London Metropolitan Police backs off over Muslim protests
By John Steele,
No criminal offences were committed in a Muslim protest over the Pope outside Westminster Cathedral, police have decided.The Metropolitan Police has also decided not to take action against the controversial Muslim figure, Anjem Choudary, who allegedly said in a television interview about the row over the Pope that anyone who insulted the Muslim faith would be "subject to capital punishment".
Police received about 25 complaints from members of the public about the protest, which was said to have left worshippers attending the cathedral on September 17 feeling "upset" and "intimidated".
Following a protest outside the Danish embassy in London in February, over Muslim-related cartoons, an inquiry led to charges including soliciting to murder and inciting racial hatred.
However, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Sir Ian Blair, told a meeting of his force's police authority yesterday that, after reviewing the evidence, Scotland Yard officers had concluded that "no substantive offences" were committed during the cathedral demonstration.
Sir Ian said that the cathedral authorities had expressed satisfaction with the policing of the event and added: "We are in an angry time and it is our job in the Met to hold the line on free speech."
David Davies, the shadow home secretary, who called for action to be taken against Mr Choudary, said: "It is quite disgraceful. It sends out a message to Muslim extremists that we, as a country, do not have the moral courage to stand up to them."