31st Jan 2007
The Guardian today (Jan 31, 2007) reports that the prominent Egyptian Islamic scholar Dr Yusuf al-Qaradawi 'was banned from entering Britain by Michael Howard when he was Home Secretary'. This regurgitates the claim from the astonishingly ill-informed new Tory report 'Uniting the Country'.
However, it is simply not true that Dr al-Qaradawi was banned. Dr al-Qaradawi has been visiting the UK for over twenty years and in fact visited the UK 'five times between 1995 and 1997' when the former Tory leader was Home Secretary as you yourselves reported on July 10, 2004. Indeed, I recall seeing him with my own eyes in Leicester in 1996!
It is certainly true that the Board of Deputies of British Jews tried to prevent Dr al-Qaradawi from entering the country and indeed sent the police a 'dossier' in 2004 of his remarks. The Crown Prosecution Service took just two days to dismiss the 'dossier' and issued a statement saying there was no evidence of any offence having been committed by Dr al-Qaradawi.
Assistant Secretary General,
The Muslim Council of Britain
PO Box 57330,
London E15 1NT