» Wednesday, July 7, 2004

Dr Yusuf Al-Qaradawi

Questioned about Dr Yusuf Al-Qaradawi’s attendance at a conference in London, the PMOS said that the Home Office Minister, Fiona MacTaggart, had made it clear that she would be writing to the organisers to say that she was disappointed by their misleading use of her photograph to publicise the event when they had known that she would not be attending in person and to underline her dismay that a good cause had been turned into a broader political issue by making Dr Al-Qaradawi a guest of honour. As a result, she would not be sending a message of support.

Asked to explain why Dr Al-Qaradawi had been allowed into the UK, the PMOS said that everyone had to abide by the law. As the Home Secretary had underlined in his Today Programme interview this morning, we would be monitoring what Dr Al-Qaradawi said very closely. Asked if the Government would reconsider its decision to grant him entry to the UK in the light of the fact that he had been banned from both the US and Egypt on the grounds that he had links to the Muslim Brotherhood organisation and possibly terrorist groups, the PMOS said that all cases such as this were kept under constant review, as you would expect. The Home Office had said that it would monitor what Dr Al-Qaradawi said while he was here. On a wider point, the Home Secretary had been expressing today the reasons why we wanted to extend the legislation on religious hatred. All these factors were relevant.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Search for related news


  1. Isn’t it about time that Orwellian Blunkett got the push. His doublespeak is breathtaking.

    On the one hand he wants to introduce a new law when he on the same day declines to enforce the existing law. Pathetic.

    Anyway we let in Hamza so no surprise that we let in a few more. Maybe Blunkett thinks it’ll put suicide bombers off bombing London.

    Comment by DEGREEK — 7 Jul 2004 on 8:12 pm | Link
  2. Asked what the Prime Minister was going to do to pander to the rabid rantings of the right wing press the PMOS pointed out that that was David Blunkett’s responsibility. Mr Blunkett had already announced new legislation to be introduced under the banner of anti-discrimination (which was clearly a smoke screen as the offences could already be covered under existing legislation) which would allow the government to lock people up for saying things that were judged to be ‘extremist’. The PMOS hoped that the press would now enjoy the freedom to vilify anyone they chose to with the support of idiotic laws.

    Comment by Uncarved Block — 7 Jul 2004 on 8:25 pm | Link
  3. Yes but the existing law doesn’t protect Muslims because they aren’t a race, they’re a religion. There’s no doublethink, there’s a faulty existing law.

    Comment by Arthur — 8 Jul 2004 on 9:33 am | Link
  4. People have an awful big knee-jerk reaction to wanting to kick people out of the country…

    What, exactly, is wrong with the concept of free speech? The most important tenet in the concept, if you hadn’t already guessed, is PROTECTING SPEECH YOU DON’T LIKE.

    Now, if they’re preaching death and destruction, preaching violence, that’s different – but a line has to be drawn, and trying to pretend that’s an easy line to draw is narrow-minded and simplistic. Pretending that just anybody can draw that line is almost beyond the pale.

    If you’ve got a case good enough to stick in court, then it’s probably good enough to throw him out on; but people should think twice about whether they actually want a government capable of ejecting people with evidence that wouldn’t hold up in a court of law. Here’s one of the few times when government actually seems conscientious about the needs to protect civil liberties and the rights of the individual vs. the state, and we’re all so steeped in fear that we’re unwilling to accept what is, actually, a pretty straightforward answer.

    If the UK populace cannot learn to control its fear, then the individuals in it cannot expect to feel like they are anything more than mice in a maze, being prodded down tunnels in the hopes for a crumb of cheese.

    Comment by Gregory Block — 8 Jul 2004 on 10:14 am | Link
  5. Arthur, it is a point of debate whether or not muslims are covered under existing legislation (I think any good lawyer would have no problem using current legislation to cover cases involving muslims) but my worry is why Blunkett is asking for new powers? Normal procedure when an omission is found in current Acts is to put forward an amendment in secondary legislation rather than creating a whole new law in primary legislation. Secondary legislation is far simpler and is usually passed through the parliament far quicker because the need for the amendment is usually obvious (e.g. in this case one religeon doesn’t get the same protection as all the others). The only reason I think Blunkett is putting forward new legislation is because he wants to do things that the current law doesn’t allow i.e. rather than protecting the rights of people he is trying to infringe the rights of others.

    Comment by Uncarved Block — 8 Jul 2004 on 11:04 am | Link

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