The alleged killer’s friends said the he had been radicalized by watching preacher Anjem Choudary’s YouTube videos.
By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News
A British preacher who served time for inciting terrorism suggested that British MP David Amess was killed due to his support for Israel.
Anjem Choudary told the Daily Mail, “The rumors are that he is pro-Israel.”
“No one in their right and rational mind would support such a state,” he added, accusing Israel of being “a terrorist state” that “carries out carnage against Muslims in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.”
Choudary also suggested that the motive could have been that the 69-year-old parliamentarian was “part of the Conservative Party and they have been in power a long time, especially during the campaigns in Muslim countries such as Iraq and Syria and Afghanistan.”
Amess was fatally stabbed Friday afternoon while meeting with his constituents in a local church. The alleged killer, Ali Harbi Ali, struck him 17 times before fleeing. He was apprehended several hours later and due to statements he made under questioning, is being held under the Terrorism Act rather than simply on a murder charge.
The British daily reported that Ali’s friends claimed he was radicalized by watching YouTube videos of Choudary preaching hatred of the West during the long lockdowns put in place in Great Britain due to the current Covid-19 pandemic.
Choudary is a former leader of the banned Islamist group Al-Mubajiroun, and preached about the necessary domination of Islam over the world for decades. He was sentenced to five and a half years’ imprisonment in 2016 for inviting support for the ISIS terrorist organization. He was released in 2018 under restrictive conditions, including a ban on public speaking or talking to the media, all of which ended in July.
The preacher was careful to express his opposition to the murder in his interview, saying of Amess’ alleged support of Israel, “‘Obviously that does not give someone justification for someone to kill someone.”
Amess had been an honorary secretary of the Conservative Friends of Israel since 1998, and he often spoke of his support for British Jewry.
During a House of Commons session marking Holocaust Memorial Day in January, he said, “Whilst I am not a Jew myself but a Catholic, there is Jewish blood in each and every one of us. I would certainly have been proud to have been born a Jew, and stand shoulder to shoulder with our local Jewish community.”
“I simply do not, and have never understood, antisemitism,” he added.
Ali had not been on any official watch list for his views. A few years ago, according to the paper, he had been referred to a group that tries to steer people away from Islamic extremism, but the suggestion had not come from the police or security services. Attendance at the Prevent program is voluntary, and Ali went for only a short period of time, said the report.
The police currently believe that Ali acted as a ‘lone wolf,’ with no ties to any terrorist organization. They are also reportedly considering that Amess had been targeted for being chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Qatar, and that Ali would have been satisfied by killing any national politician at all, with Amess being unlucky in that Ali got an appointment to see him first.
“All avenues” were being explored at this time, security sources said to The Times.