Anjem Choudary was arrested this morning. There’s an account of it on the Express website here.
He and his helpers spend a fair bit of time in Tower Hamlets.
In May last year, I broke this story for the Sunday Express…that his groupies were running a chain of children’s sweet shops called Yummy Yummy in Whitechapel and Mile End.
When I visited them, the stores stocked on their sweet counters leaflets calling for an “Islamic Revolution”. Just the kind of thing you want with your bonbons.
The business brains behind the operation was Yazdani Choudary, Anjem’s elder brother. I wrote about him in the Sunday Express in 2011 when we revealed he’d been landing government contracts for IT training in Whitechapel Road. He was aged 48 then.
Yazdani had bought the lease on a three-storey block in New Road. The basement was used as a creche and discussion centre. The ground floor at that time was used as a printing and design shop called Master Printers. A graphic designer who had spent time in jail for raising funds for terrorism overseas worked there. I spent a bit of time watching them, including Anjem, come and go.
For the floors above, Yazdani had sought permission from Tower Hamlets council’s to convert them into Islamic teaching centre for Anjem called the Centre for Islamic Services. Adverts for CIS were even run in East End Life. Planning permission was refused.
That building was raided by the police a few months later. For a while, nothing more happened.
Master Printers then closed down, but some time later Yummy Yummy appeared in its place.
It has been quite a busy sweet shop by all accounts. I imagine it takes in a fair amount of cash.
Yazdani, now 51, has always refused to comment and there is nothing to suggest he is involved in Islamic extremism.
This morning, the police announced they’d arrested nine men on suspicion of being members of a banned organisation. They were aged between 22 and 51, according to police. We know Anjem was among them and it’s thought the organisation in question is Al Muhajiroun.
A total of 18 properties were raided, including 11 in east London.
I guessed the Yummy Yummy shops would be two of them, so I went to have a look.
The detectives declined to comment and none of Anjem’s groupies were there to talk to.
I promised the detectives I would pixelate their faces from the following pictures. I hope they enjoyed the jelly babies.