Trying to deradicalise Anjem Choudary with anti-extremism course is 'absurd' says research fellow from the Henry Jackson Society

Anjem Choudary

Radical preacher Anjem Choudary. Image: Getty

Monday, October 29, 2018

A research fellow from the Henry Jackson Society has claimed attempting to "deradicalise" extremists like Anjem Choudary with an anti-extremism course is "absurd".

Tom Wilson, a research fellow from the Centre on Radicalisation and Terrorism at the Henry Jackson Society, told talkRADIO's Mike Graham he didn't think the radical preacher could simply be "deprogrammed".



Choudary, who has links with the terrorist group Islamic State, will take part in Britain's first-ever compulsory deradicalisation programme following his release from prison as part of the government's latest attempt to tackle terrorism.

The preacher previously headed up the extremist al-Muhajiroun network which was banned under terrorism laws.

"I think trying to deradicalise the radicalisers is probably fairly absurd," Mr Wilson told Graham.


'Not taking him or his ideas seriously enough'

Anjem Choudary in 2013. Image: Getty

"In the case of young impressionable individuals who have been, maybe at a difficult point in life, come under the influence of someone who is quite extreme, counter-radicalisation work of course can be very helpful, but for somebody like Choudary I feel as though we're not taking him or his ideas seriously enough if we imagine we can just deprogramme him after so many years.

"He is part of the founding generation of al-Muhajiroun from the 1990s who were radicalised by someone called Omar Bakri Muhammad. Those guys are absolutely hardened. The idea that they're just going to change their mind seems highly unlikely to me."



Mr Wilson cited the case of Parsons Green bomber, Ahmen Hassan, who was a subject of the government's Prevent counter-radicalisation programme before he carried out an attack.

"There are going to be people taking part in it not because they want to, but because they have to. Even in the case of Ahmen Hassan who carried out the Parson Green bombing, he was part of Prevent and he gave the impression, quite cynically, of appearing to be improving and going along with it. He wasn't really."