Lebanese newspaper editor to be denied entry to Britain - Press Gazette

Lebanese newspaper editor to be denied entry to Britain

A Lebanese journalist with links to militant group Hezbollah who had been invited to speak at a London university has been banned from entering Britain.

Ibrahim Moussawi had received the invite from the School of Oriental and African Studies to speak there later this month but it is understood that Home Secretary Jacqui Smith has ruled he should be denied a visa.

Moussawi edits the newspaper Al-Intiqad, which is linked to Lebanese political and military organisation Hezbollah.

He previously worked for Hezbollah’s official TV station, Al-Manar, which has been criticised for its allegedly anti-Semitic output.

Moussawi, who was barred from entry to Ireland in 2007, has issued firm denials to accusations that he has made anti-Semitic or hateful comments.

Despite Tory opposition, he was allowed to visit Britain to carry out public speaking engagements in December 2007 and in February last year.

The Home Office said it could not comment on specific cases.

Moussawi had been invited to speak at a course on political Islam at the London university on March 25.

The university described him as an “expert on Hezbollah and Islamist political theory” and said he would talk about Hezbollah’s “history, strategy and ideology” and “current politics and prospects”.

But the Conservatives wrote to Smith urging her to keep Moussawi out of the UK, saying he was a “known extremist” who had made “anti-Semitic and inflammatory” remarks.

Last month the Government banned far-right Dutch politician Geert Wilders from entering Britain to show his controversial 17-minute film Fitna in the House of Lords.