In a number of British cities, the notorious extremist organization al-Muhajiroun is again active as several members and supporters have been released from prison in recent months. The NGO Hope not Hate warns for this. Al-Muhajiroun is known to us as the group of radical Muslims from which Shariah4Belgium also arose.
Al-Muhajiroun, literally ‘the emigrants’, was founded in the 1990s by the radical hate preacher Anjem Choudary. Until recently he was in a British cell for his support of Islamic State, but now he has served his sentence and become a free man. Al-Muhajiroun is seen as the group that is responsible for various attacks on British territory or has already provided the inspiration for this. The organization is banned in the United Kingdom, but over the past few years, it has been able to resurface in one form or another.
Even now al-Muhajiroun would wake up again, after two years of relative silence because a lot of supporters were in prison. Choudary is not the only one of the group that was recently released. In a report, the NGO Hope Not Hate writes that al-Muhajiroun “comes alive again.” “The release of some of the most prominent activists, although strictly supervised, seems to have awakened some younger supporters to once again take to the streets to preach,” said Nick Lowles of Hope not Hate to The Independent. “Although al-Muhajiroun is only a shadow of what it once was, they may be able to reawaken unrest.”
For example, in the past few months, supporters were noticed while they were giving sermons in the streets of London, re-emerging at the famous Speakers Corner in Hyde Park and having started new social media accounts. They are also active in other cities such as Luton, Birmingham, and Leicester.
Neil Basu, head of the British anti-terrorist unit, says that the group is closely monitored and that the police make every effort to intervene in good time if necessary. “We will not give them a chance to recruit new members or to build a new group.”
The question is whether the prison sentences for the radical Islamists have anything to do with it. The American researcher Michael Kenney, who was undercover for a while in al-Muhajiroun, does not think so. “Al-Muhajiroun has also risen again and again in the past. Several members and leaders have just started over the past years whenever they were allowed to leave the prison. Their confinement often just reinforces their conviction.”