MOSCOW, August 13 (RIA Novosti) - Supporters of the Islamic State (IS) distributed leaflets on London’s Oxford Street promoting allegiance to the jihadist group and the establishment of a caliphate, Newsweek reported.
“This is a very disturbing development but one that should not come as a surprise since we are aware that around 500 British nationals have joined up with ISIS [IS] already,” Newsweek quoted Ghaffar Hussain, managing director at the Quilliam Foundation as saying.
“We need to have a zero tolerance policy towards ISIS supporters and recruiters in the UK,” Hussain added.
The leaflets call on Muslims to support the spread of the caliphate across the world with the aim to create a new Islamic state governed by an imam executing sharia law.
Hussain told Newsweek that the men passing out the leaflets were all known extremists from Luton, and most likely associated with the Muhajiroun extremist network. Witnesses reported that the group responded with abuse when challenged by passers-by.
“This group, promoting ISIS on Oxford Street, racially abused us. They don’t know true Islam,” British-Iraqi university student Kufaishi tweeted along with images after encountering the group on Tuesday.
London’s Metropolitan Police confirmed they were aware of the incident but refused to comment at this time.
This is the most recent of pro-IS incidents sprouting up across Europe. The group waved its black flags during a protest in the Netherlands last month, resulting in the Dutch government’s ban of the pro-IS flag in the country. On Thursday, a pro-IS banner was hung in London on Poplar High Street, The Guardian reported. The flag is not illegal in Britain.
The IS currently controls large parts of northern and eastern Syria, as well as northern Iraq. The United States has launched airstrikes against the Sunni jihadist group last week after President Barack Obama approved the operation, claiming the attack is to protect US personnel in Iraq and prevent the “genocide” of Iraqi religious minorities.