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Pak-origin radical preacher’s network resurgent in UK

London: The extremist group associated with British-Pakistani radical preacher Anjem Choudary, convicted in the UK for inviting support for the Islamic State (ISIS) terror group, is regenerating itself, warn counter-extremism experts.
The 51-year-old founder of the al-Muhajiroun network was released from the high-security Belmarsh prison in south London in October last year under very strict licence conditions after serving less than half of his five-and-a-half-year sentence.
He is associated with grooming the likes of Indian-origin ISIS supporter Siddhartha Dhar, a.k.a. Abu Rumaysah, who was killed in an airstrike in Syria last year.
After a latest analysis, the Hope Not Hate counter-extremism group warned in its annual ‘State of Hate’ report that al-Muhajiroun was “stirring back into life” after two years of relative silence while key members were in prison. “The release of some of their more prominent activists, albeit on strict controls, appears to be galvanising some younger supporters into re-establishing street stalls and other public activities,” Nick Lowles, Chief Executive of Hope Not Hate, told ‘The Independent’ newspaper.
“While a mere shadow of its former self, al-Muhajiroun still has the potential to cause havoc,” he said, describing the group as “Britain’s most proli?c and dangerous extremist group”.
Al-Muhajiroun was first banned in 2006, making its membership a terror offence, but it has since morphed into numerous new names, including Islam4UK and Muslims Against Crusades, to evade the law.
According to the latest Hope Not Hate report, its units are believed to be active in parts of London, Luton and Derby, with smaller numbers of supporters in Birmingham, Leicester and Slough. Its supporters have recently been seen at street preaching stalls in east London, made appearances at Speakers Corner in Hyde Park and started new social media accounts, the report finds.
Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner, Neil Basu, who is the head of UK counter-terror policing, said the group was on the force’s radar and would not be allowed to incite terrorism, or exploit social problems and tensions.
“We are working closely and actively with police forces across the UK to help officers identify and disrupt al-Muhajiroun activity, so we can deprive them of any opportunity to recruit new members or function effectively as a group,” Basu said.
Choudary, who remains under supervision since his release, is linked to supporters who went on to be implicated in several UK terror attacks, including the London Bridge attack in June 2017. (PTI)

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