War on the Rocks: The Jihadist Entrepreneur: What the Anjem Choudary Case Teaches Us

Last week, British militant Islamist activist Anjem Choudary was sentenced to five and a half years in prison for providing support to the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Choudary is best known as a radical, charismatic, and rabble-rousing Islamist preacher who influenced and inspired more than 100 Britons to carry out acts of terrorism or fight abroad. His true influence, however, is even more far-reaching, extending beyond his role as a source of radicalization of British Muslims and converts and beyond support for a single terrorist group. Choudary is a jihadist entrepreneur who has been instrumental in setting up an international jihadist movement. The so-called “Sharia4” movement epitomizes how present day terrorist actors cooperate in pursuit of militant objectives. Such cooperation involves an increasingly diverse array of actors, ranging from formal organizations to informal networks as well as terrorist entrepreneurs such as Choudary. Such new collaborative forms between terrorist actors pose both conceptual and policy challenges to the counterterrorism community.

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