Inside Islam4UK: How Birmingham boys turn to terror

ANJEM Choudary is far from your average hate preacher.

Talk to the educated, well-spoken, and charismatic lawyer and you could easily be fooled by his persuasive, passionate pleas that he is not a radical Muslim extremist.

But this week his Islam4UK group were banned by the Government after planning a sickening march through the symbolic town of Wooton Bassett, where British troops killed in Afghanistan are repatriated.

Yet his toxic interpretation of Islam has already influenced hundreds of young men in the Midlands.

And last night a senior Birmingham MP warned it was “inevitable” that Choudary would start a new group to convert other youths to his radical cause.

The banning of Islam4UK follows a similar order issued under anti-terror legislation against parent group, Al Muhijaroun, also founded by Choudary and outlawed in 2005.

Muslim Perry Barr MP Khalid Mahmood has welcomed the new ban and accused Choudary, 43, and his group of “brainwashing” youths.

“They’ve taken away a lot of youths from their families here in Birmingham and brainwashed young men, especially at universities and colleges,” he said.

“This ban is a welcome move and a lot of the community are very happy that this group have been outlawed.

“The Home Office has collated a lot of information, provided a lot of evidence that this group are contravening the law in order to make this ban. It is a very serious and powerful measure.

“It’s important now that we stay vigilant and that anyone in the community who sees extremist activity reports it to the police and security services.”

The Sunday Mercury has investigated Islam4UK’s activities in the Midlands and discovered more than 20 men linked to the group or Al Muhijaroun have been convicted of terror offences over the past decade.


Umran Javed, from Washwood Heath, was a normal IT student at the University of Aston, before he came under the influence of Al Muhijaroun in 2000.

He studied radical Islam with Choudary’s spiritual guide Omar Bakri Mohammed. Hate preacher Bakri, who once called for Tony Blair to be assassinated, led the group for nine years before fleeing Britain for Lebanon following the 7/7 London terror attacks in 2005.

Javed, 30, became increasingly caught up in Muslim extremism and the publication of cartoons of the prophet Mohammed in a Danish newspaper in 2006 saw him turn his radical views into action on the streets.

Filmed by undercover cops outside the Danish Embassy in London, he screamed “bomb, bomb Denmark. Bomb, bomb USA” and “Jihad is the path to Allah” .

He was jailed for six years for incitement to murder in 2007.

Other young Midland Muslims who have joined Choudary’s hate groups do not simply threaten murder, they carry out deadly acts of terror overseas.

Omar Sharif, 27, killed three Israelis and injured 50 others in 2003 when he blew himself up in a packed cafe in Tel Aviv.

His journey to the bloodied scene began on the streets of his home city of Derby when he joined his local Al Muhijaroun chapter.

At University in London his devotion to radical Islam deepened, leading him to shun his non-Muslim friends and travel to Syria for further Arabic studies.

When he returned he devoted himself to Al Muhijaroun, dropping leaflets, attending Bakri’s lectures and influencing other young men to take up violent Jihad.

He later recorded a martyrdom video for Palestinian terror group Hamas, before strapping on a vest filled with explosives and becoming the first foreign suicide bomber in Israel’s history.

Wolverhampton-born Hassan Butt, who has since renounced extremism, also previously acted as a spokesman for Al Muhijaroun. He was arrested after claiming he helped to recruit 200 Muslims to fight for the Taliban against British troops in Afghanistan.

In 2006 scores of young Muslims met fanatical Al Muhijaroun leader Abu Izzadeen, who gave a speech in Small Heath mocking the victims of the 9/11 terror attacks and inciting young men to become suicide bombers.

Izzadeen was jailed in 2008 after police were handed a recording of the Birmingham speech.

After Al Muhijaroun was officially banned in 2005, Choudary set up two unsuccessful extremist groups which were quickly outlawed.

He created Islam4UK in 2008 which continued to use Birmingham as a key recruiting ground. We revealed secret tapes of a speech the fanatical lawyer made to extremist supporters at a community centre in Alum Rock that summer.

In a bile-filled rant, Choudary called on followers to “rise up”, labelled Jews as “cursed” and urged Muslims to demand violent Sharia law.

A month later he was joined by scores of Midland-based supporters of Islam4UK for an “Islamic roadshow”, held on a busy Saturday afternoon in Birmingham city centre.

Shocking footage obtained by the Sunday Mercury showed the preacher converting a confused white Brummie schoolboy to Islam. The bewildered-looking 11-year-old, who gave his name as Sean, was filmed repeating Arabic chants and swearing allegiance to Allah.

Choudary defended the move to our reporter, saying that the child was “intellectually mature” and that he showed a “genuine interest” in Islam.

But an order issued by Home Secretary Alan Johnson on Thursday means that any member of Al Muhijaroun or Islam4UK now faces 10 years in jail for belonging to a group that “glorifies” violence and terrorism.

Yet Mr Mahmood warned that Choudary and his cronies would be back.

“I’m sure that they will start a new organisation very soon,” he said.

“We need to keep a very close eye on them and particularly their leader Anjem Choudary, who is clearly committed to this fanatical cause.”

For his part, Choudary claims that his organisation does not support violence, and remains unbowed by the Government ban.

“I challenge anyone to prove any of our members have been involved in any violent activities,” he said.