Anjem Choudary: ISIS hate preacher joining TikTok sparks extremism fears
'I have them all up my sleeve. I’m signed up to all of them… I’m on everything. There is an endless list of things you can sign up to'
British Islamist and political activist who was convicted under the Terrorism Act 2000 has boasted of joining social-media apps that are popular with children, raising fears that he plans to spread his message to a wider and younger audience.
Anjem Choudary, 54, who was jailed in 2016 for inciting people to join IS, has claimed that he has signed up for accounts with TikTok, Snapchat and Pinterest, which has a wide young audience. Other social media accounts created by Choudary, who was released on license in 2018 but was put under strict rules that limited his ability to proselytize, were recently closed but he has since managed to rejoin Facebook and Telegram.
Who is Anjem Choudary?
Choudary who is a British Islamist and a social and political activist was sentenced under the Terrorism Act 2000 of inviting support for a proscribed organization, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. He was consequently subject to sanctions by both the U.S. State Department and the U.N. Security Council freezing his assets. Along with Omar Bakri Muhammad, Choudary helped to form an Islamist organization, al-Muhajiroun. The group organized many anti-Western demonstrations, including a banned protest march in London for which Choudary was ordered to appear in court. The UK government banned Al-Muhajiroun and Choudary was present at the launch of its intended successor, Ahlus Sunnah wal Jamaah. He later helped in forming Al Ghurabaa, which was also banned. He later became the spokesman for Islam4UK until it was proscribed. He has been condemned by mainstream Muslim groups and has been heavily criticised in the UK media.
Speaking to The Mail on Sunday, August 29 he bragged: "I have them all up my sleeve. I’m signed up to all of them… I’m on everything." "There is an endless list of things you can sign up to. TikTok is for uploading small clips and talks and doing conferences and stuff like that. Obviously, I will be doing it Islamically. There is a lot of rubbish on some of these platforms because of the youth. Singing and dancing, prancing around. And I am not into that."
Chinese-owned TikTok has around 9 million active users in the UK and a total of 1 billion users across the globe. Snapchat has more than 21 million subscribers in Britain and almost 300 million daily users across the world, while Pinterest has more than ten million users in the UK and a global reach of almost half a billion. Last week, after being alerted by the MoS, Telegram shut down Choudary’s channel but within days he had opened another called ‘Islam is the Answer’, on which he has written about sharia law.
He has also requested for his mentor, Omar Bakri Muhammad, to be released from prison in Lebanon. Choudary made a new Facebook account two weeks after the company closed down his first. The page, which is called ‘A Call To Islam’, is described as a ‘personal blog’. The father-of-four was banned from using the internet following his release from prison but his license conditions expired at the end of July 2021 leaving him free to preach online again. Sam Armstrong, a director at the Henry Jackson Society think-tank, said: "It is appalling that Choudary is now using apps like TikTok to target youngsters. It shows that he can access vulnerable young people and turn them into extremists. He should not be allowed to use social media in this manner."