THE GOVERNMENT i s facing demands to ban a senior Hizbollah figure from entering Britain to attend an international peace conference organised by the Stop the War Coalition.
Jewish officials are outraged by the invitation to Ibrahim Mousawi, editor of Hizbollah’s TV station, Al Manar, and a spokesman for the movement, to participate in its World Against War event in London next month.
They are taking up their complaint with the government, pointing out that the station has a long record of antisemitic broadcasting.
This includes a series alleging secret plans for a global Jewish government, claims that Israel was behind the September 11 terrorist attacks on New York’s World Trade Centre, and the broadcasting last year of a symposium at a Lebanese university at which students were encouraged to incite violence against Jews.
Mr Mousawi has been quoted in the New Yorker magazine describing Jews as “a lesion on the forehead of history”.
Community Security Trust spokesman Mark Gardner said the Hizbollah man’s presence in Britain “flies in the face of the government’s recent efforts to combat extremism. Stop the War’s embrace of Hizbollah is idiotic and extremely dangerous.”
He pointed out that the station’s broadcasts were banned in countries including France, and that Mr Mousawi was recently refused a visa to enter the Irish Republic to address an anti-war conference. “We hope that Britain will now send him the same message.”
Jewish Leadership Council chief executive Jeremy Newmark warned that his presence here would represent “a clear threat to community relations”.
Defending the invitation, a Stop the War spokesman said that although the organisation did not “support terrible things” Al Manah had broadcast, Hizbollah reflected the views of a significant proportion of the Lebanese people.
“We want peace in the Middle East and justice for the Palestinians, with Israelis and Palestinians living peacefully together.”
On the contrary, no Israeli government representative would be invited to the conference “because they are not interested in peace”.
The Muslim Council of Britain secretary-general has warned the government that emphasising the threat from al-Qaeda is alienating many Muslims and creating a climate of fear similar to that in Nazi Germany during the 1930s.
In a Daily Telegraph interview, Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari cited the Nazi era as an example of how people’s minds could be turned against a community. “The air is thick with suspicion and unease. It is not good for the Muslim community and it is not good for society.”
The interview followed the claim from MI5 chief Jonathan Evans that there are 2,000 people living in the UK who pose a terrorist-related threat.