Activists Send Mixed Messages On French Terror Attacks

Jan 07, 2015 at 1:28 PM ET

Not long after masked gunmen stormed the offices of a French satirical newspaper in Paris, killing a dozen people, Anjem Choudary, a prominent activist and arguably Britain’s leading propagandist for ISIS, began to tweet his support for the attacks.

The paper, called Charlie Hebdo, ran a cover that featured a caricature of novelist Michel Houellebecq, who has written a novel that imagines a France led by Muslims.

Counterterrorism officials say Choudary has helped indoctrinate hordes of homegrown terrorists and prompted thousands of Europeans to head for the war zones of Iraq and Syria. He’s also linked to numerous terrorist attacks in the United Kingdom.

On the bright side, there are mainstream imams who are speaking out against the attacks in Paris. Mufti Ismail Menk, for instance, has over a million followers on Facebook and is a powerful influencer.

There is also Omar Suleiman, who has over half a million Facebook followers.

Both men are important counterweights to the message Choudary is spreading.

Correction: In an earlier version of this story, Vocativ wrongly identified Anjem Choudary as an “imam.” We apologize for the mistake.