Government seeks removal of extremist videos on the web

Roshonara Choudry attacking MP Stephen Timms

By Catherine Mumford

Security Minister Lady Neville-Jones said that sites inciting violence will be banned in the UK in her address at the Brookings Institute in Washington last week.

Her focus on the removal of extremist videos comes after links to speeches by Anwar al-Awlaki, the American Muslim extremist cleric, were found on the computer of Roshonara Choudhry, the 21 year-old Briton who repeatedly stabbed MP Stephen Timms in May.

According to the Daily Telegraph, in remarks to the Institute, Neville declared “Those websites would categorically not be allowed in the UK. They incite cold-blooded murder and as such are surely contrary to the public good. If they were hosted in the UK then we would take them down but this is a global problem. Many of these websites are hosted in America and we look forward to working even more closely with you to take down this hateful material.”

Choudhry was convicted yesterday, after a unanimous decision by the jury, of attempted murder and two counts of possession of an offensive weapon. She faces life in prison with minimum of 15 years at the Old Bailey. She told authorities without hesitation that her intention was to end Timms’s life, desiring to avenge the people of Iraq.

Despite the popular video site YouTube’s guidelines prohibiting videos featuring dangerous or illegal activities such as bomb-making, hate speech, or incitement to commit acts of violence, Awlaki’s videos can be found within seconds. His videos contain statements such as “America, if you attack us, we will attack you, and if you kill some of us, we will kill some of you.”

He further encourages listeners to kill US soldiers on their own soil, such as at the Army base in Fort Hood, Texas. It is believed that one of his listeners was in fact Nidal Hasan, the US soldier who shot and killed 13 of his fellow soldiers at Fort Hood in 2009.

A YouTube spokesman said “We’re now looking into the new videos that have been raised with us and will remove all those which break our rules.”