Child, 12, pictured waving a 'jihadi' flag during a protest outside Saudi Arabian embassy in London
- Girl joined a rally held by supporters of preacher Anjem Choudary last week
- She was joined by even younger protesters who were no older than six
- The flag features the ‘Shahadah’ – a declaration that Allah is the only god
- When the Shahadah is depicted on a black background it is associated with extremist causes in both Egypt and Syria
- Counter-extremism think tank describes pictures of the girl as ‘disturbing’
Face hidden behind a veil, and towered over by fellow protesters, a girl believed to be around 12 waves a ‘jihadi’ flag in a street demonstration against ‘crimes against Islam’.
She is shown, in the left of the picture, mingling with supporters of the extremist preacher Anjem Choudary in a rally against the Saudi Arabian government.
Some of those in the group outside the country’s embassy in central London appeared to be no older than six.
The flag the girl waved features the Shahadah – a Muslim declaration that Allah is the only god – which is included in the green Saudi Arabian flag.
But when the Shahadah is depicted on a black background it is associated with extremist causes in both Egypt and Syria. In recent times it has been identified with Islamist terrorist groups including Al Qaeda.
In the past such black Shahadah flags have been seen as backdrops for videos recorded by suicide bombers.
Some weeks ago London Mayor Boris Johnson called for children subjected to radicalisation to be taken into care to protect them from parents with extremist views. Ghaffar Hussain, of the counter-extremism think tank the Quilliam Foundation, described the pictures of the little girl at the protest as ‘disturbing’.
‘There is a very real issue with children being radicalised and brought along to these demonstrations to be given hate messages,’ he said.
‘It’s something that needs to be tackled. Children are being normalised into extremism. It’s very dangerous.’
Keith Vaz, chairman of the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee, said: ‘Social services and police need to be very vigilant to make sure that children are not being radicalised and subjected to a form of dangerous psychological abuse. Parents should take care not to allow their children to be involved n supporting, in any way, the activities of Al Qaeda.
‘For adults this is a matter of choice. For those too young to understand this could be the first step on the road to radicalisation.’
Yesterday Anjem Choudary took to Twitter to berate the MP and other critics, writing: ‘Now Keith Vaz and the Quilliam Foundation want to take our children away because they carry the Shahadah flag. Maybe they should embrace Islam.’ The preacher added: ‘There has been controversy over these flags but they have been around since the time of Muhammad himself and are loved, cherished and belong to every single Muslim.
‘Black or white flags carrying this statement have always been carried in battles between Muslims and non-Muslims to distinguish the two camps of Islam and Kufr [non-Islam].’
Mizanur Rahman, of the Muslim Prisoners campaign group which organised the demonstration, added: ‘There is nothing controversial about inviting famous speakers or flying the traditional Islamic flag. What is controversial is the crimes against Islam and Muslims in the UK and abroad.’ London Assembly member Murad Quresh maintained that the flag was used by jihadis, saying: ‘It’s the black rather than green colour that makes it distinctive.
‘It should be of huge concern that young children are coming under the influence of Anjem Choudary and his mob.’
Source: Daily Mail