Page last updated at 15:40 GMT, Friday, 13 March 2009

Lebanon journalist UK entry veto

Ibrahim Moussawi
Mr Moussawi was foreign news editor at Hezbollah's television station

A Lebanese journalist with links to militant group Hezbollah has been barred from entering Britain.

Ibrahim Moussawi was due to speak at the London School of Oriental and African Studies, but the home secretary has ruled he should be denied a visa.

Mr Moussawi was editor of the Al-Intiqad paper, linked to Hezbollah, and ex-head of the group's TV station.

The Tories, who called for him to be banned, said he was a "known extremist" who had made anti-Semitic remarks.

The Home Office said it would not comment on individual cases.


Mr Moussawi had been invited to speak at the School of Oriental and African Studies on 25 March as part of a course on political Islam.

Billed as an "expert on Hezbollah and Islamist political theory," the university said he planned to discuss Hezbollah's "history, strategy and ideology" and "current politics and prospects".

He is currently the editor of Lebanese weekly newspaper Al-Intiqad and formerly worked as head of foreign news at Hezbollah's official television channel, Al-Manar, which has been criticised for its allegedly anti-Semitic output.

Mr Moussawi, who was barred from Ireland in 2007, has denied making any inflammatory or anti-Semitic comments.

Geert Wilders
Dutch MP Geert Wilders was banned from entering the UK last month

In December 2007 and February 2008, despite strong Conservative opposition, he was given permission to visit Britain to carry out public speaking engagements.

David Cameron has previously described him as "dangerous and divisive" and his party wrote to Home Secretary Jacqui Smith ahead of this latest planned visit, urging her to keep him out of the UK.

Last month, the government banned controversial Dutch MP Geert Wilders from entering Britain on the grounds that his presence could threaten national security.

Mr Wilders, who has called the Koran a "fascist book," wanted to show a controversial film about Islam at the House of Lords.

Douglas Murray, director of think tank the Centre for Social Cohesion, said: "It is perverse that the government ever considered barring Wilders from entering Britain and even more perverse that they ever considered allowing Hezbollah in."

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