Anger over BBC’s Muslim Big Brother as Anjem Choudary’s pal given TV platform
A FRAUDSTER and friend of hate preacher Anjem Choudary is at the centre of a fresh BBC row after the corporation was blasted for offering him air time.
GETTY Anjem Choudhary's friend to appear in BBC show sparking furore
The Beeb has come under fire after it was revealed Anthony Small, an ex-boxing champion in Choudary’s inner circle, was to appear on the show Muslims Like Us – dubbed as a Big Brother for Muslims - a spin on the famous reality TV show.
Small, also known as Abdul Haqq, has previously expressed support for Islamic State but was cleared last year of plotting to join the terror group.
The show behind the controversy will see 10 British Muslims with contrasting world views entering a house together.
According to producers it will highlight the range of views held by British Muslims.
A leaked summary of the show made by Love Productions warns of “charged exchanges” between them during filming.
But security experts have heavily criticised the BBC for giving Haqq, 35, the chance to air his views.
Haqq is associated with Choudary who was jailed in September for drumming up support for IS.
The leaked documents have angered those fighting terror in the UK.
GETTY Hate preacher Anjem Choudhary was jailed for trying to incite support for ISIS
One counter-extremism expert said the corporation is guilty of a ‘callous and irresponsible’ decision by hosting Haqq as a housemate.
The BBC says it was necessary to have a cross section of opinions in the house.
Haqq, under the alias Sugar Ray Clay Jones Jr, won the British and Commonwealth light middleweight championships in 2009.
He converted to Islam at 24 and five years later began attending marches against the war in Afghanistan.
Last year he was cleared of plotting to travel to Syria to fight with ISIS.
He was also found not guilty at the Old Bailey of disseminating terrorist publications and supporting a proscribed group.
But in 2015, he was found guilty of three counts of fraud.
Professor Anthony Glees, of the Centre for Security and Intelligence Studies, said: “I think the BBC is off its collective head on this. Haqq has supported Islamist goals and appeared to justify Islamist attacks on London.
“He has been pictured adopting the Islamist stance (the finger pointed towards heaven) and is a convicted fraudster to boot.
“This is not someone who should be given publicity by a taxpayer-funded TV company.”
Adam Deen, of counter-extremism think-tank the Quilliam Foundation, said: “Haqq’s views are extremely fringe.
“Given the threat of home grown extremism we should be very cautious and should not be giving air time to such views... just to fill space on our screens.”
The BBC defended the move with a spokesman saying: “The views of Abdul Haqq and the other contributors are robustly challenged and debated among the group as well as by the film makers.”