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UK police fears tensions on release of jailed radical imam


Press Trust of India  |  London 

Britain's security services are preparing for the release of a Pakistani-origin radical Islamist imam from jail later this year, fearing heightened community tensions.

UK-born Anjem Choudary who was jailed at the Old Bailey court in London in September 2016 for radical preaching and urging Muslims to support the terrorist group Islamic State (ISIS), is expected to be released on licence, or under surveillance, in October.

The 51-year-old is reportedly being held in a "separation centre" at Her Majesty's Prison (HMP) Frankland in County Durham, with the release expected at the half-way mark of his five-and-a-half-year prison sentence.

"It is likely to encourage some of his followers to become more vocal and defiant in their extremist behaviour," 'The Sunday Times' quoted a Scotland Yard source as saying.

"The police are watching far-right and Islamist networks around the country, and we're reassuring the Muslim community that we're taking pre-emptive steps to clamp down on disorder," the source said.

A government official told the newspaper the licence conditions had not been decided but were likely to be tough: "He'll certainly be watched day and night by the security services."

Choudary, who led the Islamist group Al Muhajiroun until it was proscribed by the government in 2010, was accused of pledging an oath of allegiance to the ISIS leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

In his sentencing remarks, Justice Holroyde described Choudary as "dangerous" and "more calculating" than his fellow Islamist Mohammed Rahman, who was also jailed for five-and-a-half years for supporting ISIS.

Among Choudary's many UK followers is Indian-origin ISIS fighter, Siddhartha Dhar, dubbed as "Jihadi Sid" by the UK media, who went on to become one of the senior commanders of the terror group in Syria.

The British Hindu who converted to Islam and adopted the name Abu Rumaysah, had skipped police bail in the UK to travel to Syria with his wife and young children in 2014.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Sun, May 27 2018. 17:55 IST