Solicitor Anjem Choudary, former secretary general of the fundamentalist Al-Muhajiroun Movement and right-hand man of Omar Bakri, said he would appear in Bow Street Magistrates Court in central London tomorrow for his alleged incitement of murder and hatred during a demonstration staged in London on 3 February to protest the publication in European newspapers of cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad.
British Police had arrested Choudary and fellow Islamist Abdul Muhid Islam — both aides of Omar Bakri, the Syrian Islamist who was barred from entering Britain following the July 2005 bombings in London — while leaving Stansted Airport heading for Ireland at dawn on Thursday, 4 May.
Choudary (alias Abu-Luqman) told Asharq al-Awsat that Scotland Yard released him on bail but confiscated his British passport to prevent him from leaving Britain before his case is brought to court. He added that his associate Abdul Muhid will appear before the Supreme Court (Old Bailey) on 23 June.
Scotland Yard said that charges were brought against the two men following the demonstrations staged on 3 February to protest the publication by European newspapers of cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad. The Police spoke about a demonstration that marched on 3 February from the Regent Park Mosque to the Danish Embassy in central London, during which calls inciting murder and hatred were made.
London Police explained that the first defendant, Anjem Choudary (39), a former official in the Al-Muhajiroun Movement that self-disbanded in October 2005, is charged with organizing a demonstration without properly notifying authorities, and will appear before a judge this Thursday. As for the second defendant, Abdul Muhin (18), he is accused of inciting murder and will appear before judges on 23 June.
Over the past 12 years, Choudary organized almost 100 demonstrations under the Al-Muhajiroun Movement’s banner, and he had followed the same procedure when organizing the demonstration that protested the irreverent cartoons of the noble prophet — he called Scotland Yard’s main operations hub and requested clearance for the demonstration. Choudary said that the concerned officials knew his voice and that he had telephoned a female officer named Smith prior to the demonstration to request clearance, which she granted.
Police accuse Choudary of not obtaining written consent for the demonstration, during which calls inciting murder and racial hatred were made. Choudary said that he would argue on Thursday for the dismissal of the charges, and expressed his belief that the Western media’s coverage of the demonstration had a lot to do with the decision to bring charges against him. He insisted that he was not in the process of fleeing when police arrested him last Thursday in Stansted Airport east of London, but was heading for Ireland to give a lecture and was planning on returning the following day.
Choudary and Abdul Muhid were arrested last Thursday and were held at the Charing Cross Police Station in central London before being released on conditional bail.
This raises to six the number of people who have been formally charged for their participation in February’s demonstration in London in front of the Embassy of Denmark (where the cartoons were first published), during which Muslim young men raised placards saying: “Off with the heads of those who insult Islam,” “mock today, die tomorrow,” “Europe will pay,” and “the four are on their way” in reference to the suicide attacks that killed 56 people and wounded 700 in London on 7 July 2005. The demonstrators called for “massacring those who insult Islam,” and warned Europe of attacks similar to the 11 September attacks in the United States.
It is worth mentioning that Choudary and three of the fundamentalist movement’s leaders were deported for Beirut last year even though they enjoyed legal status — the men had decided to vacation in Lebanon in order to meet Bakri and see how he was doing.
Prior to the terrorist attacks in London, the Al-Muhajiroun group, under the leadership of Bakri, who moved to Beirut in the summer of last year, triggered a lot of controversy when it organized fundamentalist conferences like the one entitled the “The Magnificent 19,” in reference to the 19 suicide bombers who carried out the 11 September attacks in 2001.