A Labour MP has called for an investigation by the Home Office after a hate preacher from Pakistan was given a visa into the UK and gave a talk in Luton last week.
The preacher was named as having inspired the murderer of a senior Pakistani politician in 2011.
Political Scrapbook has learnt that Mufti Mohammed Hanif Qureshi, a preacher from Pakistan, was invited to an event hosted by the Jamia Islamia Ghousia Trust on 4th May 2016.
Qureshi is a popular preacher in Pakistan, made infamous after he was named by Pakistani police as the inspiration for Mumtaq Qadri — the bodyguard who assassinated the governor of Punjab in January 2011.
The assassination shocked Pakistan and Qadri became a hero for religious fanatics who said he was merely taking a stand against blasphemy. He was hanged for the murder just a few weeks ago on 1st March 2016.
Mumtaz Qadri has supporters in the UK too. An imam from the biggest mosque in Glasgow was found to have praised the ‘extremist killer’ and later apologised. An imam from Bradford praised Qadri too after his execution.
After an investigaton by Political Scrapbook, questions are now being raised on how the Home Office allowed Hanif Qureshi into the UK.
His critics fear that he is raising funds for his activities in Pakistan.
The Labour MP Siobhan McDonagh, who represents Mitcham and Morden, told this blog she will now take up the issue with the Home Secretary:
Mr Shah was the first Ahmadi Muslim to be killed in the UK for his beliefs, brutally murdered by an extremist. I am extremely saddened and shocked that this could have happened on UK soil, and I will absolutely do all I can to raise this issue in Parliament. The peaceful Ahmadi community has been trying to alert the UK government to the increasing threat of extremism for the last thirty years – and the government cannot stand by and wait for another tragic and brutal murder to occur before it takes real and meaningful action.
We also have to ask ourselves, how has the preacher Hanif Qureshi managed to gain entry to Britain, not for the first time, when there is real evidence to suggest his incitement of hatred against the Ahmadi community, and that his sermons may have led to the incitement to kill Salman Taseer, the Governor of Punjab, a few years ago? I have written to the Home Secretary about his entry and sincerely hope the government will start taking this issue seriously.
Event in Luton
On the flyer (below) the event was hosted at a mosque in Luton, and organised by the Jamia Islamia Ghousia Trust. When Political Scrapbook called the number, a voicemail message said it was the number for Bismillah Trust, a charity listed at the same address.
We called the number repeatedly for a statement over two days but no one picked up the phone.
Qureshi is the founder of Shabab e-Islami, a religious organisation headquartered in Rawalpindi. He is known in Pakistan for his hardline views and anti-Ahmadi sermons. He calls on followers to boycott Ahmadi Muslims in all aspects of business and social life.
This is the sermon by him that, according to the Pakistani police, inspired Qadri to kill the governor of Punjab. The governor had been vocal in defending the rights of religious minorities in Pakistan and campaigning against Anti-Blasphemy laws.
Religious fanatics in the country saw that as an affront to their religion and a doorway to blasphemy against the Prophet Mohammed.
Qureshi was briefly arrested after the governor’s murder, but not charged and then released.
QariHanif given a visa to UK??This man inspired the murderer Qadri to assassinate my father.He will be allowed to preach his garbage abroad
— Shehryar Taseer (@shehryar_taseer) May 4, 2016
Taseer’s son told Double Bind magazine last week:
People like Hanif Qureshi should be in jail. Not speaking freely and inciting comments against minority sects of Islam. He incited Mumtaz Qadri to murder my father. After Mumtaz Qadri was convicted of murder and terrorism, Hanif Qureshi showed solidarity by attending his funeral and speak[ing] in favour of the action (murder).
I am confident he is fundraising in the UK and in other European countries, and now attaching himself to other Muslim groups in the UK. That alone is dangerous, because these groups usually turn to violence when they don’t get their way, especially when hard-liners are thrown into the mix.
A Home Office press officer told Political Scrapbook that they did not comment on individual cases.