The MP for Hertsmere, Oliver Dowden CBE, this week in Parliament asked the Home Secretary what the Government is doing to prevent the display of Hezbollah flags in the UK, which he said is “provocative, incites extremism and is deeply offensive to our Jewish community”.
Speaking in Home Office Questions on Monday on the subject of extremism, Mr Dowden emphasised: “Flying the flag of the political wing of the antisemitic terrorist organisation Hezbollah is provocative, incites extremism and is deeply offensive to our Jewish community, but the flag can still be seen flying at events such as the al-Quds day marches in London”.
He asked, “Will the Home Secretary update the House on what steps are being taken to prevent that from happening?”
Home Secretary, Rt. Hon. Amber Rudd MP, responded that she is “aware of, and very sympathetic to, the issues” Mr Dowden raised.
Home Secretary Rudd said: “I have discussed the matter with Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley, and I know that the police are not ignoring it. As my hon. Friend has rightly said, only Hezbollah’s military wing is currently a proscribed terrorist organisation, but its flags are the same as those of the political wings that are not proscribed. For an offence to be committed, the context and manner in which the flag is displayed must demonstrate that it is specifically in support of the proscribed military wing of the group”.
Mr Dowden was subsequently appointed as Parliamentary Secretary at the Cabinet Office at this week’s Cabinet reshuffle.
A Backbench Business debate on the proscription of Hezbollah will be taking place in the House of Commons on Thursday 25th January at 1.30pm.
In June 2017, Hezbollah flags were openly displayed in central London at the annual al-Quds Day Rally, and the following month, Hezbollah flags were waved and Israeli flags were burnt at a protest outside the Israeli embassy in London.
CFI’s Parliamentary group and numerous Conservative MPs have condemned the display and called on the Government to proscribe Hezbollah as a terrorist organisation in its entirety.