LONDON - Britain's most high-profile Islamist preacher, Anjem Choudary, appeared in a London court Wednesday to plead not guilty to charges of inviting support for the Islamic State group.
Choudary, 48, was accused alongside an associate, Mohammed Mizanur Rahman, of using lectures that were published online to encourage support for the banned IS group, which has seized swaths of territory in Syria and Iraq.
Choudary, dressed in white traditional Muslim attire and speaking in front of a small group of supporters in the court, called the charge a "political maneuver" by Prime Minister David Cameron and the police.
Asked for his plea to the charges, he said he would plead that Cameron and the police were guilty while "the only people who are innocent are me and Mr Rahman."
Both men were remanded in custody until August 28.
Choudary, the former head of the now-banned organization al-Muhajiroun, was arrested by counterterrorism police in September last year on suspicion of being a member of Islamic State.
"The whole procedure from beginning to end is orchestrated to silence the Muslim community," Choudary told the court.
Prosecutor David Cawthorne said the men, if found guilty, faced a maximum of 10 years in prison. "Both are high-profile figures and are well aware of their influence across social media," he said.