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Maidenhead man found guilty of encouraging support for Islamic State

Will Taylor

Maidenhead man found guilty of encouraging support for Islamic State

Mohammed Sufiyan Choudry

A 23-year-old Maidenhead man has been found guilty of encouraging support for a proscribed organisation.

Mohammed Sufiyan Choudry, of Laggan Road, was convicted at the Old Bailey in London today.

Choudry was one of four men who had attended meetings in June and July 2015 in which they delivered what police described as ‘incendiary speeches’ to between 50 and 70 people, including children, praising Islamic State and encouraging people to support the terror group.

In Choudry's speech, which was recorded by an undercover officer, he made reference to a ‘wave’ that must be either joined or drowned under.

The meetings were held at a church in Luton and a marquee in the back garden of Ziaur Rahman, a 39-year-old from Luton, who was found guilty of three counts of arranging, managing or assisting in arranging or managing a meeting to support a proscribed organisation in the same trial.

It followed an intelligence-led operation by Bedfordshire Police and the Metropolitan Police Counter Terrorism Command.

Bedfordshire Police had investigated the proscribed group Al-Muhajiroun (ALM) and gathered evidence which it passed to the Met Police in 2015.

The three other men who made speeches were convicted for several counts of addressing a meeting to encourage support for a proscribed organisation in a trial last year.

Choudry and Rahman had appeared in that but a jury had been unable to reach a verdict on them.

Commander Dean Haydon, head of the Met Police Counter Terrorism Command, said: "These men were closely associated with Al-Muhajiroun, a dangerous group which has inspired and influenced numerous terrorists.

"The men used meetings about Ramadan - a time for self-reflection and change for the better - to instead deliver subversive speeches that encouraged groups, including very young children, to engage in war alongside Daesh.

"Speeches like theirs inspire the terrorists of tomorrow and I am immensely pleased with the excellent work of my officers and Bedfordshire Police. Crucially, both are working with Luton Social Services to safeguard the vulnerable children we've identified were taken to the radical meetings."

Detective Superintendent Glen Channer, from the Eastern Counter Terrorism Intelligence Unit, said:  "This was a complex investigation which was launched to target those who seek to influence others with their poisonous rhetoric. We used a range of tactics to collect evidence in order to bring these men to justice.

"This case is another example to show that we simply will not tolerate those who spread fear and hate in our communities and will continue to target, arrest and disrupt anyone with extreme views."

Anyone with concerns about suspicious activity can call the Anti Terrorist Hotline on 0800 789 321. People with concerns about someone being radicalised can get help and advice from a wide range of agencies at www.preventtragedies.co.uk

Choudry will be sentenced at a later date.

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