Headband was a statement of faith, not pro-Hamas, court says

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

Prosecutors said Khaled Haisad, 24, was wearing the clothing at a pro-Palestinian rally in central London, where he was arrested by police.

London Magistrates’ Court was previously told that the headband had a “shahada” written on it, a fundamental statement of the Islamic faith.

Mr. Haisard denies the charge of supporting a terrorist group.

A transcript of a police interrogation conducted the day after Mr Haisard’s arrest was read out in court.

The defendant told officers he was wearing a headband with the Saudi flag on it.

“I support Palestine and was wearing Saudi Arabian items,” the court said.

“This is a shahada, an expression of faith.

“I wore this because I’m Muslim. This is an expression of my faith.”

Mr Haisard, who is said to be an asylum seeker who arrived in the UK a year ago, said: “I don’t care about[Hamas]. I don’t support[Hamas]and I’ve never supported[them]. ” he said.

“I came here to live safely.”

He is accused of wearing the clothing in Trafalgar Square on November 25th “in a manner or in circumstances which gave rise to a reasonable suspicion” of supporting Hamas. Hamas is illegal in the UK, where it is listed as a terrorist organization.

Experts called to appear before the court differed over whether the headband resembled the flag of Hamas or Saudi Arabia.

The trial continues.

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