Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Blairite Hypocrisy in Action

I said some time ago that Tony Blair's government was hypocritical in banning Louis Farrakhan from entering the UK while allowing Jean-Marie Le Pen free passage into the country, and I remember that at the time some people defended the decision on grounds of Le Pen's EU citizenship. Well, here's yet another case of British hypocrisy on the matter of who gets to visit the UK and who doesn't, and this time there's no "EU citizen" excuse to hide behind either.

A controversial Muslim cleric who is banned from entering the US has been given permission to visit Britain.
Egyptian-born Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi has been accused of making anti-Semitic remarks and supporting suicide bombers.
BBC religious affairs correspondent Martha Doyle said although respected in the Arab world, his visit has angered leaders of Jewish community groups.
Labour MP Louise Ellman said it would be "an outrage" to let him visit, and create "enormous security problems".
The Liverpool MP accused Dr Al-Qaradawi of encouraging women and children to be suicide bombers and seeking the destruction of Israel.
Mrs Ellman is calling for his speeches to be monitored.

Banned

But the Muslim Association of Britain, which is hosting Dr Al-Qaradawi, regards him as a moderating voice.
The organisation claims that his views on suicide bombers are irrelevant.
On its website, it said Dr Al-Qaradawi arrived in London on Monday for a week-long visit during which he would take part in a number of functions.
That included chairing the European Council of Fatwa and Research, which will open under the auspices of Mayor Ken Livingston at the Greater London Assembly in London on Wednesday, it said.
Our correspondent said the cleric had publicly supported Palestinian suicide bombers.
Hmm, Louis Farrakhan's somehow beyond the pale, but a guy who openly supports suicide bombings of Israelis (and this according to the testimony of a BBC journalist!) is fine and dandy? Combine this with the Blairites' spinelessness over Iran's seizure of its troops and their boats, and what you have is a government so craven and eager to pander to Islamist sentiment that even blatant exhortations to murder innocents no longer constitute a bar to admission into the country. Had Farrakhan been a real Muslim, rather than one of the "Nation of Islam" variety, David Blunkett would probably have rolled out a red carpet for him to preach whatever madness caught his fancy.