Â Face hidden behind a veil, and towered over by fellow protesters, a girl believed to be around 12 waves a âjihadiâ flag in a street demonstration against âcrimes against Islamâ.
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 countryâsÂ embassy in central London appeared to be no older than six.
The flag the girl waved features the Shahadah â a Muslim declaration that Allah is the only god â 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 âdisturbingâ.
âThere is a very real issue with children being radicalised and brought along to these demonstrations to be given hate messages,â he said.
âItâs something that needs to be tackled. Children are being normalised into extremism. Itâs very dangerous.â
Keith Vaz, chairman of the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee, said: âSocial 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 notÂ to allow their children to be involvedÂ n supporting, in any way, the activities of Al Qaeda.Â
âFor adults this is a matter of choice. For those too young to understand this could be the first step on the road to radicalisation.â
Yesterday Anjem Choudary took to Twitter to berate the MP and other critics, writing: âNow Keith Vaz and the Quilliam Foundation want to take our children away because they carry the Shahadah flag. Maybe they should embrace Islam.â The preacher added: âThere 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.
âBlack 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].â
Mizanur Rahman, of the Muslim Prisoners campaign group which organised the demonstration, added: âThere 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.â London Assembly member Murad Quresh maintained that the flag was used by jihadis, saying: âItâs the black rather than green colour that makes it distinctive.
âIt should be of huge concern that young children are coming under the influence of Anjem Choudary and his mob.â
Source: Daily Mail