Theresa May: Salah detained before Commons talk

By Jennifer Lipman, June 29, 2011
Raed Salah

Raed Salah

An Islamic leader who has been described as having a "history of virulent antisemitism" has been detained by the UK Border Agency and is to be deported ahead of a planned speech at the House of Commons.

Raed Salah, leader of the northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel, was due to share a platform with three Labour MPs and campaigners at an event, organised by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

He arrived in Britain on Sunday and passed through border checks despite an apparent ban by Home Secretary Theresa May on entering Britain. He spoke that evening at an event in London's Conway Hall on the subject of the impact of the Arab Spring on the Palestinians.

Ms May said arrangements were now being made to remove Mr Salah from the UK.

"We do not normally comment on individual cases but in this case I think it is important to do so," she said.

"A full investigation is now taking place into how he was able to enter."

Mr Salah's invitation to the meeting in Parliament, which was to be chaired by Jeremy Corbyn, MP, had already attracted criticism from other politicians and Jewish organisations.

Despite media reports, tonight’s event is still going ahead.

Lord Dubs, a member of the All-Party Parliamentary Group against Antisemitism, has now said he will now speak at the event, having previously stood down due to “doubts” over Mr Salah.

He said: "Now that he is not going to take part, I’m going to be there. I can’t see any reason not to. It’s a legitimate debate."

Mike Freer MP, who raised the issue with Ms May earlier this week, said he welcomed the Home Secretary's decisive action.

"Together with other members of the All-Party Group Against Antisemitism, I have been questioning the propriety of providing a platform to speaker who reportedly pedals the conspiracy theories of Jewish involvement in the 9/11 plots.

"I am pleased he will not be speaking in Parliament."

Mark Gardner, from the Community Security Trust, said the events did not undermine the Government’s Prevent strategy.

"CST welcomes the detention of Raed Salah. The fiasco over how he entered the UK should not distract attention from the crucial fact that the Government has shown the meaningfulness and intent of its recent review of Prevent counter-extremism strategy."

The Board of Deputies said the "swift" decision to deport Mr Salah was a very clear indication of the Government’s commitment to fighting extremism.

They said: "The Board urges the Government to ensure that the appropriate measures are taken to prevent a repeat of such situations as extremism and hatred have no place in the UK."

Last updated: 1:40pm, June 29 2011