The Lebanese journalist Ibrahim Moussawi was denied an entry visa to the UK to speak at the London School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS). Moussawi is editor of the Hezbollah-linked newspaper Al-Intiqad and the former political editor of Al-Manar, the group’s television station. ‘Station of Resistance’ by self-description, it broadcasts Hezbollah’s ideology, campaigns against Israeli and Western politics in the Middle East and is known for anti-Semitic statements. For example, the station showed a 30-part series based on The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a forged document setting out a supposed secret Jewish conspiracy to take over the world.
The Home Office bans Moussawi at a time when the discussions about visa denial are still ongoing: only recently has Dutch MP Geert Wilders, who calls the Koran a “fascist book”, been refused entry to the UK, as he planned on showing his controversial film about Islam ‘Fitna’ at the House of Lords. Moussawi, on the other hand, has already been allowed twice to enter Britain and to talk at public events in 2007 and 2008. This time, he was supposed to speak at the Political Islam Course at SOAS later this month, to which he had been invited as an expert on Hezbollah and Islamist political theory.