The new report from Cage International

Police arrested a doctor for a post on social media. Schools have held pupils in isolation rooms. Cops have launched investigations into mosques and imams for sermons and pursued protesters for holding placards under terror laws. Their “crime”? Showing solidarity with Palestine.  

Those are just some of the shocking examples in a Cage International report published on Friday. It shows how the British state is clamping down on Palestine solidarity—and that Muslims are in the front line of repression. 

Almost all the cases saw Muslims targeted. And all the cases where authorities referred people to the Prevent programme or made allegations of ‘terrorism” involved Muslims. Prevent forces teachers and public sector workers to spy on Muslims for signs of “radicalisation” and “non-violent extremism”—and targets Muslims who question Britain’s imperialist foreign policy. 

One high school in Manchester was keen to show support for Ukraine after the Russian invasion in February 2021. But it “stopped a female pupil from sticking a Palestine flag on a noticeboard that already had an array of word flags on it”. “She was immediately reprimanded, told her actions were offensive and excluded for the day,” the report says. 

Elsewhere, the report describes how the headteacher of a school in London held an assembly on “courage”.  His powerpoint presentation “began by showcasing what made an army ‘courageous’ through the lens” of the Ukraine war. 

The headteacher then showed slides about Palestine and said “Hamas, the ‘terrorist group’, had attacked Israel and ‘created the war’” on Gaza. “He proceeded to explain how difficult life was for Israelis who had to ‘go through lots of checkpoints’,” the report says. 

“Throughout the presentation he made mention of the Holocaust, how important Remembrance Day was and that the slogan, ‘From the river to the sea’ was ‘hurtful to Jews’.”

Cage has handled 214 cases of the British state, police and bosses clamping down on Palestine solidarity between October and December. They include 118 at schools and colleges, 35 at workplaces, 35 at protest, 13 at universities and 13 at mosques

Police arrested a doctor in Liverpool for a “hate crime”, held him for 10 hours, and eventually released him on bail. After the killing of two doctors in Gaza—who were his friends—he shared a post online of a crossed out Israeli flag with the caption, “Death to Israel.”

The doctor deleted it “within hours” after abusive messages that threatened to report him to his employer. The report says, “After working a 24 hour shift on 26 October 2023, two days after the post, he was summoned to a meeting. 

“The doctor was informed that he had been suspended pending an investigation for a ‘hate crime’. Some days later he was arrested for a ‘hate crime’.”

Anas Mustapha, Head of Public Advocacy at Cage International, said, “The repression faced by our clients for their solidarity with Palestine is a reflection of the systemic Islamophobia, racism, and anti-Palestinian discrimination prevalent in segments of society and government. 

“We’re witnessing high levels of repression of Palestine Solidarity, with employers, teachers and police acting upon prejudice and increasingly disturbing levels of irrational intolerance.”

“The hostile environment created by the state has incentivised harsh penalties being imposed by the police, schools, universities, central and local government, as well as employers.” 

But, in the face of threats, many people refuse to be intimidated. At a Yorkshire primary school, a Palestinian child refugee who’d lost family in Gaza was told to remove a T-shirt that said, “Palestinian and proud.”  

The parent replied, “We aren’t going to take this standing down.” Some parents complained—and forced the school to make a formal apology.

In east London on Thursday, around 200 people protested outside a school that took action against an eight year old for wearing a Palestine badge

Keep up solidarity with Palestine—and stand with Muslims against the new wave of Islamophobia pushed to cow opposition to Israel and imperialism.

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