World

Why Does This Radical Muslim Cleric Get Airtime?

U.K.-based cleric Anjem Choudary is frequently described as a hate preacher due to his extreme views. Why does he keep scoring major TV interviews?

Why Does This Radical Muslim Cleric Get Airtime?
CNN

If you were watching cable news this past week, you might have heard from this man.

(Video via Fox News, CNN

London-based Muslim cleric Anjem Choudary tends to pop up in the news with an offensive sound bite whenever Islamic terrorist groups are in the headlines. (Video via Channel 5)  

He once led the now-banned radical Islamist group Islam4UK.  

Among his more inflammatory comments, he's claimed that Muslims will one day implement Sharia law across Britain in some of sort Islamic state.  

He's dubbed Christmas celebrations the "pathway to hellfire" and suggested those who get drunk should be publicly flogged.

Earlier this summer, he said he wanted to leave the U.K. to live in ISIS-controlled Syria or Iraq.

Then there was this recent one-on-one with Fox News' Sean Hannity that quickly descended into a shouting match when Choudary refused to acknowledge the atrocities committed by ISIS.  

HANNITY: "If you shut up, I'll give you an answer. I would take every terrorist like you."

CHOUDARY: "How many people have you beheaded?"

HANNITY: "You want an answer?" (Video via Fox News

It's moments like that which have The Interpreter's Michael Weiss describing Choudary as a "rent-a-quote jihadi."

​Clearly, Choudary's views on Islam put him well in the minority. As a writer for The Telegraph once put it: "Choudary no more represents mainstream British Muslims [than] the Westboro Baptist Church represents American Christians." ​

Yet he still gets airtime. Over in the U.K., the BBC came under fire back in 2013 for inviting Choudary on one of its programs.

The network defended the interview, saying Choudary's views could "offer some insight" and show that "such opinions exist."

On the show Choudary refused to condemn the gruesome murder of a soldier at the hands of two British Muslim converts. (Video via BBC)

So why does Choudary — a man frequently described in the media as a hate preacher — continue to get a prime-time platform? This is how Choudary himself explained it to CNN's Brian Stelter.

CHOUDARY: "You know, I don't believe that there's any platform which should not be utilized to pass the message of Islam."

​You can watch the full interviews with Choudary on CNN.com and FoxNews.com.