Anti-Israel graffiti and Iran’s extremists threat formenting terror

On my way to work one morning, my eye falls on graffiti outside my front door. ‘Free Palestine’ has been scrawled across a street sign and ‘Think about Gaza‘ on a telecoms cabinet three feet from my house.

No other anti-Israel graffiti is in sight. Is it a coincidence that I’m the editor of the Jewish Chronicle? Am I being paranoid? Or is it a message: ‘We know w

here you live’?

Every British Jew I know is on high alert right now, and with good reason. Hundreds, even thousands, of Islamist extremists under Iranian orders are operating in Britain. As Security Minister Tom Tugendhat confirmed last year, they have been identifying prominent Jewish people in the UK, mapping where they live and work.

The words 'Free Palestine' written on a brick wall in South Bank, London

Stickers saying 'From the river to the sea Palestine will be free' and 'Boycott Israeli Apartheid' on a pole in Munich, Germany

But it’s not just Jews like me who are living in fear: ordinary Britons of all stripes are coming up against the unrest and terror being fomented by this evil regime.

The Iranians’ intention is not only to intimidate people into silence, but to have the option of unleashing a spate of assassinations in the event of all-out war between our countries, or between Iran and Israel.

Already these operatives have made attempts on the lives of at least two dozen individuals on British soil. Last year, Scotland Yard revealed that 15 murder or kidnap plots were foiled by the security services, and ten others the previous year. Almost all occurred before the slaughter by Hamas of 1,200 innocent people in Israel on October 7.

No one knows who is most at risk in Britain from Iranian assassins and kidnappers. So far, it has largely been brave Iranian dissidents.But it could be courageous celebrities, highlighting the spread of anti-Semitism in the media. It could be politicians, journalists and religious leaders.

Or perhaps their targets might be ordinary Jewish people, without any public profile. Iran’s goal is to undermine any kind of support for Israel while stoking radical Islamic sentiment through propaganda, street demonstrations and recruitment campaigns.

Jake Wallis Simons is the Editor of The Jewish Chronicle and author of the book Israelophobia

Israelophobia is a book on anti-Semitism written by Jake Wallis Simon

All this is being co-ordinated from within the UK by an arm of Iran’s brutal Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps. Incredibly, the IRGC is not a proscribed terrorist organisation, even though its goals and methods are sometimes indistinguishable from groups like Islamic State. In fact, it directs, trains and funds Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza.

In Parliament yesterday, former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith urged the Government to ‘consider proscribing the IRGC and doing so in a way that makes sure it can no longer foment extremism here in the United Kingdom.’

Unbelievably, the headquarters of the IRGC has charity status in Britain. Known as the Islamic Centre of England (ICEL), it is based at a former cinema in Maida Vale, in the heart of North London’s Jewish community.

Yesterday, a new report by the Policy Exchange think-tank argued that this headquarters is Iran’s ‘UK nerve centre’, and that Tehran has spent decades ‘curating a politico-religious infrastructure in Britain’.

According to senior Tory MP Alicia Kearns, the chair of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, the ICEL is ‘solely there to spread the word of the Islamic repressive regime’. It co-ordinates the free movement in Britain of hate preachers: shamefully, the UK has granted 100 visas to Iranian religious figures since 2005, with 21 of them issued to clerics trained by the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The report also highlighted the protests that occurred outside Batley Grammar School in 2021, which forced into hiding a teacher who had shown his pupils a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed, which is an offensive act in Islam, during a religious studies class as an example of Iran’s ‘ability to stir the pot of religious prejudice within the UK’, enforcing de facto blasphemy laws that run contrary to British freedom of speech.

The ICEL is currently under investigation by the Charity Commission, which launched a statutory inquiry last year after its then director, Seyed Moosavi, denounced anti-government protesters in Iran as ‘soldiers of Satan’.

He was speaking after a 22-year-old woman in Tehran, Mahsa Amini, died in custody in September 2022, having been arrested by Iran’s ‘morality police’ for refusing to wear the hijab in public.

A star of David graffitied with a large black cross through it on a bus stop in Stamford Hill, north London

Moosavi also described one of the heads of the IRGC, Qaseem Soleimani, as ‘a martyr’ and ‘a dedicated soldier of Islam’ after he was killed in a U.S. airstrike in 2020. The ICEL organised a vigil for Soleimani: the Charity Commission warned that this ‘risked associating the ICEL with a speaker who may have committed an offence under the Terrorism Act’.

In 2022, as the Jewish Chronicle revealed, the ICEL filmed children aged seven to 15 at an Iranian school in Kilburn, singing a song in English called ‘Hello Commander’. It lauded the murderous Iranian regime and called for the slaughter of all Tehran’s enemies.

Labour MP Steve McCabe called for a a ‘full, urgent investigation into this organisation’s relationship with the Iranian regime’.

Despite this, the ICEL continues to act as a proxy for the Revolutionary Guards, although last May it was obliged to suspend religious services while the inquiry launched by the Charity Commission was carried out.

It continues to operate, however. As a sign of Iranian power in Britain, earlier this month the annual Quds Day rally took place in London, a recruiting exercise for Islamists. This year’s event was branded as a ‘national demonstration for Palestine’ and marchers carried placards calling for ‘resistance by any means necessary’.

The Revolutionary Guards also advance their toxic agenda through the Islamic Student Association of Britain (ISAB), based in an Edwardian former Methodist church in Hammersmith, West London. In January 2021, for example, the ISAB organised an online lecture by Saeed Ghasemi, a former senior commander in a vigilante branch of the IRGC called the ‘Lebas-shakhsi’ or ‘plain clothes men’.

Ghasemi, who boasts that he stood ‘side by side with Al-Qaeda’ before the Twin Towers attack in 2001, talks of his desire for an ‘apocalyptic war’ between Iran and its enemies — not only Israel, but the U.S. and Britain.

He claims this country was responsible for atrocities in Iran a century ago, while denying that the Nazi Holocaust ever took place: ‘The one that the Jews say happened is fake,’ he said. ‘The real Holocaust happened in my country in the First World War, 1917-19, when the UK occupied Iran.’

Ghasemi, like many radical Shiite Islamists in Iran, believes that by bringing about the end of Western civilisation in a global nuclear war, Muslims can summon their saviour, the ninth century Imam Mahdi.

‘This will bring an end to the life of the oppressors and occupiers, Zionists and Jews across the world,’ he told British students.

To achieve this, Iran has a three-pronged war strategy. As well as its vast arsenal of ballistic missiles and drones and its atomic programme, it boasts a third and most effective state weapon. Though the least known or understood, this the Islamic Republican Guards Corp and its overseas proxy militias.

The fact that the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps has not been proscribed as a terrorist organisation in Britain is an open door for Iran to continue its murderous, nakedly hostile activities here.

There is a simple solution: it has to be outlawed. Every day that it is permitted to keep operating here brings us one step closer to an unimaginable atrocity.

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