Man who wore Hamas headband to central London rally is convicted

A Birmingham man has been found guilty of arousing suspicion he was supporting a proscribed terrorist group after he wore a Hamas headband to a pro-Palestine rally.

Khaled Hajsaad, 25, attended the protest in central London on 25 November 2023, and wore a green headband that bore close similarities to those worn by Hamas – a proscribed terrorist organisation. Due to those similarities, he was arrested in Trafalgar Square and the headband was seized.

Hajsaad admitted wearing the headband but denied supporting Hamas, claiming that the headband was Saudi Arabian as it resembled the flag of that country and bore a statement of his faith as a Muslim.

The prosecution’s expert in Arabic and Islamic studies told the court that within the context of a pro-Palestinian march in support of Gaza, he would not expect to see flags or articles related to Saudi Arabia given that the country has not commonly been associated with the Palestinian cause.

He added that the absence of a sword on the headband would further support the case that it was not an emblem related to Saudi Arabia.

At City of London Magistrates’ Court, Hajsaad was found guilty of wearing an item of clothing to arouse reasonable suspicion that he is a supporter of a proscribed organisation – namely Hamas.nNick Price, Head of the CPS Special Crime and Counter Terrorism Division, said:

“By wearing the green headband in the context of a pro-Palestine protest in central London, Khaled Hajsaad aroused suspicion that he was supporting Hamas – a proscribed terrorist organisation.

“Wearing such items in public creates a risk of encouraging others to support Hamas. When people break the law – whether by hateful speech, supporting proscribed organisations or by threatening public order – we prosecute swiftly and independently.

“We have already prosecuted a string of offences linked to events in the Middle East and we are working closely with the police to make sure our approach commands public confidence.”


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