As condemnation of the nearly six-year old civil war in Syria, in which roughly half a million people have died, becomes a cause celebre in recent weeks, with the ongoing battle for Aleppo drawing attention to the humanitarian crisis that has wracked the region since 2011, a group of Muslims in the UK gathered to protest the regime of Bashar Assad.

But the demonstration, which took place in front of the Syrian embassy building in London last week, veered off into an explicitly Islamist agenda, with participants calling for the establishment of an Islamic Caliphate in the Middle East and condemning the United States for its alleged role in the crisis.

More than 1,000 Muslims chanted slogans outside of the shuttered Syrian embassy building, shouting “Allahu Akbar” and calling for America to receive its “punishment”.

According to Breitbart News, the demonstration was organized by Salafist leader Haitham al-Hadad.

Another noted Islamist figure in the UK, Asim Qureshi, leader of the CAGE organization, called on participants to remember America’s supposed role in the civil war.

“Never forget who is the problem here,” he told the crowd. “When they say ‘look, America is the one who is going to come and help you in this’, then we have to remind them. Go back to the beginning of the war on terror when we were investigating cases of individuals being put on rendition flights to Syria where they had the soles of their feet beaten by the Syrian regime the moment they arrived in prison.”

“And who sent them there? The Americans, the CIA.”