Party animal-turned-hate-preacher Anjem Choudary, 49, above, is facing jail after being found guilty of supporting Islamic State.
According to the Guardian, Choudary was convicted at the Old Bailey after jurors heard he had sworn an oath of allegiance to murderous Islamic group.
Choudary and his co-defendant, Mohammed Rahman, 33, right, told their supporters to obey Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the IS leader, who is also known as a “caliph”, and to travel to Syria to support the terrorist group.
They were convicted in July but details of the trial, including the verdict, could not be reported until today.
The men face up to 10 years in jail for inviting support for a proscribed organisation. They will be sentenced in September.
Prosecutor Richard Whittam QC said:
The prosecution case is that whichever name is used, the evidence is quite clear: when these defendants were inviting support for an Islamic state or caliphate they were referring to the one declared in Syria and its environs by Ibrahim [Abu Bakr] al-Baghdadi at the end of June 2014.
Terrorist organisations thrive and grow because people support them and that is what this case is about. Do not confuse that with the right of people to follow the religion of their choice or to proclaim support for a caliphate.
Choudary, who has a long history with groups involved in radical Islamist demonstrations, such as the now-banned al-Muhajiroun and Islam4UK, denied he was inviting support for IS and claimed to be a “lecturer in sharia law” giving:
The Islamic perspective.
He began studying sharia law under Syrian-born Bakri Muhammad, a Salafi Islamist militant leader who formed al-Muhajiroun with the aim of promoting sharia in the 1990s, the court heard.
Bakri Muhammad fled to Lebanon in 2005, where he was joined by Choudary for about ten weeks. Bakri Muhammad was ultimately jailed in Lebanon for terror offences.
Choudary admitted he was media spokesman for Islam4UK during a time in which the controversial group put out “incendiary statements” calling for Buckingham Palace to be turned into a mosque and Nelson’s Column to be destroyed.
On the ninth anniversary of the London terror attacks – 7 July 2014 – Choudary and Rahman posted an oath of allegiance online under their kunyas or Islamic names, Abu Luqman, used by Choudary, and Abu Baraa, used by Rahman, on an extremist website.
Between August and September 2014, Choudary and Rahman posted speeches on YouTube encouraging support for IS.
The prosecution also played an older lecture given by Choudary in March 2013, which did not form part of the charge but was provided to the jury for background.
In the lecture, titled “Duties of the Khilafah State”, Choudary makes clear his desire for the establishment of a caliphate as well as his support for the military action of Islamic State.
We don’t have any borders, my dear Muslims. It is about time we resumed conquering for the sake of Allah. Next time when your child is at school and the teacher says ‘what do you want when you grow up, what is your ambition?’, they should say to dominate the whole world by Islam, including Britain, that is my ambition.
The prosecution told the court that the defendants were “acutely aware” of the potential criminal implications of being overt in their support for IS.
Whittam told the court:
The prosecution alleges that this led to great care in the way in which the defendants expressed themselves publicly, particularly after Isil was proscribed as a terrorist organisation by the Home Secretary.
Born in north London, Choudary initially studied medicine at Barts medical school before changing courses and enrolling at Guildford College of Law. He opened his own solicitor’s practice in his late 20s but told the court that by that point he had become religious and his beliefs did not sit easily with certain aspects of the law.
In 2014, The Spectator revealed that Choudary was living on state hand-outs to the tune of £25,000 a year.