Clarification: Since the publication of this article, the JC has received new information suggesting that no visa application for Sheikh Sabri had been received by the Home Office.
A Palestinian preacher who allegedly described the number of Jewish dead in the Holocaust as a “fairytale” has been reportedly barred from entering Britain, after a petition opposing his visit received over 18,000 signatures.
Sheikh Ekrima Sabri, the former grand mufti of Jerusalem and current Imam of the Al Aqsa mosque on the Temple Mount, was due to visit the Houses of Parliament as part of a delegation organised by Europal, a pro-Palestinian group based in London.
As reported by the Middle East Media Research Institute (Memri), Sheikh Sabri told the Italian newspaper La Republica in 2000: "Six million Jews dead? No way, they were much fewer. Let’s stop with this fairytale exploited by Israel to capture international solidarity.”
The previous year in an interview with Jeffrey Goldberg in the New York Times he was quoted as saying: “The Haram al-Sharif [the Temple Mount] belongs to the Muslim. But we know the Jew is planning on destroying the Haram.
"The Jew will get the Christian to do his work for him. This is the way of the Jews. This is the way Satan manifests himself. The majority of the Jews want to destroy the mosque.”
The petition against Sheikh Sabri’s entry was organised by the Christians United for Israel (CUFI) group, which described his ban as a “victory.
“In an email seen by CUFI that was sent to all MPs overnight, Sheikh Ekrima Sabri and one other member of the delegation organised by pro-Palestinian group EuroPal, have ‘both been unsuccessful in obtaining an entry visa for technical reasons, and therefore will not be joining the delegation’,” the pro-Israel organisation said.
“We would like to thank everyone who has supported the CUFI Petition”.
The Home Office has been contacted for comment.