The Board of Deputies has sent an angry protest to the Home Office about the UK visit of a leading Saudi Arabian cleric who has made numerous antisemitic speeches.
Abdul Rahman Al-Sudais has been on a lecture tour to mosques and shared a platform with Tony Baldry, Tory MP for Banbury, in the town last week.
Vivian Wineman, president of the Board, said: “There is no doubt that the presence of Sheikh Al-Sudais undermines British values of tolerance and respect and we will continue to ensure that the government is aware that the Jewish community sees his presence here as entirely offensive.”
Mr Wineman has written to Home Secretary Alan Johnson saying: “Sheikh Al-Sudais epitomises some of the most extreme and most hateful antisemitism that exists in the world today. He has referred to Jews as ‘the scum of humanity…the rats of the world…prophet killers…pigs and monkeys’ and has publicly prayed to God to ‘terminate’ the Jews. He has been widely condemned for his remarks about non-Muslims and yet he is currently touring British mosques.”
The letter continued: “We welcomed the government’s exclusions review in October last year which created a presumption in favour of exclusion in respect of all those who engaged in unacceptable behaviour. However, there is no doubt that in order for such statements to be effective, they must be robustly upheld.”
Tony Baldry said he had shared a platform with Sheikh Al-Sudais as a favour to a friend whose relative had studied with him.
He said: “If I had written a text of what a moderate Muslim would say, his would have been a word-perfect example. He spoke of Muslim respect for the Abrahamic faiths and their leading figures such as Moses and Jesus, that Muslims who resort to violence and do not advocate tolerance and mercy are not true Muslims. There was no mention of Palestine or Kashmir or any other conflict involving Muslims.”