This should not be surprising to anyone who is familiar with Mr. Choudary. You might remember him as the cleric who has made several appearances in American and British media defending various radical Islamist groups. He’s also fine with ISIS’s many atrocities. Indeed, his own students were handing out leaflets at a pro-ISIS protest and he has “no sympathy” for British hostage Alan Henning.
A group he co-founded called al-Muhajiroun has also been linked to one-in-five terrorist attacks in the United Kingdom. The group Hope not Hate calls this organization a “The Gateway to Terror”. The original group disbanded in 2004, but re-lanched itself in 2009. This reborn group was officially banned by the UK’s Terrorism Act 2000 in January.
This is what led to his arrest. As UK edition of the International Business Times explains it:
Radical preacher Anjem Choudary has been arrested on suspicion of being part of a banned terrorist organisation and encouraging terrorism, according to reports.
Choudray is alleged to be part of a group of nine people arrested by Met Police Counter Terrorism Command.
It is believed the men are suspected of being members of Al-Muhajiroun, a British-based Islamic terrorist group who were proscribed in 2010 under the UK Terrorism Act.
The men, aged 21 to 55, were arrested in London and remain in police custody. Police have not confirmed whether Choudary is among the nine people arrested.
There are also, as the article notes, a number of businesses, homes, and community buildings that are being searched in connection with these arrests.
If anything, this ought to show us just how real the terror threat is for the West. Assuming, Choudary is actually part of the group (and he probably is, the police just aren’t ready to make it public yet), we ought to realize that we have let a man with known connections to a group that encouraged and gave aid and comfort to terrorists walk among us heretofore with impunity. As we confront the very real possibilities that the Islamic State is working with Mexican drug cartels and setting up sleeper cells here in the United States, that’s something to think about.