Anjem Choudary orchestrates online campaigns in support of extremists despite Isis’ conviction

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Anjem Choudary openly orchestrates online campaigns to support hate preachers and extremists despite his terror conviction, it can be revealed.

Choudary has staged a series of “Twitter storms” from the encrypted Telegram messaging app, where he leads subscribers under his own name.

Research by the Community Security Trust (CST), which works to protect the Jewish people in Britain, found that within two months its efforts resulted in around 43,000 mentions on Twitter.

It comes as measures to prevent hate online and legal powers to counter extremism come under increased scrutiny following the murder of Tory MP David Amess.

Dave Rich, CSE policy director, said The independent: “Choudary has spent decades finding loopholes in our legislation that still have not been addressed.

“It feels like we went back 20 years to a time when Choudary could spread his hateful opinions and attract new followers with impunity – except that he now has the megaphone of social media to help him. to do it.”

Mr Rich said it was essential that the new online safety bill shifts the responsibility for tackling extremist activity from social media companies who “were unwilling or unable to prevent well-known extremists to exploit their technology “.

A ban preventing Choudary from speaking in public expired three months ago, along with other license conditions, after he served his sentence for inviting support for Isis.

He was jailed in 2016, was named a Specially Designated Global Terrorist by the US government in 2017, and was added to a UN sanctions list for being “associated with Isis” the following year.

The independent understands that the police and security services are still monitoring Choudary and other freed terrorist convicts linked to his al-Muhajiroun network, and see them as a major concern.

But Choudary, a former lawyer, has proven adept at circumventing legal limits for decades and there are currently no restrictions in place to stop his activism.

He posted calls for Twitter storms to take place every Friday on Telegram and sent out a series of posters and images to use in campaigns under defined hashtags.

Anjem Choudary released from prison

The channel had nearly 300 subscribers at the time of writing and was broadcasting material in languages ​​such as English, Arabic, Dutch and Turkish.

As a result, supporters shared “press releases” and posters from Choudary on Twitter, who did not remove the posts despite the hate preacher’s ban from the site.

The campaigns have supported jailed extremist figures including Omar Bakri Muhammad, who was previously a leading figure in the banned Islamist network al-Muhajiroun alongside Choudary, as well as hate preacher Abu Hamza and Fouad Belkacem, the former leader. by Sharia4Belgium.

In a message to supporters regarding suspected members of Isis being held in Syria, Choudary wrote that working to free prisoners is “one of the greatest obligations a Muslim can undertake.”

“A storm on Twitter is not much in the spectrum of what we are trying to achieve by freeing Muslim captives, but it is something,” he wrote.

“It has been shown to be used to educate people about those in captivity, to expose tyrants and oppressors who are holding innocent Muslims in captivity, and to motivate Muslims around the world to do something.”

In his Telegram posts, Choudary also spoke out against what he called attempts to “restrict my right to express my opinions” and lamented his inability to use YouTube and other mainstream platforms.

Despite ties to many Isis fighters, plotters and terrorist attackers, including Lee Rigby’s assassins and London Bridge leader Khuram Butt, he maintains he supports a “security pact” banning attacks against non-Muslims in Britain.

Anjem Choudary frequently espouses accounts of grievances alleging mistreatment of Muslim prisoners

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A report released by the Government’s Counter-Extremism Commission earlier this year cited Choudary as one of the extremist figures capable of “operating with impunity” because of the gaps between the laws on hate crimes and terrorism.

The organization considered that it “illustrated” the inability of the government to fight effectively against extremist behavior and had “contributed to create a climate favorable to terrorism”.

“It is alleged that Choudary helped motivate at least 70 to 100 people to turn to terrorism, but the authorities did not have the legal means to stop him,” the report adds. “The absence of legislation to capture its extremist activity, which did not fall under terrorism, is an example of the continued political and legislative failure in restricting the dangerous extremist activity of these individuals.”

The Commission called for changes to the law and a “legal framework for hate extremism” that could be used against Choudary and others, but the government has not enacted any of its recommendations.

Testifying this week to the Manchester Arena bombing investigation, a senior Home Office official said he had not seen the report.

Shaun Hipgrave, director of the Office for Security and Counterterrorism, admitted he was not aware of any of the commission’s recommendations until it was addressed to them by the inquiry on Tuesday.

During Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday, Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer asked Boris Johnson why the government had failed to respond to the report or decided to ‘close gaps in existing legislation and strategy’ .

He added: “If we are serious about stopping violent attacks, we must prevent online spaces from being safe spaces for terrorists. “

Mr Johnson did not pledge to implement the Commission’s recommendations, but said the government was committed to tackling online harm and violent extremism.

A Twitter spokesperson said, “Keeping people safe is the top priority for Twitter, and we remain vigilant about the coordinated activity of our service.

“Using both technology and human scrutiny, we proactively and systematically fight platform manipulation attempts and mitigate them on a large scale by taking action on millions of accounts every week for breach of our policies in this area.

“We are constantly improving Twitter’s auto-detection technology to detect rules breaking accounts as soon as they appear on the service, and we take action when we identify Tweets or Twitter rules breaking accounts. “

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