Po­lice con­duct two probes into anti-Is­rael rally

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS -

PO­LICE ARE in­ves­ti­gat­ing re­marks made by an or­gan­iser of the anti-Is­rael Al Quds Day rally — in­clud­ing the claims that “Zion­ists” were re­spon­si­ble for the Gren­fell fire — as a pos­si­ble hate crime.

Of­fi­cers from the Metropoli­tan Po­lice will re­view com­ments made by Nazim Ali — di­rec­tor of the self-styled “ad­vo­cacy group” the Is­lamic Hu­man Rights Com­mis­sion (IHRC) that or­gan­ised the event — as he led the march speak­ing through a public ad­dress sys­tem, along the cap­i­tal’s streets.

Po­lice also con­firmed they are con­duct­ing a sec­ond probe into whether the dis­play of flags of the banned Hezbol­lah ter­ror group at the march con­tra­vened UK ter­ror laws.

Around 700 sup­port­ers at­tended the con­tro­ver­sial rally, which saw men, women and many chil­dren wave the Hezbol­lah flag, with its ma­chine-gun logo, along with ban­ners bear­ing the words “We Are All Hizbol­lah” and the web­site ad­dress for the IHRC.

A Scot­land Yard spokesman stated on Wed­nes­day: “We can con­firm that we have re­ceived two al­le­ga­tions in re­la­tion to the Al Quds march on Sun­day 18 June. The al­le­ga­tions re­late to flags dis­played dur­ing the march and al­leged an­ti­semitic com­ments. De­tec­tives from West­min­ster CID are in­ves­ti­gat­ing.”

Mean­while, a spokes­woman for the Char­ity Com­mis­sion re­vealed that it was in­ves­ti­gat­ing an on­line ad­vert from the IHRC which sug­gested the or­gan­i­sa­tion was a reg­is­tered char­ity.

The spokes­woman said: “We are as­sess­ing the con­tent of an ad­vert which states that the Is­lamic Hu­man Rights Com­mis­sion (IHRC UK) is a reg­is­tered char­ity. The Is­lamic Hu­man Rights Com­mis­sion is not a char­ity, and there­fore does not fall within the reg­u­la­tory re­mit of the Char­ity Com­mis­sion. We have con­tacted the IHRC to ask for its re­sponse to the con­tent of the ad­vert.

“The Is­lamic Hu­man Rights Com­mis­sion Trust (char­ity num­ber 1106120) is a separate le­gal en­tity from the IHRC, and is reg­is­tered with and reg­u­lated by the Com­mis­sion. We have an ac­tive case into the Is­lamic Hu­man Rights Com­mis­sion Trust which al­ready in­cludes ex­am­in­ing their re­la­tion­ship with the IHRC. This case was opened be­fore con­cerns were raised with us re­gard­ing the march on 18 June 2017.

“The Com­mis­sion ex­pects the trustees to care­fully con­sider, and take ac­tion to mit­i­gate, the po­ten­tial rep­u­ta­tional risks to their char­ity which could arise from links and as­so­ci­a­tions with other or­gan­i­sa­tions.”

The JC has learned of at least one or­gan­i­sa­tion that lodged a com­plaint with the po­lice over al­leged hate crimes re­lat­ing to re­marks made by Nazim Ali in front of his 700 fren­zied sup­port­ers at last Sun­day’s event.

Ali, 48, kept up a series of an­ti­semitic rants from his po­si­tion at the head of the march, as it pro­ceeded from Broad­cast­ing House in Port­land Place to Grosvenor Square.

Re­fer­ring to the tragic Gren­fell Tower fire, he told the crowd: “As we know in Gren­fell, many in­no­cents were mur­dered by Theresa May’s cronies, many of which are sup­port­ers of Zion­ist ide­ol­ogy.

“Let us not for­get that some of the big­gest cor­po­ra­tions who were sup­port­ing the Con­ser­va­tive Party are Zion­ists.

“They are re­spon­si­ble for the mur­der of the peo­ple in Gren­fell, in those tow­ers in Gren­fell, the Zion­ist sup­port­ers of the Tory Party.” Demon­stra­tors — many of whom held aloft ban­ners stat­ing: “We are all Hizbol­lah” and “Zion­ism is Racism”— cheered loudly.

As dozens of po­lice of­fi­cers stood by, Ali con­tin­ued: “These peo­ple wouldn’t know what jus­tice is, be­cause it’s their sup­port­ers who are sup­port­ing the Tory party, that’s who they are.

“It’s the Zion­ists who give the money to the Zion­ists, it is the Zion­ists who give money to the Tory party, to kill peo­ple in high-rise blocks. Free Free Pales­tine…”

The JC asked one po­lice of­fi­cer who heard the re­mark why no ac­tion was be­ing taken against Ali. The of­fi­cer replied: “It’s just an opin­ion.”

The Al Quds Day march — which was ini­tated in Iran in 1979 — is held every year to de­mand the restora­tion of Quds — Jerusalem — as an Is­lamic cap­i­tal.

A low point this year came as Ali spot­ted 30 coun­ter­protesters walk­ing ahead of the march hold­ing Is­raeli flags.

Call­ing for a sit­down protest un­til they were re­moved, Ali de­clared to the crowd: ”We are fed up of the Zion­ists. We are fed up of their rab­bis. We are fed up of their syn­a­gogues. We are fed up of their sup­port­ers.”

He later added: “Care­ful of those rab­bis who be­long to the Board of Deputies who have got blood on their hands, who agree with the killing of Bri­tish sol­diers — do not al­low them in your cen­tres.” In clas­sic con­spir­acy the­ory terms, Ali said: “The BBC never re­port on the killings of in­no­cent men, women and chil­dren. The Zion­ists are known to go to din­ner with heads of the BBC to make sure there is no un­nec­es­sary ex­po­sure on the in­no­cent vic­tims of Zion­ist ter­ror­ism.” The pro-Is­raeli counter-demon­stra­tors were moved on by po­lice, with Ali claim­ing: “They are not happy just oc­cu­py­ing Pales­tine. They’re try­ing to oc­cupy Re­gent Street. It’s in their genes.” Chants from the crowd in­cluded the now fa­mil­iar slo­gan “From the river to the sea. Pales­tine will be free”.There was also a fre­quent ren­di­tion of: “Zion­ists/Isis are the same. Only dif­fer­ence is the name”. In full view of po­lice of­fi­cers, some of whom were tak­ing video footage, were the hun­dreds of Hezbol­lah flags. Some of those bran­dish­ing the flags placed smaller white stick­ers on them claim­ing they wanted to show al­le­giance to the po­lit­i­cal rather than mil­i­tary wing of the or­gan­i­sa­tion. A much larger Hezbol­lah flag flew at the front of the demo, be­neath a Pales­tinian ban­ner daubed with the words: “Boy­cott Is­rael”. Whip­ping up his sup­port­ers into a fur­ther frenzy, Ali called for Is­rael’s an­ni­hi­la­tion, ac­cus­ing the Is­rael De­fence Force of be­ing a “ter­ror­ist or­gan­i­sa­tion that mur­dered Pales­tini­ans, Jews and Bri­tish sol­diers.” Scream­ing into a mi­cro­phone, Ali led the crowd in a chant of: “The state of Is­rael must go. Ju­daism, yes. Zion­ism, no. The state of Is­rael must go.” At one stage, Ali walked to­wards a small group of pro-Is­raeli demon­stra­tors and be­gan singing: “Bye, bye Zion­ists”.

He turned to the large po­lice pres­ence and said: “I am re­quest­ing that the po­lice watch those trou­ble-mak­ers over there. They will try to in­cite. That’s what they are good at, caus­ing vi­o­lence. Do not re­act to the killers of Bri­tish sol­diers.”

He also drew at­ten­tion to the pres­ence of a hand­ful of mem­bers of the Jewish anti-Is­rael Ne­turei Karta group, prais­ing them as be­ing “true” Jews:

“Be­cause these rab­bis don’t kill peo­ple, be­cause these rab­bis don’t mur­der peo­ple, they are told they are traitors. Be­cause Zion­ism is a fas­cist, evil ide­ol­ogy. It is an evil ide­ol­ogy to its core — that’s what Zion­ism is. That is why they killed Bri­tish sol­diers in or­der to get their coun­try.” Dur­ing the march, Ali also claimed “Zion­ists” were sup­port­ers of Isis.

He said: “The Is­rael In­tel­li­gence Ser­vice is also known as Isis. They are part of the same or­gan­i­sa­tion. Isis are be­ing treated in their hos­pi­tals. Isis are be­ing sup­ported in the oc­cu­pied Golan. Ev­ery­one knows that Zion­ist Is­rael and Isis are the same. They are broth­ers in arms.”

The march reached its end point near the US Em­bassy, where a group of 300 Is­rael sup­port­ers were stag­ing a coun­ter­demon­stra­tion or­gan­ised by the Zion­ist Fed­er­a­tion. Po­lice kept the two sides apart and there were no ar­rests.

Nazim Ali, who is the man­ag­ing part­ner of the Chelsea Phar­macy Med­i­cal Clinic in south-west London and a part­time co­me­dian, has been listed as a di­rec­tor of the IHRC since 2003.

The IHRC Trust states that its mis­sion is to “work with dif­fer­ent or­gan­i­sa­tions from Mus­lim and non-Mus­lim back­grounds, to cam­paign for jus­tice for all peo­ples re­gard­less of their racial, con­fes­sional or po­lit­i­cal back­ground.”

The group has re­peat­edly called for the re­peal of much UK ter­ror leg­is­la­tion.

Labour leader Jeremy Cor­byn had spo­ken at the event in 2012, but had “no plan” to at­tend this year’s event.

Lord Po­lak, Con­ser­va­tive Friends of Is­rael’s hon­orary pres­i­dent, Hen­don MP Matthew Of­ford and others wrote to Home Sec­re­tary Am­ber Rudd on Mon­day to ex­press con­cern over the Hezbol­lah flags at the march and called on the Metropoli­tan Po­lice to charge those found in “di­rect con­tra­ven­tion” of Sec­tion 13 of the Ter­ror­ism Act (2000). Labour MP Louise Ell­man, vice-chair of Labour Friends of Is­rael, has also writ­ten to Ms Rudd and Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, ex­press­ing “deep con­cern” over the Hezbol­lah flags.

Mark Gard­ner, the Com­mu­nity Se­cu­rity Trust di­rec­tor of com­mu­ni­ca­tions said: “The draw­ing to­gether of the Gren­fell Tower disaster, Zion­ists and Theresa May is a pro­found ex­am­ple of mod­ern-day an­ti­semitism, wors­ened by the men­tions of rab­bis and syn­a­gogues: be­cause it is Jews who have rab­bis and syn­a­gogues, not Zion­ists.

“Such in­cite­ment can only sow divi­sion, anger and ha­tred be­tween com­mu­ni­ties at a time when so­cial co­he­sion in London and across the UK has sel­dom, if ever, been more im­por­tant.”

Ahead of the march, there were calls from com­mu­nity groups and politi­cians for the event to be banned.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said he had dis­cussed is­sues of polic­ing with the Metropoli­tan Po­lice but said he did not have the power to can­cel the rally.

Adam Wag­ner, a lead­ing hu­man rights bar­ris­ter, said he be­lieved the de­ci­sion not to ban it was cor­rect: “Ban­ning marches has all sorts of con­se­quences. The peo­ple or­gan­is­ing them won’t just go away. They will or­gan­ise things un­der a dif­fer­ent name. You don’t want these things to go un­der­ground.”

PHOTO: ZION­IST FED­ER­A­TION FACE­BOOK

The flag of banned ter­ror­ist group Hezbol­lah on dis­play at the Al Quds Day rally

PHOTO: LEE HARPIN

Nazim Ali

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