Police dampen down 'ISIS flag' fears as innocent Ramadan banner sparks threats

Ramadan Shiva Moon
Ramadan Shiva Moon

Police have dampened down reports of an ISIS flag being flown in the North East - which turned out to be an innocent banner put up as part of Ramadan.

Muslims in the North East are marking the holy season, which involves fasting, special meals and prayer in the build up to the festival of Eid al-Fitr towards the end of June.

However, one family's observance of Ramadan unwittingly sparked a social media scare when pictures of a flag in their window were suspected of being a flag supporting ISIS, and shared on social media.

Police have visited the house concerned, and issued a statement on Facebook to calm fears. The social media rumours came a day after the terror attack in London, which left seven dead and 48 injured.

A Northumbria Police statement read: "We are aware of a picture circulating on social media of a flag in a window of an address in Newcastle.

"Social media users have suggested this is a flag supporting ISIS and a number of people have reported it to police. Officers have attended the address and spoken to the occupant who has shown us the flag in question.

"We can confirm that this flag is NOT supporting ISIS and is in fact a common flag celebrating the Ramadan festival which is currently taking place.

"The flag was reported to us in good faith and we understand the initial concerns. We would always encourage people to call us if they have these types of concerns.

"However, a number of people have posted threatening messages on social media encouraging people to cause damage to the property in question.

"This is completely unacceptable and we condemn this type of behaviour in our local communities.

"The occupant of the address is understandably distressed and has since taken the flag down. We would reiterate this is a common flag celebrating Ramadan and is not offensive.

"We have officers carrying out patrols in the area to ensure nobody carries out these threats and to ease any community tensions that may arise.

"You should never take the law into your own hands and if you have concerns about something you believe to be suspicious then contact police on 101 and we will take appropriate action."