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Headband was statement of faith, not pro-Hamas, court told


A man accused of wearing a headband in support of Hamas told police it was a “statement of faith”, a court heard.

Khaled Hajsaad, 24, wore the clothing at a pro-Palestine rally in central London where he was arrested by police, the prosecution said.

City of London Magistrates’ Court has previously been told the headband had the “Shahada” written on it, the basic statement of the Islamic faith.

Mr Hajsaad denies a charge of appearing to support a terrorist group.

A transcript of a police interview with Mr Hajsaad, conducted the day after he was arrested, was read out in court.

The defendant told officers he was wearing a headband with a Saudi Arabian flag.

“I was supporting Palestine and I was wearing an item of Saudi Arabia,” the court heard.

“This is a Shahada, which is a statement of faith.

“I was wearing it because I am a Muslim and this is my statement of faith.”

Mr Hajsaad, described as an asylum seeker who arrived in the UK a year ago, said: “I don’t care about (Hamas). I don’t support (the group) and I have never supported (them).

“I came here to live in safety.”

He is accused of wearing the clothing at Trafalgar Square on 25 November “in such a way or in such circumstances as to arouse reasonable suspicion” he was supporting Hamas – an illegal act in the UK where it is designated a terrorist group.

Experts called to attend the court were split on the headband’s likeness to either the flag of Hamas or Saudi Arabia.

The trial continues.

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