New MP told public rally: ‘Let’s make Israel burn’

A newly elected MP who won his seat on a pro-Palestinian ticket once told a Gaza rally “let’s make Israel burn”.

Adnan Hussain was elected as an independent in Blackburn on Thursday, defeating Kate Hollern of Labour by tapping into voters’ anger over her party’s stance on the Israel-Hamas war.

Around one in three Blackburn residents are Muslim and Mr Hussain promised during the campaign to speak out “against the injustice being inflicted against the people of Gaza”.

Speaking at a “Free Palestine” rally in Bradford in 2014, the now-MP claimed Israel’s military operation in the summer of that year amounted to a “holocaust”.

He told activists: “Every corporation… that supports Israel, let’s stop their funding. Let’s stop the funding.

“They let Gaza burn, they hate Gaza… Now let’s make Israel burn, let’s make Israel burn. We will stop their funding…

“United we stand, divided we fail. We will raise. We will show Israel that we do not support its holocaust. We will never support its holocaust.”

While he continued to use the term “genocide” during the election campaign, Mr Hussain has not talked about Israel “burning” or used similar violent language in recent years.

In the Gaza war of 2014, Israel launched an offensive after three Israeli teenagers were kidnapped and murdered in the West Bank by Palestinian terrorists with links to Hamas.

A young girl stands on a heap of rubble in front of bombed buildings which are still standing

Gaza 2014: A Palestinian girl in Shejaiya the day after the war ended – Roberto Schmidt/AFP

Some of the deadliest fighting in the region for decades then unfolded between the Israel Defense Forces and Hamas terrorists.

‘Israel is literally burning’

A spokesman for the British Jewish organisation Community Security Trust said: “Adnan Hussain may have called for Israel to burn several years ago.

“But the sight in recent months of parts of Israel literally burning at the hands of Hamas terrorists and under Hezbollah rocket bombardments shows just what this slogan means in practice.

“This kind of rabble-rousing, extreme language would be alarming coming from anyone, but is especially so from a person who has since been elected a member of Parliament and needs to represent the views and interests of all his constituents.”

A video posted on Mr Hussain’s TikTok account on Friday showed his supporters chanting “free, free Palestine” as he celebrated his victory with activists.

‘Allah has gifted me’

In a second clip, as he spoke at a rally of supporters during the campaign, Mr Hussain said: “My people of Blackburn, I can assure you I will carry your rage in the corridors of power.

“I will scream until they hear us, I will scream until they stop a genocide. Because I’m telling you, MP or no MP, I have continued to speak for Gaza.”

He added: “I feel Allah has gifted me an ability to represent you. I have been gifted an ability to speak the truth and speak the truth I shall in the corridors of power, if Allah wills.”

Jeremy Corbyn at a public meeting

Jeremy Corbyn, who has a long history as a pro-Palestinian campaigner, was elected as an independent, after being thrown out of Labour – Tejas Sandhu/PA

On his campaign website, Mr Adnan told voters it was “time to get rid of the old guard” and “make Blackburn great again”.

And a third video, of a “from Blackburn to Gaza” rally, showed a number of his supporters behind a banner that read “from Blackburn to Gaza, globalise the intifada”.

Some people have interpreted the term “intifada” as a call for violence, but others defend it as a call for solidarity with Palestine.

Sixth-biggest ‘party’

Pro-Palestinian MPs effectively became the sixth-largest party in the UK after five independent candidates including Mr Hussain unseated their Labour rivals.

Shockat Adam defeated Jonathan Ashworth, who had been the shadow paymaster general, in Leicester South, saying “this is for the people of Gaza” while holding up a Palestinian keffiyeh scarf.

Jeremy Corbyn, the former Labour leader and a long-term supporter of the Palestine movement, was re-elected in Islington North as an independent as he defeated his old party.

Mr Corbyn spoke at a pro-Palestinian rally outside Parliament on Saturday, addressing thousands of supporters from the stage.

Mr Hussain was contacted for comment.


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