The Sheikh, the minister and the shambles


By Marcus Dysch
April 11, 2012
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What a mess.

From start to finish Raed Salah's deportation has been an utter shambles. The latest ruling – this time from the Upper Immigration Tribunal – arguably only deepens the sense that the authorities have lost control of the case.

For Mr Ockelton and his colleagues to have ruled that the blood libel was invoked and admitted that Jews would be offended by Sheikh Salah’s comments, but ultimately found in his favour, only adds to the confusion.

What is certain is that this result is truly embarrassing for Theresa May, the Home Office and the UK Border Agency. Once upon a time a minister defeated in this way, and after so many catastrophic errors, would have honourably offered the Prime Minister their resignation.

This result is bound to have implications for the government's Prevent counter-extremism strategy. At the very least, the next time the Home Secretary is asked to bar a similarly controversial figure she is sure to think back to Sheikh Salah.

As the legal wrangling and mud-slinging erupted around him, Sheikh Salah quietly sat it out, waiting for his day in court. YouTube videos show him preparing dinner in the garden of the north west London home at which he was effectively under house arrest, seemingly oblivious to the shockwaves his arrival in Britain had caused.

His supporters will see the evidence put before the tribunal as proof of their belief that the government is engaged in a seedy conspiracy, and will use it as further fodder for their misplaced attacks on CST.

In reality, Sheikh Salah's distorted victory is simply the inevitable result of a compilation of cock-ups.

COMMENTS

Jonathan Hoffman

Wed, 04/11/2012 - 15:20

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-2 points

Yes Salah should never have entered the UK. But in the Home Office/Border Agency mistakes happen.

But the most shocking figure is Ockleton:

In the course of the hearing before us, as before the First-tier Tribunal, there were suggestions that the CST may be over sensitive in its detection of anti-Semitism (in the sense of anti-Jewish rather than generally anti-Semitic attitudes): but whether or not that is so, the Secretary of State is clearly entitled to consult CST and take account of its advice.

"anti-Jewish" is no different from "anti-Semitic" (which should be written "antisemitic"). Anyone who says there is a difference is either an antisemite or too lazy to learn.

Is it really possible that Ockleton failed to apprise himself of the most basic facts about antisemitism before he tried this case?


happygoldfish

Wed, 04/18/2012 - 17:00

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3 points

the full judgment of the Upper Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) of 5/4/2012 in Raed Salah Mahajna v Secretary of State for the Home Department (IA/21631/2011) is now available at http://www.ait.gov.uk/Public/Unreported/IA216312011.doc

the decision was on two very different grounds under s 84(1) of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002

i] procedural defects: under paragraph (e) "that the decision is otherwise not in accordance with the law": essentially, Theresa May took into account facts that turned out to be wrong, and at no stage reviewed her decision on the basis of the facts as corrected

ii] on an appeal, the court is entitled to make its own decision: under paragraphs (c) and (g) "that the decision is … incompatible with the appellant’s Convention rights":

"It is accepted that his deportation amounts to an infringement of his rights under article 10 [freedom of speech]: the question is therefore whether it is proportionate."

"the matters raised by the Secretary of State are not a fair portrayal of the appellant’s views or words as a whole; and they are in essence confined to words on one day, that are not shown to have caused any difficulty at the time or since."

"The essence of the decision under appeal, once the facts are properly analysed is that because of a few sentences in the sermon in February 2007, which nobody seems to have regarded as harmful at the time, the appellant is to be prevented from being in the United Kingdom or saying anything here (save by telecommunication), for an indefinite period of time. By the time that we come to look at the evidence the position is that his presence here and what he has said here have caused no difficulty of any sort."

"We have no difficulty in concluding that the Secretary of State’s decision has not been shown to be proportionate to the need to preserve community harmony or protect the United Kingdom from the dangers to which the policy refers [the government’s published “Unacceptable Behaviours Policy”]. On the contrary, the position is that it appears to have been entirely unnecessary to achieve that purpose."

"following a Freedom of Information Act request, the appellant’s representatives were able to show that those advising the Secretary of State considered that even on the facts that they were assembling for her consideration, the case was ‘finely balanced’. The removal of the poem from consideration must necessarily affect the balance; and the other matters to which we have referred must tip it further in the appellant’s favour."


suzanna

Thu, 04/19/2012 - 11:43

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1 point

Raed Salah: I came to the UK to talk about the plight of the Palestinians but ended up fighting deportation. This is what I wanted to say

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/apr/19/britain-duty-to-pale...


Harvey

Thu, 04/19/2012 - 15:30

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-1 points

" We have never allowed ourselves and listen well , we have never allowed ourselves to knead the bread for the making of the fast during the blessed month of Ramadan with the blood of the children . And if someone wants a wider explanation, you should ask what used to happen to some of the children of Europe whose blood would be mixed in with the dough of the Holy Bread .

These words were spoken by Sheik Salah during a sermon given in 2007 . Over the centuries the blood libel has been invoked countless times and has given rise to pogroms and the mass murder of innocent Jews . It was quoted by the Nazis as in part justification of their hatred of the Jewish people inevitably leading to the Holocaust .
Antisemites such as Salah quote it as if it was the most natural thing to do without so much as a twinge of conscience or recognition of the reinforcing of Jews as being intrinsically evil . The results of this are to be seen time and again in countless acts of mindless violence and hatred . Mumbai and now France to name but two .
Salah is an antisemite , a racist who should never have been allowed to enter the country . The fact that he did and worse still that the words he uttered and never denied save for an feeble early attempt to pass it off as referring to C16 Spain shows just how mainstream and normalized this specific and overt antisemitism has become .
Salah may have won his appeal . He may be known for carrying out good deeds on behalf of the Palestinian people . All this is as nothing when weighed up against the acknowledged words of an inveterate antisemite and racist .


joshua789

Thu, 04/19/2012 - 15:36

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1 point

Does he mention Jews in the quote your provide?


joshua789

Thu, 04/19/2012 - 15:45

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1 point

And anyway - the judge doesn't agree with you.
And neither did the judge is Israel for that matter.


Advis3r

Thu, 04/19/2012 - 16:00

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-1 points

The point being Joshua is it not that the fact Raed Salah has the freedom to incite within Israel itself is something of a testament to the liberties provided by Israel to all of its citizens, even those who wish to see the state destroyed.


happygoldfish

Fri, 04/20/2012 - 09:08

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1 point

joshua789: Does he mention Jews in the quote your provide?

Harvey: " We have never allowed ourselves and listen well , we have never allowed ourselves to knead the bread for the making of the fast during the blessed month of Ramadan with the blood of the children . And if someone wants a wider explanation, you should ask what used to happen to some of the children of Europe whose blood would be mixed in with the dough of the Holy Bread .
These words were spoken by Sheik Salah during a sermon given in 2007

joshua789: And anyway - the judge doesn't agree with you

no, the judge did agree that they referred to us …

"(ii) The blood libel

The respondent also relies on a statement made by the appellant as part of a sermon he gave in Jerusalem on 16 February 2007.

The respondent’s first concern about this sermon, however, is that it referred to the “blood libel”, a long-standing form of abuse used against Jews, alleging that they used the blood of children to make bread. The blood libel insult was in use by medieval times in Europe and has re-emerged in various places and in various forms since then, for example the notoriously anti-Jewish fabrication known as the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion”. The blood libel is something that cannot but be deeply offensive to Jews and, given its close association with the history of persecution of the Jews across Europe over centuries, we accept that iterations of it have the potential to foster hatred which might lead to inter-community violence in the UK.

The particular passage relied on concerning the blood libel is as follows:
“We are not a nation that is based on values of envy. We are not a nation that is based on values of vengeance. We have never allowed ourselves, and listen carefully; we have never allowed ourselves to knead the bread for the breaking [of] fasting during the blessed month of Ramadan with the blood of the children. And if someone wants a wider explanation, then he should ask what used to happen to some of the children of Europe, when their blood used to be mixed in the dough of the holy bread. God almighty, is this religion? Is this what God wants? Allah’s curse be on you: how you are deluded away from the Truth. How dare you to lie to God? How dare you to fabricate things on God?

The appellant denies that the reference to “blood” being used in “holy bread” was a reference to the blood libel against Jews.

The appellant also relies on the evidence of Professor Pappe, who gives his impression of the sermon as ‘neither anti-Semitic nor even anti-Zionist’ …

In our judgment this is all wholly unpersuasive. The appellant is clearly aware of the blood libel against Jews. If his intention had been to draw an analogy between events of the Spanish Inquisition and actions of the Israeli state he could have said so in clearer terms that did not require over ten paragraphs of explanation for his true meaning to be made clear. If he had meant to refer to Christians using the blood of others to make bread, which he seems to consider less offensive than referring to Jews doing so, then he could have inserted the word “Christian” into the text of his the sermon as he does in paragraph 175 of his explanation. Allusion to historical examples of children being killed in religious conflict does not require reference to their blood being used to make “holy bread”. The truth of the matter is that the conjunction of the concepts of ‘children’s blood’ and ‘holy bread’ is bound to be seen as a reference to the blood libel unless it is immediately and comprehensively explained to be something else altogether.
Besides, even the explanation does not quite work. Professor Pappe accepts that “superficially” the reference could appear to be to the blood libel but that the “sentence without the adjective Jewish is not a repetition of the blood libel.” He maintains that the next sentence of the sermon is a reference to a chapter in the history of the Inquisition. But neither the appellant nor Professor Pappe identified a source for this “chapter” of the Inquisition where Christians used blood of Muslim (or any other) children for Christian holy bread. There is no evidence that this is a commonly known matter in any of the communities in Israel, so that those hearing the sermon would recognise the reference. The explanation now put forward would not, so far as the evidence goes, moderate the meaning of the words in the sermon as actually delivered.

we do not find this comment could be taken to be anything other than a reference to the blood libel against Jews … the hatred that might be fostered by it and lead to inter-community violence in the UK. We conclude, therefore, that it was a comment that the respondent was entitled to take into account and take seriously when considering whether the appellant should be deported. "

the judge (mr justice ockelton) disbelieved both saleh and pappe ("wholly unpersuasive"! ), and concluded that he certainly was invoking the blood libel

joshua, do you still claim that salah wasn't?

the judge also concluded that any iterations of the blood libel in the UK would have the potential to foster hatred which might lead to inter-community violence in the UK

joshua, do you claim that they wouldn't?


Advis3r

Fri, 04/20/2012 - 09:27

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-1 points

In 2009, for example, the University of Haifa allowed Salah to deliver an address on campus. He urged the Arab students who cheered him to die as shahids (martyrs) in the war against Israel. He charged that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu “aims to implement plots hatched during his previous term and complete the takeover” of the Temple Mount.

What we do in Israel clearly has repercussions abroad. If we brush hate-mongering under the carpet, we can’t expect foreigners to behave more bravely than we do. The bottom line is that while Britain’s home secretary thought Salah was dangerous, Israel prefers inaction parading as enlightened tolerance. That ought to serve up lots of food for thought here.

Jerusalem Post Editorial -http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Editorials/Article.aspx?id=266610

Quite.


Harvey

Fri, 04/20/2012 - 11:04

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-1 points

Joshua asks
" Does he mention Jews in the quote you mention "
Joshua , the question you ask deserves a proper response but let me first give you some background information and understanding of the blood libel

The blood libel alleges that Jews require human blood for the making of the special or Holy bread of the Passover . The blood of Christian children is especially coveted and historically blood libel claims have been made to account for the otherwise unexplained deaths of children . In some instances a martyr cult has arisen , for instance Little Saint Hugh of Lincoln following which a pogrom took place which witnessed the burning of hundreds of Jews .
The Nazis were the first to use The blood libel as part of modern methods of
mass indoctrination using publications such as Der Sturmer which would regularly depict Jews slavering with blood tipped fangs over the body of an innocent young Aryan child .

But back to your question as to no mention of Jews in his statement .
Joshua read again . Salah states quite clearly " mixed with the blood of the' Holy bread '. This is quite unambiguous . The term holy bread is Matzoh . Matzoh is holy to Jewish people . As far as I know , it is not holy to any other religion .
Salah knows this , that is why he said it .
That is why he is an evil antisemite and racist who seeks to confuse the issue . He is thus also a coward . It would appear that the only person who has failed to take this on board is the Judge and of course Salah many well wishing antisemitic supporters


happygoldfish

Fri, 04/20/2012 - 11:25

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2 points

Harvey: Salah states quite clearly " mixed with the blood of the' Holy bread '. This is quite unambiguous . The term holy bread is Matzoh . Matzoh is holy to Jewish people . As far as I know , it is not holy to any other religion .

no, that's wrong … bread (after consecration by the priest) is also holy to all christians … it is believed to be (catholic) or to represent (protestant) the body of jesus, and is eaten by the whole (confirmed) congregation during holy communion

(for catholics, and some protestants, it must be unleavened … but salah did not say "unleavened", only "holy" … that is why he was able to argue that he was referring to christians … the judge of course totally disbelieved him)


Harvey

Fri, 04/20/2012 - 14:34

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-1 points

Happy Gold fish
I have never understood the partaking of the sacrament to be known as partaking of the Holy bread . It is in fact a thin wafer . However as I'm not a Catholic I will be happy to defer to one with greater knowledge on the subject .
However as you rightly state the judge totally disbelieved him .
Lets return to Joshua s original suggestion that the statement does not refer to Jews and therefore has nothing to do with Jews . In which case the statement must refer to some racial ethnic group , black people , Hindus , Chinese , Janes or perhaps even the North Bridlingtons train spotting society .
The statement is patently evil in its own right . A mendacious and ultimately divisive lie that at once sets up one group for abuse and sanction .
Even the North Bridlington chuffers society .
Personally I will go with the judges assertion -,and that of most other sane rational and of course non antisemite in the country .
Salah will now return to Israel safe in the knowledge that he will still be able to hold such heinous views . Safe in a free democratic society .


happygoldfish

Fri, 04/20/2012 - 15:03

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1 point

Harvey: Lets return to Joshua s original suggestion that the statement does not refer to Jews and therefore has nothing to do with Jews . In which case the statement must refer to some racial ethnic group , black people , Hindus , Chinese , Janes or perhaps even the North Bridlingtons train spotting society .
The statement is patently evil in its own right . A mendacious and ultimately divisive lie that at once sets up one group for abuse and sanction .

yes! … as the judge sarcastically remarked ...

"If he had meant to refer to Christians using the blood of others to make bread, which he seems to consider less offensive than referring to Jews doing so …"

… in other words, the judge was pointing out that it was just as offensive even if salah wasn't referring to jews!


Harvey

Fri, 04/20/2012 - 16:55

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1 point

Hi goldfish
To be honest I couldn't be bothered reading the judges conclusions once he upheld the appeal . It just obvious that it would be offensive to anyone group or individual
If you have a mo maybe you could explain in a sentence or two why he upheld the appeal . I still can't get my head round it .


happygoldfish

Mon, 04/23/2012 - 09:28

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0 points

Harvey: If you have a mo maybe you could explain in a sentence or two why he upheld the appeal

the judge found that salah had accused jews of the blood libel, and had called people to "meet allah as martyrs in the premises of the Al-Aqsa mosque", both in jerusalem in 2007

(he did not find any of the other allegations proved)

the judge further found that any repetitions during his visit to the uk "would have the potential to foster hatred which might lead to inter-community violence in the UK"

"a sentence or two …" however the judge found that there was no evidence that he would repeat either of them in the uk … this was based on:
i] there was no evidence of any repetition anywhere since 2007
ii] there was, in particular, no evidence of any repetition in the uk during over 7 months in 2012

therefore there was no evidence of likely danger, and since his right to freedom of speech was undoubtedly being infringed, and since that could only be justified if that infringement was proportionate to the likely danger, a deportation (or exclusion) order was "entirely unnecessary" …

"The essence of the decision under appeal … is that because of a few sentences in the sermon in February 2007, which nobody seems to have regarded as harmful at the time, the appellant is to be prevented from being in the United Kingdom or saying anything here (save by telecommunication), for an indefinite period of time.

By the time that we come to look at the evidence the position is that his presence here and what he has said here have caused no difficulty of any sort. … We have no difficulty in concluding that the Secretary of State’s decision has not been shown to be proportionate to the need to preserve community harmony or protect the United Kingdom from the dangers to which the policy refers. On the contrary, the position is that it appears to have been entirely unnecessary to achieve that purpose."

in my opinion, the judge erred in law in not taking into account that …

i] a person on record as making a racist and inflammatory statement in public is likely to have made, and to make in the future, similar statements in private
ii] the secretary of state was entitled to have regard to the long-term effects of such statements, and therefore the absence of harm was not conclusive
iii] the secretary of state was in a better position than the tribunal to make decisions on dangers to community harmony
iv] deciding how best to preserve community harmony is essentially a political matter, not a judicial one

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