Anjem Choudary, Britain's most notorious hate preacher, has been released to his family home amid concern that the banned extremist group that he led is posing a renewed threat to national security.
In the first photograph of Choudary since the convicted terrorist returned home under licence, he smiled for the camera as he embarked on a routine trip to the shops to buy sweets and top up an electricity pre-payment card.
The father of five is understood to have returned to his home in east London in the past fortnight after spending three years in prison (of a five-and-a-half year sentence) then six months in a bail hostel under strict supervision.
The release of Choudary and other prominent offenders risks galvanising impressionable young Muslims. It also puts a strain on the resources of the intelligence service and counter terrorism police who will want to keep them under careful watch.
Security services are confident that Choudary’s activities have been curtailed but it is understood they have noticed increased activities among some of his followers, who have either avoided jail or recently been released.
Security sources have noticed a spike this year in activities by al-Muhajiroun supporters in its core recruiting grounds in east London and Luton, Bedfordshire. Choudary’s followers have also been prominent at Speakers’ Corner in Hyde Park.
Videos that were used as an effective tool to radicalise young men still remain online, much to the consternation of intelligence officials.
The release from jail in recent months of Choudary and two close associates – Mizanur Rahman, who had previously created the group’s secret internet forums, and Abu Izzadeen, its long-standing and imposing enforcer – now threatens to galvanise acolytes.
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