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Tower Hamlets to take down Palestinian flags from its buildings

A PALESTINIAN FLAG ATTACHED TO A LAMPPOST IN BRICK LANE
A PALESTINIAN FLAG ATTACHED TO A LAMPPOST IN BRICK LANE
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The mayor of the borough has said that Tower Hamlets council would begin removing Palestinian flags from its buildings.

Flags will be taken down from infrastructure owned by the council, according to a statement released by Lutfur Rahman on Wednesday evening.

It happened after Tower Hamlets was threatened with legal action by UK Lawyers for Israel unless the flags were taken down.

The solicitors for the borough sent a letter to the council alerting them to the fact that many Jewish people were upset about flags being flown in the streets and that some were considering leaving the borough due to their concerns.

In an email seen by the Standard lawyers, warned large Palestinian flags on lampposts, as well as posters and stickers with inflammatory content, “intimidate Jewish people and may encourage violence against them”.

However, Mr Rahman denied they were “symbols of division” and claimed they had been used to “further the Islamophobic narrative”. Mr Rahman announced he had decided to begin removing the flags following advice from the council’s chief executive Stephen Halsey.

He said: “I understand that those who have erected these flags across the borough have done so in line with our strong tradition of solidarity and I reject that they are symbols of division.

“They are symbols of solidarity and sympathy for those enduring extreme suffering in Gaza. We must not forget that over 30,000 people have now been killed, 70 per cent of whom are women and children.

“The flags certainly had an impact and made residents’ views clear.”

He added: “Although these flags are an understandable expression of solidarity, I now feel they are being used to unfairly attack the people of the borough and further the Islamophobic narrative.”

Tower Hamlets has the largest Muslim population of any local authority area in the UK at 39.9 per cent according to the 2021 census.

Mr Rahman warned a recent rise in Islamophobia had made Tower Hamlets a target but said he was also “alert to a rise in antisemitism and other forms of racism”.

Last month former London minister Paul Scully was forced to apologise after he described parts of Tower Hamlets as a “no-go” area — sparking outrage from MPs and residents.

It followed Lee Anderson being stripped of the Tory whip for claiming that “Islamists” had “got control” of London Mayor Sadiq Khan.

Tower Hamlets council is currently facing a second Government probe in a decade amid concerns about how the borough is being run.

The Government said it is uneasy about a range of issues in the local authority, including the “independence” of the returning officer, who oversees elections, and the expansion of Mr Rahman’s office.

Inspectors have also been asked to look at scrutiny, financial planning, staff appointments and grant allocations.

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Dulal Ahmed Chowdhury

Dulal Ahmed Chowdhury is the Editor of The Daily Dazzling Dawn. Previously, he has been serving in important positions in all the famous national dailies of the Bangladesh since the nineties. He has played a commendable role in journalism by participating in various events at the national and international levels. United Nations Conference, World Climate Conference, SAARC Summit are notable among them.

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