Review of the Year August 2015: Anjem Choudary charged with supporting ISIS

Anjem Choudary is currently serving time in prison

August 2015 saw Anjem Choudary charged with supporting ISIS and the government reject a petition which was signed by more than 100,000 people to arrest Benjamin Netanyahu for war crimes.

Controversial Muslim cleric Anjem Choudary was charged with supporting the banned “Islamic State” group.

The 48-year-old from Ilford was charged along with Mohammed Rahman, 32, with inviting support for a proscribed terrorist organisation, namely the so-called “Islamic State” in Syria and Iraq. Both men were detained in custody and appeared before Westminster Magistrates’ Court.

They were initially arrested in September 2014 by the Metropolitan Police’s Counter-Terrorism Command (SO15) on suspicion of being members of the proscribed organisation and have been on police bail since then.

Sue Hemming, Head of Special Crime and Counter Terrorism at the Crown Prosecution Service, said: “Following an investigation by the Metropolitan Police’s Counter Terrorism Command, we have today authorised charges against Anjem Choudary and Mohammed Mizanur Rahman.

“We have concluded that there is sufficient evidence and it is in the public interest to prosecute Anjem Choudary and Mohammed Rahman for inviting support for ISIL, a proscribed terrorist organisation, between 29 June 2014 and 6 March this year. Each man is charged with one offence contrary to section 12 of the Terrorism Act 2000.

“It is alleged that Anjem Choudary and Mohammed Rahman invited support for ISIS in individual lectures which were subsequently published online.The decision to prosecute was taken in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors.”

Netanyahu UK visit

Also in August, the government said that Benjamin Netanyahu had legal immunity as a foreign head of state and could not be arrested for war crimes when he visits the UK.

A petition calling for the Israeli prime minister’s arrest for war crimes committed against the Gazans last year reached over 100,000 signatures.

The UK government responded to the petition with the following statement:

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu
Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu

“Under UK and international law, visiting heads of foreign governments, such as Prime Minister Netanyahu, have immunity from legal process, and cannot be arrested or detained.

“The British Government has invited Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as head of the Israeli Government, to visit the UK in September. Under UK and international law, certain holders of high-ranking office in a State, including Heads of State, Heads of Government and Ministers for Foreign Affairs are entitled to immunity, which includes inviolability and complete immunity from criminal jurisdiction.

“We recognise that the conflict in Gaza last year took a terrible toll. As the Prime Minister said, we were all deeply saddened by the violence and the UK has been at the forefront of international reconstruction efforts. However the Prime Minister was clear on the UK’s recognition of Israel’s right to take proportionate action to defend itself, within the boundaries of international humanitarian law. We condemn the terrorist tactics of Hamas who fired rockets on Israel, built extensive tunnels to kidnap and murder, and repeatedly refused to accept ceasefires. Israel, like any state, has the right to ensure its own security, as its citizens also have the right to live without fear of attack…

“The UK is a close friend of Israel and we enjoy an excellent bilateral relationship, built on decades of cooperation between our two countries across a range of fields. Our priority for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict remains the achievement of a two-state solution, based on 1967 borders. We continue to believe that negotiations will be necessary in order to achieve this, and that both parties need to focus on steps that are conducive to peace. The UK Government will reinforce this message to Mr Netanyahu during his visit.”

Syrian refugee

Meanwhile, over $140,000 was raised after a picture of a Syrian refugee seemingly trying to sell pens on a street in Beirut with his daughter slumped over one shoulder was widely shared.

The image, showing a man holding eight biros, was posted on Twitter by Gissur Simonarson, who describes himself as an activist.

pens 1After being inundated with requests to help the man, Simonarson announced he was going to try and find him. He launched a Twitter account named #BuyPens and was contacted within 30 minutes by someone who saw the man every day around his house.

Twenty-four hours later, the man and his daughter were identified as Abdul, a single father with two children, and his daughter Reem, who is four. They are believed to be Palestinian Syrians from the Yarmouk refugee camp in Damascus.

Simonarson decided to start a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo to raise money for Abdul and his family.

Within half an hour, he provided an update: “We have reached my goal of $5,000 in the first 30 min. This was never meant as a cap, just something to start with. “Let’s make sure that Abdul and Reem can really start a great new life.

Gissur Simonarson told The Independent: “I’m now in touch with Unicef special protection unit to help get him to a safe location, and make sure he will not be taken advantage of. I’m also considering setting up some kind of fund that would give him payouts monthly, so he doesn’t end up with a bag of money, and not know what to do with it.”

Adebayor converts to Islam

In other news, the Togo and Tottenham Hotspur striker Emmanuel Adebayor seemingly converted to Islam.

A video circulating on the internet showed Adebayor, 31, taking his shahada in a mosque apparently in Guinea.

The news came as a shock for many as the striker is known for being a fervent Christian and usually crosses himself whenever he comes onto a football pitch.

Andrew Gilligan

And finally, writing in the 5Pillars’ comment pages, Nishaat Ismail said The Telegraph’s veteran journalist, Andrew Gilligan, has been instrumental in the rise of Islamophobia and anti-Muslim hatred in Britain.

She said: “If you think unsubstantiated claims, smear campaigns, and bigotry can get you bylines and known in the world of journalism, then you’re quite right, it seems to have worked for the Telegraph’s Andrew Gilligan. However, don’t expect your readers to perceive you with any integrity, it will on the other hand, earn you a special esteem from the far-right, white supremacists and Islamophobes.

“Gilligan has made a career out of malicious misrepresentations, harrying blameless individuals, supporting those who use prejudiced language, and manufacturing lousy journalism to peddle his intolerant and blinkered agenda, which largely involves aspersing Muslims and the Islamic faith.”

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