IHRC demands apology for MP's Al-Quds Day smear

TEHRAN, Jul. 02 (MNA) – IHRC has demanded an urgent apology from the conservative MP Matthew Offord for comments where he linked the annual Al-Quds Day demonstration with the extremist group ISIL.

In a letter to the Metropolitan Police quoted in the Jewish Chronicle Matthew Offord, who is a member of the Conservative Friends of Israel, said that "the display of Hezbollah, Hamas and ISIL flags causes great distress to many of my constituents and the population as a whole and, in my opinion, is contrary to the Terrorism Act.”

"We would like to point out that ISIL flags have never been flown at an Al Quds Day rally. This is a lie, that is being used to smear the peaceful participants of the Al Quds Day rally and the IHRC," it says. "Your comment is not only a lie, but deeply damaging to our reputation as one of the organizers of the event. Your comments are clearly calculated to cause maximum damage to our reputation on the eve of a major annual event."

Offord's statements form part of a wider hate campaign against the rally by a coalition of Zionist groups.  The coalition has described slogans and calls for the dismantling of the apartheid state of Israel as "hatred against the Jewish people". It has also demonized those taking part as extremists and called a counter-demonstration that has the capacity to disrupt the Al-Quds rally and promote violence. Organizers have also drawn a link between the Palestinian rally and the recent massacre in an Orlando nightclub in the US.

Given the tension that has already been whipped up by organizers of the counter demonstration at which Offord is speaking, IHRC believes that his comments amount to incitement of religious hatred and incitement to violence.

IHRC is deeply concerned that Zionist extremists will seek to disrupt the pro-Palestinian march. A promotional YouTube video posted by the Zionists is highly dramatic and antagonistic, and the Facebook page appears to be a ‘call to arms’. Previous Al-Quds Day rallies where there have been counter-demonstrations have been subjected to violence including from the Zionist section of the far right English Defense League.

The event will take place on Sunday 3 July, with demonstrators assembling in Duchess Street in preparation for a march through the busy streets of central London to Grosvenor Square, home to the US embassy.

SH/PR

News Code 117777

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