British Pro-ISIS Preacher Rejects Association With Killer of British MP, Claims He Was "Radicalized By The British"

April 14, 2022

The following report is now a complimentary offering from MEMRI's Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor (JTTM). For JTTM subscription information, click here. 

On April 10, 2022, Islamic State (ISIS) supporter Ali Harbi Ali, a 26-year-old from London born to Somali parents, was sentenced to life imprisonment by a British court for the stabbing to death of British MP Sir David Amess in a lone-wolf attack in October 2021.[1]

At the time The Sun tabloid reported, based on conversations with Ali's former school friends, that he had been radicalized by watching videos of British pro-ISIS preacher Anjem Choudary.[2] In an October 18, 2021 press release, Choudary rejected The Sun's claim that he was linked to Amess' murderer and accused the UK of enacting "draconian laws" to oppress British Muslims.[3]

The day after the sentencing, Choudary issued another press release, again rejecting the accusations and arguing that Ali Harbi Ali was "radicalized by the British."[4] The preacher contended that the attacker was motivated by U.K. foreign policy in Syria and Iraq, by its support for the "pirate state of Israel" and by the "atrocities" that Ali Harbi Ali perceived as "being committed against Muslims…by the U.S., UK, NATO and Russia."

The preacher further contended that just as UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss currently permits British citizens to fight in Ukraine it is understandable that a Muslim would want to defend "innocent men, women and children" around the world.

While Choudary mentions that Ali Harbi was referred to a UK de-radicalization program before he perpetrated the attack, he argues that such programs are perceived by Muslims as anti-Islam, and people are referred to them for "merely stating some obvious fact about atrocities against Muslims or speaking against the fascist Israeli state." 

Choudary claims that after being sentenced to life imprisonment, Ali Harbi Ali would be placed in a "Muslim-only Separation Centre" and portrayed in the media as a "monster who was self-radicalized, or even be linked in some obscure way to me or to others." However, Choudary adds that Muslims believe that the Muslim ummah [Islamic nation] is "one body" and that their "life, honor, property, war and peace is one." In his view, many Muslims who went to fight Western forces in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria were labelled terrorists, yet "the very same actions in Ukraine against Russian aggression is paraded as heroism."

Choudary calls for the media, politicians and lawmakers to cease their "blatant hypocrisy" against Muslims, arguing that not only "blond people with blue eyes" deserve to be defended from aggression. In his view, Muslim foreign fighters should be treated in the same way as non-Muslims currently fighting in Ukraine, should be freed from prison, and should be compensated for the discrimination they face.

The press release ends with the hashtag #RussianInvasionHypocrisy, following a social media campaign launched by Choudary on March 4, 2022. The British preacher previously issued several press releases regarding what he refers to as Western hypocrisy and double standards in supporting Ukrainian resistance, while ignoring the plight of Muslims in other parts of the world.[5]



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The Cyber & Jihad Lab monitors, tracks, translates, researches, and analyzes cyber jihad originating from the Middle East, Iran, South Asia, and North and West Africa. It innovates and experiments with possible solutions for stopping cyber jihad, advancing legislation and initiatives federally – including with Capitol Hill and attorneys-general – and on the state level, to draft and enforce measures that will serve as precedents for further action. It works with leaders in business, law enforcement, academia, and families of terror victims to craft and support efforts and solutions to combat cyber jihad, and recruits, and works with technology industry leaders to craft and support efforts and solutions.

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