Oxford Union invites Islamist preacher Anjem Choudary to debate ‘radicalism in UK’

Anjem Choudary.(Reuters / Stephen Hird)
The Oxford Union has invited radical Islamist preacher Anjem Choudary to debate the origins of extremist thought in the UK, despite his recent arrest on suspicion of being a member of a proscribed terror organization.

Choudary was sent an invite, which said it would be a “great privilege” to have him appear at the university panel discussion. The debate will be on the question: “This house believes that radicalism is born at home.

Choudary has links to many others charged with terror offenses in the UK.

He is believed to have been part of the process by which Brusthom Ziamamni, the man found guilty of plotting to behead a British soldier, was radicalized.

He was also an associate of a British man who mocked British security services on social media about his escape to the Islamic State.

Choudary was arrested in September 2014 with eight other men, all charged with being members or supporters of banned terrorist group, Al-Muhajiroun. He is currently on bail.

On Monday, the radical cleric spoke outside the Houses of Parliament boasting about his invitation to the prestigious university. He also railed against Home Secretary Theresa May’s counter-terrorism policies.

“I am still on police bail after being arrested by Scotland Yard in September last year,” he said.

But the police can't stop me from speaking. They can't stop me from going to the Oxford Union where I've been invited to speak.”

Choudary once headed the recently proscribed radical Islamic Al-Muhajiroun group, which was founded 20 years ago. He is considered a key Islamist recruiter.

READ MORE: Radical cleric Choudary calls Charlie Hebdo cover ‘act of war’

He has been careful, however, to keep his speeches on the right side of Britain’s hate laws. Choudary has previously said if he is jailed, he will use his time in prison to spread radical ideas.

After receiving a Home Office banning order, the preacher said: “If they arrest me and put me in prison, I will carry on in prison. I'll radicalize everyone in prison.”

Speaking outside Westminster on Monday, the cleric said he would prefer to be allowed to travel and live in Syria if the government returned his passport.

“I believe people should be allowed to travel where they want to and go to ISIS-controlled territory to live under Sharia law,” he said.

“I would love to travel to Syria and take my wife and children with me, not to commit terrorism but to live under Sharia law. I had my passport taken away from me in September. If you give me a passport, I will go.”

“In Britain, women who don't have their basic needs fulfilled are having to prostitute themselves. Elderly people are having to choose between food and heating their houses. In ISIS territories they are given food and water and have gas,” he said.

He also said he believed Sharia law would soon be a part of the UK’s legal system.

“There is nothing anyone can do to prevent it,” Choudary said.

“Communism is dead, capitalism is dying, Islam is the future. Islam is the fastest-growing religion. I have no doubt that one day the whole of the world will be governed by Sharia and the flag of Islam will fly over Big Ben, when justice prevails.”

The Oxford Union declined to comment on its invitation to Choudary.