Mayor of London and Conservative MP Boris Johnson has warned against legally banning the Islamic State (IS) flag because Britain is a “free country”. He agreed that he did not want to see the IS flag flown anywhere but said banning it in law could prove unworkable.
“I don’t like people carrying the ISIS flag…I think a balance has got to be struck,” he the LBC radio interviewer, Nick Ferrari, continuing: “We live in a free country and I think you’d have to have primary legislation to designate certain bits of iconography as being illegal. It would be quite difficult.”
Johnson also warned the presenter that choosing to ban something now could store up trouble in future for groups closer to home:
“Some government would come in and they’d say ‘Ferrari? I’m fed up with that guy! He’s banned’.”
The issue of the IS flag, a symbol not unique to IS though increasingly identified with it, gained prominence in London this week following the sighting of a man and child wearing it outside Parliament, as reported by Breitbart London.
The Independent points out that laws that could apply to someone carrying an IS flag include the Public Order Act and the Terrorism Act. To apply those statutes someone would either have to be causing alarm or distress or be a suspected member of a terrorist organisation.
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