- Islamist preacher has spent nearly two decades praising violent jihadism
- He organised 'poppy-burning' rallies and associated with terrorists
- London-born radical was finally convicted of inviting support for ISIS
- He and his deputy, Mizanur Rahman, now face jail sentences
After years of preaching radical Islamism, Anjem Choudary, pictured after his arrest, has been found guilty of a terrorism offence
The UK's most notorious hate preacher finally faces jail after two decades of taunting authorities and peddling extremism on the streets of Britain.
For years, Anjem Choudary has been the smug public face of radical Islam, organising street protests against British troops and espousing his poisonous views in TV interviews.
But he was finally snared by police for inciting support for ISIS in a series of online lectures.
Choudary has repeatedly provoked the British public with a series of stunts, with his followers burning remembrance poppies and disrupting Armistice Day events.
His group, Al-Muhajiroun, also became a breeding ground for terrorists, most notably Michael Adebolajo, the radical convert who hacked to death soldier Lee Rigby in 2013.
After a trial which has been shrouded in secrecy due another ongoing case, Choudary and his deputy, Mizanur Rahman, were found guilty of 'inviting support for a proscribed organisation' under the Terrorism Act 2000.
Following the lifting of court orders banning reporting of the case, their convictions can be revealed for the first time today.
Their trial heard Choudary swore an oath of allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi after the so-called 'caliphate' was declared in the Middle East.
He and his deputy then pressed upon Muslims their supposed obligation to 'make hijrah', meaning to travel to ISIS-occupied lands, the court heard.
In Choudary's incendiary speeches, he told his followers that ISIS had met the theological conditions for a legitimate caliphate.
Choudary's deputy, fellow hate preacher Mizanur Rahman, has also been convicted
Choudary and Rahman were together during a 2014 protest outside the Lebanese embassy
Choudary said: 'We initiate the jihad against the kuffar [disbelievers] to make the name of Allah in the highest. He never considered defending yourself part of jihad. He said you need to send in the army… It is about time we resumed conquering for the sake of Allah.
'Next time when your child is at school and the teacher asks, "What is your ambition?" They should say, "to dominate the whole world by Islam, including Britain, that is my ambition".'
At a time when the ISIS executioner Jihadi John was beheading hostages and posting the videos online, Choudary quoted a saying of the Prophet: 'Whoever comes to dispute with him, strike his neck.'
Choudary referred to ISIS propaganda videos, and particularly to cutting off the hands of thieves, stoning adulterers and executing apostates, before adding: 'We can see that in relation to all of the different areas the sharia is being implemented.'
Choudary, who had been optimistic about his chances of being acquitted at his Old Bailey trial, folded his arms and did not react when the jury returned their guilty verdict.
Choudary's radical group Al-Muhajiroun has long been a breeding ground for terrorists, including Michael Adebolajo (left), who murdered soldier Lee Rigby in 2013
His conviction comes after a two-year, multi-million pound investigation by Scotland Yard designed to bring to an end his two decades of extremist preaching.
Speaking after the verdicts, Commander Dean Haydon, head of SO15, Scotland Yard's Counter-terrorism Command, said Choudary and his followers had been a 'dangerous force for radicalisation and recruitment' both of extremists and terrorists in Britain.
Nick Lowles, chief executive of the anti-racism group Hope Not Hate, said Choudary had influenced over 100 Britons who have carried out, or attempted to carry out, terrorist attacks at home and abroad.
'Justice has been a long time coming,' he said. 'For far too long, Anjem Choudary has played a key role as a cheerleader for ISIS, and been allowed to demonise the Muslim community.
'He clearly promoted the disgusting and divisive ideals of the Islamic State, while dozens of his supporters have been connected to terrorist plots, violence or heading overseas to fight in Syria, Iraq and other conflicts.
'Finally Choudary can now pay for his actions.'
Prosecutors said Choudary made a oath of allegiance to the leader of ISIS in this east London restaurant, which has since closed
The case centred on whether Choudary and Rahman were exercising their right to free speech or inciting people to join a terrorist organisation.
The jury was told it was not illegal to think ISIS are a 'good thing' nor to express those views to others, but it was unlawful to 'invite support'.
The prosecution said Choudary and Rahman sought to 'validate the legitimacy' of both ISIS and Baghdadi, and in doing so emphasised the obligation on others to obey or provide support.
Prosecutor Richard Whittam QC, prosecuting, told the Old Bailey jury: 'Terrorist organisations thrive and grow because people support them and that is what this case is about.'
HOW A DEMONSTRATION AND AN ISIS PLACARD FINALLY ENDED CHOUDARY'S 'CAT AND MOUSE GAMES' WITH POLICE
Web of hate: How Anjem Choudary's sermons inspired a generation of home-grown terrorists and radicals
The hate-filled circle around Anjem Choudary has been a breeding ground for the Islamic extremism which has plagued Britain in the last two decades.
Former law-student Choudary, who previously called for adulterers to be stoned to death and branded UK troops 'cowards', has always hidden behind free speech rules whenever challenged by the authorities.
But the group he helped to set up have been linked to a series of terrorist attacks, as easily-influenced young men became inspired by his twisted vision of jihad.
Anjem Choudary, 49, has been at the centre of radical Islamic organisations for many years
Choudary's radical sermons have become a magnet for easily-influenced young men
The best known of his disciples was Muslim convert Michael Adebolajo, who, along with Michael Adebowale, attacked Fusilier Lee Rigby with a meat cleaver in Woolwich in 2013 in a murder which shocked the country.
Adebolajo was a supporter of Choudary's al-Muhajiroun group and was pictured standing behind the hate preacher in 2007.
After the incident, Choudary said Adebolajo was 'a practising Muslim and a family man' who he was 'proud of'.
But he denied encouraging the killer to carry out the attack, insisting he was 'channeling the energy of the youth through demonstrations and processions'.
Choudary's own conversion to fundamentalist Islam is thought to have happened around the time he left university.
The son of a Pakistani market trader from Welling, south east London, Choudary studied law at Southampton University after dropping out of a medical course.
Fellow students recalled him drinking cider, enjoying casual sex, smoking cannabis and even taking LSD, despite insisting he was a Muslim.
The only sign of activism came in his upset over Salman Rushdie's book The Satanic Verses, which some Muslims believed to be blasphemous.
Choudary developed his views under the influence of hate preacher Omar Bakri Mohammed
But after moving back to London when his studies ended, Choudary met Islamist firebrand Omar Bakri Muhammad at a mosque in Woolwich and quickly fell under his spell.
Bakri, a Syrian who came to Britain in the 1980s, had set up a sharia court in the UK and Choudary became his 'naqib' or assistant.
Bakri, who celebrated the 9/11 attacks as a 'Towering Day in History', formed the group al-Muhajiroun, meaning 'the foreigners', in the 1990s and Choudary was soon a key lieutenant.
The government repeatedly tried to ban the organisation, leading them to adopt a number of different names, including Al Ghurabaa, Islam4UK, Muslims Against Crusades, Need4Khilafah and the Shariah Project. There are still however referred to by their original name.
In a rhetorical trick later copied by Choudary, Bakri insisted a 'covenant of security' existed which meant Muslims should not attack the UK if authorities did not restrict their freedom to practice their religion.
But, in 2004, a group of followers was arrested in Crawley, West Sussex, and accused of planning a massive bomb attack in central London.
Choudary is known to have associated with Michael Adebolajo the killer of Lee Rigby
The pair were filmed together at a demonstration outside a police station in London in 2007
In the wake of the 7/7 bombings in London, whose perpetrators Bakri hailed as 'the fantastic four', Bakri left for Lebanon and the British government quickly moved to prevent him coming back.
In his absence, Choudary became his heir apparent and set about organising a number of stunts seemingly designed to cause maximum offence to the British public and gain media attention.
A 40-strong group burned a giant poppy and screamed insults during a two minute silence near the Royal Albert Hall on Armistice Day in November 2010.
Members of the group were seen holding placards reading 'British soldiers burn in hell' and 'Afghanistan: The graveyard of empires'.
They re-recreated a picture of Buckingham Palace as a mosque and threatened to protest as the bodies of servicemen were repatriated from Afghanistan to Wootton Bassett, where local people had taken to lining the street as a mark of respect.
Choudary was also recorded telling his followers to claim benefits, which he dubbed the 'jihad seeker's allowance'.
But amid Choudary obvious attempts to inflame public opinion, followers of Muhajiroun were caught plotting far more sinister acts.
In December 2012, three young converts began a vigilante group called 'Muslim Patrol' and roamed east London at night threatening, intimidating and even assaulting members of the public who they perceived to be behaving in an un-Islamic manner.
Three Muhajiroun followers also firebombed the home of the publisher of a controversial novel about the Prophet Mohammed in September 2008.
Choudary's associates frequently end up in Syria, Siddhartha Dhar (pictured, , at a protest in 2010) was photographed clutching a gun in the war-torn country in 2014
Mohammed Reza Haque , formerly Chourdary's bodyguard, is believed to be this man who has since appeared in ISIS execution videos
Four Muhajiroun supporters from London and Cardiff, led by Mohammed Chowdhury, began planning a Christmas car bomb attack on the London Stock Exchange in 2010.
The Syrian civil war, which provided a vacuum into which ISIS moved in, further stoked up radicalism among the group.
Mohammed Reza Haque, thought of as Choudary's bodyguard, disappeared from Britain in 2014.
A photograph taken in Syria showed him in a balaclava and camouflage clothing, brandishing an AK-47 assault rifle and he has since been suspected as being a tall figure in ISIS's horrific execution films.
Siddhartha Dhar, who once ran Choudary's media operation, was also seen posing in a military style coat and boots, brandishing an assault rifle and holding his new born baby in Syria, labelling the picture 'Generation Khilafah'.
In December 2014, two other close associates were discovered in the back of a lorry at Dover as they tried to leave the country.
Choudary tweeted a photo with Abu Izzadeen, a hate preacher later caught in Hungary
Simon Keeler and Anthony Small - a former British boxing champion – were later cleared of attempting to travel to Syria by a jury after they gave a variety of reasons for their need to leave the country without their passports.
After Choudary's high-profile calls for law and an Islamic Britain, it has been the rise of ISIS which has led to his undoing.
In October 2014, Choudary said in an interview that ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was 'the Caliph of all Muslims and the Prince of the Believers.'
He was arrested two weeks later along with eight members of his inner circle and now faces jail for inviting support for the terror group.
From the man who inspired him to the killers who listened to his sermons: Who's who is Choudary's radical circle?