Jacqui Smith allows in Hizbollah man

Dyab Abou Jahjah

Dyab Abou Jahjah

The Home Office has refused to act over the presence in the UK of a Hizbollah fighter and leader of a radical Muslim group, despite accepting that his presence was not conducive to the public good.

The president of the Board of Deputies, Henry Grunwald QC, wrote to Home Secretary Jacqui Smith last week about Lebanese-born Dyab Abou Jahjah, who fought for Hizbollah against Israel before moving to Belgium, where he started an organisation called the Arab European League that became involved in riots after the murder of a Moroccan schoolteacher.

Jahjah has spoken at two meetings in London this week. On Monday evening he addressed the Stop The War Coalition and on Tuesday he spoke in the Grand Committee Room of the House of Commons, at the launch of a British branch of the International Union of Parliamentarians for Palestine.

The meeting, attended by about 60 people, was hosted by Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn and also featured a speech by Lebanese Hizbollah MP Hussein el-Hajj Hassan — “the first Hizbollah MP to speak in the House of Commons”— according to Mr Corbyn.

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith

Mr Grunwald said: “I wrote to the Home Secretary raising concerns about Jahjah. I now understand that she was sympathetic to the view that his presence here was not conducive to the public good. But he was already in the country and I further understood that consideration was being given as to how to put the Home Secretary’s views into effect operationally.

“If my understanding about that was correct, I am really disappointed that nothing appears to have been done to put those views into effect.”

Mark Gardner, communications director of the Community Security Trust, said: “The government has been very firm in its claims to be tackling extremism. Sadly, in the case of Dyab Abou Jahjah, their actual actions speak far louder than mere words.

“This should have been an open and shut case for a permanent exclusion order to be issued, but instead there has been nothing; not even a public statement. The last thing that we need domestically right now is for Hizbollah to add its malicious impact to the damage that has already been done by British-based Hamas activists and apologists over the last ten years or so.”

Both the Home Office and the Borders and Immigration Agency refused any comment on Jahjah’s case.

Meanwhile the dispute between Hazel Blears and the Muslim Council of Britain over its deputy general secretary Dr Daud Abdullah seems to have reached stalemate.

Ms Blears called on Dr Abdullah to resign after he attended a conference in Istanbul and signed a controversial final declaration. It stated that sending foreign warships into Muslim waters to halt arms smuggling would be seen as an act of war.

Dr Abdullah responded to Ms Blears on the Guardian newspaper’s Comment is Free site, saying her attempt to control MCB affairs was “misguided and ill-advised”. He said: “I have no intention of bowing to the pressure from Hazel Blears to resign.” A DCLG spokesperson said that there had been no developments since Dr Abdullah’s Comment is Free response and that the department was “in discussions” with the MCB.

    Last updated: 4:25pm, April 2 2009