Government lawyer joined rally featuring call for removal of Jews from Israel

EXCLUSIVE: Narjis Khan took part in an Al Quds Day event that included an address by a pro-Iran cleric banned from UK


A lawyer working for the Government Legal Department (GLD) has taken part in an online Al Quds Day rally that featured a call for Jews to be forcibly removed from Israel by a banned pro-Iran cleric.

According to her social media profile, Narjis Khan has spent three and a half years at the GLD, where she has provided advice to the UK Government’s Attorney General’s Office on “a range of issues” that fall within “the public interest function”.

Last Friday, Ms Khan was introduced as “a fantastic poet” at the annual “rally” organised by the Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC) to mark Al Quds Day - an annual event initiated by Iran in 1979 to express support for the Palestinians and oppose Zionism.

Performing one of her own poems, she was filmed reciting verses that branded Israel an “illegal enterprise” and that claimed Palestinians in the future would  “no longer be forced by anyone to pay for the crimes of Europe”.

Ms Khan has also written a blog for the IHRC’s website, which included a eulogy to Iranian major general Qassem Soleimani who was assassinated by US forces in January after being held responsible for the murder of thousands of people around the world.

Reacting to Ms Khan’s appearance at the event, David Collier, the campaigner against antisemitism, told the JC: “I don’t think anybody should associate with a toxic event like this.

“It is beyond understanding how someone who works for the Government Legal Department can possibly justify her appearance when the event is clearly linked to the violent and radical Islamist ideologies of the ayatollahs in Iran.’’

She was by no means the most radical of speakers to appear at last week’s event, which normally features a march through the streets of central London  but which was held online due to the pandemic.

Joining Ms Khan on the two and a half hour long broadcast was Hashem Al Haydari, deputy commander of Kataib Hezbollah, an Iran-backed Iraqi Shiite militia group.

Praising the “martyr” General Soleimani, Mr Al Haydari spoke of his desire for the “abolition of Israel”, which he said would “be attained if God wills”.

A message from Zahra Mostafavi Khomeni, daughter of Ayatallah Khomeini, was also read out.

Meanwhile, Mick Napier, of the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign, delivered a speech in which he suggested “the forces supporting Israel’s crimes against the Palestinians mean us harm at home”.

He then added: “We have seen this during coronavirus crisis in Britain where tens of thousands have died needlessly because of the criminal irresponsibility of the government.  But we also know this government is an ally of Netanyahu. Boris Johnson calls himself a ‘passionate Zionist’.’’

The two IHRC hosts for the event – Nazim Ali and Raza Kazim – confirmed that one speaker, Mohammad Al Asi, who spoke from Washington, America, was banned from entering the UK “the mother of all colonisers”.

Mr Kazim said Mr Al Asi, an imam, would not have been able to join the Al Quds rally had it taken place on the streets of London but added: “We have been allowed an opportunity to tell the British establishment where to go, online.’’

Mr Al Asi, who publicly swore allegiance to the Iranian Supreme Leader in 1994, then said he wished to discuss the issue of what he described as “the right to stay” in Israel.

He then said: "There are certainly some of the Jewish faith who have the freedom to settle in the Holy Land.

“But there are definitely many more others who don't have the right to be there.

“So our concern in the future should be on trying to figure out those of the Jewish faith who have been hijacked by Zionism and sort them out from the Zionist culprits and war criminals that have to be defeated, and have to withdraw by force because that is the only option left for them by their own choice. Begin to speak about who can stay in Palestine.”

Mr Al Asi was then asked for his thoughts on “Zionist Muslims” such as the Mayor London Sadiq Khan, or former chancellor Sajid Javid who, according to the IHRC’s Mr Kazim is “a Zionist although he is not quite sure if he is a Muslim or not”.

“In the elitist segment of the world … the upper crust is either Zionist to the core, as is the case in the United States, as is the case in Britain…” said Mr Al Asi.

“This is the elitist classes of the world. Then we have the people’s classes. In my reading of world events there is a concertisation of the peoples’ of the world.

“This awareness is beginning to thrive on the political right and on the left.’’

Friday’s event also featured appearances from rabbis connected to the extreme anti-Zionist Neturei Karta group.

Rabbi Elhanan Beck is a familiar face at Al Quds Day events – and at one stage during last week’s broadcast a video was shown of a succession of Neturei Karta members setting light to the Israeli flag.

Anti-Zionist author and Exeter University lecturer Ilan Pappe also delivered a speech which called for the “full right of return” of Palestinians in a “de-Zionised” country which he said “was good for everyone”.

The JC has reported on how past Al Quds Day marches witnessed calls for extreme violence against Israel.

In June 2017, Nazim Ali faced a police investigation after he was filmed suggesting Zionists were responsible for the Grenfell Towers fire tragedy in West London. After consideration, the Crown Prosecution Service decided not to prosecute.

Previous events had seen the flag of the Iranian-backed Hezbollah group flown on the streets of London, prior to the government’s move to ban the organisation outright in the UK.

Narjis Khan told the JC: "I provided my consent for my poetry to be used at this IHRC event.

"I was not aware of who the other speakers were when I gave that consent.

"Regardless, speaking at any event does not mean that one shares the views of others participating at that event.

"To my understanding IHRC is an NGO in consultative status with the United Nations ECOSOC.’’

A spokesperson for the GLD added it ''takes impartiality, integrity and objectivity very seriously, as part of the Civil Service Code. We also have a social media policy in place for our staff to adhere to. We do not comment on specific cases of individuals taking part in any events in a personal capacity.''


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