Anjem Choudary’s fan club regathers at London’s Speakers Corner
Speakers Corner in Hyde Park, London, has for a number of years become a hotbed of Islamic extremism every Sunday afternoon. In recent months a further worrying development has been the re-appearance of a number of adherents of Anjem Choudary, the well known rabble rousing radical and Islamic State supporter.
Anjem, or Andy as his mates used to call him in his former beer drinking days at Southampton University, lead the UK based terrorist Salafi jihadist organisation al-Muhajirounn. After the UK Government proscribed the group in 2005, it swiftly reformed and re-branded as Islam4UK, then Need4Khalifah, the Shariah Project, the Islamic Dawah Association and lastly Muslims Against Crusades (MAC). Each was in turn proscribed by the UK authorities. Only after the last re-brand the UK Government finally appeared to cotton on to their habit of simply reforming under a different name and banned all future formations of this same group.
Andy famously described the September 11th Twin Tower terrorists as the “19 Magnificent Martyrs”, refused to condemn the 2005 terrorist bombings in London describing them as “only a matter of time” and blamed the 2013 murder on the London streets of the British Soldier Lee Rigby as the fault of British foreign policy.
Andy was finally imprisoned in 2015 under the Terrorism Act for encouraging support for the proscribed terrorist organisation Islamic State. He was sentenced to five and a half years with no minimum period set.
Speakers Corner has previously attracted a number of convicted terrorists and terrorist supporters, including one of the London Bridge attackers and Mohammed Hamid. Hamid acted as the clown at Speakers Corner, referring to himself as “Osama bin London”. However, his background was actually one of a petty criminal, drug dealer and wife beater who was finally imprisoned for training terrorists involved with the 21 July 2005 London bombing attack.
Following secret recordings of Hamid telling his terrorist recruits that he wanted to see many atrocities before the 2012 Olympics, it was said in court that he played a crucial role in training and preparing the four young men who were involved in the bombing attempt, which thankfully due to their abject incompetence failed to result in any loss of life. Hamid was sentenced indefinitely in 2008 with a minimum of seven and a half years for the protection of the public.
Over the last couple of months a number of recognised followers of Choudary have been regularly attending Speakers Corner. Ricardo McFarlane, who has re-named himself as Abdul Hakim, was the first to show. McFarlane prayed with the London Bridge attacker Khuram Butt, was arrested and questioned about the attack by anti-terror police but was later released. He appeared in the Channel Four documentary ‘The Jihadis Next Door’ alongside Butt, who was shot dead by police following the London Bridge attack in which eight people were killed and 148 injured on 3 June 2017.
McFarlane was previously imprisoned for 12 months in December 2013 for affray, following the so-called “Muslim Patrols” in East London, where non-Muslims were harassed and assaulted for such anti-Islamic crimes as holding hands, drinking alcohol and wearing short skirts.
As well as attending Speakers Corner, McFarlane has also recently been spotted doing ‘dawah’ and spreading his message of hate at other locations across London including outside Westfield shopping centre in Stratford.
Another recent regular at the Corner is a small man who now calls himself ‘Sulayman’ (not his real name) who was also a former regular at Choudary’s gatherings.
Mohammed Shamsuddin has also popped up at the Corner. Shamsuddin, divorced father of five, lives on state benefits and is said to suffer from “chronic fatigue syndrome”. He replaced the former Choudary right hand man and subsequent Islamic State executioner Siddhartha Dhar, as the main hate preacher of the group after Choudary was imprisoned. He also appeared alongside McFarlane in “The Jihadi Next door”.
Choudary is expected to be released on licence from prison in October 2018, Hamid could possibly be up for release around the same time. It has been stated that in total, 80 Muslim extremists jailed between 2007 and 2016 could be walking free sometime this year. This is causing increasing concern within both our Police forces and MI5. Choudary built up a network of thousands of followers before he was jailed and inspired a generation of British jihadists. The Home Secretary Sajid Javid has stated that we currently have over 20,000 terrorist suspects living within the UK who still pose a real threat and that the security services are stopping attacks at the rate of two a month since 2013.
The use of Speakers Corner as a recruiting ground for Choudary, both before and after his release from prison, must be treated as a serious and significant concern. Speakers Corner also now provides him and his followers with a direct window to the World via the numerous channels who beam both live and recorded footage around the world online. Let us all hope that this activity is being kept under very close scrutiny and that Choudary’s previous success at inspiring so many to commit atrocities in the corrupted name of Islam is halted.