If things go on as they are, there will come a day when those flags can no longer be taken down.
First Ted Jeory, a non-Jewish Express reporter married to a Muslim woman, described what happened when he came to take photos of a Jihadist flag that some believed to be ISIS in Tower Hamlets.
I asked them to explain the black flag. They said it represented their Muslim faith.
Then they asked for £5. “It’s our flag, we charge people for taking pictures,” they said.
I tried to keep it light-hearted: I joked I was a good photographer; they should be paying me £5.
A few more youths, all of them mid-late teens, a couple a little older, joined the group.
Then one stared at me.
“Are you a Jew?” he asked.
I’m not. I have a large nose; I fitted his stereotype.
I glared back at him. “What if I were? Would that be a problem for you?” I asked.
“Yeah,” he said. “F*** off Jew, you’re not welcome here.”
Then another (white) man appeared. He had a professional camera and took a few photos of the flag.
The youths surrounded him; they demanded his camera.
They wanted to delete his photos.
The photographer was from The Guardian. Their reporter, Rajeev Syal, appeared next to me. We know each other.
The youths asked who he was. He told them he was a journalist.
“Ah,” they said, pointing at me. “So you are a journalist.”
Then one voice, then several: “F*** off Jews. We don’t want Jews here, f***k off Jews.”
The Guardian then describes how it was finally taken down.
It fell to a middle-aged Roman Catholic nun to take down the controversial black Islamist flag that had flown for several days in the shadow of Canary Wharf.
Sister Christine reasoned that it was just too much like the flags flown by the Isis group which has beheaded non-believers on its mission to create a caliphate in Iraq and Syria. It risked destabilising community cohesion, she thought.
The flag had intimidated Christian residents… Many other residents in the area – which has a large Bangladeshi Muslim population – said the black flag was simply a emblem of solidarity with the people of Gaza and represented cross border unity between Muslims.
So had the standard of the most violent, intolerant and terrifying interpretation of Islam been raised for the first time in the capital, just a half a mile from the skyscrapers of the city’s principal financial district?
One Christian resident of the area, who asked not to be named, told the Guardian that he found the flag “very intimidating given what Isis are doing in Iraq to Christians and others”. Anyway, he said, “an entry to a housing estate shouldn’t have the creed of Islam hanging on it”.
Christine Frost is obviously well on the left and sympathetic to the Islamists. The Guardian does its best to wipe away any implications that the flag has anything to do with Jihad. And yet Ted’s story makes it quite clear what the flag really represented.