‘Londonistan’: Hamas’ base of operations in England

Zaher Birawi is probably the most important of the Hamas operatives in London and holds the “London file” in the organization.

By Baruch Yedid/TPS

The UK’s Home Secretary Priti Patel laid before the UK’s Parliament on Friday an order to outlaw the Hamas Islamist terrorist movement in its entirety from the UK.

The order states that “Hamas is an organization which calls for the establishment of an Islamic Palestinian state under Sharia law and has repeatedly called for the destruction of Israel. It has long been involved in significant terrorist violence.”

The organization’s military wing is already banned in the UK since March 2001, but “following a new assessment the Home Secretary has concluded it should be proscribed in its entirety. This action will support efforts to protect the British public and the international community in the global fight against terrorism.”

As a result, anyone who works for or on behalf of Hamas in the UK can be charged with a crime and be sentenced, if convicted, to as much as 14 years in prison. This will also apply to people who wave the Hamas flag or who participate in meetings organized by Hamas. And British authorities will now be required to intensify their activities against Hamas-related operations in the country.

An in-depth investigation conducted by TPS two years ago ad published in December 2019 revealed the existence of a “London Hamas gang” which was called by French intelligence “Londonistan.” The investigation revealed that Hamas was well entrenched in Britain, had established institutions and foundations there, carried out extensive diplomatic activities, enjoyed the Muslim Brotherhood’s well-oiled communication system, forged ties with Labour activists, and organized flotillas to the Gaza Strip with people who had been deported by Israel on board.

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The main subjects of the investigation were Zaher Birawi, Muhammad Zualha, Azzam Tamimi, Ibrahim Hamami, Anas Tikriti, Kamal Hawashh, Adnan Hamidan, Kazem Zwalaha, Haft Carmi and others, all Hamas operatives and the Muslim Brotherhood, as well as the organizations mentioned in the investigation.

Zaher Birawi is probably the most important of the Hamas operatives in London and holds the “London file” in the organization. He engages in propaganda activities against Israel in Britain and is also involved in “legal warfare” against the Jewish state. Most importantly, he is the one who had the closest ties with former Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn and pushed for Corbyn’s election.

Like many of his colleagues in Britain, Birawi is not a mere civilian but is part of the leadership of Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood there. Many of his colleagues are known to the Israeli defense establishment, and the institutions in which they operate and their members have been banned in Israel. Birawi has visited the Gaza Strip many times and was photographed alongside the local Hamas leadership while wrapped in its flag.

Birawi was very busy ahead of the last UK elections held in December 2019, running from meeting to meeting. His tight schedule included taking part in the “European-Palestinian Communication Forum,” gatherings in support of Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour candidate in the 2019 elections. This included giving interviews in which Birawi expressed concerns over the possibility that Boris Johnson and his Conservative party would win the election.

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He also met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan when the latter visited London and met with Palestinian and Muslim forums. He studied in Britain and began to integrate into Islamic activities, especially those associated with the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas’ mother movement.

In the early 1990s, Birawi began his career in Britain as a spokesman for the Leeds Grand Mosque. In 1996, he returned to the Gaza Strip where he worked at the Islamic University in Gaza, a Hamas-controlled academic institution.

From 2001-2003 he served as chairman of the Muslim Association of Britain (MAB), a body affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood in Britain and founded by Muhammad Zualha.

Until recently, he served as chairman and head of public relations at the organization on behalf of the Palestinian Forum in Britain (PFB).

The British defense establishment will have no difficulty in mapping Hamas’ activities if it monitors the institutions in which it operates openly. Birawi, for example, is one of the senior members of the Britain Muslim Initiative, which is recognized as a political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood movement in the UK.

Birawi is also a member of the board of trustees of the Palestinian Education Aid Organization, which includes Hamas-affiliated activists. The organization itself was founded in 1993 by Azzam Yousef, one of the founders of the Palestinian Relief and Development Fund, which was involved in transferring funds to Hamas’ charitable funds and was subsequently banned in Israel.

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Birawi served as chairman of the board of the Palestinian Return Center, an institution based in London that conducts anti-Israel propaganda activities and demands that Israel return all 1948 refugees to its territories.

In the past, he was the program director and chief presenter of Al-Khawar, an Arabic-language television channel operating in London and affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood that collaborates with Hamas’ Al-Aqsa TV channel.

Birawi’s support for Jeremy Corbyn, who was recently the Labour Party leader and candidate for Prime Minister of Great Britain, reveals the depth of relations and ties between Hamas and Labour. Birawi has devoted a lot of time to the campaign, which calls on Muslims in the UK to vote for Corbyn. And Corbyn’s name has appeared next to various hashtags including “Muslims vote”, “Make your voice heard” and more.

Before the previous British election, the entire Hamas system mobilized for a widespread campaign of support for Jeremy Corbyn. The Hamas website called Corbyn “the friend of Palestine” and another article praised him for speaking “Canaanite-style Palestinian,” given his recognition of the claim that the Palestinians are the Canaanites and therefore preceded the Jews in the biblical land of Israel.

The Arabi 21 newspaper, which was closed by the Palestinian Authority due to its ties to Hamas, provided particularly sympathetic coverage to Corbyn and the Labour Party.

Birawi has a personal and close relationship with Corbyn and is the one who initiated his meeting with the Hamas leadership in Qatar, with the participation of Khaled Mashaal and Hussam Badran in 2012.