Who is radical Islamist activist Anjem Choudary and why is he suddenly all over cable news?

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Who is radical Islamist activist Anjem Choudary and why is he suddenly all over cable news?
[UNVERIFIED CONTENT] Radical Islamist Anjem Choudary protests outside the central London mosque in Regents Street with members of Al-Muhajiroun after noon-prayers. The groups demands Egypt is placed under Shariah law.
[UNVERIFIED CONTENT] Radical Islamist Anjem Choudary protests outside the central London mosque in Regents Street with members of Al-Muhajiroun after noon-prayers. The group is demanding Egypt is placed under Shariah law.
[UNVERIFIED CONTENT] Radical Islamist Anjem Choudary protests outside the central London mosque in Regents Street with members of Al-Muhajiroun after noon-prayers. The group is demanding Egypt is placed under Shariah law.
Muslim cleric Anjem Choudary speaks to a group of demonstrators protesting a film apparently made in the US that they say insults the Islamic faith as they demonstrate outside the US embassy in central London on September 14, 2012. The group gathered at Regents Park mosque before heading to the embassy to protest over the film, the release of which has sparked violent protest in much of the Muslim world. AFP PHOTO / LEON NEAL (Photo credit should read LEON NEAL/AFP/GettyImages)
[UNVERIFIED CONTENT] Radical Islamist Anjem Choudary protests outside the central London mosque in Regents Street with members of Al-Muhajiroun after noon-prayers. The group is demanding Egypt is placed under Shariah law.
British Muslim Anjem Choudary (C) shouts into a microphone as Islamist demonstrators stage a protest outside the US embassy in London on September 11, 2011 during a ceremony to mark the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the United States. Around 50 people brandished anti-US banners, chanted slogans and burnt a small piece of paper with a picture of the US flag on it. AFP PHOTO / CARL COURT (Photo credit should read CARL COURT/AFP/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 06: Muslims protest against the killing of Osama bin Laden outside the US embassy in Mayfair on May 6, 2011 in London, England. The demonstration, which was called by radical Muslim cleric Anjem Choudary, was in close proximity to a rival protest by the English Defense League who were celebrating the death of the al-Queda leader. (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)
Islamic preacher Anjem Choudary speaks to members of the media during a protest outside the US embassy in central London, on May 6, 2011. AFP PHOTO/LEON NEAL (Photo credit should read LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 06: Anjem Choudary (C) leads a protest against the killing of Osama bin Laden outside the US embassy in Mayfair on May 6, 2011 in London, England. The demonstration, which was called by radical Muslim cleric Anjem Choudary, was in close proximity to a rival protest by the English Defense League who were celebrating the death of the al-Queda leader. (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 06: Anjem Choudary leads a protest against the killing of Osama bin Laden outside the US embassy in Mayfair on May 6, 2011 in London, England. The demonstration, which was called by radical Muslim cleric Anjem Choudary, was in close proximity to a rival protest by the English Defense League who were celebrating the death of the al-Queda leader. (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 21: Anjem Choudary speaks at a protest opposite Downing street against the military action taken by the UK, USA and France against Libya on March 21, 2011 in London, England. The Pentagon says that United States and United Kingdom military forces have fired more than 110 missiles, with French planes attacking pro-Gaddafi forces near rebel-held Benghazi. (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 21: Anjem Choudary (C) speaks at a protest opposite Downing street against the military action taken by the UK, USA and France against Libya on March 21, 2011 in London, England. The Pentagon says that United States and United Kingdom military forces have fired more than 110 missiles, with French planes attacking pro-Gaddafi forces near rebel-held Benghazi. (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 21: Anjem Choudary speaks at a protest opposite Downing street against the military action taken by the UK, USA and France against Libya on March 21, 2011 in London, England. The Pentagon says that United States and United Kingdom military forces have fired more than 110 missiles, with French planes attacking pro-Gaddafi forces near rebel-held Benghazi. (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 21: Anjem Choudary (L) speaks at a protest opposite Downing street against the military action taken by the UK, USA and France against Libya on March 21, 2011 in London, England. The Pentagon says that United States and United Kingdom military forces have fired more than 110 missiles, with French planes attacking pro-Gaddafi forces near rebel-held Benghazi. (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 21: Anjem Choudary (R) speaks at a protest opposite Downing street against the military action taken by the UK, USA and France against Libya on March 21, 2011 in London, England. The Pentagon says that United States and United Kingdom military forces have fired more than 110 missiles, with French planes attacking pro-Gaddafi forces near rebel-held Benghazi. (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)
Anjem Choudary Of Islam4Uk, Seen With Supporters On Millbank In Central London, After Giving A Press Conference At Millbank House. (Photo by John Phillips/UK Press via Getty Images)
Anjem Choudary Of Islam4Uk, Seen With Supporters On Millbank In Central London, After Giving A Press Conference At Millbank House. (Photo by John Phillips/UK Press via Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JANUARY 12: Islam4UK spokesperson Anjem Choudary (far right) prays after a press conference in Millbank Studios on January 12, 2009 in London, England. (Photo by Andrew Cowie / Barcroft Media / Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JANUARY 12: Islam4UK spokesperson Anjem Choudary prays after a press conference in Millbank Studios on January 12, 2009 in London, England. (Photo by Andrew Cowie / Barcroft Media / Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JANUARY 12: Islam4UK spokesperson Anjem Choudary leaves a press conference in Millbank Studios on January 12, 2009 in London, England. (Photo by Andrew Cowie / Barcroft Media / Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JANUARY 12: Islam4UK spokesperson Anjem Choudary (C) leaves a press conference in Millbank Studios on January 12, 2009 in London, England. (Photo by Andrew Cowie / Barcroft Media / Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JANUARY 12: Islam4UK spokesperson Anjem Choudary (C) leaves a press conference in Millbank Studios on January 12, 2009 in London, England. (Photo by Andrew Cowie / Barcroft Media / Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JANUARY 12: Islam4UK spokesperson Anjem Choudary (far right) prays after a press conference in Millbank Studios on January 12, 2009 in London, England. (Photo by Andrew Cowie / Barcroft Media / Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JANUARY 12: Islam4UK spokesperson Anjem Choudary (R) leaves a press conference in Millbank Studios on January 12, 2009 in London, England. (Photo by Andrew Cowie / Barcroft Media / Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 12: Islam4UK Spokesman Anjem Choudary leaves a press conference in Millbank Studios on January 12, 2010 in London, England. The radical Islamic group had planned to stage a march through Wootton Bassett to honour Muslims who have been killed in the conflict in Afghanistan, but have been prevented from doing so, under counter-terrorism laws. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 12: Islam4UK Spokesman Anjem Choudary leaves a press conference in Millbank Studios on January 12, 2010 in London, England. The radical Islamic group had planned to stage a march through Wootton Bassett to honour Muslims who have been killed in the conflict in Afghanistan, but have been prevented from doing so, under counter-terrorism laws. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 12: Islam4UK Spokesman Anjem Choudary leaves a press conference in Millbank Studios on January 12, 2010 in London, England. The radical Islamic group had planned to stage a march through Wootton Bassett to honour Muslims who have been killed in the conflict in Afghanistan, but have been prevented from doing so, under counter-terrorism laws. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 12: Islam4UK Spokesman Anjem Choudary leaves a press conference in Millbank Studios on January 12, 2010 in London, England. The radical Islamic group had planned to stage a march through Wootton Bassett to honour Muslims who have been killed in the conflict in Afghanistan, but have been prevented from doing so, under counter-terrorism laws. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 12: Islam4UK Spokesman Anjem Choudary (C) leaves a press conference in Millbank Studios on January 12, 2010 in London, England. The radical Islamic group had planned to stage a march through Wootton Bassett to honour Muslims who have been killed in the conflict in Afghanistan, but have been prevented from doing so, under counter-terrorism laws. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 04: Anjem Choudary, a member of the pro-Islamic group 'Islam4UK', poses for photographs in front of the Houses of Parliament on January 4, 2010 in London, England. Mr Choudary has received opposition to his plan to perform a protest march through the Wiltshire town of Wootton Bassett in commeration of Muslims killed in the conflict in Afghanistan. (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 04: Anjem Choudary, a member of the pro-Islamic group 'Islam4UK', poses for photographs in front of the Houses of Parliament on January 4, 2010 in London, England. Mr Choudary has received opposition to his plan to perform a protest march through the Wiltshire town of Wootton Bassett in commeration of Muslims killed in the conflict in Afghanistan. (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 04: Anjem Choudary, a member of the pro-Islamic group 'Islam4UK', poses for photographs in front of the Houses of Parliament on January 4, 2010 in London, England. Mr Choudary has received opposition to his plan to perform a protest march through the Wiltshire town of Wootton Bassett in commeration of Muslims killed in the conflict in Afghanistan. (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 04: Anjem Choudary, a member of the pro-Islamic group 'Islam4UK', poses for photographs in front of the Houses of Parliament on January 4, 2010 in London, England. Mr Choudary has received opposition to his plan to perform a protest march through the Wiltshire town of Wootton Bassett in commeration of Muslims killed in the conflict in Afghanistan. (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)
Preacher Anjem Choudary, centre, speaks during a muslim protest outside the Syrian Embassy in London, Friday, Aug. 23, 2013. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
Preacher Anjem Choudary speaks during a muslim protest outside the Syrian Embassy in London, Friday, Aug. 23, 2013. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
Anjem Choudary, the founder of the banned extremist network Choudary Led, delivers his speech at a discussion on the upcoming visit of U.S. President Barack Obama in Jakarta, Indonesia, Thursday, March 18, 2010. The leader of the Islamist group banned in Britain, praised Osama bin Laden and called the country's Muslim president an apostate who was destined for hell. (AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim)
Anjem Choudary, the founder of the banned extremist network Choudary Led, delivers his speech at a discussion on the upcoming visit of U.S. President Barack Obama in Jakarta, Indonesia, Thursday, March 18, 2010. The leader of the Islamist group banned in Britain, praised Osama bin Laden and called the country's Muslim president an apostate who was destined for hell. (AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim)
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION

If you were watching cable news this past week, you might have heard from this man.

London-based Muslim cleric Anjem Choudary tends to pop up in the news with an offensive soundbite whenever Islamic terrorist groups are in the headlines.

Why Does This Radical Muslim Cleric Get Airtime?


He once led the now-banned radical Islamist group Islam4UK.

Among his more inflammatory comments, he's claimed that Muslims will one day implement Sharia law across Britain in some of sort Islamic state.

He's dubbed Christmas celebrations the "pathway to hellfire" and suggested those who get drunk should be publicly flogged.

Earlier this summer, he said he wanted to leave the U.K. to live in ISIS-controlled Syria or Iraq.

Then there was this recent one-on-one with Fox News's Sean Hannity that quickly descended into a shouting match when Choudary refused to acknowledge the atrocities committed by ISIS.

HANNITY: "If you shut up I'll give you an answer. I would take every terrorist like you."
CHOUDARY: "How many people have you beheaded?"
HANNITY: "You want an answer?"

It's moments like that which have The Interpreter's Michael Weiss describing Choudary as a "rent-a-quote jihadi."

​Clearly, Choudary's views on Islam put him well in the minority. As a writer for The Telegraph once put it: "Choudary no more represents mainstream British Muslims that the Westboro Baptist Church represents American Christians." ​

Yet he still gets airtime. Over in the U.K., the BBC came under fire back in 2013 for inviting Choudary on one its programs.

The network defended the interview, saying Choudary's views could "offer some insight" and show that "such opinions exist."

On the show Choudary refused to condemn the gruesome murder of a soldier at the hands of two British Muslim converts.

So, why does Choudary - a man frequently described in the media as a hate preacher - continue to get a primetime platform? This is how Choudary himself explained it to CNN's Brian Stelter.

CHOUDRY: "You know, I don't believe that there's any platform which should not be utilized to pass the message of Islam."

You can watch the full interviews with Choudary on CNN.com and FoxNews.com.
Read Full Story

People are Reading

The Latest from our Partners
1 - 3 of 15