Anjem Choudary joked about terrorist attacks ahead of TV interview, court told

Islamist preacher Anjem Choudary made a joke about terrorist attacks before a television interview, a court has heard.

Choudary, who was convicted of supporting the so-called Islamic State in 2016, is accused of taking a “caretaker role” in directing Al-Muhajiroun (ALM), as well as being a member of the banned organisation and encouraging support for it through online meetings.

The 57-year-old, of Ilford, east London, is said to have given lectures to the New York-based Islamic Thinkers Society, which prosecutors allege was “the same” as ALM.

During a “count to 10” soundcheck before an interview with broadcaster CNN around 2016, Choudary made reference to 9/11, the 7/7 bombings and the 2004 Madrid train bombings, Woolwich Crown Court heard.

Prosecutor Tom Little KC asked him: “Did you say 1,2,3,4,5, 9/11, 7/7/?”

Choudary said the joke was “not serious” and claimed there had been “rib-tickling” going on with the crew.

When the preacher said he could not fully remember the interview, Mr Little said: “Is it a fact you joke about terror incidents all the time, and you’ve lost track?

“Isn’t the position that you took pleasure from the twin towers attacks?”

Choudary replied: “No.”

“You’ve continued to joke about it ever since,” Mr Little added.

Anjem Choudary
Anjem Choudary was convicted of supporting the so-called Islamic State in 2016 (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Choudary previously told the trial that a joke he made about 9/11 during a lecture on the anniversary of the terror attacks was “inappropriate”.

Pressed by the prosecutor on whether he had continued to support ALM after it was disbanded, Choudary said: “It hasn’t existed since 2004, the only one who’s trying to flog that dead parrot is yourself.”

“We’ll return to that parrot later,” Mr Little replied.

Choudary, who has previously described how a “Kevin Keegan effect” made people link him to the terror group, was interrupted by the judge as he spoke about the Labour MP Tony Benn, who died in 2014.

Mr Justice Wall said: “Mr Choudary, we don’t need to go into Tony Benn.

“Not everything has to be illustrated by an analogy.”

Woolwich Crown Court
The trial was being held at Woolwich Crown Court (Alamy/PA)

Also on trial is Khaled Hussein, 29, from Canada, who prosecutors say was a “follower and dedicated supporter” of Choudary.

He has pleaded not guilty to membership of ALM, while Choudary denies directing a terrorist organisation, being a member of a proscribed organisation and addressing meetings to encourage support for a proscribed organisation.

Choudary told the trial he had not directed ALM, and had only taken care of the “affairs” of a former leader after he left the country.

He was arrested in east London on July 17 of last year while Hussein was detained at Heathrow having arrived on a flight the same day.

The trial continues.