Why are we making a martyr out of Anjem Choudary?
Released at 0400 hours yesterday, in the morning of the 19th October 2018 from Belmarsh Prison in South East London, Choudary had served little over half of his five and a half year sentence for pledging an oath of allegiance to ISIS. Much has been made of the strict impositions placed on his release and further conduct but I am questioning the whole circumstances surrounding this situation.
Firstly, why was he released under the 50% rule when the prisons minister Rory Stewart himself has claimed that this man is still “genuinely dangerous”?
Secondly, on being released why was there a blacked out van flanked by two unmarked police cars? If he is such a danger surely he would be best left in prison, or who, if anyone, did they think would attack this man upon his immediate release?
Thirdly, much has been made about his immediate and long term future. He is to be placed in a safe house and given protection around the clock. Why? Why are we ‘martyring’ this man? Why are we affording him this protection and holding him up in the public eye as someone special?
Moderate Muslims have derided this man for years, claiming he is a poisoner of young minds. His rhetoric is anti-British. He stands for a set of beliefs so far removed from normality and decency that he is obviously to us, the population, and within his own community, a pariah. He is responsible directly for hundreds of young people shunning their lives of peace and prosperity here to go and join an evil cult, ISIS, that committed atrocities unprecedented in recent times.
The violent Jihad is most certainly not over. How long therefore, with Choudary seen as the nexus of that Jihad in Great Britain, will we have to watch him, keep him under expensive surveillance and monitor his language and meetings? At what financial cost to the public purse will we keep this man in the public eye!
He had to be held in a separation unit for extremists when in HMP Frankland, in an attempt to stop him radicalizing prisoners. It has taken the National Probation Service together with MI5 to come up with his management programme before he is released into the general public. He is understood to be under very strict management, including restricted internet use, an electronic tracking device fitted to him and very strict monitoring of whom he meets. Most important he is not allowed to speak in public.
He had his assets frozen under a United Nations sanction just before release and will have to apply for monies to pay for things such as rent. He is also the subject of a travel ban. What is not clear is just how long all these restrictions and monitoring will go on for. If, as expected these will end at the conclusion of what would have been his prison sentence in two more years, the question remains as to why he has been released at all.
Choudary has been made “specially designated global terrorist” by the US just last year as he was the recognized leader of Al-Muhajiroun that has links to terrorist networks and a pledge of allegiance to ISIS.
Choudary is a qualified solicitor and as such had been able to keep just to the right side of the law. He is undoubtedly a very clever man. It was only when in a curry house in 2014, when he declared an oath of allegiance to ISIS, that the police, so many times frustrated by him, were able to lock him up.
Disciples of this man include ISIS executioner Siddhartha Dhar, Lee Rigby`s murderers and the London Bridge attacker Khuram Butt. There are claims that many more people radicalized by this man have gone to fight for ISIS, Al-Qaeda and the Taliban. Counter terrorist groups are very worried about his right hand man Mizanur Rahman who was also a prominent leader of Al- Muhajiroun. He has also been released, but not under the same fanfare and press.
There are still members of this organization who are active. They are regularly espousing their vitriol at Speakers Corner and at `Dawah` stalls giving out copies of the Quran. It is firmly believed by all institutions charged with stopping terrorism that Choudary and Rahman will not stay quiet, they will be more emboldened on their release and certainly much more aware and cautious of not breaking the law as it stands.
So, returning back to my original points, why have we released him, why are we ‘martyring’ him, why are we making a celebrity out of him and why are we expending considerable resources to keeping him safe?
It is the duty of every government to keep the people safe. In this case I put it to them that they have abjectly failed, with no discernible reason to do this.