The Iran-sponsored Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah will this week be banned from the UK in its entirety, under a plan by Home Secretary Sajid Javid.
Subject to Parliament’s approval, from Friday when the order comes into effect, being a member, or inviting support for Hezbollah will be a criminal offence, carrying a sentence of up to 10 years’ imprisonment.
Home Secretary Sajid Javid said:
My priority as Home Secretary is to protect the British people. As part of this, we identify and ban any terrorist organisation which threatens our safety and security, whatever their motivations or ideology which is why I am taking action against several organisations today.
Hezbollah is continuing in its attempts to destabilase the fragile situation in the Middle East – and we are no longer able to distinguish between their already banned military wing and the political party. Because of this, I have taken the decision to proscribe the group in its entirety.
Hezbollah is an illegal, anti-Semitic group, designated as a terror organization in its entirety by the Arab League, Bahrain, Canada, France, Israel, Australia, the Netherlands, and the United States.
But the European Union, as well as the United Kingdom, maintain a difference between the group’s military and political wings, seeking only to proscribe the former.
This loophole in British law has allowed participants in the annual Al-Quds Day march through central London to wave the Hezbollah flag unchallenged, featuring an assault rifle.
The Telegraph noted that Mr. Javid’s plan, “…follows warnings by MPs that the UK had created a false distinction by proscribing the military wing of the group but failing to outlaw its political side.”
According to the article, an MP well-versed with the plan to ban Hezbollah said: “It has been worked on for some time and is now imminent – and long overdue. It was a curious anomaly not to proscribe Hezbollah’s political wing as well given that such a range of other countries had made a similar decision. In the current climate, it is a really strong signal that we won’t tolerate celebrations of terrorism and antisemitism on the streets of the UK.”
Members of Congress in the United States have urged the E.U. to designate all branches of Hezbollah as a terror group, after several Hezbollah parliamentarians in Lebanon were caught on camera calling for terror against Israelis.
There are currently 74 international terrorist organisations proscribed under the UK Terrorism Act 2000, alongside 14 organisations connected to Northern Ireland proscribed under separate legislation.
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