LAWMAKER HAS LONG BEEN KNOWN FOR SUPPORT TO PALESTINIANS AND MUSLIMS
LONDON — George Galloway, an outspoken lawmaker who declared an “Israel-free zone” in a northern English city suffered a suspected broken jaw in an attack believed to be linked to his support for the Palestinians, his party said on Saturday. Galloway, who once lauded Saddam Hussein and criticized the 2003 US-led invasion that toppled the Iraqi leader, was attacked in west London on Friday night.
“It is thought that the attack is connected to Mr Galloway’s support for the Palestinian cause,” the left-wing Respect Party said in a statement.
A Respect spokesman said the incident appeared to be connected with Israel because the attacker had been shouting something about the Holocaust.
Police said a 39-year-old man had been arrested and taken to a south London police station where he remained in custody.
The Metropolitan Police said Neil Masterson of Camden Hill, London, will appear before Hammersmith Magistrates’ Court on Monday.
The force said he was charged with “assault by beating which is religiously aggravated on a male in his 60s and also common assault on a male in his 40s.”
It was understood the second charge related to a member of the public who stepped in.
Galloway had been posing for photos with people moments before, his spokesman said.
His party tweeted a photo of his bruises which was taken as he made his way to hospital.
The outspoken Scot, dubbed “Gorgeous George” by the British media, recently made headlines when he declared Bradford to be an Israel-free zone and urged people to reject all Israeli goods, services and even tourists.
Galloway, one of a handful of independent MPs in the Westminster parliament, stunned British politics when he won his West Bradford seat in 2012. The city has a large Muslim minority. –Agencies