Hate preacher Anjem Choudary’s banned terror group ‘has revived since he was released from jail last year and is holding meetings again’

Hate preacher Anjem Choudary is inspiring his network of extremists and poses a renewed terror threat a year after he left jail, an analysis by experts has warned.

The firebrand cleric’s release has reinvigorated his outlawed jihadist group al-Muhajiroun, they found.

The ‘unrepentant’ father of five is back in his family home in east London where he previously masterminded the Islamist extremist network which helped radicalise terrorists, including London Bridge attack ringleader Khuram Butt, and Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale, who murdered soldier Lee Rigby.

Experts from the Counter Extremism Project (CEP) say the decision to give Choudary, 52, parole should be reviewed in light of the findings, which they say show he is a threat to national security.

A study by the non-governmental monitoring organisation says his extremist network is understood to have restarted meetings. ‘Choudary remains a dangerous and influential figure,’ it says.

It also shines new light on Choudary’s influence on outrages around the globe, profiling a network of 110 extremist individuals and 33 organisations associated with him. Of the 110 individuals, 18 successfully carried out terror attacks, 50 others attempted atrocities and 19 are – or attempted to become – Islamist fighters. Thirty-six are Islamist propagandists or recruiters.

Choudary was freed last October after serving under half of his five-and-a-half year sentence for inviting support for Islamic State.

The Daily Mail revealed at the time how he had become ‘hardened’ in jail and more determined than ever to spread his toxic Islamist propaganda. His militant views became ‘far more extreme and aggressive’ while locked up and he now regards himself as a ‘martyr’, according to those who met him in jail.

When released, Choudary was subject to strict licence conditions. Initially, he lived in a bail hostel but by May he was back at his family home, where he was pictured wearing an electronic tag on his right ankle.

Twelve months after he was freed, the CEP has assessed his current threat to national security. Researchers monitored the online channels extremists use to communicate with each other and as a propaganda tool to groom and radicalise recruits. The 40-page CEP dossier also cites information from concerned British officials and former members of al-Muhajiroun. Buoyed by Choudary’s release, supporters have now reportedly begun meeting again in London and Luton, where he regularly lectured before his arrest, it says.

The report states: ‘Former al-Muhajiroun members drew inspiration from Choudary’s release and started to revitalise the network, even though authorities continue to closely monitor Choudary’s movements and communications. Though Choudary remains under tight surveillance, his release inspired others to revive al-Muhajiroun.’

Ian Acheson, a CEP expert who led a 2015 independent government review of Islamist extremism in UK prisons, said: ‘A year ago, I said that the release of Choudary would continue to represent a serious threat to public safety and unfortunately I have not been proved wrong.

‘Even though Choudary has to all intents and purposes been on his best behaviour, individuals and groups that were radicalised by him have been revitalized, thus threatening the UK’s national security. The UK Government’s counter-terrorism strategy needs to address this if we intend unrepentant hate preachers like Choudary to see out their sentences in the community.’