Suella Braverman to challenge Met Police chief after man filmed chanting ‘jihad’ during protest | UK News
The home secretary will challenge the commissioner of the Metropolitan Police over the force’s decision not to arrest pro-Palestine protesters calling for a “jihad” against Israel.
Suella Braverman will tell Sir Mark Rowley later “there can be no place for incitement to hatred or violence” on UK streets and police should “crackdown on anyone breaking the law”.
Some ministers have condemned the police for their handling of rallies in London and other cities including Birmingham, Cardiff and Belfast over the weekend in response to the Israel-Hamas conflict.
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The force said officers had also reviewed a video of a Hizb ut-Tahrir protest showing a man speaking into a microphone in front of a banner reading “Muslim Armies! Rescue the People of Palestine”.
The main speaker asks: “What is the solution to liberate people from the concentration camp called Palestine?”
A man standing to the side of the speaker, but neither on a platform nor speaking into the microphone, can then be heard chanting words including “jihad, jihad”, as can some others attending the rally.
Responding to the post on social media, the Met said specialist counter-terrorism officers had not identified any offences arising from the clip.
In a statement, the force said: “The word (jihad) has a number of meanings but we know the public will most commonly associate it with terrorism.
“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.”
Jihad can mean struggle or effort, but it has also been taken to refer to holy war.
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Sir Mark was already scheduled to meet Ms Braverman later today.
A source close to the home secretary said: “The home secretary is already due to meet the Metropolitan Police commissioner tomorrow (Monday) to discuss the ongoing Israel-Gaza protests and will be asking for an explanation over the response to incidents which took place on Saturday.
“There can be no place for incitement to hatred or violence on Britain’s streets and, as the home secretary has made clear, the police are urged to crack down on anyone breaking the law.”
Earlier, immigration minister Robert Jenrick said people chanting “jihad” on the streets of the capital were “inciting terrorist violence”.
He told Sky News’ Sunday Morning With Trevor Phillips: “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.”
He added: “Arrests have been made… There have been arrests since the beginning of this situation… There have been arrests under terrorist legislation. And we want to do everything that we can to protect British Jews.
“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.”
Jewish safety organisation the Community Security Trust criticised the Met, saying that “in trying to communicate complex and nuanced legal issues” on social media “they gave the impression of legitimising obnoxious and hateful behaviour that may or may not be criminal but nevertheless causes profound concern to British Jews and many other people”.
In a message on the Hizb ut-Tahrir website, explaining why it decided to hold demonstrations on Saturday outside the Egyptian and Turkish Embassies in London, the group said Palestinians have been subject to “brutal oppression” and called on Egypt and Turkey to unite in “rescuing their Palestinian brothers and sisters”.