Tories call on Blair to bar Muslim ‘extremist’

A government drive against religious extremism was mired in controversy last night over the presence in Britain of a fundamentalist Muslim cleric who allegedly supports suicide bombings and beating women.

On the day that David Blunkett proposed tougher laws against Islamists – and far-Right evangelical Christians – who preached hatred of other religions, the Home Office said it was not right to keep Yusuf al-Qaradawi, a Qatar-based imam, out of the country on the grounds of his views alone.

However, Tory and Labour MPs said Mr Blunkett should reconsider his position and exclude the cleric.

The row overshadowed a wide-ranging speech on race and integration by the Home Secretary, in which he said extremist religious leaders undermined efforts to establish better community relations in Britain.

Daily Telegraph, 8 July 2004