Mark Duell, Daily Mail, September 25, 2014
Radical preacher Anjem Choudary was one of nine men arrested early this morning as part of an investigation into Islamist terrorism.
Choudary, 47, and eight other men aged 22, 31, 31, 32, 36, 38, 39 and 51 were arrested by Metropolitan Police officers in London this morning, and have all been taken to police stations–where they remain in custody.
His arrest came shortly after he posted a series of nine tweets at about 5am today with an anti-Western tone, referring to the ongoing crisis involving ISIS militants in Iraq and Syria.
Muslim activist Abu Izzadeen–born Trevor Brooks–is also among the nine men arrested.
Some 19 residential, business or community premises were being searched today as part of the investigation, Scotland Yard said.
Eleven of these were in east London, one was in west London, one was in north-west London and five were in south London–while a residential address was also being searched in Stoke on Trent, Staffordshire.
A police spokesman said: ‘These arrests and searches are part of an ongoing investigation into Islamist-related terrorism and are not in response to any immediate public safety risk.’
Officers confirmed that the nine men were arrested on suspicion of being members of a proscribed organisation, supporting a proscribed organisation and encouraging terrorism.
Al-Muhajiroun is understood to be the banned organisation in question, sources said this morning.
Earlier this week, it was reported that Choudary said he has no sympathy for Alan Henning, a volunteer aid worker who was captured in Syria.
ISIS militants threatened to behead the 47-year-old in a video released earlier this month, which showed the murder of another British man, David Haines.
Choudary is reported to have said: ‘In the Koran it is not allowed for you to feel sorry for non Muslims. I don’t feel sorry for him.’
Choudary co-founded the now banned group al-Muhajiroun. Fanatics Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale, who were both jailed earlier this year for the brutal slaying of Fusilier Lee Rigby, were both seen at demonstrations organised by al-Muhajiroun, before it was banned.
Choudary said he knew Adebolajo, who was pictured beside him at a rally in 2007, and the second founder of the group, Omar Bakri Mohammed, claimed that he had spoken to the future killer at meetings.
The group, which has changed names a number of times, was banned in the UK in 2010. A study suggested that in the preceding 12 years, 18 per cent of Islamic extremists convicted of terror offences in the UK had current or former links with it.
A resident who lives near a terraced house where Choudary was believed to have lived in Walthamstow, east London, said the preacher and his family moved out about a week ago.
She said Choudary had lived there for around two years and claimed there was police activity at the weekend after he left.
The woman, who did not wish to be named, said: ‘There were police cars and officers walking around. I can’t say whether they actually went in.’
Scaffolding was in place at the house in Walthamstow as work was being carried out.
Derek Rayner, a retired painter and decorator who has lived on the street for 50 years, said of Choudary: ‘I was very much aware he was living in the street.
‘I didn’t know much about him, other than what I read in the papers. He kept himself to himself. It was noticeable that there were comings and goings.‘
Sometimes you wouldn’t see him for a couple of weeks. Then when he was back, you would see him walking up and down the road.’
He said he stopped speaking to Choudary following comments he reportedly made about murdered soldier Lee Rigby and ISIS militants.
‘I used to speak to him to just say good morning but having seen the things that he had been saying . . . I won’t give him the time of day now.’
He said he had not seen the cleric for around a week. ‘I wasn’t totally sure he had moved out–I thought he might have just moved out while they were doing the house up.
‘They have totally gutted the house. I have seen him moving stuff out. I wasn’t sure if it was going to be permanent or just temporary. ‘
He said he had not seen any police activity but added: ‘I have been informed there was a lot of police presence here over the last week. My neighbour said there has been police cars coming up and down, policemen knocking on his door apparently.’
Anti-extremism campaigners Hope Not Hate welcomed the arrests today.