Imminent Release of Anjem Choudary is a Mistake Which Will Have Community Impacts

Convicted criminal Anjem Choudary who was found guilty of telling British citizens to join ISIS, is to be released this week. He will be living in a tax-payer funded safe house in North London and we have learnt that he will be living within reach of his wife and family, so that his human rights are not infringed.

Yet, this very man has never cared about the human rights of others. He has been the poisonous inspiration for young men who have gone on to murder and maim others and his decades of  Islamist agitation have caused enormous tensions and further fuelled far right activism, as some people thought that his views represented all Muslims. They clearly did not.

Just a few days ago, former EDL member, Ivan Humble made clear on a Newsnight interview about child grooming and the rise of the far right, that he was inspired to join the English Defence League since he believed that Anjem Choudary reflected the views of Muslims in general.

Choudary has used the legal and democratic process, to circumvent arrest for years and is now in the process of being released half-way through his sentence. Granted, he is under severe and restrictive conditions but the Government’s inability to stop his release, raises many questions. Why for example, is he being released half-way through his sentence? On what basis is this being done and does the Government realise that his early release is a gift for Islamist and far right groups. Both will use this opportunity, with Islamist extremists suggesting that Choudary has resisted the Government and ‘stood up against them’, whilst far right extremist groups will once again, make out that the Government is not working for the general public’s safety and that the Government is in cahoots with Muslims. This will be their narrative.

This whole affair leaves a foul taste in the mouth. How can a man who has been a driver for Islamist extremism be released half-way through his sentence? His actions have been a national security threat, yet he will now live in London, enjoying access to his family and living at the tax-payers expense.

If we are to send out a message to extremists that they will be given no quarter to spread their poison, the release of Choudary makes a mockery of this. This whole affair has shown how weak we are when many Muslims themselves, do not want this man released until he serves his whole sentence.