The former leader of banned radical group Islam4UK, Anjem Choudary, is adamant that a Tower Hamlets event he is scheduled to speak at will go ahead, despite the original venue cancelling its booking.
The event, called Islamic Revival 2010, was due to take place in Collingwood Hall in Bethnal Green on November 27 but the community centre – which is managed by Tower Hamlets Council – removed the booking after it emerged that scheduled speakers had links to extremist organisations.
Last night Mr Choudary, 43, told East London Lines that the conference would proceed regardless of the cancellation.
“Collingwood Hall was a decoy,” he claimed. “We always knew the council would try to silence the voice of Islam. We’ll announce the real venue closer to the time.”
Mr Choudary is the former solicitor who caused controversy earlier this year after threatening that Islam4UK would hold an inflammatory demonstration in Wootton Bassett, the town famous for honouring British service personnel killed in Afghanistan.
Another scheduled speaker was Omar Bakri Mohammed, who was last week sentenced to life imprisonment by a Lebanese military court for carrying out “terrorist acts”. Mr Bakri Mohammed, who denies all charges, was tried in absentia but arrested and remanded in custody two days later.
The father-of-seven lived in the UK for 20 years but while he was in Lebanon in 2005, the British government took measures to prevent him from re-entering the country, saying he was “not conducive to public good”. He was due to speak at the event via video link.
The website for Islamic Revival 2010 promises an “unprecedented conference” that will examine “how Muslim blood has lost all of its value as the disbelievers continue in their aggression.” A disclaimer on the same site states that “organisers of Islamic Revival 2010 do not necessarily share all the views expressed by every speaker.” Meanwhile a Facebook page promoting the event indicates that just 28 people are due to attend.
Tower Hamlets council issued a statement in response to the cancellation yesterday, saying: “We understand the Tenant and Residents Association has informed the organisers that the booking has been cancelled. We’ll be working with the Resident’s Association and others to try and assist them in identifying who the individuals and organisations are behind the private bookings to try and avoid this happening again.”