Met cuts ties with adviser who previously praised Hamas founder

Mohammed Kozbar was a member of the Met Police’s London Muslim Communities Forum, a strategic advisory body
Mohammed Kozbar was a member of the Met Police’s London Muslim Communities Forum, a strategic advisory body - Mark Kerrison/Alamy

A prominent mosque chairman who previously praised the founder of Hamas has been removed as an adviser to the Metropolitan Police.

Scotland Yard said it had decided to “cease engagement” with Mohammed Kozbar “after a social media post from late January 2024 was brought to our attention and reviewed”.

In December, The Telegraph revealed that Mr Kozbar was a member of the force’s London Muslim Communities Forum, a strategic advisory body the Met has said exists to “inform and help shape police policy and procedure at a strategic level”.

He was invited to a buffet dinner at Scotland Yard hosted by Sir Mark Rowley, the Met Commissioner, last July – five months after his past praise for Hamas’s founder as “the master of the martyrs of the resistance” had been cited in an official counter-extremism review.

Last month, The Telegraph disclosed that Mr Kozbar, a deputy secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, had “liked” a post on X, formerly Twitter, in which Dr Wahid Shaida, a former head of Hizb ut-Tahrir, the Islamist extremist group, said he could no longer speak for the body.

In the post on Jan 19, Dr Shaida pledged to “continue to speak about things I believe in” after Hizb ut-Tahrir was proscribed as a terror group.

On Saturday, a Met Police spokesman said: “Mr Kozbar is no longer an adviser to the Met. The decision was taken to cease engagement with Mr Kozbar as an adviser after a social media post from late January 2024 was brought to our attention and reviewed.

“The Met works with a range of faith and community adviser groups, locally and centrally. This vital work helps us improve our response to the crime and anti-social behaviour issues faced by all communities across London.

“We are currently reviewing how we work with our network of advisory groups to ensure that, like the Met, they are committed to building a better London that promotes mutual respect and inclusivity.”

The disclosure by the Met comes after Mr Kozbar shared a video on X last week that appeared to disseminate conspiracy theories about Israeli control of institutions including the police.

The video by Lowkey, a rapper who has described Israel as a “racist endeavour”, claimed “Israeli intelligence companies” were “taking control of key functions of our intelligence and police services”.

Last year, an official review of Prevent, the government’s counter-extremism programme, raised concerns that the London branch of the National Association of Muslim Police had praised Mr Kozbar despite evidence that in 2015 he had “previously supported the founder … of Hamas”.

Hamas was proscribed as a terror group in its entirety six years later in 2021.

Mr Kozbar did not respond to questions on Saturday. He has previously claimed he was being subjected to “repeated attempts to smear me as I pursue work to foster better community relations”.

He has said: “I condemn the targeting of all civilians, whoever they are. It is criminal to indiscriminately murder innocent men, women, and children.” He has said he supports “the Palestinian people and their quest for freedom, as clearly expressed as a basic right within international law”.

Addressing his comments about the founder of Hamas, he said: “I spoke on the extra-judicial assassination of a paraplegic man who was wheelchair-bound... my comments were made well before this organisation [Hamas] was proscribed.”

Attiq Malik, a hard-Left activist, led the London Muslim Communities Forum until November when the Met cut ties with him after The Telegraph revealed that he had been filmed chanting “from the river to the sea” and railing against “global censorship by the Zionists”.