Anjem Choudary on Newsnight, last night
Anjem Choudary on Newsnight, last night

Major TV broadcasters are undermining efforts to strength Muslim cohesion by giving radical "idiots and nutters" a soapbox, a top Muslim politician has complained.

Tory peer Baroness Warsi laid in to the BBC and Channel 4, after fundamentalist preacher Anjem Choudary got airtime on both channels' flagship news programmes on Thursday.

Choudary appeared on screens to discuss the killing of British soldier Lee Rigby in Woolwich on Wednesday by two assailants who claimed they did it in the name of Islam.

The Woolwich-born preacher, who has belonged to a swathe of banned radical organisations, took part in a panel discussion on Channel 4's teatime news programme and then turned up on BBC Newsnight a few hours later.

Warsi, the first female Muslim to serve as a minister in the UK, slammed the decision by the broadcasting giants to propagate Choudary's views across the country.

She said: "We all have a responsibility, including the media, not to give airtime to extremist voices - idiots and nutters who speak for no one but themselves.

"The heartening thing in the midst of all this tragedy is that the British Muslim community has, with a unified, unreserved voice, condemned the killing and pledged support for our armed forces.

"This is a real maturing of the community which has taken years of painstaking work and frank discussions behind closed doors.

"This time everyone has stepped up to the mark. Yet here broadcasters are undoing all this by giving a platform to one appalling man who represents nobody. I am really angry."

In both appearances, Choudary refused to completely condemn the gruesome knife slaying of British soldier Lee Rigby by suspected Islamic fanatics.

He instead bid to explain the shocking incident in the context of his own opinions, claiming that words spoken by alleged attacker Michael Adebolajo to witnesses at the scene explained what the alleged motive.

Photographs show Choudary and suspected Woolwich killer Michael Adebolajo together a public demonstration staged by banned group Al Muhajiroun in 2007 - sparking questions over Choudary's possible role in the radicalisation of Adebolajo.

In the immediate aftermath of the Woolwich murder, Choudary used Twitter to blame David Cameron and Britain's policy in Afghanistan for the attack.

He wrote: "I blame Cameron for his foreign policy against Islam & Muslims! If the British regime sends people to murder Muslims in Iraq/Afghanistan, then it is bound to cause instability in the UK, time to withdraw."

Woolwich Soldier Murder Betrayed Islam, Says David Cameron [VIDEO+FULL TEXT]