Labour MP to raise entry of hate-preachers into the UK after Political Scrapbook story

The Labour MP Siobhain McDonagh will be leading a parliamentary debate today on hate-preachers being allowed into the UK and posing as a threat to religious minorities.

She is raising the case after Political Scrapbook reported on a Pakistani preacher who was allowed to speak at an event in Luton in May this year.

Hanif Qureshi, the preacher in question (pictured), is known for his diatribes against the Ahmadi minority in Pakistan and was named by its police as having inspired the assassin of a senior politician.

The MP from Mitcham and Morden is also bringing the issue to parliament in the wake of the murder of Glasgow shopkeeper, Mr Asad Shah, who was an Ahmadi Muslim. It was the first murder of an Ahmadi on UK soil.

Targetting of Ahmadis and other religious minorities is common in Pakistan.

The MP told Political Scrapbook she will be drawing a parallel between increased anti-Ahmadi hatred and radicalism and poor Home Office entry clearance procedures that have allowed hate-preachers into the UK.

She added:

The problems around Home Office entry clearance have been covered up for too long. The Home Office has the power to refuse entry to those who incite terrorism and cause a threat to our national security. And yet individuals like Qureshi have been able to enter this country and spread their hate here – indeed Qureshi was allowed to enter this country just last month and spoke to large crowds at a mosque in Luton. To be clear, this is the same individual whose hateful anti-Ahmadi speeches inspired Mumtaz Qadri to murder Pakistani politician Salmaan Taseer, who opposed Pakistan’s anti-Ahmadi, anti-blasphemy laws. After his arrest, Qadri claimed he had been inspired to act by a 2010 sermon delivered by Qureshi, in which the cleric branded the likes of Taseer as liable to be killed under Islamic law.

I met with the Home Secretary just a few weeks ago and was disappointed by the fact that the reform of entry clearance policies did not seem to be a priority. But I am convinced that Qureshi’s extremist and hateful speech has no place in society. Today more than ever we have to ensure that individuals like Qureshi are not able to come here and spread their hateful messages under the banner of ‘free speech’. The Home Office needs to step up urgently and enforce its entry clearance policies more forcefully. I hope the government will be listening tomorrow.

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