Sun. Jun 16th, 2024

Around 100,000 protesters descended on the capital (Image: Getty)

The Metropolitan Police are “gaslighting” the British public according to an expert in Islamic extremism, after a group of pro-Palestine supporters repeatedly called for “jihad” during a demonstration in central London.

Members of Hizb ut-Tahrir, a “revolutionary Islamist party” according to the Henry Jackson Society, gathered outside the Egyptian embassy near Westminster to call for “jihad” to “liberate” Palestinians.

The Islamist rhetoric was captured in two separate clips posted on X, formerly Twitter. The male-only crowd was led by the same speaker, as yet unnamed, in each video.

The speaker, addressing the crowd in one of the clips, said: “What is the solution to liberate people from the concentration camp called Palestine?”

In response, a group of men shouted back: “Jihad! Jihad! Jihad!”

The Hizb ut-Tahrir speaker called for ‘jihad’ to ‘liberate’ Palestine (Image: @hurryupharry / X)

In the second clip, the same speaker said: “The only solution is jihad by the armies of the Muslim countries.”

Pointing to those gathered, he added: “Not by you and me. Who are we? 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.”

According to the Counter Extremism Project, Hizb ut-Tahrir is banned in “at least 13 countries”, including Pakistan, Lebanon and Egypt and advocates for a “global caliphate”. The group is not proscribed in the UK.

In response to the footage, the Met Police 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.”

The force added: “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 shortly to discourage any repeat of similar chanting.”

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Emma Webb has accused the Met of ‘gaslighting’ the British public (Image: Emma Webb)

In response to the Met, Ms Webb, said: “The police say there are multiple meanings of ‘jihad’.

“Context is surely important in how you interpret its meaning: “Jihad! Jihad!” being chanted at a rally, organised by an Islamist organisation – that is banned in other countries, including some Muslim states – surrounded by banners calling for “Muslim armies” to eradicate the Jewish state.

“How could their ‘experts’ possibly interpret this as meaning ‘spiritual struggle’ rather than the plain military meaning of Jihad – holy war?”

The Common Sense Society director added: “The Met’s comments on social media read like an attempt at gaslighting. The public are not gullible and must hold the Met’s feet to the fire over this.

“The government say one thing, yet the Force seem unwilling or unable to follow through. It’s not just farcical, it’s dangerous.

“Something is very wrong with a country where the police arrest a woman for praying silently in public, but naively shrug off those who shout “jihad!” in our streets.”

Following the protests in the capital, attended by an estimated 100,000 demonstrators, 10 arrests were made for “Fireworks, Public Order & Assault an Emergency Service Worker Offences”. Each individual detained remains in custody.

The force added: “Five Police Officers have also received minor injuries & we wish them a swift recovery.”

A spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police told “Officers have been overseeing the demonstration organised by Hizb ut-Tahrir Britain throughout the day (Saturday 21 October) alongside the much larger protest organised by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

“In addition to officers deployed with the protest, we have counter terrorism officers with specialist language skills and subject expertise working alongside public order officers in our main operations room, assessing any video and photos that emerge.

“They have reviewed a video from the Hizb ut-Tahrir protest in which a man can be seen to chant ‘jihad, jihad’.
The word has a number of meanings but we know the public will most commonly associate it with terrorism.”

The statement continued: “Specialist officers have assessed the video and have not identified any offences arising from the specific clip. We have also sought advice from specialist Crown Prosecution Service lawyers who have reached the same conclusion.

“However, recognising the way language like this will be interpreted by the public and the divisive impact it will have, officers identified the man involved and spoke to him to discourage any repeat of similar chanting. We are also aware of photos from the same protest showing signs and banners referring to ‘Muslim armies’.

“While there are varying interpretations of what the language on the placards should be interpreted to mean, officers must take decisions based on the wording actually used. Again, this was subject to a careful assessment and no signs or banners were identified that were unlawful.”

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