British Al Quds march organiser should be probed by counter-terror police – report

Islamic Human Rights Commission permeated “at every level” by extremism, according to UK think tank

Hezbollah is now a proscribed group in the UK. AP 
Hezbollah is now a proscribed group in the UK. AP 

A group which organises the annual Al Quds Day march in London should be investigated by Britain’s counter-terror police, according to a recommendation by a leading think tank.

A report published on Thursday by the Henry Jackson Society investigating the Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC) found the non-profit organisation had been permeated “at every level” by “extremism, support for overseas terror groups and extreme anti-Semitism”.

The IHRC, which has UK charitable status through its subsidiary IHRC trust, was co-founded in 1997 by Massoud Shadjareh, an outspoken supporter of Ayatollah Khomeini.

The report’s author research fellow Emma Fox accuses Mr Shadjareh as well as the group’s director Nazim Ali of expressing anti-Semitic remarks at the Al Quds march.

The march, which takes place annually in the British capital during the last week of Ramadan, was initiated by Iran to denounce Zionism and Israel.

Hezbollah flags and banners were a regular feature of the march. However, Hezbollah was outlawed in the UK in February meaning anyone found supporting the terror group could face up to 10 years in prison.

London’s Metropolitan police said it fully intended to enforce the law at the upcoming Al Quds march on Sunday.

The report, titled Islamic Human Rights Commission: Advocating for the Ayotollahs, said senior IHRC figures including Mr Shadjareh and Mr Ali had regularly been pictured wearing Hezbollah clothing at the rally.

It added that Mr Shadjareh had “repeatedly endorsed violent resistance against the state of Israel”, including encouraging Palestinians to throw stones at the organisation’s “Intifada” event at the Venezuelan Embassy in London in 2010.

In total, the study found 10 items of conduct by the IHRC “pertaining to terrorism” that “necessitate criminal investigation”.

The author added that the group had been praised in the past by high profile members of British society including the former Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams. She also said that opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn had a “long-history” with the IHRC.

“The IHRC are remarkable in both the extremity of their views and the level of access they enjoy to those at the highest echelons of British society. The IHRC’s claims to be a human rights group appear to have lulled some into a false sense of security. We should be clear that this group is extremist, deeply anti-Semitic and has supported terror overseas,” Ms Fox said.

“So extreme are its views and apparent conduct that, in my view, they warrant police investigation. Those who have previously shown support for the group should immediately disassociate themselves from it and deprive them of the veneer of credibility they so desperately crave.”

The IHRC did not respond to requests for comment by The National on Thursday.

Published: May 30, 2019 06:41 PM

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