Ahead of next Sunday’s “Al-Quds Day” march in London — at which hundreds of Hezbollah supporters are expected to wave the organization’s flag — more than 10,000 people have signed a parliamentary petition calling for the Lebanese Shi’a group to be fully banned under UK law.
Since the petition reached the 10,000-signature threshold, new Home Secretary Sajid Javid will have to formally and publicly respond to it. If the number of signatures reaches 100,000, a House of Commons debate on the subject will take place.
The UK-based Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA) explained in a statement:
“The dangerous pro-Hezbollah parade is currently permitted due to a legal loophole. Whilst the British government has proscribed the ‘military wing’ of Hezbollah under the Terrorism Act 2000, the ‘political wing’ is not proscribed, something that even Hezbollah finds ridiculous. Indeed, its deputy secretary-general, Naim Qassem, mocked the distinction, saying in 2012: ‘We don’t have a military wing and a political one; we don’t have Hezbollah on one hand and the resistance party on the other…Every element of Hezbollah, from commanders to members as well as our various capabilities, are in the service of the resistance, and we have nothing but the resistance as a priority.’”
Gideon Falter — chairman of the CAA — said, “10,000 decent people from every part of the UK, from Orkey to St Ives, have stood together to say that enough is enough. We want these pro-terrorist parades off our streets. They make a mockery of counter-extremism efforts, are a rallying point for supporters of Islamist terrorism and fuel the far-right, already resulting in a terrorist attack which has killed one British Muslim and injured twelve others.”
“Under parliamentary rules,” he continued, “the home secretary is now required to respond to the petition, and as a decent man who has long stood firm against Islamist extremism, we ask him to respond by fully proscribing Hezbollah under the Terrorism Act and thereby closing the legal loophole which allows these revolting and dangerous pro-Hezbollah parades to take place.”
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