Britain’s most high-profile Islamist preacher, Anjem Choudary, appeared in a London court on Wednesday, August 5, to plead not guilty to charges of inviting support for Islamic State (IS).
Choudary, 48, was accused, alongside an associate Mohammed Mizanur Rahman, of using lectures which were published online for encouraging support for the banned organisation, which has seized swathes of territory in Syria and Iraq.
Choudary, dressed in white traditional Muslim attire and speaking in front of a small group of supporters in the court, called the charge a ‘political manoeuvre’ from Prime Minister David Cameron and the police.
Asked for his plea to the charges, he said he would plead that Cameron and the police were guilty while ‘the only people who are innocent are me and Mr Rahman’.
Both men were remanded in custody until August 28. Choudary, the former head of the now banned organisation al-Muhajiroun, was arrested by counter-terrorism police in September last year on suspicion of being a member of Islamic State.
“The whole procedure from beginning to end is orchestrated to silence the Muslim community,” Choudary told the court.
Prosecutor David Cawthorne said the men, if found guilty, faced a maximum of 10 years in prison. “Both are high profile figures and are well aware of their influence across social media,” he said.