One would think that after their experiences with Abu Hamza and Omar Bakri, the British would know that someone like this can do a great deal of damage. But look on the bright side! It could be worse. He could be heading to Britain at British taxpayer expense. “Islamist hardliner heads for Britain,” from the TimesOnline, with thanks to all who sent this in:
A HARDLINE Islamist cleric who government advisers wanted banned from Britain is scheduled to fly to London this weekend to attend events alongside Muslim community leaders.
The Home Office and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office considered excluding Delwar Hossain Sayeedi, an MP in Bangladesh who preaches violent hatred against the West and is accused of war crimes, last year. But despite a series of e-mail exchanges in September, his visa was never revoked and the Home Office issued no exclusion order.
The Foreign Office’s Islamic issues adviser accused Mr Sayeedi’s detractors of being politically biased and said that his exclusion could jeopardise support from mainstream Muslims for the Government’s anti-terrorism agenda.
Mr Sayeedi was last in Britain weeks after the July 7 bombings. Tomorrow he is scheduled to visit a housing fair at the London Muslim Centre, part of the East London Mosque. The mosque’s chairman, Muhammad Abdul Bari, is the newly elected leader of the Muslim Council of Britain. Mr Sayeedi is then due to attend a rally in a nearby park alongside the MP George Galloway….
Internal messages between advisers discussed the threat that he allegedly posed, and one attached a report from a Bangladeshi human rights organisation. The report quotes Mr Sayeedi as saying that Britain and the US “deserve all that is coming to them” for overturning the Taleban in Afghanistan.
The e-mail from one adviser, Eric Taylor, continues: “He [Mr Sayeedi] has made a particularly offensive comment about Bangladeshi Hindus, comparing them to excrement. He also appears to defend attacks against the Ahmadiya (Islamist) community.
“. . . Previous visits to the UK have been reportedly marred by violence caused by his supporters. In 2000, during one of his talks in Oldham, his supporters reportedly attacked and beat up five Bengali elders.
“A rally in Banglatown was also attacked and three people, including a 65-year-old, were injured. A Bangladeshi community group wrote to the Prince of Wales in June 2004 appealing for Sayeedi to be banned from the UK.”
However, Mr Sayeedi’s case was defended by Mockbul Ali, the Foreign Office’s Islamic issues adviser, who voiced “extreme concern” about the political bias of sources being used to criticise the MP.
Mr Ali wrote: “Websites of groups with a clear agenda/bias is not the way to prove exclusion [if a case does indeed exist].”
Despite admitting that Mr Sayeedi was ultra-orthodox and held views “we would not endorse in any way”, Mr Ali then added: “He is someone who has a very big following in the mainstream British Bangladeshi Muslim community and is viewed as a mainstream Muslim figure.
So are we to understand that he is “mainstream,” but “extremist”? That therefore perhaps “extremism” is mainstream?
“Any steps taken on his exclusion from the UK must take that into account, especially at a time when we require increasing support on the Prevent/Counter Terrorism agenda from British Muslims.”
Mr Taylor responded that the file against Mr Sayeedi was “thoroughly referenced” and disputed whether the exclusion of an extremist cleric would endanger support from mainstream Muslims.
He added: “In the Prime Minister’s words, the rules of the game have changed. What may have been tolerated pre-7/7 is no longer the case.”
Looks as if you’re wrong about that, Mr. Taylor.