The Metropolitan Police Commissioner has admitted that the UK capital’s police force has “a gap” in how it deals with Islamic extremism.
His comments come after tens of thousands of protesters came to the streets of London in Iran-backed demonstrations calling for ‘free Palestine’.
As revelations came to the extent of the extremist sentiment at the rally in central London, Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley admitted on Sky News: “There’s bodies of law to deal with terrorism and hate crime but nothing to deal with extremism. This leaves a gap.”
In The Times on Saturday, it was revealed that Tehran is behind the protests as it tries to escalate tensions against its archenemy Israel amidst its war with Hamas in Gaza which broke out on October 7 when Hamas militia invaded Israel in a terror attack. Thousands came by land, air and sea, killing at least 1,400, mostly civilians, and kidnapping 230 more.
The demonstrations have also raised serious questions about the UK’s dealings with extremism in a year when the UK’s top security and political chiefs admitted that Iran remains one of the UK’s biggest threats.
In the article in Saturday’s The Times, it said police sources admitted that protests were found to be “directly linked to the Iranian regime and includes a campaign of online disinformation and Iranian operatives being physically present at protests”.
The UK has refused to designate the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps as a terrorist organization, designated by the US, in spite of numerous attempted attacks on UK soil.
Earlier this month, the UK’s counter extremism commissioner, Robin Simcox, warned that the “scale of Iranian-backed activity in this country; and the extent to which Iran attempts to stoke extremism here” was massively under addressed.
MI5 chief Ken McCallum also addressed the issue this month, warning that while Iran has been posing a threat for “a long time”, Iran’s proxy war on Israel would take things in a new direction.
“In particular, the last 18 months or so have been a particularly intensive phase of Iran-generated threat on UK soil. Plainly, events in the Middle East sharpen the possibility that Iran might decide to move into new directions”, he said.
Following Saturday’s protests, analyst Amy Mek wrote on X that “Islamic Terror accounts on Twitter are reporting (celebrating) that Muslim Hamas supporters have overpowered police and are marching toward the Israeli embassy while shouting genocidal jihad chants.
She wrote of the Muslims chanting ‘Khaybar Khaybar ya yahoud’ meaning ‘we will exterminate the Jews today just as Mohamed massacred them in the Khaybar oasis in 629’ in rallies in Trafalgar Square.
“Muslims once again are promising death to Israel and death to the Jews,” she wrote.
Pointing out the problematic issue long challenging the UK which has always raised controversy for the human rights it grants terrorists: “Being accused of Islamophobia have resulted in arrests and prosecutions in the United Kingdom. However, the disturbing double standards of speech policing are evident when Muslims call for the death of Jews and Jihad on the streets of London.”
The UK’s problems are not only confined to Iran, and it is not only the UK which is seeing a rising tide of Islamic extremism, mass protests taking hold across Europe.
Simcox earlier this month raised the red flag to numerous clerics which are on UK soil, several of them praising the barbarity associated with the likes of Al Qaeda and ISIS.
Controversial figures such as Abu Hamza and Anjem Choudary have long been met with calls for more strict management of the country’s mosques.
One counter terrorism expert in the UAE said the issue lies with the country’s failure to enforce integration. “These preachers come from their home countries and preach as if they are still in their home countries, without integrating their communities to be a part of society, so their loyalty is never with their adopted country.
“They stay aligned with the plight of the people back home and rather than see themselves as British Muslims, they continue to be whatever their original nationality is, only abroad. The UK has long failed to find a way to train and integrate its clerics.”
Earlier this year, a review into the country’s Prevent programme, a counter terrorism intervention scheme, found that it had spent more time focusing on the far right that Islamic extremists, leading in one case to the murder of an MP.