Man accused of wearing headband in support of Hamas denies charge

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

Khaled Hajsaad, 24, who has been living in Birmingham, wore the clothing at a pro-Palestine rally in central London where he was arrested by police, prosecutors say.

The headband had the “Shahada” written on it – the basic statement of the Islamic faith, the court was told previously.

Hajsaad appeared at the City of London Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday, where he denied the charge.

According to a transcript of a police interview with Hajsaad the day after he was arrested, the defendant told officers he was wearing a headband with a Saudi Arabian flag.

The document, which was read to the court by prosecutor Gareth Weetman, detailed how Hajsaad told police: “I was supporting Palestine and I was wearing an item of Saudi Arabia.

“This is a Shahada, which is a statement of faith.

“I was wearing it because I am a Muslim and this is my statement of faith.”

Khaled Hajsaad
Khaled Hajsaad wore the clothing at a pro-Palestine rally in central London, prosecutors say (Jonathan Brady/PA)

Hajsaad, described as an asylum seeker who arrived in the UK a year ago, said: “I don’t care about (Hamas). I don’t support (the group) and I have never supported (them).

“I came here to live in safety.”

Hajsaad is accused of wearing the clothing at Trafalgar Square on November 25 last year “in such a way or in such circumstances as to arouse reasonable suspicion” he was supporting Hamas – an illegal act in the UK where it is designated a terrorist group.

Experts called to attend the court were split on the headband’s likeness to either the flag of Hamas or Saudi Arabia.

District Judge Nina Tempia adjourned the trial until Thursday.