UK hate preacher Anjem Choudary 'still dangerous' ahead of prison release
Hate preacher Anjem Choudary remains a "dangerous" figure, a UK prisons' chief has admitted, just weeks before the Salafi activist is due to be released from jail.
Choudary continues to have a "deeply pernicious, destabilising influence" among his followers, with the radical cleric set to be released on license next month, half-way through his five-and-a-half year sentence.
He was jailed in 2016 after encouraging Muslims to join the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq, and thought to have links with two men behind seperate jihadi-inspired attacks in the UK.
Prisons Minister Rory Stewart told the Evening Standard that he cannot be changed from his views and association with "highly dangerous fanatical extremists", and will get kept under surveillance by UK intelligence when he is freed.
"He is somebody that I would put into the category I have just mentioned - somebody who was not given a sentence of enormous length but somebody who is a genuinely dangerous person," Stewart said. "We will be watching him very, very carefully."
Choudary remains a deeply divisive figure in the UK, due to his hate-filled speeches and leadership of the now-banned extremist group, al-Muhajiroun, which remained on the fringes of British-Muslim activism.
Former members of the group include Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale, who were behind the murder of off-duty soldier Lee Rigby, and Khuram Shazad Butt, one of perpetrators of the 2017 London terror attacks, which left eight people dead.
Stewart also said that the government is setting up a crack-squad of Muslim clerics, to discourage youngsters from extremist ideology.