British officials granted senior Hizbullah member Ibrahim Moussawi a visa to visit the country on Thursday. The visa will allow Moussawi to lecture at a conference on political Islam. Moussawi plans to speak at the University of London on March 25.
The British government granted Moussawi a permit to visit Britain in 2008 as well. During that visit he appeared at events sponsored by the British group Stop the War.
Moussawi, who has been quoted as calling Jews “a lesion of the forehead of history” and justifying attacks on Israeli civilians, insists that he is not an anti-Semite. “I'm a bridge-builder and I've always been an advocate of dialog and discussion,” he claimed in response to criticism of an earlier visit.
He is a spokesman for Hizbullah and also edits a weekly Hizbullah paper. In the past, he served as political editor of Hizbullah TV, which has been banned in the United States as well as some European Union nations due to its anti-Semitic content.
The scheduled visit has aroused heated opposition among anti-terrorist activists. The Centre for Social Cohesion think tank has threatened to seek an arrest warrant for Moussawi if he enters the country and has consulted attorneys regarding the likelihood of detaining the Hizbullah official during his stay.
CSC Director Douglas Murray said the government's decision to grant Moussawi a visa showed that British leaders “clearly do not have a grip on this.”
Britain is still a place where terrorists and terrorist supporters can come to incite and recruit
"Britain is still a place where terrorists and terrorist supporters can come to incite and recruit,” he warned.
Another CSC member, researcher Alexander Meleagrou-Hitchens, noted that Hizbullah is “devoted to the destruction of Israel and the extermination of Jews worldwide” and in addition, murders its political opponents “as a matter of policy” and uses violence to intimidate Lebanese civilians.
Murray and the CSC were particularly angered by Moussawi's planned visit in light of Britain's decision to turn back anti-Islam activist Geert Wilders, a Dutch politician. Wilders was recently deported while attempting to hold a scheduled meeting with British leaders on the subject of Islam and terrorism.
"This is the deepest hypocrisy, in fact, it is worse than hypocrisy,” Murray said.