April 12, 2010

Shoe-throwing allowed as ritual protest

by David Masters

The Metropolitan Police have confirmed that Muslims who throw shoes in protest will not be prosecuted for violent disorder.

The London police force has accepted shoe throwing as a form of ritual protest.

Shoes, and in particular the soles of shoes, are considered unclean according to Islamic purity codes.

The Met’s concession for throwing shoes was confirmed as protesters who threw shoes last year came to trial for violence disorder.

The demonstrators were charged threw their shoes outside the Israeli embassy in London in protest against the war in Gaza.

All charges related to throwing shoes have now been dismissed.

The Metropolitan Police first explained its stance on shoe throwing after Iraqi journalist Muntadhar al-Zaidi famously threw his shoes as George Bush, the then US president, in 2008.

“After the incident in Baghdad we told the police that people would want to bring shoes to throw at Downing Street,” said Lindsey German, convenor of the Stop the War coalition.

“They said that was OK . . . Afterwards they joked that they didn’t realise we were going to throw the shoes so hard.”

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