Met allows Islamist rally in London calling for 'jihad' against Israel

Fury as the Met allows Islamist rally calling for ‘jihad’ against Israel to take place on the streets of London on day which also saw Tube driver lead Palestine chants and 100,000 protesters march across UK

  • The protest was held by Islamic fundamentalist group Hizb ut-Tahrir in London

The Metropolitan Police has been slammed for allowing a rally to take place in London where an Islamist speaker called for ‘jihad’ against Israel.

Critics have labelled it ‘outrageous’ that the force did not intervene when the event, held by Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir, descended into chants of ‘jihad’ and calls for ‘Muslim Armies’ to move against Israel.

The country’s biggest police service said on social media it had not ‘identified any offences’ but would speak to the men involved to ‘discourage’ any chanting of this type in the future.

Immigration minister Robert Jenrick called the chanting ‘completely reprehensible’ and accused those doing so of ‘inciting terrorist violence’. He added that ‘arrests have been made’ but it was not clear if these were related to this particular protest.

Last week Home Secretary Suella Braverman had warned that protesters who ‘mock the murder of Jewish people’ that police would ‘come for you’.

The demonstration took place yesterday, the same day that 100,000 people in Britain marched in pro-Palestine rallies calling for a ceasefire in the Middle East after terrorist group Hamas massacred more than 1,000 Israeli civilians, sparking weeks of air strikes from the Jewish state which have killed thousands.

Among the protests on Saturday there were shocking scenes when a London tube driver led a train full of people in chants of ‘From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free’, leading to a police probe.

At an Islamist protest held in London on Saturday, one speaker was seen called for a ‘jihad’ to ‘liberate people form the concentration camp called Palestine

There were chants of ‘Jihad! Jihad! Jihad!’ at the rally outside the Egyptian embassy in London

Another speaker was seen shouting that ‘the solution is jihad and jihad alone’. The Met Police said it had ‘not identified any offences’ at the event

While the main Palestine solidarity march in central London appeared to remain largely peaceful, the Met has come under fire for its handling of the Hizb ut-Tahrir protests, which was held separately outside the Egyptian Embassy.

Hizb ut-Tahrir is an Islamic fundamentalist group that has called for the re-establishment of an Islamic caliphate and for the global implementation of sharia law. It has been banned in almost all Arab countries, as well as Muslim-majority nations such as Turkey, Bangladesh and Indonesia.

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 Video shared on social media showed one speaker asking the crowd ‘What is the solution to liberate people from the concentration camp called Palestine?’

To this the crowd chanted ‘Jihad! Jihad! Jihad!’.

A poster held by organisers of the rally read: ‘Muslim Armies! Rescue the People of Palestine.’

At the same event, the speaker added that the only solution to liberate the people of Palestine was ‘jihad by the armies of the Muslim countries’.

‘Not by you and me, what training do I have? There are people with arms – in Egypt, in Pakistan, in Saudi Arabia, in Jordan, across the Muslim world – and right now they are boiling like we are boiling.’

Another speaker was seen saying ‘the solution is jihad and jihad alone’.

In general terms the word ‘jihad’ is a reference to a Muslim’s obligation to follow and realise God’s will, but it has in recent years been used by extremist Islamic groups to justify violence against people they consider opponents of the religion.

One unnamed minister told the Telegraph that the police response was ‘really outrageous’.

Protesters during a pro-Palestine march organised by Stop the War Coalition and Palestine Solidarity Campaign in central London on Saturday

Thousands took to the streets in London on Saturday to take part in peaceful protests in solidarity with the Palestinian people in London on Saturday

Speaking this morning, immigration minister Robert Jenrick called the chants ‘completely reprehensible’ and ‘inciting terrorist violence’.

Speaking to Sky’s Sunday Morning With Trevor Phillips, Mr Jenrick said: ‘Chanting jihad on the streets of London is completely reprehensible and I never want to see scenes like that. It is inciting terrorist violence and it needs to be tackled with the full force of the law.

‘Ultimately, it’s an operational matter for the police and the CPS (Crown Prosecution Service) whether to press charges.

‘Arrests have been made… there have been arrests since the beginning of this situation. And we want to make sure that the police do everything that they can to protect British Jews.’

He added: ‘There have been arrests under terrorist legislation. And we want to do everything that we can to protect British Jews.

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‘But this is a broader question beyond just legality, it also is a question about values. And there should be a consensus in this country that chanting things like jihad is completely reprehensible and wrong and we don’t ever want to see that in our country.’

Responding to video of the ally circulating on social media, the Metropolitan Police said they had ‘not identified any offences’.

It said: ‘The word jihad has a number of meanings but we know the public will most commonly associate it with terrorism. 

‘We have specialist counter terrorism officers here in the operations room who have particular knowledge in this area. 

‘They have assessed this video, filmed at the Hizb ut-Tahrir protest in central London today, and have not identified any offences arising from the specific clip. 

‘However, recognising the way language like this will be interpreted by the public and the divisive impact it will have, officers have identified the man involved and will be speaking to him shorty to discourage any repeat of similar chanting.’

MailOnline has contacted the Met for further comment.

It came as 100,000 protesters marched in London, Birmingham, Manchester and Cardiff in defence of civilians in Gaza and West Bank after Hamas’s deadly attacks on Israel brought violent response.

The Met Police said it had arrested ten people at the London march on suspicion of offences involving fireworks, public order, and assaulting an emergency service worker.

On Saturday a London tube driver sparked outrage by urging passengers to chant pro-Palestinian slogans at they headed towards a solidarity march.

Video circulating online appears to show the Central Line driver leading a chant of ‘Free, free Palestine’ for the hundreds of people packed tightly into busy train

Those on the Tube train could be seen joining in with the driver’s chants on their way to the solidarity march

Video circulating online appears to show the Central Line driver leading a chant of ‘Free, free Palestine’ for the hundreds of people packed tightly into busy train.

As hundreds of protesters boarded the Central Line underground train at Bond Street for the short journey to Marble Arch just after midday, those onboard told MailOnline that the driver announced: ‘Sorry I can’t join your protest today, I couldn’t get the day off work. But you have my full support. Join me in chanting ‘From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free’.’

This chant is a controversial form of protest which some argue is inherently anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic – something which Palestinians and their supporters deny. 

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The Met Police this week issued updated guidance around the chant due to the strength of feeling which it evokes, saying officers will not be treating it as unlawful unless it is specifically used to intimidate members of the Jewish community.

A force statement read: ‘One particular chant that has been the subject of extensive discussion is ‘Palestine will be free, from the river to the sea’.

‘This is a chant that has been frequently heard at pro-Palestinian demonstrations for many years. We are well aware of the strength of feeling in relation to it.

‘While we can envisage scenarios where chanting these words could be unlawful, such as outside a synagogue or Jewish school, or directly at a Jewish person or group intended to intimidate, it is likely that its use in a wider protest setting, such as we anticipate this weekend, would not be an offence and would not result in arrests.’

British Transport Police Assistant Chief Constable Sean O’Callaghan told Sky News that the force was ‘aware of footage circulating on social media which suggests chants are led by a driver of a train in London earlier.

‘BTP are working with Transport for London and investigating the matter.’

A TFL spokesperson told the broadcaster: ‘We are committed to providing a safe network for everyone and want to make it clear that London is open to everyone.

‘We are aware of footage circulating on social media that suggests political comments may have been made by one of our Tube drivers. We are working to scrutinise the footage and ensure the circumstances are urgently investigated.’

Amongst the passengers was Wendy Henry, who said she ‘couldn’t believe’ what she was hearing as the atmosphere ‘turned very ugly, very quickly’ and accused the driver of trying to ‘whip up anti-Israeli feelings’.

She told MailOnline: ‘The noise in the carriages from the pro-Palestinian demonstrators was deafening and aggressive. The driver should have been concerned about safety for all the passengers yet he set about encouraging intimidating and hostile sloganeering.

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‘Transport for London should launch an immediate investigation into his actions. His whole intention was to whip up mob feeling. Although I felt very angry, I wasn’t that surprised this was happening in Sadiq Khan’s London.

She continued: ‘I have lived and worked in London for over forty years and it’s fair to say I have never felt so vulnerable and isolated.’

But many of those onboard disagreed, and video footage showed the driver being cheered and applauded by passengers who appeared to be in good spirits.

Pro-Palestinian protesters in central London also chanted ‘from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free’, despite the ongoing controversy around the slogan’s meaning.

Home Secretary Suella Braverman has previously branded the slogan antisemitic and claimed that it is ‘widely understood’ to call for the destruction of Israel.

While Jewish groups including the Board of Deputies, Jewish Leadership Council and the Community Security Trust, have asked prosecutors to clarify if chanting the slogan is a criminal offence.

However, those who defend the slogan describe it as a ‘long-standing protest chant’ that calls for a homeland for the Palestinian people.

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