Authorities in London charged the extremist Islamist preacher Anjem Choudary with “inviting support” for the Islamic State, which could lead to his trial and imprisonment. Investigators said that Choudary was encouraging people to back the jihadists through a number of lectures that were later published online.
The move is a high-profile test case for new counter-extremism initiatives launched by British Prime Minister David Cameron.
Choudary is a known entity who infuriates many, including the vast majority of British Muslims, as Media Matters lays out:
The advocacy group Hope Not Hate has described Choudary as “the single biggest gateway to terrorism in recent British history,” saying he has “facilitated or encouraged” many Muslims to join the anti-Assad militants in Syria. Muslim groups in the United Kingdom have also denounced Choudary. The Muslim Council of Britain called him “a self-serving publicity seeker,” and the Islamic Society of Britain said Choudary “has no legitimacy in the Muslim community.”
The description of Choudary as “a self-serving publicity seeker” is particularly apt. He unabashedly espouses radical fundamentalist views and has been repeatedly given a platform by Western journalists to voice them.