Ban on foreign hate preachers welcomed

Tough new laws announced this week to stop foreign extremist preachers who spread racist and religious hatred from entering Britain have been welcomed by the Community Security Trust.

Among the measures announced by Home Secretary Jacqui Smith will be a quarterly "name and shame" list given to Parliament of those excluded. The list will also be shared with other countries.

CST communications director Mark Gardner said: "Exclusion orders are very important as they show the willingness of government to genuinely oppose hate speech and extremism. CST therefore welcomes these attempts to demonstrate greater consistency and transparency than has previously been the case.

We hope this will make it easier for our community to express future concerns and for the government to publicly explain its decision-making in these crucial matters."

Names of those who have already been banned - and which have been made public - include Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan; Omar Bakri Mohammad, who praised the 9/11 hijackers; Yusuf al-Qaradawi, who praised suicide bombers; and Israeli right-wing politician Moshe Fieglin, banned for articles he had written despite having no plans to visit Britain.

While the Home Office would not release any names now - nor additional names retrospectively - it said that since August 2005, 230 people have been excluded from entering the UK on suspicion of being a threat to national security or fostering extremism, including 79 preachers of hate.

The Home Secretary said: "Through these tough new measures I will stop those who want to spread extremism, hatred and violent messages... from coming to our country. Coming [here] is a privilege and I refuse to extend that privilege to individuals who abuse our standards and values to undermine our way of life."

Among the new measures is a requirement that anyone who claims to have renounced previous extremist views will have to prove it.

As Ms Smith made the announcement, an Egyptian cleric sentenced to 15 years' jail by Egypt in 1999 revealed on Islamic websites that he and his family had been given six months' notice to leave Britain. Hani al-Siba'i, who was given a 15-year sentence in absentia in 1999, has been working here as director of the Al-Maqrizi Centre for Historical Studies. A Home Office spokesman said it did not comment on individual cases.

 

Last updated: 12:22pm, October 30 2008