Archive for the ‘Formerly Great Britain’ category

Ezra Levant: PM May should be fired for lying about Trump tweets

December 2, 2017

Ezra Levant: PM May should be fired for lying about Trump tweets, Rebel Media via YouTube, December 2, 2017

Compare and contrast two British Prime Ministers:

Instead of Sir Winston, Formerly Great Britain is stuck with Theresa May. Where is Sir Winston when Britain, and indeed the world, need him? — DM)

 

Britain’s Hate Speech Police

November 30, 2017

Britain’s Hate Speech PolicePat Condell via YouTube, November 30, 2017

(He’s back! — DM)

White House defends Trump’s retweeting of videos showing Muslim violence

November 29, 2017

White House defends Trump’s retweeting of videos showing Muslim violence, Washington TimesDave Boyer, November 29, 2017

(Does President Trump refuse to understand that Islam is the true religion of peace and tolerance? He needs remedial instruction from Obama, CAIR et al. — DM)

Photo by: Evan Vucci
President Donald Trump yells to reporters as he walks to board Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House, Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2017, in Washington.  (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

The White House on Wednesday defended President Trump’s retweets of videos on Twitter portraying Muslims committing acts of violence.

“The threat is real,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters. “The threat needs to be addressed. The threat has to be talked about, and that’s what the president is doing in bringing that up.”

Mr. Trump shared videos Wednesday from Britain First party leader Jayda Fransen, titled: “Muslim migrant beats up Dutch boy on crutches!” “Muslim Destroys a Statue of Virgin Mary!” and “Islamist mob pushes teenage boy off roof and beats him to death!”

The president’s move prompted the office of Britain’s prime minister to issue a statement condemning the tweets.

“It is wrong for the president to have done this,” said the office of Prime Minister Theresa May. “Britain First seeks to divide communities by their use of hateful narratives that peddle lies and stoke tensions. They cause anxiety to law-abiding people.”

Arab American Institute Executive Director Maya Berry said Mr. Trump’s retweeting of “inflammatory anti-Muslim bigotry from a white-nationalist group” should be denounced by other Republican leaders.

“As the president’s tweets are official statements of the administration, these xenophobic retweets cannot be ignored,” she said.”It is particularly important for Republican leadership, like Speaker Paul Ryan and [Senate] Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, to repudiate and condemn this bigotry.”

Farhana Khera, executive director of Muslim Advocates, predicted that Mr. Trump’s action on social media would spur reprisals against Muslims in the U.S.

“As he attacks our community, we can and will expect others to follow his lead, with sometimes deadly consequences,” she said. “Hate crimes motivated by anti-Muslim bias are at all-time high, and the president’s words and actions further inflame this violence. Mosques have been burned and bombed, children are bullied, homes are vandalized, and people are attacked. Our country deserves better.”

UK Muslim Labour Candidate: We’re Brainwashed into Thinking Hitler Was the Bad Guy

November 12, 2017

UK Muslim Labour Candidate: We’re Brainwashed into Thinking Hitler Was the Bad Guy, The Point (FrontPage Magazine), Daniel Greenfield, November 12, 2017

(Please see also, The horrifying scale of antisemitism in the British Labour Party and Kristallnacht, and Our Modern-Day Approach to Antisemitism. — DM)

The left embraced Islamists to be tolerant. And ended up embracing Islamofascists. Even while bellowing that everyone who didn’t embrace them was a Nazi. While their new friends defended Hitler.

Nasreen Khan, a former member of George Galloway’s Respect Party, made offensive remarks about Jews on Facebook five years ago.

Miss Khan, a Muslim who has since joined the Labour Party, said they were ‘inappropriate and unacceptable’.

But despite the remarks, she is on a two-person shortlist for the Labour nomination in a safe seat in Bradford at next year’s local elections.

In 2012, writing under a video titled ‘The Palestine you need to know’, she said: ‘It’s such a shame that the history teachers in our school never taught us this but they are the first to start brainwashing us and our children into thinking the bad guy was Hitler.

‘What have the Jews done good in this world?’ When questioned about the comment, she had added: ‘No, I’m not a Nazi, I’m an ordinary British Muslim that had an opinion and put it across. We have worse people than Hitler in this world now.’

The Labour Party’s position is, no comment.

A Labour Party spokesperson said: “We do not comment on internal selection matters.”

But don’t worry. This isn’t anti-Semitism. It’s anti-Zionism. The two just happen to be really hard to distinguish.

Name: “Sword of Islam”? Let Him In!

November 11, 2017

Name: “Sword of Islam”? Let Him In! Gatestone InstituteDouglas Murray, November 11, 2017

In Britain, as in the rest of Western Europe and North America, there is only thought to be a political price to pay for being tough on immigration. For the time being, only people who believe in enforcing the law look heartless. Only those who insist on following — or even tightening — due process look like the ones who have done a wicked thing.

But as the events on the Underground in London in September presage, all of this can change in a few instants. A few more bombs left by a few more illegal immigrants, or a few more trucks driven along a few more bicycle lanes — let alone by illegal immigrants who have overstayed and not been deported — and the whole thing can change. At that point, instead of looking warm and big-hearted, you begin to look as if you were just unforgivably lax with the security of your own citizens. So an entire political class has been. But it may take a lot of bloodshed yet for them to learn that there are not just political benefits to be accrued from such laxness, but one day a political price to pay.

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Even the craziest immigration systems dreamed up by European officials have not yet come up with something like America’s “diversity visa” lottery, by which someone named “Sword of Islam” is promptly let into the country — only then to mow people down in a New York bicycle lane.

Nearly 56,000 foreign nationals have disappeared from the radar of the British authorities after being told that they were required to leave the country.

Instead of looking warm and big-hearted, you begin to look as if you were just unforgivably lax with the security of your own citizens. So an entire political class has been.

It is only eight weeks since an 18-year old Iraqi-born man walked onto the London Underground and left a bomb on the District line. Fortunately for the rush-hour commuters and school children on that train, the detonating device went off without managing to set off the bomb itself. Had the device worked, the many passengers who suffered life-changing burns would instead have been among many other people taken away in body bags. Ahmed Hassan came to the UK illegally in 2015 and was subsequently provided with foster care by the British government. He has now been charged, and is awaiting trial, for causing an explosion and attempted murder.

As stories like that of Mr. Hassan emerge, there are varying reactions. Some people say that this act is not indicative of anything, and that we must accept that such things happen — like the weather. Others suggest that anyone might leave a bomb on the District line in the morning, and that there is no more reason to alter your border policy because of it than there is to alter your meteorological policy because of it.

As poll after poll shows, however, the majority of the public in Britain — as in every other European country — think something else. They think that a country that has lost a grip on its immigration policy is very likely to lose control of its security policy, and that one may indeed follow the other.

So the British public were not at all reassured by the news this month that the country’s Home Office has lost track of tens of thousands of foreign nationals who were due to be removed from the country. Nor that there is no evidence of any effort to find the people in question.

Figures revealed in two new reviews by the Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration showed that nearly 56,000 foreign nationals have disappeared from the radar of the British authorities after being told that they were required to leave the country. This figure includes over 700 foreign national offenders (FNOs) who went missing after being released into the community from prison. It also revealed that around 80,000 foreign nationals are required to check in on a regular basis at police stations and immigration centres while authorities prepare for them to leave the country. By the end of 2016, just under 56,000 of them had failed to keep appointments and had become persons “whose whereabouts are unknown and all mandatory procedures to re-establish contact with the migrant have failed.”

Nevertheless, with a straight face, Brandon Lewis, the immigration minister for the present Conservative government, declared that “People who have no right to live in this country should be in no doubt of our determination to remove them.” Yet he still admitted that “Elements of these reports make for difficult reading.”

For the British public, they will also make difficult living. We all have to live with the consequences of an immigration system which has been more than usually unfit for purpose since the Labour government of 1997. It is just the British version of a story that is playing all across Western Europe. Across the Western half of the continent, all governments have allowed immigration policy to slide for more than a generation. Having become lax about policing the borders, they have become lax about returning people who have no right to be inside those borders. And having become lax about returning people who should not be in the country, they end up putting at peril the citizens of the country.

When the post-1997 Labour government first decided that the return of people in the UK illegally was not an important priority, they did so in part because the then-immigration minister decided that it was too traumatic for everyone involved: traumatic for the illegal migrant and for the UK border officials who had to remove them. In just such a way, by thousands of small cuts, does a nation’s territorial integrity and future security become shattered.

Although a person’s name may be nothing more than an inauspicious start — its owner, after all, did not choose it — even the craziest immigration systems dreamed up by European officials have not yet come up with something like America’s “diversity visa” lottery, by which someone pronounces themselves to be called “Sword of Islam” [terrorist Sayfullo Saipov] and is promptly let into the country — only then to mow people down in a New York bicycle lane. But we are all suffering from variants of the same mania.

Nevertheless, even the most seriously ingrained manias can be snapped out of. In Britain, as in the rest of Western Europe and North America, there is only thought to be a political price to pay for being tough on immigration. For the time being, only people who believe in enforcing the law look heartless. Only those who insist on following — or even tightening — due process look like the ones who have done a wicked thing.

But as the events on the Underground in London in September presage, all of this can change in a few instants. A few more bombs left by a few more illegal immigrants, or a few more trucks driven along a few more bicycle lanes — let alone by illegal immigrants who have overstayed and not been deported — and the whole thing can change. At that point, instead of looking warm and big-hearted, you begin to look as if you were just unforgivably lax with the security of your own citizens. So an entire political class has been. But it may take a lot of bloodshed yet for them to learn that there are not just political benefits to be accrued from such laxness, but one day a political price to pay.

Douglas Murray, British author, commentator and public affairs analyst, is based in London, England. His latest book, an international best-seller, is “The Strange Death of Europe: Immigration, Identity, Islam.”

Germany: Full Censorship Now Official

October 21, 2017

Germany: Full Censorship Now Official, Gatestone InstituteJudith Bergman, October 21, 2017

Germany has made no secret of its desire to see its new law copied by the rest of the EU.

When employees of social media companies are appointed as the state’s private thought police and given the power to shape the form of current political and cultural discourse by deciding who shall be allowed to speak and what to say, and who shall be shut down, free speech becomes nothing more than a fairy tale. Or is that perhaps the point?

Perhaps fighting “Islamophobia” is now a higher priority than fighting terrorism?

A new German law introducing state censorship on social media platforms came into effect on October 1, 2017. The new law requires social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, to censor their users on behalf of the German state. Social media companies are obliged to delete or block any online “criminal offenses” such as libel, slander, defamation or incitement, within 24 hours of receipt of a user complaint — regardless of whether or the content is accurate or not. Social media companies receive seven days for more complicated cases. If they fail to do so, the German government can fine them up to 50 million euros for failing to comply with the law.

This state censorship makes free speech subject to the arbitrary decisions of corporate entities that are likely to censor more than absolutely necessary, rather than risk a crushing fine. When employees of social media companies are appointed as the state’s private thought police and given the power to shape the form of current political and cultural discourse by deciding who shall be allowed to speak and what to say, and who shall be shut down, free speech becomes nothing more than a fairy tale. Or is that perhaps the point?

Meanwhile, the district court in Munich recently sentenced a German journalist, Michael Stürzenberger, to six months in jail for posting on his Facebook page a historical photo of the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, shaking the hand of a senior Nazi official in Berlin in 1941. The prosecution accused Stürzenberger of “inciting hatred towards Islam” and “denigrating Islam” by publishing the photograph. The court found Stürzenberger guilty of “disseminating the propaganda of anti-constitutional organizations”. While the mutual admiration that once existed between al-Husseini and German Nazis is an undisputed historical fact, now evidently history is being rewritten by German courts. Stürzenberger has appealed the verdict.

A German court recently sentenced journalist Michael Stürzenberger (pictured) to six months in jail for posting on his Facebook page a historical photo of the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, shaking the hand of a Nazi official in Berlin, in 1941. The prosecution accused Stürzenberger of “inciting hatred towards Islam” and “denigrating Islam” by publishing the photograph. (Image Source: PI News video screenshot)

Germany has made no secret of its desire to see its new law copied by the rest of the EU, which already has a similar code of conduct for social media giants. The EU Justice Commissioner, Vera Jourova, recently said she might be willing to legislate in the future if the voluntary code of conduct does not produce the desired results. She said, however, that the voluntary code was working “relatively” well, with Facebook removing 66.5% of the material they had been notified was “hateful” between December and May this year. Twitter removed 37.4%, and YouTube took action on 66% of the notifications from users.

While purportedly concerned about online “hate speech,” one EU organization, the EU Parliament, had no qualms about letting its premises be used to host a convicted Arab terrorist, Leila Khaled, from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) at a conference about “The Role of Women in the Palestinian Popular Struggle” in September. (The EU, the US, Canada, and Australia, have all designated the PFLP a terrorist organization). The conference was organized by, among others, the Spanish delegation of Izquierda Unida (United Left) as part of the European United Left/Nordic Green Left bloc in the European Parliament.

In the UK, Prime Minister Theresa May also said that she will tell internet firms to tackle extremist content:

“Industry needs to go further and faster in automating the detection and removal of terrorist content online… ultimately it is not just the terrorists themselves who we need to defeat. It is the extremist ideologies that fuel them. It is the ideologies that preach hatred, sow division and undermine our common humanity. We must be far more robust in identifying these ideologies and defeating them — across all parts of our societies.”

Prime Minister May keeps insisting that “these ideologies” are spread “across all parts of our societies” when in reality, virtually all terrorism is Islamic. Meanwhile, her own Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, has refused to ban the political wing of Hezbollah. Hezbollah’s hate speech, apparently, is perfectly acceptable to the British authorities. So is that of South African Muslim cleric and hate preacher Ebrahim Bham, who was once an interpreter to the Taliban’s head legal advisor. He was allowed to enter the UK to speak in the Queen Elizabeth II Centre, a government building, at the “Palestine Expo” a large Jew-hate event in London in July. Bham is known for quoting Nazi Propaganda Minister Goebbels and saying that all Jews and Christians are “agents of Satan“. Meanwhile, a scholar such as Robert Spencer is banned from entering the UK, supposedly on the grounds that what he reports — accurately — is “Islamophobic”.

The British Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) also recently stated that online “hate crimes” will be prosecuted “with the same robust and proactive approach used with offline offending”. The decision to treat online offenses in the same way as offline offenses is expected to increase hate crime prosecutions, already at the highest recorded level ever. Prosecutors completed 15,442 hate crime cases in 2015-16.

Jews in Britain, who have experienced a dramatic increase in anti-Semitism over the past three years, are frequently on the receiving end of hate crimes. Nevertheless, their cases constitute less than a fraction of the statistics. In 2016/17, the CPS prosecuted 14,480 hate crimes. According to the Campaign Against Antisemitism:

“we have yet to see a single year in which more than a couple of dozen anti-Semitic hate crimes were prosecuted. So far in 2017, we are aware of… 21 prosecutions, in 2016 there were 20, and in 2015 there were just 12. So serious are the failures by the CPS to take action that we have had to privately prosecute alleged anti-Semites ourselves and challenge the CPS through judicial review, the first of which we won in March. Last year only 1.9% of hate crime against Jews was prosecuted, signaling to police forces that their effort in investigating hate crimes against Jews might be wasted, and sending the strong message to anti-Semites that they need not fear the law… Each year since 2014 has been a record-breaking year for anti-Semitic crime: between 2014 and 2016, anti-Semitic crime surged by 45%”.

Almost one in three British Jews have apparently considered leaving Britain due to anti-Semitism in the past two years.

British authorities seem far more concerned with “Islamophobia” than with the increase in hate crimes against Jews. In fact, the police has teamed up with Transport for London authorities to encourage people to report hate crimes during “National Hate Crime Awareness Week”, which runs from October 14-21. Transport for London and the Metropolitan Police will hold more than 200 community events to “reassure communities that London’s public transport system is safe for everyone”. The events are specifically targeted at Muslims; officers have visited the East London Mosque to encourage reporting hate crimes.

Last year, London mayor Sadiq Khan’s Office for Policing and Crime (Mopac) announced it was spending £1,730,726 of taxpayer money policing speech online after applying for a grant from the Home Office. Meanwhile, Khan said that he does not have the funds to monitor the 200 jihadists estimated to be in London, out of the 400 jihadists who have so far returned to the capital from Syria and Iraq. (He also implicitly admitted that he does not know the whereabouts of the jihadists who have returned). When asked by the journalist Piers Morgan why the mayor could not have them monitored, Khan answered:

“Because the Met Police budget, roughly speaking, 15 percent, 20 percent is funded by me, the mayor. The rest comes from central government. If the Met Police is being shrunk and reduced, they’ve got to prioritize and use their resources in a sensible, savvy way.”

When Morgan asked what could possibly be a bigger priority than, “people coming back from a Syrian battlefield with intent to harm British citizens”, Khan did not answer. Perhaps because it is hard to admit in public that fighting “Islamophobia” is now a higher priority than fighting terrorism?

Judith Bergman is a columnist, lawyer and political analyst.

UK: Extremely Selective Free Speech

October 12, 2017

UK: Extremely Selective Free Speech, Gatestone InstituteJudith Bergman, October 12, 2017

(Please see also, Britain Moves To Criminalize Reading Extremist Material On The Internet. — DM)

The issue is not hate preachers visiting the UK from abroad. While banning them from campuses will leave them with fewer venues, it by no means solves the larger issue, which is that they will continue their Dawah or proselytizing elsewhere.

The question probably should be: Based on available evidence, are those assessments of Islam accurate? Particularly compared to current messages that seemingly are considered “conducive to the public good.”

At around the same time as the two neo-Nazi groups were banned at the end of September 2017, Home Secretary Amber Rudd refused to ban Hezbollah’s political wing in the UK. Hezbollah itself, obviously, does not distinguish between its ‘political’ and ‘military’ wings. In other words, you can go ahead and support Hezbollah in the UK, no problem. Support the far right and you can end up in jail for a decade.

Apparently, 112 events featuring extremist speakers took place on UK campuses in the academic year 2016/2017, according to a recent report by Britain’s Henry Jackson society: “The vast majority of the extreme speakers recorded in this report are Islamist extremists, though one speaker has a background in Far-Right politics….” That one speaker was Tommy Robinson both of whose events were cancelled, one due to hundreds of students planning to demonstrate to protest his appearance. The report does not mention student protests at any of the Islamist events.

The topics of the Islamist speakers included:

“Dawah Training… to teach students the fundamentals of preaching to others… Western foreign policy towards the Islamic world in general… Grievances…perceived attacks on Muslims and Islam in the UK… [calling for] scrapping of Prevent and other government counter-extremism measures [critiquing] arrest and detention of terrorism suspects… [challenging] ideas such as atheism and skepticism… religious socio-economic governance, focusing on the role of religion in fields such as legislation, justice… finance… religious rulings or interpretations, religious verses or other texts, important historical or scriptural figures…”

London was the region with the highest number of events, followed by the South East, according to the report. The most prolific speakers were affiliated to the Muslim Debate Initiative, the Islamic Education and Research Academy (iERA), the Muslim Research and Development Foundation (MRDF), the Hittin Institute, Sabeel, and CAGE. Most speakers were invited by Islamic student societies, and a high proportion of the talks took place during campus events such as “Discover Islam Week”, “Islam Awareness Week” and “Islamophobia Awareness Month”.

One of the most prolific speakers, Hamza Tzortis, is a senior member of iERA. He has said that apostates who “fight against the community[…] should be killed” and that, “we as Muslims reject the idea of freedom of speech, and even the idea of freedom”.

That so many extremist speaker events continue to take place at British universities should be cause for alarm. In March 2015, the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act (CTSA) imposed a dutyon universities, among other public bodies, to pay “due regard to the need to prevent individuals from being drawn into terrorism”, yet at 112 events last year, the number of extremist Islamist events on campuses have not dropped significantly. In comparison, there were 132 events in 2012, 145 events in 2013 and 123 events in 2014.

Evidence shows that the danger of becoming an actual Islamic terrorist while studying at British university campuses is also extremely real. According to one report, also by the Henry Jackson society:

“Since 1999, there have been a number of acts of Islamism-inspired terrorism… committed by students studying at a UK university at the time of their offence…there have also been a significant number of graduates from UK universities convicted of involvement in terrorism, and whom… were at least partially radicalised during their studies”.

The most well known case is probably that of Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, who in 2002 was found guilty of the kidnapping and murder of journalist Daniel Pearl. He is believed to have been radicalized while studying at the London School of Economics and Political Science in the early 1990s.

While removing extremist speakers from campuses might possibly reduce the risk of radicalization, extremist speakers are readily available to talk to Muslim youths outside of campuses. The issue is not hate preachers visiting the UK from abroad. While banning them from campuses will leave them with fewer venues, it by no means solves the larger issue, which is that they will continue their dawah or proselytizing elsewhere.

What, then, have been recent responses by the British government to the issues of Islamic radicalization and terrorism?

One response has been a proposal to tighten existing law on viewing ‘terrorist content’ online. People who repeatedly view terrorist content online could now face up to 15 years jail, Home Secretary Amber Rudd has announced. The law will also apply to terrorists who publish information about members of the armed forces, police and intelligence services for the purposes of preparing acts of terrorism. Tightening the law around viewing terrorist material is part of the counter-terrorism strategy the government is reviewing after the increased frequency of terrorist attacks in Britain this year.

Britain’s Home Secretary Amber Rudd has announced that people who repeatedly view “terrorist content” online could now face up to 15 years jail. (Image source: UK Government/Flickr)

Amber Rudd has included ‘far-right propaganda’ in the new law, saying:

“I want to make sure those who view despicable terrorist content online, including jihadi websites, far-right propaganda and bomb-making instructions, face the full force of the law.”

What is ‘far right propaganda?’ Based on previous British policies, ‘far right propaganda’ would likely include reading Robert Spencer’s Jihad Watch or Pamela Geller’s ‘Geller Report’. While local hate preachers from legal Muslim organizations freely roam UK campuses, Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller were both forbidden entry to the UK in 2013 by the British Home Secretary, because their presence would “not be conducive to the public good”. This is what Geller was told:

“After careful consideration…you should be excluded from the United Kingdom on the grounds that your presence here is not conducive to the public good…You have brought yourself within the scope of the list of unacceptable behaviours by making statements that may foster hatred, which might lead to inter-community violence in the UK…You co-founded Stop Islamization of America, an organization described as an anti-Muslim hate group… You are reported to have stated the following: ‘Al-Qaeda is a manifestation of devout Islam … it is Islam’ [and] ‘If the Jew dies, the Muslims will die as well: their survival depends on their constant jihad, because without it they will lose the meaning and purpose of their existence.’ The Home Secretary considers that should you be allowed to enter the UK you would continue to espouse such views…”.

The letter to Robert Spencer was in almost identical form:

“The Home Secretary notes that you are the founder of the blog Jihad Watch (a site widely criticized for being Islamophobic). You co-founded the Freedom Defense Initiative and Stop Islamization of America, both of which have been described as anti-Muslim hate groups. You are reported to have stated the following: “… it [Islam] is a religion and is a belief system that mandates warfare against unbelievers… for establishing a societal model that is …incompatible with Western society…”

The question probably should be: Based on available evidence, are those assessments of Islam accurate? Particularly compared to current messages that seemingly are considered “conducive to the public good.”

It is also conceivable that reading quotes from Winston Churchill’s book about Islam online would be seen as ‘far right’ and therefore punishable by up to 15 years in jail. In 2014, Paul Weston, chairman of the Liberty GB party, was arrested on suspicion of religious/racial harassment for quoting an excerpt on Islam from Churchill’s book, ‘The River War’ — written in 1899 while he was a British army officer in Sudan — in a public speech.

Another recent government response to terrorism has been to outlaw two far-right groups: Scottish Dawn and NS131, which are aliases for the group National Action, a fringe neo-Nazi group, banned in 2016. Being a member of these groups or merely supporting them is now a criminal offense that carries a sentence of up to 10 years’ imprisonment. Amber Rudd said in September:

“National Action is a vile racist, homophobic and anti-Semitic group which glorifies violence and stirs up hatred… Our priority as Government will always be to maintain the safety and security of families and communities… we will continue to identify and ban any terrorist group which threatens this, whatever their ideology”.

Apparently, however, to paraphrase George Orwell, some terrorist groups “are more equal than others.” Amber Rudd recently refused to ban the political wing of Hezbollah, an equally racist, homophobic and anti-Semitic group that has actually committed terror attacks all over the world, as opposed to the banned neo-Nazi groups. Banning Hezbollah’s political wing would have closed a legal loophole that allows demonstrations in support of the political wing of Hezbollah, while its military wing is banned in the UK. Hezbollah itself, obviously, does not distinguish between its ‘political’ and ‘military’ wings.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, had written to Amber Rudd asking her to close the legal loophole after Jewish groups pleaded with him to stop a large Al Quds day march, which nevertheless took place in London in June 2017 and featured Hezbollah flags. While the British government decided that supporters of fringe neo-Nazi groups should be jailed for up to 10 years, it apparently thought that supporting Hezbollah is just fine. In response to Khan, Amber Rudd wrote :

“The group that reportedly organised the parade, the Islamic Human Rights Commission, is not a proscribed terrorist organisation. This means they can express their views and demonstrate, provided that they do so within the law. The flag for the organisation’s military wing is the same as the flag for its political wing. Therefore, for it to be an offence under Section 13 of the Terrorism Act 2000, for an individual to display the Hizballah flag, the context and manner in which the flag is displayed must demonstrate that it is specifically in support of the proscribed elements of the group”,

In other words, you can go ahead and support Hezbollah in the UK, no problem. Support the far right and you can end up in jail for a decade. Evidently, free speech in the UK has become extremely selective.

Judith Bergman is a columnist, lawyer and political analyst.