Chants of “Jihad” at pro-Palestine protests can be prosecuted as encouraging terrorism, the Government’s adviser on counter-terrorism has announced.
Jonathan Hall KC, the independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, published his report on Wednesday.
It revealed he does not believe there is any need to introduce tougher anti-terrorism laws following a spate of pro-Palestine protests.
Current legislation enables police to take action against “encouraging terrorism”, Hall claimed.
He also suggested changes could have unintended consequences which could damage freedom of speech.
The Metropolitan Police opted not to take action after a man suggested “Jihad” was a solution to events in Israel and Palestine.
Scotland Yard instead stressed “Jihad” had numerous meanings.
After consulting the Crown Prosecution Service, the Metropolitan Police determined no offence was committed.
Hall’s report also claimed Section 1 of the Terrorism Act 2006 covering encouragement to terrorism applied to any statement made at a protest or march.
He said: “For example, it might well apply to a person who led chants for ‘Jihad’ in the context of a march.”
Hall added: “If terrorist attacks had already been carried out in support of the speaker’s cause, and members of the public might reasonably see a chant of jihad as encouragement to carry out their own act of terrorism in the UK or overseas.
“Jihad has benign meanings but, in this context, would likely refer to violence.”
Hall said the current legislation was adequate to deal with encouraging terrorism and did not need to be amended to cover “glorification” of acts of terrorism without any prospect that members of the public should seek to emulate it.
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