Al-Muhajiroun, the extremist Muslim group that used the second anniversary of the September 11 atrocities last week to praise the “Magnificent 19” hijackers, is facing eviction from its London offices.
The landlord of the business centre in Tottenham, north London, where al-Muhajiroun has rented premises since December 2001, said yesterday it had begun legal action to evict the organisation.
The Workplace Group, which owns business property across London, acted after al-Muhajiroun praised the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington as “a good deed”.
The company said the offices had been rented by Anjem Choudary, a chief spokesman for al-Muhajiroun, under false pretences. He took space at the building in December 2001 claiming he was a running a news agency and training centre for journalists.
Instead, al-Muhajiroun has used the office to organise and promote its extremist religious and political views. Posters inside the room glorify the September 11 hijackers for making the United States “taste its own medicine”.
The Workplace Group first became concerned in May when police raided the offices after the death in Israel of a British suicide bomber who had links with al-Muhajiroun.
Last week al-Muhajiroun held a press conference and public meeting at which the hijackers were described as “brave warriors” who had made “the ultimate sacrifice”.
Spokesmen for the organisation also threatened attacks in Britain if attempts were made to interfere with their freedom to express their views.
The property company said that Mr Choudary, in whose name the tenancy is held, had broken the terms of his lease. “We are taking legal action today through the courts to remove him as a tenant and we are confident that will be successful,” said Harry Platt, the company’s chief executive.
A spokesman for the Workplace Group added: “Like all our tenants Mr Choudary underwent the usual reference checks at the time of his arrival.
“Until recently we found no cause for concern or suspicion about his business, ostensibly a news agency and journalist training centre.
“Our priority now is to support our 75 other tenants to minimise both their concerns and the disruption to their businesses.”
Mr Choudary said the termination of the tenancy was “no big deal” and claimed that al-Muhajiroun was looking for larger premises.
Al-Muhajiroun was formed in London in 1996 by Omar Bakri Mohammed, a Syrian Muslim radical who came to Britain in 1986 after being expelled by Saudi Arabia.
It maintains that it is a political and ideological organisation that promotes the duty of jihad but does not recruit or train people for conflict or armed activity.
People linked with the group have, however, been involved in terrorism abroad. Asif Hanif and Omar Khan Sharif, who died after a suicide bombing in Israel in April, attended lectures given by some of its spokesmen.
The Home Office has said it constantly monitors al-Muhajiroun’s activities and public statements for breaches of incitement and public order legislation.