Maajid Nawaz: How Extremists Like Anjem Choudary Played Us All

20 October 2018, 13:37 | Updated: 20 October 2018, 14:46

Anjem Choudary knew how to 'game the system', and used it to recruit for the worst terrorist group in living memory.

Maajid Nawaz opens up about the release of Islamist hate-preacher Anjem Choudary, somebody who "played us all".

"I've known Anjem Choudary for a long, long time," he starts.

"I've known him from when I was 17-years-old."

The LBC presenter makes no secret that he has history in London's Islamist scene in the 90's.

"Having known him from then, and known the tactics that the founder of the offshoot group al-Muhajiroun that eventually morphed into ISIS, one thing they knew was how to play the media," he said.

"Anjem Choudary knew that if he was to play up this image of being the pantomime villain on TV that producers would book him to bring him back. He knew that if you were to be outrageous, that made for captivating television or radio and he knew how to game the system."

Anjem Choudary was jailed for five-and-a-half years in 2016
Anjem Choudary was jailed for five-and-a-half years in 2016. Picture: PA

"The extremists played us, and we got played," Maajid continues.

"The consequences of the fact that we got played in that way are very serious, because they ended up recruiting these jihadists who are British and European citizens and then sending them to join the worst terrorist group that history has ever known in the form of ISIS.

"If the worst terrorist group that history has known, if the worst cell in that group - the execution cell, that the worst cell in the worst terrorist group were all British, that tells you just how badly we got played by Anjem Choudary.

"We got played so badly that we didn't see that under our own noses were people that would end up being the worst of the worst in the worst terrorist group that we know in living memory.