Pro-ISIS British Preacher Announces New Twitter Campaign Calling For Release Of Mullah Krekar

September 28, 2021

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

On September 27, 2021, pro-Islamic State (ISIS) British preacher Anjem Choudary published a post on his Telegram channel announcing the launch of a Twitter campaign set to begin on October 1 at 10 PM London time, corresponding to 5 PM New York time, and 7 AM Sydney time, to call for the release of Mullah Krekar, a Sunni Iraqi Kurdish Islamic scholar who founded the jihadi group Ansar Al-Islam, active in northern Iraq, while he had refugee status in Norway.[1]

In the announcement, Choudary described Krekar as a "world-renowned Islamic scholar who has been a vocal advocate of Islam and Shariah."

Choudary claimed that the Norwegian authorities have been trying since 2013 to get rid of Krekar by sending him back to Iraq, where he could face execution by the "oppressive Iraqi regime."

He further noted that the "non-Muslim" lawyers who defended Krekar ridiculed the legal bases on which he was convicted: "Even the non-Muslim lawyers representing Sheikh Krekar [went] on record [criticizing] the farcical nature of his conviction and saying that it was a day of shame and a denial of justice."

The British cleric claimed that the March 2020 decision to deport Krekar from Norway to Italy, which was made during the peak of COVID-19 spread, was deliberately chosen to jeopardize his life: "Moreover, the Sheikh's extradition from Norway to Italy in March 2020 came at a time when COVID was rampant and for a 63-year-old man in a very high-risk category [of catching the virus] this was no doubt intended to cause maximum harm."

Choudary, who on September 17 launched a twitter campaign for the release of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui,[2] a Pakistani woman incarcerated in the U.S. for attempting to kill U.S. military personnel, shared a poster in which he called on Muslims everywhere to join his new Twitter campaign to free Krekar and "those incarcerated with him to expose the injustice perpetrated against them."

On March 26, 2012, Krekar was sentenced to five years in prison for making repeated death threats against Norwegian politicians and the Kurds if they pursued certain civil actions against him. In 2019, an Italian court sentenced him to 12 years behind bars for leading the Rawti Shax network, a now-disbanded Kurdish movement that allegedly has links with ISIS and is thought to have planned attacks in Western countries. On March 26, 2020, Krekar was extradited to Italy.

The Cyber & Jihad Lab

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.

Read More