The Muslim Council of Britain deplores Home Secretary Theresa May's uncharacteristically intemperate move to ban the renowned Indian mainstream Islamic scholar Dr. Zakir Abdul-Karim Naik, from a speakers' tour in the UK, reported in the media (Daily Telegraph, 18th June 2010), apparently because of his `unacceptable behaviour' and that his visit `would not be conducive to the public good'.
The Home Secretary's action serves to demonise the very voices within the world ready for debate and discussion. The tour would have been a golden opportunity for young Muslims who are eager to hear the true messages of Islam which promote understanding between communities.
It appears that Government has responded to a recent campaign of vilification against the scholar, ignoring what Dr Naik stated on 11th June 2010: `the purpose of this statement is in response to the recent press reports about my intended tour to the UK in June 2010, including the things I am supposed to have previously said including their context and my views about terrorism and violent extremism in the light of the beautiful faith of Islam...as a student of comparative religion my work has involved engaging in constructive discussion with people of other major faiths, promoting similarities and converging values for a common platform of Peace using the commonalities that bind us all together....'
Expressing his grave concern at the decision, the Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari said today "this exclusion order demonstrates the double standards practised by the government concerning freedom of speech. While preachers of hate such as Geert Wilders are free to promote their bigotry in this country, respected Muslim scholars such as Dr Naik are refused entry to the UK under false pretences. It is deeply regrettable this is likely to cause serious damage to community cohesion in our country."
Notes to Editors:
Dr Naik's statement
, 11th June 2010:
The Muslim Council of Britain is the UK's largest Muslim umbrella body with around 500 affiliated national, regional and local organisations, mosques, charities and schools.