By Connor Steel
HOME SECRETARY Suella Braverman has raised concerns about the rapid increase in Anti-Semitism related offences across the United Kingdom as she held a meeting with Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley on Monday; the Fareham MP furthermore asking questions about the policing at a pro-Palestinian rally held in London on Saturday.
The pre-scheduled meeting was organised in the aftermath of Hamas’ attack on Israel earlier this month, which has led to an increase in hate crimes targeting Jewish people across the UK. Statistics show that 89 incidents were reported in three days including assaults, criminal damage to Jewish property, and verbal abuse; compared to just 21 last October.
Widespread protests have furthermore been held as Britons show their ‘support’ for the Palestinian people, with nearly 100000 people attending a rally in Central London this weekend. This included people from all ages and was relatively peaceful with the Palestinian flag being shown by those in the crowds despite previous comments from Ms Braverman.
But the Metropolitan Police has faced questions after social media footage emerged of a male shouting “jihad” through Saturday afternoon, which is now reported to have been taken at a separate event from the ‘main’ march. After looking at this clip, the force stated they hadn’t identified any criminal offences due to the word used having multiple meanings.
The term “jihad” means both “effort” and “struggle” in Arabic, whilst the main meaning in Islam is defined as “an internal struggle”. Other definitions include “an outward struggle or war” which must be in self defence in the context of Islamic teaching; whilst the force acknowledge that it can be associated with “terrorism” and “inciting violence” to many people.
But there are concerns that the lack of police action has potentially signalled the way for similar incidents across British streets and this could further escalate into “something more serious”. Reports in the Telegraph this week disclosed that a terror attack in Britain may have already occurred “for Palestine”, whilst M15 are considering a change in ‘terror alert’.
Facing questions from the Home Secretary about why action was not taken on last Saturday’s “jihad” incident, Sir Mark Rowley said that the current hate crime laws will “probably need redrawing” and there are “gaps” that may be exploited. But the Prime Minister Rishi Sunak stated there was “no plan” to change existing laws whilst addressing the Commons.
Instead the Government will ensure that police forces “have everything they need to maintain law and order”, and have previously pledged £3 million to help protect Jewish communities including protections outside synagogues. They have added that meetings will be held with police ‘chiefs’ and that public order / hate crime laws would be reviewed regularly.
Readers are encouraged to explore media links like BBC News, Sky News and ITV News for fresh developing updates on the breaking story; which may include any updates or speeches from the Home Secretary through the coming days.
PICTURED BY ALAMY (2T2W1Y7): Thousands of protesters line the streets of London on Saturday afternoon (21/10).