‘BanHizbol­lah man­fromUK’

The Jewish Chronicle - - News - BY BERNARD JOSEPHS

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.

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