The BBC reports today that Zakir Naik’s Islamic Research Foundation – which is based in Mumbai, India – will be legally challenging the Home Secretary Theresa May’s decision to issue an exclusion order against him. Readers will recall that the Home Office issued an exclusion order against Naik two days ago following a right wing campaign to smear the popular Islamic speaker. Naik had been due to arrive in the UK yesterday to begin a tour that was set to draw huge audiences at arenas in Sheffield, Birmingham and London.
The Home Office’s RICU operation issued a briefing note yesterday which stated the following:
‘There is no right of appeal against the Home Secretary’s decision to exclude from the UK. The decision is reviewed after no later than 3 years. Exclusions decisions can be reviewed in light of representations made by excluded individuals. Where an individual sincerely repudiates their views publicly and consistently over a period of time, an exclusion decision can be reconsidered – but this depends on all details of the specific case.’
It is a vivid demonstration of just how feverishly anti-Muslim the atmosphere in the UK has become in recent years that many of those who are the loudest defenders of freedom of expression mysteriously fall silent when it comes to Muslim speakers.