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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.

yummy yummy, anjem choudary

Detective taking notes from a resident outside the Yummy Yummy shop in New Road, Whitechapel (copyright Ted Jeory)

yummy yummy, anjem choudary

Yummy Yummy, Whitechapel (copyright Ted Jeory)

yummy yummy 3

Detectives enter Yummy Yummy sweet shop in New Road (copyright Ted Jeory)

yummy yummy, Anjem Choudary

Unmarked police cars outside Yummy Yummy shop in Mile End Road (copyright Ted Jeory)

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Anjem Choudary, the brains behind the chain of Yummy Yummy sweet shops in Tower Hamlets (and a charming hate preacher to boot) is calling on his little groupies to march in Brick Lane at 2pm today.

His target is alcohol, which he apparently used to love in great quantities while Andy Choudary the student at Southampton University.

anjem-choudary-b

His message could be that if you drink loads of booze, you’ll turn out like him. And that surely would be a good warning.

But he’s not saying that. He’s saying alcohol is an abomination os Satan and if you “leave it, you can be successful”. Er, just like him.

Having had many of his predecessor groups such as Al Muhajiroun and Islam4UK banned by the Home Secretary, another website called the Shariah Project has popped up.

And that’s where we can see his latest threatening leaflet, which might well have been distributed in Brick Lane (i don’t know if it has) where the intention is to intimidate the many Bengali curry restaurant workers from selling booze. It’s the Muslim Patrol v2.

They purport to be “legal notices from the Department of Regulation at Tower Hamlets Council”. But they’re clearly fake because any fool knows Tower Hamlets council doesn’t do regulation.

Anjem letter

Department ofBusiness Regulation

Tower Hamlets

RE: YOUR LICENCE TO SELL ALCOHOL HAS BEEN REVOKED – DO NOT IGNORE THIS LETTER

Dear Business Owner

This letter is legal notice that you have no legal permission to sell, serve or stock alcohol atyour premises. If you are still stocking, serving or selling any alcoholic products beverages, you must cease immediately.

Failure to comply with this notice to cease trading in alcoholic products is illegal and you will be liable to severe penalties as will be explained in this letter. Please note that you have noright to appeal this decision and you cannot apply for any further licences to serve alcohol on these premises or any other businesses you are associated with.

You have been formally warned that you are breaking the Prohibition of the sale of alcohol law chapter 4, sect. 90 of the Quran, which states: “Alcohol, gambling, divination of arrowsare only abominations of satan, so leave it so that you can be successful.” And in thetradition of Muhammad recorded in Abu Dawood v.4 p.207, “Whenever Allah has prohibiteda thing, it is prohibited to benefit from it or its outcome.” And in Musnad Ahmed, “Verily if Allah has prohibited for people the consumption of a thing, He also has prohibited its sale.” And in Tirmidhi No.2776, Anas ibn Malik narrated that “Allah’s Messenger cursed ten peoplein connection with alcohol: the presser, the one who has it pressed, the one who drinks it,the one who conveys it, the one to whom it is conveyed, the one who serves it, the one whosells it, the one who benefits from the price paid for it, the one who buys it, and the one forwhom it is bought.”

The penalty for failing to cease drinking, serving or selling alcohol includes the curse of Allah, punishment by hellfire in the afterlife and if found guilty in a shariah court following theestablishment of the upcoming Islamic state you could be liable to forty lashes publically. 

DO NOT IGNORE THIS LETTER

If you have any questions regarding this notice or if you would like more information aboutwhat to do next, please visit http://www.iqaamah.co.uk/legalnotice/ or you can contact us by phone on 07956041034. For further information in Bengali contact 07939349760

The thing is, I agree with him. I think anyone buying booze from Brick Lane’s curry houses deserves to go to hell fire. I mean,you never know what they’re serving. Remember this?

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About this time two years ago, I wrote this:

My own view, as outlined here, is that the EDL should be banned as an organisation. I’ve seen them for myself on marches and they’re little more than a bunch of football hooligans who give both football and free speech a bad name. They go out to provoke and they glory in trying to outwit the likes of Anjem Choudary and the police when it comes to the former’s demonstrations.

So the Met’s decision yesterday to ask Theresa May to ban the EDL marching through Tower Hamlets last week is a good thing. Well done to Mayor Lutfur Rahman and all the other politicians and grass roots activists who helped persuade Scotland Yard. It was an easy win-win for Lutfur, but he grabbed the opportunity.

Plus ca change.

Pic credit: East London Advertiser

Pic credit: East London Advertiser

Credit must again go to Mayor Lutfur and his advisers for seizing yet another gift on a plate from the thickies of the EDL. How he must secretly love them.

And how his people must be laughing at Labour on this: he’s run rings around them.

Last year, Labour’s then group leader Josh Peck and many of his councillors decided to abstain from attending the counter-EDL rally. Josh’s view was that the UAF (Unite Against Fascism) was staging a demo as a precursor to a punch-up with the EDL. As it happens, he was right on that point of fact. But politically, even some of his allies think that was a mistake.

I’m told John Biggs thinks it was an error, which is why he was there in Altab Ali Park yesterday. Yet even under his leadership, Labour has allowed itself to be the object of ridicule and on the back foot. Their long-planned summer barbecue scheduled for yesterday was unfortunate timing, but how anyone failed to spot much earlier that it would be politically problematic is really quite odd.

If they are to beat Lutfur next May, they need to sharpen up their PR act big time…and quickly.

But let’s look at Lutfur’s tactics. His strategy for more than three years now has been to present himself to the Bengali community (via the press, satellite Bangladeshi TV channels and The Guardian) as the martyred Muslim victim of an evil racist plot by the Right-wing media, the institutionally racist decision-making bodies of Labour’s NEC and the anti-Muslim Peter Golds-led Tower Hamlets Tory party.

So when the English Defence League threaten to march this way, he becomes not just the martyr but also the hero leader: a modern-day Boudicca of the East End (in a Mercedes, not a chariot). He’s been telling his friendly uncritical TV channels (including the ones he now so generously helps to fund with council money) that it’s all Labour’s fault the EDL are coming.

He tells them that Andrew Gilligan’s Channel 4 Dispatches programme in March 2010 (disclosure: I appeared in it) was the main inspiration for the EDL. He says because Labour also played a part in that documentary (Jim Fitzpatrick was another interviewee), and because the accusations he was linked to Islamic fundamentalism were a big factor in his expulsion from Labour in summer 2010), Labour is thus responsible for the arrival of Stella-swigging monsters on the borough’s doorstep.

He then gleefully adds: “Look at what Labour are doing to stop them coming: they’re having a barbecue!” He has skewered them.

A classier group of politicians would then have let their actions do the talking; if you have the moral high ground, keep quiet and stay there. But Lutfur’s people can’t help themselves: they say any political leader not at yesterday’s rally cannot be in favour of Lutfur’s One Tower Hamlets mantra. The irony of this rally fascism is undoubtedly lost on them.

So where were the borough’s two MPs yesterday, they ask? Where was Peter Golds? I had a Twitter conversation about this with Lutfurite councillor Kabir Ahmed this morning.

There seemed to be some underlying implication that Peter is not as opposed to the EDL and fascism as Kabir is. Which given the sufferings of Peter’s family in the Holocaust is more than unfortunate. I then asked Kabir if he condemned the homophobic and anti-Semitic abuse that I’ve witnessed aimed at Peter by Lutfur’s supporters in the council chamber.

He was among the first Tower Hamlets councillors to sign the Hope not Hate pledge, he told me; he was a Hope not Hate champion…but repeatedly, Kabir refused to condemn those specific incidents by his own supporters. Such leadership.

There were probably other factors in the decision by some to stay away yesterday. They probably didn’t want to be associated with two of the rally’s predominant contingents: those strange bed-fellows, the Socialist Workers’ Party and the Islamic Forum of Europe.

I’m told the IFE had a 1,000 stewards out on the streets of Whitechapel yesterday. They were everywhere, even guarding the main stage in Altab Ali Park where speakers couldn’t help talking about the need not to strike Syria (the EDL would have applauded that). It was also the same stage onto which John Biggs was apparently initially declined entry.

I also saw a couple of IFE stewards standing guard opposite the Yummy Yummy sweet shop in New Road. I thought that might have been a coincidence, but it probably wasn’t. That sweet shop was no doubt highlighted as a potential EDL target…because, as I revealed earlier this year, it’s run by Anjem Choudary and his crowd.

You see, although the East London Mosque hasn’t exactly helped itself by failing to prevent homophobic and hate-fuelled sermons from the likes of Anwar al-Awlaki in the past, Anjem is the EDL’s biggest enemy. They follow him and his helpers everywhere. They’re on the same intellectual level.

Wouldn’t it be nice to see the United East End umbrella group of community groups etc etc take a stance on Anjem’s presence in the borough? Perhaps Lutfur and Kabir should organise a rally against him and his gang of terror groupies. I doubt we’d ever see the EDL again if he did that.

(And by the way, I hear that the Black Bloc anti-fascist group, many of whose members were arrested trying to attack the EDL yesterday, have started taking an interest in the Islamofascist tendencies of some Jamaat e Islami groups in the borough: that could be very interesting…).

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