Imam Linked to Paris Attacker Fights Extradition, Insists He ‘Fights Terror’

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A Birmingham-based imam allegedly linked to convicted terror recruiter Anjem Choudary and an Islamic State Paris attacker is fighting extradition from Britain, claiming he “fights terrorism”.

Tarik Chadlioui, 43, is wanted in Spain for recruiting Islamic State terrorists, where he could face 20 years in jail, and moved to the UK from Belgium two years ago.

He is alleged to be the spiritual leader of the jihadist network that inspired Omar Mostefai, one of the Bataclan bombers who killed 86 people in Paris in November 2015. He has also previously been linked with Anjem Choudary, the infamous convicted British hate preacher, The Times reports.

Mr. Chadlioui was one of six people arrested across Europe in June, and Spanish authorities allege he made three pro-jihadi videos for extremist forces in Syria during two visits to Mallorca in 2014 and 2015.

He appeared at an extradition hearing in Westminster Magistrates Court on Thursday, wearing Islamic dress and using an Arabic translator. His barrister claimed the defendant “is an anti-terrorist”.

“He has uploaded thousands of videos to YouTube,” barrister Malcolm Hawkes said, according to the BBC. “This is what he does, he is an anti-terrorist preacher.” Mr. Chadlioui has more than 17,000 subscribers.

He has eight children in the Sparkhill area of Birmingham, aged between 4 months and 18 years old, and the city has become a popular destination for fundamentalist Muslims fleeing burqa bans in other parts of Europe. The nearby neighbourhood of Small Heath is 95 per cent Muslim.

Mr. Chadlioui is also contesting his extradition on the basis that it is “a clear interference with his right to a family life” under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Mr. Hawkes said: “It’s disproportionate, therefore, to seek his extradition at this stage. It’s a clear… interference with his right to a family life. For these reasons I would urge you to discharge this warrant.”

Senior district judge Emma Arbuthnot adjourned judgement until Tuesday. Mr. Chadlioui was remanded in custody.

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