Roshonara Choudhry

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Roshonara Choudhry
Roshonara Choudhry.jpg
Choudhry in her mugshot by the Metropolitan Police
Born 1989 (age 24–25)
Newham, London, England
Occupation Student
Criminal charge
Attempted murder
Criminal penalty
Life imprisonment (minimum 15 years)
Criminal status In prison
Motive Wahabi Islamism
Conviction(s) Attempted murder

Roshonara Choudhry (Bengali: রুশনারা চৌধুরী; born 1989) is a British student and Islamist who stabbed British MP Stephen Timms on 14 May 2010 during his constituency surgery in an attempt to kill him. She was found guilty of attempted murder and jailed for life with a minimum term of 15 years. Choudhry is the first al-Qaeda sympathiser to attempt an assassination in Britain.[1]

Choudhry stated she had been influenced by online sermons of Anwar al-Awlaki, the leader of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.[2] Following her trial such material was removed from YouTube.[3]

Background[edit]

Choudhry was born in Newham, East London, and lived in East Ham. She was the eldest and attended Plashet School in East Ham, later studying for A-levels at Newham Sixth Form College. She had been in the final year of a degree in English and communications at King's College, London,[2][4][5] but had dropped out shortly before the attack.[4] In a police interview, she stated that she dropped out due to finding the University to be anti-Islamic, as they had given an award to the Israeli politician Shimon Peres and ran counter-radicalisation programmes.[6]

Attack[edit]

On 14 May 2010, Timms was approached by 21-year-old Roshonara Choudhry, during his constituency surgery at the Beckton Globe Library in Kingsford Way, Beckton, East London.[7][8] She acted as though she was going to shake his hand, and then stabbed him twice in his abdomen with a 6-inch kitchen knife, before she was disarmed.[9][10][11]

She had made "very full admissions" to the police, saying that she had been influenced by dozens of hours of sermons that she had watched of Anwar al-Awlaki, a leader of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. She said her attack was to punish Timms for voting for the Iraq War, and revenge for the Iraqi people.[12][13] She said she attacked Timms "Because I’m a Muslim and all Muslims are brothers and sisters", that she was "trying to kill him", and said "I wasn’t going to stop stabbing him until someone made me."[10]

Choudhry's victim, MP Stephen Timms

Timms suffered "potentially life-threatening" wounds: lacerations to the left lobe of his liver, and a perforation to his stomach. A senior police officer said he "was extremely fortunate not to have been killed".[14] He underwent emergency surgery at the Royal London Hospital, from which he was discharged on 19 May.[10][15]

Trial[edit]

Choudhry chose not to attend her trial for attempted murder at the Old Bailey, saying she did not recognize the court's jurisdiction.[10][16][17] The prosecutor ruled out any suggestion that she suffered from a mental illness.[18] On 2 November, Choudhry was found guilty of Timms' attempted murder. She was subsequently given a life sentence, with a recommendation that she serve a minimum jail term of 15 years.[14]

Aftermath[edit]

After the court case, Timms said he was not bitter, but that forgiveness was not an issue until his attacker showed remorse. He was seeking the banning of incendiary material on popular internet sites "to protect other vulnerable young people from going down the same road."[19]

The Revolution Muslim website described Choudhry as a heroine for stabbing Timms, posted a prayer to destroy the enemies of Islam that named Timms, and responded to her conviction for attacking Timms by ­publishing a list of MPs who voted in favour of the Iraq War as Timms had, giving advice as to how to find details of their constituency surgeries.[20][21] It stated: "We ask Allah for her action to inspire Muslims to raise the knife of Jihad against those who voted for the countless murders, rapes, pillages, and torture of Muslim civilians as a direct ­consequence of their vote."[10]

As a Category A prisoner, Choudhry must be strip searched before and after being visited. For religious reasons she does not allow this, and instead lives in solitude.[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Gardham, Duncan; Rayner, Gordon; Bingham, John (2 November 2010). "White House 'must shut down hate videos on YouTube'". The Daily Telegraph (London). 
  2. ^ a b Rayner, Gordon; Bingham, John (2 November 2010). "Stephen Timms stabbing: how internet sermons turned quiet student into fanatic". The Daily Telegraph (London). 
  3. ^ Rawstorne, Tom (5 November 2010). "The remote-controlled Al Qaeda assassin: How brilliant student was brainwashed into stabbing MP". Daily Mail (London). 
  4. ^ a b c Dodd, Vikram (2 November 2010). "Profile: Roshonara Choudhry". The Guardian (London). 
  5. ^ "Woman jailed for life for attack on MP Stephen Timms". BBC News. 3 November 2010. 
  6. ^ Hasan, Mehdi (4 November 2010). "Some observations on the stabber of Stephen Timms". The New Statesman. Retrieved 23 February 2014. 
  7. ^ Woman charged with attempted murder of Labour MP, The Times, 15 May 2010. Retrieved 11 November 2010.
  8. ^ "Former minister Timms stabbed". BBC News. 14 May 2010. Retrieved 14 May 2010. 
  9. ^ Woman, 21, arrested over stabbing of Labour MP, The Independent, 15 May 2010
  10. ^ a b c d e Tom Rawstorne (6 November 2010). "Roshonara Choudhry brainwashed by Al Qaeda into stabbing MP Stephen Timms". London: Dailymail.co.uk. Retrieved 10 November 2010. 
  11. ^ "Roshonara Choudhary accused of stabbing MP Stephen Timms". London: Daily Mail. 18 May 2010. Retrieved 11 November 2010. 
  12. ^ Burns, John F.; Helft, Miguel (4 November 2010). "YouTube Withdraws Cleric's Videos". The New York Times. 
  13. ^ "Al-Qaeda leader's tour of Britain 'radicalised a generation of young Muslims'". Oneindia News. Retrieved 8 November 2010. 
  14. ^ a b "Woman jailed for life for attack on MP Stephen Timms". BBC News. 3 November 2010. Retrieved 4 November 2010. 
  15. ^ MP Stephen Timms discharged from London hospital, BBC News, 19 May 2010
  16. ^ Woman charged with attempted murder over stabbing of Labour MP Stephen Timms, Daily Mail, 15 May 2010
  17. ^ Woman appears in court over stabbing of Labour MP, Daily Telegraph, 17 May 2010
  18. ^ Woman stabbed MP 'in revenge for Iraq war vote', Daily Telegraph, 1 November 2010
  19. ^ Stephen Timms: I don't feel bitter but I'm not ready to forgive my knife attacker, Evening Standard, 4 November 2010. Retrieved 4 November 2010.
  20. ^ Gardham, Duncan (10 November 2010). "Arrest over website that encouraged Muslim to attack MPs". London: Telegraph. Retrieved 12 November 2010. 
  21. ^ Gardham, Duncan (4 November 2010). "Website used by woman who stabbed MP encourages further attacks". London: Telegraph. Retrieved 12 November 2010.