PREACHERS IN COURT

Former head of Islam4UK jailed

British Muslim cleric Anjem Choudary, who is of Pakistani descent, heading to court for the start of his trial in January. A jury convicted him in July of garnering support for ISIS and he was sentenced to prison for five years and six months yesterd
British Muslim cleric Anjem Choudary, who is of Pakistani descent, heading to court for the start of his trial in January. A jury convicted him in July of garnering support for ISIS and he was sentenced to prison for five years and six months yesterday.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

LONDON • Anjem Choudary, Britain's best-known Islamist preacher, whose followers have been linked to numerous terrorist plots around the world, was sentenced to five years and six months in prison yesterday for garnering support for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Judge Timothy Holroyde said Choudary was "calculating and dangerous" and had shown no remorse, in a ruling handed down at London's Old Bailey court.

Dressed in a white robe, Choudary showed no emotion as the sentence was passed.

"A significant proportion of those listening to your words would be impressionable persons looking to you for guidance on how to act," said the judge.

A jury had convicted Choudary and co-defendant Mohammed Mizanur Rahman, who received the same sentence, in July.

CLEARLY GUILTY

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.

COUNTER-TERRORISM COMMANDER DEAN HAYDON, on Choudary and Mohammed Mizanur Rahman.

Ms Sue Hemming from the Crown Prosecution Service said both men were "fully aware that (ISIS) is a proscribed terrorist group responsible for brutal activities and that what they themselves were doing was illegal".

Choudary is the former head of Islam4UK, or al-Muhajiroun, a now-banned group that called for Islamic law in Britain.

For two decades, the former lawyer, who is of Pakistani descent, managed to stay on the right side of the law, becoming Britain's most prominent radical preacher.

Among those radicalised by al-Muhajiroun were the suicide bombers who killed 52 people on London's public transport system in 2005, and the men who murdered soldier Lee Rigby in the capital in 2013, police said.

Commander Dean Haydon, head of counter-terrorism at London's Metropolitan Police, earlier said: "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."

Notorious in Britain, Choudary is also well known abroad, making regular TV appearances in the wake of attacks by Islamist militants to blame Western foreign policy for targeting Muslims. A 44-year-old Singaporean, Zulfikar Mohamad Shariff, arrested and detained in July in Singapore, was an associate of Choudary.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 07, 2016, with the headline 'Former head of Islam4UK jailed '. Print Edition | Subscribe