Editorial: For five weeks the Met has failed to tackle Islamic hate elements within pro Palestinian marches

News Letter editorial on Monday November 13 2023:
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The confusion of London’s police force with regard to its handling of Islamic extremist hate marchers was on display again at the weekend.

For five weeks, pro Palestinian marches have taken to the streets in cities around the UK, but particularly in the capital. The great bulk of the marchers are peaceful yet mingled within these demonstrations there have been open displays of support for Hamas, of anti semitism, of taunting imagery showing support for the October 7 massacre of Jews and so on. There have been masked men on the streets and Islamist waving extremist flags. There have been despicable chants, implying the annihilation of Israel, and inflammatory placards and signs.

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Yet the story of this weekend, fuelled by the Met and others, was of ‘far right’ troublemakers. There undoubtedly were disgraceful scenes by white nationalist thugs, some of whom police say are involved in football hooliganism and spoiling for a fight. However outrageous the police failures of the preceding weeks, however provocative the Jihadi chants, however repugnant the attempts to undermine the Remembrance weekend, there was no justification for any violent behaviour and police were obliged to stamp hard on it. But so too they had an obligation to make clear they would not merely pursue the worst merchants of Islamic hate speech, they would seize hate symbols.

Instead the Met made a fool of itself and issued tortuous messages on social media about the supposedly different meanings of words like Jihad. This is a force that has been browbeaten into thinking it is institutionally racist, and that stringently monitoring possible white racism, or forms of British nationalism, is one of its key purposes.

The Met is not alone, Cowardly forces around the UK go after easy targets like Christian anti abortion activists, or evangelical preachers.

Suella Braverman said some ill judged things, not least on Northern Ireland, but much of her criticism of the Met was vindicated this weekend.