Met suspend working relationship with London Muslim communities chair after Palestine chant

Image above: Attiq Malik; via Twitter

Metropolitan Police say they are “immediately ceasing” working relationship with Mr. Malik

The Metropolitan Police have announced their plan to stop working with the Chair of the London Muslim Communities Forum, Attiq Malik, after a video emerged of him at a pro-Palestine march in 2021.

In a video posted by The Telegraph, Mr. Malik can be heard instigating the chant “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free”, a phrase which has been mired with controversy after the Home Secretary described it as anti-Semitic.

Many who use the chant disagree, instead claiming the phrase reflects a desire for an end to Palestinian civilians being killed and a wider call for peace in the region, but the chant can also be interpreted as a call for the Jewish population of Israel to be annihilated.

The London Muslim Communities Forum is a ‘strategic advisory body’ for the Metropolitan Police; it brings together representatives from London’s diverse Muslim communities and senior police officers with the aim of addressing issues raised by the Muslim community and working together to provide a strategic response.

There have been a number of pro-Palestine demonstrations in the last few weeks since Hamas’ attack on Israel on 7 October, which saw Hamas fighters kill over 1,400 Israelis and abduct at least 240 hostages back into Gaza, and Israel’s response.

Since 7 October, over 10,000 Palestinians are estimated to have been killed by Israeli military action in Gaza. According to new figures released by the Hamas-controlled health authority in the territory the total number of deaths within the Palestinian territory now stands at 10,022, including 4,104 children.

Image above: a pro-Palestine protest in October; Photograph Matt Smith

Met says Mr. Malik’s past language and views “appear anti-Semitic”

In a statement posted on Sunday (5 November), the Met said:

“The video shared by the Telegraph today has brought to our attention that the chair of the London Muslim Communities Forum has expressed views in a way which does not align to the Met’s values.

“We regularly engage with a whole range of community groups, many of which hold strongly opposing views. It is important that we continue to listen to opposing views. This is how we put community voices at the heart of policing London.

“This instance has highlighted past language and views expressed by Attiq Malik that appear anti-Semitic and contrary with our values. As a result we will be immediately ceasing our relationship with Mr Malik whilst we investigate.

“We will continue to engage with the LMCF and the full range of faith and community advisers. The insights, feedback and reach into communities across London continues to play an important role in our response.

“We are already working on a new advisory group ‘charter’ that will include a shared commitment to engage through mutual respect and inclusivity.”

Mr. Malik has yet to respond to the Met’s statement.

Number of pro-Palestinian demonstrations in London recently