Hizbullah MP Hassan
Hizbullah MP HassanIsrael News Photo: (file)

The government of the United Kingdom admitted a Lebanese Hizbullah member and a Belgian Muslim Arab anti-Semite to address a forum in the House of Commons last week. This week, the Home Office reversed itself, as the Hizbullah representative claimed a PR victory for his organization.

"There seems to be absolutely no consistency in the decisions that the Home Secretary is taking." -- MP Chris Grayling

Hussein Al-Hajj Hassan, a Hizbullah representative in the Lebanese legislature, and Dyab Abou Jahjah, an Arab nationalist and Muslim fundamentalist from Belgium, were invited by Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn and Respect MP George Galloway over two months ago. The pair were asked to take part in the founding of a London branch of the International Union of Parliamentarians for the Defense of the Palestinian Cause. Corbyn claimed his invitation of Jahjah and Hassan was intended to "promote dialogue."

A Home Office source was told News of the World that the Home Secretary was preparing to ban Jahjah, but "by the time officials had completed the paperwork he had already arrived."

Dutch MP Geert Wilders was banned from entering the UK in February, with the British Home Secretary Jacqui Smith writing that his "statements about Muslims and their beliefs, as expressed in your film Fitna and elsewhere, would threaten community harmony and therefore public security in the UK." Wilders was scheduled - twice - to address the House of Lords following a showing of his film, but each invitation was blocked by hostile politicians.

Shadow Home Secretary Chris Grayling said, "There seems to be absolutely no consistency in the decisions that the Home Secretary is taking."

The inconsistency was compounded this week, when Jahjah tried to stop over in London on his way to Lebanon. The UK Home Office detained him and ultimately denied him entry to the country. Jahjah said that MP Corbyn was filing a complaint over the latest decision.

Jahjah, founder and president of the Belgium-based Islamic group the Arab European League, is a self-described Arab nationalist who models himself on Nasser. The AEL homepage features a full page picture of an unfurled Hamas banner on a building reading "We will not recognize so-called Israel" in English and Arabic. The organization's English-language website is heavily devoted to anti-Israel content and uses the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem as a banner.

In his speech to the Commons, Hizbullah MP Hassan claimed that Hizbullah's 2006 "victory [over Israel] and the swift return of the displaced to their homes in the south foiled the Israeli plot" to flood southern Lebanon with Arabs from Judea, Samaria and Gaza.

Back in Lebanon, Hassan told the media that "British public opinion has changed and is now supporting our causes. The issue is clearly reflected within the media. We attempt to change the international public opinion in favor of our causes as part of our media and political work."

Hassan went on to say that both Labour and Conservative MPs "showed a great understanding for Hizbullah's position." The British government itself, he claimed, was ready for a more "open policy toward Hizbullah, which welcomes these meetings."