Invite (all) to the way of thy Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching; and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious: for thy Lord knoweth, best who have strayed from His Path, and who receive guidance. (Qur'an 16:125)
Anti-terror chief tried to secure UK entry for Dr.Zakir Naik
Anti-terror chief tried to secure UK entry for Muslim preacher
Britain's counter terrorism chief said he would “put himself on the line” to secure entry to Britain for a radical Muslim preacher, days before he was over-ruled by Theresa May, The Daily Telegraph can disclose.
Theresa May, the Home Secretary, banned Zakir Naik from the UK in mid-June, saying his presence "would not be conducive to the public good"Photo: JULIAN SIMMONDS
Mrs May, the Home Secretary, banned Zakir Naik, an Indian television preacher, from a lecture tour in the UK in mid-June, saying his presence “would not be conducive to the public good”.
Mrs May cited reported comments from Dr Naik such as “every Muslim should be a terrorist” and, on Osama Bin Laden, that “if he is fighting the enemies of Islam, I am for him” when she decided to ban him.
However papers lodged as part of Dr Naik's High Court challenge to the ban appear to show the extent of support for his entry among top Home Office officials, including Charles Farr, Whitehall's top security adviser.
They claim that at a meeting on 3 June with Dr Naik’s representatives Mr Farr said he would “put himself on the line” to secure Dr Naik’s entry.
The documents say: “Mr Farr was ‘in favour’ of the claimant coming to the UK and would do ‘all he could’ with the decision makers to encourage it”.
Mr Farr added, according to the papers, that “if necessary [he would] ‘put himself on the line’ as he felt ‘to exclude Dr Naik would be wrong’”.
Mr Farr was appointed director general of the Home Office’s Office for Security and Counter Terrorism in July 2007.
His responsibilities reportedly include examing the security challenges from the 2012 Olympics. He was once tipped to be the next head of MI6.
According to the court papers, filed ahead of the start of a High Court hearing next month, Mr Farr said he felt Dr Naik had “a key role to play” and that he can “reach the people we simply cannot”.
He added “that, whatever his own view, it was the Secretary of State … who was charged with making the final decision”.
The documents claim Dr Naik told Mr Farr and a colleague Sabin Khan on 6 June that he had condemned unequivocably “all and any acts of terrorism” including the attacks of September 11 2001 in America and 7 July 2005 in London.
But, on 16 June, Mrs May banned Dr Naik from the UK, two days before he was due to arrive. She said: “Numerous comments made by Dr Naik are evidence to me of his unacceptable behaviour.
“Coming to the UK is a privilege not a right and I am not wiling to allow those who might not be conducive to the public good to enter the UK.”
Dr Naik’s lawyers claim in the documents that the comments which concerned Mrs May predated the granting of an earlier five-year multi-entry visa by the Home Office in 2008.
The documents added: “Fairness required that the expectations generated by the earlier decisions to admit [Dr Naik] should be respected.”
Dr Naik had been due to arrive in the UK on 18 June, with his wife and three children, to give “presentations on Islamic and religious themes” at the Sheffield Arena, London Wembley Arena and the Birmingham NEC, between 25 and 27 June.
In the documents Dr Naik’s solicitors complained of “the unfairness of revoking the claimant’s open-ended entitlement to enter the UK just one week before he was due to attend events which were the subject of considerable planning and investment”.
Ms Khan, who worked for Mr Farr, was later reportedly suspended after allegedly criticised Mrs May in private for “a huge error of judgment” over the decision.
A Home Office spokesman said: “It would be inappropriate to comment on an ongoing court case.
“The Home Secretary will consider many views in making a decision but will exclude an individual if she considers that their presence in the UK is not conducive to the public good. We will defend this position robustly. ”