Exclusive: Anjem Choudary speaks out about arrest
This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," September 29, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
SEAN HANNITY, HOST: My next guest, Anjem Choudary, made headlines last week after being arrested on terror charges in London. The controversial Muslim cleric has advocated for Britain to become an Islamic state and follow Sharia law. He is also suspected of radicalizing hundreds and is believed to have ties to ISIS, including links to the man who is suspected of beheading James Foley.
Joining us now in his first interview, U.S. interview, after being released from jail is London imam Anjem Choudary is with us. All right, rather than argue -- you've been on the show twice before -- how about I ask you a question. I'll give you 20 seconds uninterrupted to answer. Is that fair?
ANJEM CHOUDARY, LONDON IMAM: OK.
HANNITY: OK? First question I have is -- you refused to kill (sic) the beheading of innocent people, James Foley, the other individuals that were beheaded by ISIS. My question to you is very simple. Why would you hold innocent people responsible -- regardless of what you think the reasoning is behind it, why would you hold them responsible for something they themselves did not do?
CHOUDARY: Well, I think that the information that we receive, sadly, is very biased. If you look at what the people are saying who are holding these hostages, they are willing to exchange them. They are talking about the fact that there's no stability and security in Muslim countries because of the U.S. and British foreign policy. So I think if you look at the whole picture, you will find, in fact, there's another story. And until we hear that story, I'm afraid that...
HANNITY: One guy was an aid worker that went to Syria to help innocent children. I hardly think he was a guy that deserved to have his head chopped off because you believe in a caliphate.
CHOUDARY: Well, you know, as I say, I don't take my news from FOX News or the BBC. If you look at the people on the ground, I think you'll find that they have a completely different story. The Christians and the Jews are living quite peacefully, in fact, in the Islamic State at the current time.
HANNITY: Let me ask you this question. Would you desire yourself -- would you ever want to join ISIS and fight with them, considering you think their cause is so noble?
CHOUDARY: Well, you know, Sean, ISIS don't exist anymore. As you know, The Islamic State is made up of many organizations and bodies. In fact, millions of citizens are living there under the Sharia. Of course, I would love to live under the Sharia. I've said that to you before. I would love to bring up my children under the Sharia. And in fact, my passport was, in fact, taken on Friday. So obviously, it makes it difficult for me to travel now.
HANNITY: Do you believe that suicide bombers get 72 virgins in heaven if they kill innocent men, women and children?
CHOUDARY: You know, nobody will kill innocent men, women and children. In the battlefield, as you know, people kill each other. I think it was...
HANNITY: I'm talking about suicide bombers.
CHOUDARY: ... your own (INAUDIBLE) and Tommy Franks...
HANNITY: ... suicide bombers that go into open marketplaces and blow themselves up, and there are people there that are nonpolitical that get killed. Do you believe when they go to heaven that Allah gives them 72 virgins?
CHOUDARY: This is just not the reality. You know, if you look, for example, at the marketplaces which you bombed in Afghanistan and Pakistan, usually, you find this Blackwater, you know, some American company, the ISI Pakistan who are killing innocent people and then blaming the Taliban. There's nothing called suicide in Islam. There's something called using your body sometimes in the battlefield, you know, against the enemy. You know, if you just kill yourself because you're depressed...
HANNITY: I know, but I'm asking a specific question. Do you believe after they kill people that they go into the arms of Allah and that Allah gives them 72 virgins?
CHOUDARY: Well, You know, I believe that if someone sacrifices his life for the sake of Allah, you know, and he does something which is allowed Islamically, then obviously, this man is shaheeb (ph). And you know, the Prophet Mohammed (INAUDIBLE) promised much more than 72 virgins in the hereafter. He will have everything that he wants. I think that, you know, you underestimate what Allah can give you in the hereafter.
HANNITY: Do you want to see a worldwide caliphate? In other words, do you want the entire world to either convert to Islam, or that they would be viewed as infidels and should be killed?
CHOUDARY: No, that's not true, Sean. You know, the reality is that we've had the sharia before, and now we have it again. The non-Muslims can live quite peacefully together with the Muslims side by side, as you saw in Spain for over 800 years. They can pay the jizzia (ph) and in return, their life and wealth (ph) will be protected, but they don't pay the zikkat (ph), by all accounts, which is much more. You know, they can have their own places of worship, and they can do their own rituals.
You know, in many respects -- in fact, in all respects, it's much better than the system we have today in America and in Britain.
HANNITY: Why are you on welfare? You get $25,000 a year the equivalent of welfare?
CHOUDARY: You know...
HANNITY: Why don't you work?
CHOUDARY: ... don't believe everything you read in the British media.
HANNITY: Is that not true? Do you get...
CHOUDARY: I do something, in fact, for a living. I do something for a living. I'm not on job seekers' allowance.
HANNITY: Do you get welfare?
CHOUDARY: Everybody in Britain gets a child benefit...
HANNITY: Do you get welfare?
CHOUDARY: I beg your pardon?
HANNITY: Do you get any type of government assistance?
CHOUDARY: You know, everybody gets (INAUDIBLE) for their children. But it's irrelevant. You know, when was someone who receive, let's say, for the sake of argument, welfare not allowed to have his voice heard? Are we saying that everyone now who's on the poverty line in America shouldn't speak? You've got already over 40 percent of the people in America who are on the poverty line, who need welfare benefits. So if you want to speak about the politics...
HANNITY: I'm listening to you, and you make -- you make -- you dismiss that James Foley and these three other people that were beheaded on this brutal video -- you deny that that is terrorism. But yet you say people should be proud of the word terrorism, quote, "proud to be called terrorists," and that, quote, "you urge followers to rise up." You talk about suicide bombers, and you suggest that, well, you know, it's all part of this war.
What is the war? What do you want -- what is it that you -- you seem to support ISIS. You seem to support terrorism. You seem to ask other people to raise up arms, that you yourself have been obviously unwilling to do. What is it that you're looking for?
CHOUDARY: You know, Sean, you mention many things. I don't think we have the time to discuss all of them. But you know...
HANNITY: What do you want?
CHOUDARY: ... I think that there are two camps in the world -- I beg your pardon?
HANNITY: In other words, you want -- you say you should be proud to be a terrorist. You should be proud to join ISIS...
CHOUDARY: No, I never said that. I never said that.
HANNITY: You never condemned...
CHOUDARY: I never said that. Come on, Sean.
CHOUDARY: You know very well I never said join ISIS...
HANNITY: I read the quotes.
CHOUDARY: I never said...
HANNITY: You said -- you urged your cronies to be...
HANNITY: I'll tell you when you said it -- proud to be called terrorists, and you sneered on a trip abroad funded by benefits when you -- when you took a recent trip.
CHOUDARY: You know -- you know, Sean, if terrorism is standing up for Islam and saying that the people have a right to defend themselves, then obviously, you know, we're quite happy to be labeled.
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