UK & World News

  • 8 August 2014, 21:01

Nun Removes 'Jihadi' Flag From London Estate

A nun has removed a flag from her housing estate after accusations it was a symbol of support for jihadists in the Middle East.

The black flag with white Arabic writing appeared on the estate in Poplar, east London, a few days ago but was taken down by Sister Christine Frost, a well-known local campaigner.

It had sat on the entrance to the Will Crooks estate above pro-Palestine placards and a Palestine flag.

A spokesman for Tower Hamlets Council confirmed their workers were going to remove the flag, but Sister Christine had beaten them to it.

He said: "The council welcomes the removal of this flag. We have consistently demonstrated that there is no place for hate in Tower Hamlets, whatever form it takes."

Cafe worker Rabia Begum, 31, told Sky News that people had misunderstood the meaning behind the flag.

She likens Islamic State (IS) jihadists' use of the flag with British far right groups hijacking the flag of St George.

"It is just a bunch of kids who put up a flag and I'm surprised the amount of attention it is getting," she said.

"It is a flag that represents Islam, it is just a religious flag. It can be used on any occasion.

"I guess ISIS [a previous name for the IS group] have used it to represent their group, and it has obviously created a problem for us.

"Whoever put that up, now immediately people who have no knowledge of the flag would think: 'Oh, they are part of the group or they are part of a terrorist group,' but it has nothing to do with terrorism itself."

One local man, Nijam Miah, said he thought the teenagers putting up such flags were naive.

He said: "It is playing with fire. I don't know why, what they are doing, what are their intentions. They are inviting problems for the innocent people."

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon, who was speaking on the day the US carried out airstrikes on IS artillery in northern Iraq, said it was "extremely inappropriate" to fly the flag.

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