Hate preacher Anjem Choudary has claimed he is proud to receive £25,000 a year in benefits from the British taxpayer because the money 'belongs to Allah'.
The extremist cleric was speaking hours after Home Secretary Alan Johnson banned Choudary's Islam4UK group, making it a criminal offence to be a member.
British-born Choudary provoked outrage earlier this month when he announced that 500 members of his group were considering marching through the Wiltshire market town carrying empty coffins to mark Muslims 'mercilessly murdered' in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The 42-year-old cleric cancelled the protest on Sunday but yesterday showed no sign of curbing his fanatical rants, warning that the ban on his group would force young Muslims 'underground'.
Asked about receiving £25,000 in benefits, the trained lawyer said: 'I am not doing anything illegal. If we were living under the shariah there would be free food, clothing and shelter for all.
'Whether you are on benefits or not that does not mean you cannot propogate your ideas. I have always remained within the ambit of the law.
'The money belongs to Allah and if it is given you can take it. You don't lie and you don't cheat- that is what the prophet said.'
Choudary's bizarre defence of his benefits payments came just days after a group of Muslim extremists who screamed 'rapists' and 'murderers' at British soldiers escaped unpunished and claimed the state would pay their fines.
Sajjadar Choudhury, 31, Munin Abdul, 28, Jalal Ahmed, 21, Yousaf Bashir, 29, and Ziaur Rahman, 32, were given conditional discharges for shouting 'baby killers' and 'terrorists' and waving placards at hundreds of soldiers returning from Iraq.
The men, all of whom are on benefits and cost taxpayers nearly £50,000 a year, were each ordered to pay £500 in costs towards the prosecution. Outside the court, they defiantly declared: 'The taxpayer paid for this court case. The taxpayer will pay for the fines too out of benefits'.
The Mail revealed today that Choudary is being given round-the-clock police protection following his controversial threat to march through Wootton Basset.
Even though the extremist cleric has now called off plans to stage the protest, he still receives hourly security checks at his East London home.
Metropolitan police officers have been told to give his protection priority above other local policing jobs such as muggings, theft and foot patrols.
Matthew Sinclair, of the TaxPayers-V1 Alliance, said: 'Taxpayers are going to be shocked to hear that the police are having to waste time, that they should be spending fighting terrorism, looking after Anjem Choudary.
As Choudary held his press conference to react to the ban, patrol cars and unmarked vehicles were still instructed to drive past his empty £320,000 rented home - which is funded by council benefits.
Officers tasked with carrying out these patrols have privately expressed their fury at being diverted away from what they regard as 'proper policing'.
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But the Metropolitan Police's counter-terrorism unit fears a far-Right group may be plotting an attack on the fanatic.
Their concerns intensified after a Facebook campaign against the march attracted the support of more than 250,000 Britons and led to threats against Choudary's life.
A police source said that since the checks began last week, they had already taken up around £2,500 of police time, often occupying beat officers for entire shifts if counter-terror detectives are not available.
'We are being diverted away from other jobs to carry out these checks and they are given priority over other things, such as house break-ins,' the source said.
'Choudary has deliberately made himself a target among far-Right groups and his recent plans to protest at Wootton Bassett have stirred up even more anger.
'His address is widely known and police fear it's a powder-keg atmosphere. Senior officers are frightened of having a race war on their hands.
'If something were to happen to him, we would be blamed.'
Tory MP Patrick Mercer, chairman of the sub-committee on counter-terrorism, said: 'He is drawing constant attention to himself and diverting resources away from their proper use.'
The Met last night refused to discuss the security arrangements.
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In: Iraq, Afghanistan, News
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