Despite a string of vile views and statements, including Holocaust denial and asserting that Jews are ‘the most cowardly creatures Allah has ever created’, Sheikh Ekrima Sabri has apparently been invited to visit Parliament:
Sheikh Ekrima Sabri will be in Britain from 11 to 15 September, as guest of pro-Palestine group EuroPal to discuss the “recent escalation” in Israel with MPs.
Jewish News reports on concerns over this visit, including a petition asking that Sabri be banned from the UK.
Labour Friends of Israel chair Joan Ryan MP said she is: “alarmed to hear reports that Sheikh Ekrima Sabri will be speaking in Parliament given his reported views on the holocaust, terrorism and the Jewish people. If these reports are true, he should not be allowed into the UK, let alone into Parliament. Giving a platform to those who spout hatred and violence is not the way to achieve justice and peace in the Middle East.”
A Home Office spokesperson said: “The Home Secretary has the power to exclude an individual if she considers that his or her presence in the UK is not conducive to the public good.”
“We are clear that coming here is a privilege and this would be refused to those who seek to subvert our shared values.”
Although Jewish News has covered this, and Joan Ryan has spoken out, there seems a notable absence of mainstream commentators expressing concern over this invitation. The petition against the invitation has been set up by the somewhat controversial American group, Christians United for Israel rather than a left or liberal British organisation. You can read more about the invitation on Guido Fawkes, and it’s being shared on Twitter by people who (as Jack Mendel points out) imagine this is somehow Sadiq Khan’s fault – but there’s very little coverage on the left.
It would be interesting to know which MPs (if any) plan to attend the meeting to which Sabri has been invited.
Update: Happily, it’s now been reported that Sabri has not been able to enter the UK. I can also report that I had a very prompt and supportive response from my MP Daniel Zeichner when I raised this matter with him by email.