued on to say that “troublemakers like you are thrown in prison in Pakistan,” and called him out for being a beneficiary of social services in the country he’s condemning as decadent. Choudary said the legal notice is actually “intended to provoke discussion” and warn of ultimate punishment in the afterlife.

Carlson concluded by asking, “Will you concede that your unwillingness to denounce violence makes your program repulsive to people in the West and decent people everywhere?” Choudary insisted that “we’re not threatening anyone with violence.”

 

Mediaite.com: http://www.mediaite.com/tv/tucker-carlson-confronts-islamic-preacher-who-wants-to-implement-sharia-law/

Muslims criticise BBC interview with preacher linked to soldier’s killer

Muslim organisations are to ask the director general of the BBC to explain the decision to broadcast an interview with an extremist preacher with close links to one of Lee Rigby’s killers. In the latest criticism of the decision to give a prominent slot to Anjem Choudary on Radio 4’s Today programme, the organisations are to demand a meeting with Tony Hall to discuss the BBC’s editorial policies. The groups are furious that Choudary was interviewed the day after guilty verdicts were returned on Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale for the Woolwich soldier’s murder. They will be sentenced in January.

Shunned by the Muslim community, Choudary’s views are condemned by all of its leading organisations. Despite his extremist views, he was given the most high-profile slot on Today, shortly after the 8 o’clock news on Thursday morning. “It was a massive error of judgment and it does so much damage,” said Julie Siddiqui, vice-president of the Islamic Society of Britain. “Why him? He has no legitimacy in the Muslim community.” She said Choudary’s views would foster negative views that would harm faith relations and, as a result, a number of Muslim groups would be writing to the corporation in a bid to understand why it gave the preacher such prominence. “He’s not going to radicalise young Muslims, but what he is doing is reinforcing prejudices that are out there,” Siddiqui said.

Choudary pulled out of an interview with Panorama, which had gathered evidence of his close and recent links to Adebolajo. But he was not asked about this on Today. “We need to understand how this was allowed to happen,” Siddiqui said. “We need to articulate to the BBC the anger and disappointment that he was given this platform.” Sunder Katwala, director of the British Future think-tank, said: “The BBC has an editorial responsibility to explain the choices it makes.”

A BBC spokeswoman said: “We believe it is important to reflect that such opinions exist and feel Choudary’s comments may offer some insight into how this crime came about.”

 

The Guardian: http://www.theguardian.com/media/2013/dec/22/bbc-interview-preacher-muslims

The Independent: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/media/tv-radio/radical-preacher-anjem-choudary-not-deserving-of-bbc-time-9018878.html

The Telegraph: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/tvandradio/bbc/10529802/BBC-criticised-for-giving-extremist-preacher-Anjem-Choudary-airtime.html

The Telegraph: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/terrorism-in-the-uk/10530865/Weve-heard-enough-from-Anjem-Choudary.html

Gateway to terror: British Islamic preacher Anjem Choudary ‘sent hundreds to join al-Qa’ida in Syria’

November 25, 2013

 

A network of groups led by the Islamist preacher Anjem Choudary has become the “single biggest gateway to terrorism in recent British history”, according to a major investigation. Groups linked to Mr Choudary have “facilitated or encouraged” up to 80 young Muslims from the UK – and 250 to 300 people from across Europe – to join al-Qa’ida-linked forces fighting President Assad in Syria, the Hope Not Hate report suggests.

The investigation also highlights links between Mr Choudary’s al-Muhajiroun network and the perpetrators of several major terrorist attacks, including the 7/7 suicide bombings in London. Mr Choudary is known for his controversial statements and has developed a reputation as a pantomime villain, but Hope Not Hate said he should be considered a “serious player on the international Islamist scene”.

Despite two decades of activism, the 46-year-old Briton has only ever been fined £500 for organising an illegal protest outside the Danish embassy in London over cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed. In January 2010, shortly before he become Prime Minister, David Cameron said Mr Choudary needed “to be looked at seriously” because he strays “extremely close to the line of encouraging hatred, extremism and violence”. In June, the Metropolitan Police’s Assistant Commissioner Cressida Dick told a Commons committee that they were “constantly assessing” whether any of Mr Choudary’s “proclamations are breaking the criminal law”.

The report stressed there was no evidence he or his associate Omar Bakri Mohamed had “directly instigated any terror plots”, but added: “We do believe they have given people the encouragement to take extreme actions”. The Syrian-born Mohamed founded the now-banned group al-Muhajiroun, but was refused permission to return to Britain after going to Lebanon.

Hope Not Hate said at least 70 people linked to al-Muhajiroun and its successor organisations had been convicted of terrorism, terrorist-related offences in the UK or died overseas during the last 14 years. The report claimed the 7/7 suicide bombers had links to al-Muhajiroun network. The report said Mr Choudary had “his own international network of affiliated and partner organisations” that often used the name Sharia4 followed by the name of the country, such as Sharia4Pakistan. This network was “best described as the Global Sharia Network”.

Mr Choudary said the idea that his groups were a “gateway to terror” was “fanciful thinking” by Hope Not Hate. “We’re not a gateway to anything,” he said. “Hope Not Hate have jumped on the so-called terrorism bandwagon. They are trying to point the finger at us for everything since 9/11.”

 

The Independent: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/gateway-to-terror-british-islamic-preacher-anjem-choudary-sent-hundreds-to-join-alqaida-in-syria-8960883.html

Report: A million British Muslims reject extremists on poppy wearing

November 7, 2013

 

One million British Muslims support wearing a poppy to mark Remembrance Day, showing just how marginal the views of “anti-poppy” extremists like Anjem Choudary are, writes Steve Ballinger.

Figures from the latest Ethnic Minority British Election Survey (EMBES), in an Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) study published by the Oxford University Press, show that over half of Pakistanis and 46% of Bangladeshis in Britain say that they wear the poppy to mark Remembrance Day.

Using figures from the 2011 Census in England and Wales, British Future calculates that these findings equate to approximately 800,000 poppy wearers from these two communities alone, who make up two-thirds of Britain’s 2.7 million Muslims. This figure grows to over a million once the remainder of Britain’s Muslim community is considered, based on the EMBES study’s findings on poppy wearing among African, Indian and other British ethnic minority communities.

The figures show just how marginal the views of extremists like Anjem Choudary really are, with significant numbers of British Muslims supporting the wearing of poppies as an act of remembrance at this time of year.

The figures come as Muslim leaders joined Imams and the London Faith Forum this week to urge more British Muslims to wear poppies and support Remembrance Day.

They want to drown out the marginal views of extremists like Choudary, who in a statement this week said that those who sell poppies today will “burn in hellfire tomorrow.”

 

British Future: http://www.britishfuture.org/articles/news/million-british-muslims-reject-extremists-on-poppy-wearing/

Ofcom examines appearance of Islamic cleric Anjem Choudary in TV coverage of Lee Rigby murder

Ofcom has launched an investigation into whether appearances by the radical Islamic cleric Anjem Choudary on BBC, ITV and Channel 4 after the murder of Drummer Lee Rigby were editorially justified. Mr Choudary was interviewed on the BBC’s Newsnight and Channel 4 News the day after Fusilier Rigby was killed on the streets of Woolwich on 22 May. He also featured on Daybreak on 24 May, refusing to condemn the attack. His comments during the appearances drew criticism from the Faith and Communities minister, Baroness Warsi, and Jim Murphy, the shadow Defence Secretary. Ofcom must decide whether Mr Choudary’s comments were justified by the context of the story. This falls under rule 2.3 in the Broadcasting Code, which states: “Broadcasters must ensure that material which may cause offence is justified by the context.”

 

Woolwich attack: Scotland Yard monitoring radical cleric Anjem Choudary’s proclamations

Scotland Yard is closely watching radical cleric Anjem Choudary to see if his proclamations break the law, one of the force’s most senior officers told MPs today. The former spokesman for the now-banned Islamist group Islam4UK, who admitted knowing one of the men charged with the soldier’s murder, is also understood to be receiving police protection outside his east London home.