Anjem Choudary, an extremist preacher whose radical narrative spread over two decades

Anjem Choudary is a dangerous extremist. The hatred that he has spread over the past two decades, and the number of young people that he has influenced to join terrorist organisations, is unparalleled.

Anjem Choudary‘s views have been one of the key drivers for recruitment by the Far Right and have directly or indirectly contributed to increase in Islamophobia in Britain.
Anjem Choudary sought to create division in society and radicalise young people under the guise of religion. The fact that he neither was nor would be welcome in mosques across Britain because of his extreme views and xenophobia demonstrates that this individual is in no way represents Islam or British Muslims. The more we can do to protect our communities from these types of extremists the more cohesive communities we are likely to have.
We Muslims must raise our voices much louder against extremists and claim the fight against all forms of extremism, intolerance, bigotry and racism as our fight otherwise individuals like Anjem Choudary and his followers will continue to present a distorted image of Islam and seek to destroy the lives of many people in this country and abroad.
There is a reasonable suspicion that, when allowed, Anjem Choudary’s followers will spread their ‘victimisation’ narrative online- just as Tommy Robinson’s followers do- and influence young impressionable individuals to support Anjem Choudary. We must build strong technological, theological and societal resilience against such online exploitation.
Imams Online has worked to build strong technological, theoretical and societal resilience against such online exploitation for a number of years. This can be seen in our digital summit events annually to which we bring 200 of the leading scholars across the UK together with the social media companies to discuss and tackle hard lining narratives.
At at the end of 2017 we released, in partnership with Facebook the ‘Keeping Muslims Safe Online Guide’ guiding Muslims on how to protect themselves from hate speech and bigotry on the internet.

Anjem Choudary was given platform by the media, not by Muslims – just as ‘Tommy Robinson’ and his cohorts are currently using mainstream and social media- to promote his hateful agenda. Choudhary, along with his handful of followers, would make inflammatory statements and carry out provocative action for the benefit of cameras. Without the media giving Choudary the the oxygen of publicity, he would not have been able to catalyse extremism and, thereby feed Islamophobia, to such an extent. To the deep frustration of British Muslims, some lazy and irresponsible journalists made Choudary appear in Britain as the sole representatives of Muslims.

Preserving freedom of speech is absolutely critical to all of us, but
hate speech must not be tolerated or allowed to be promoted on our screens or in our newspapers. Now that Choudhary is out of the prison, the media must avoid the mistakes of the past and stop amplifying the voices of extremists or give them a platform to glorify their bigoted, racist and dehumanising words and actions.
Imams across the UK contribute greatly to their communities supporting food banks, homeless shelters, interfaith events, school visits and more. These are leaders we should be looking up to and promoting, because they best represent the values and teachings of Islam.
Imam Muhammad Qari Asim
Imams Online Senior Editor
Twitter: @QariAsim

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