- How expert are these two clerics at ‘interfaith relations’? Well, they are so good that their main credential is their enthusiastic support for the murderer of somebody accused of ‘blasphemy’.
- Despite criticism from Shahbaz Taseer… the UK government had no problem allowing into the UK these two men who, as Shahbaz Taseer said, ‘teach murder and hate’.
- In the past year, the UK has banned a fair number of people from entering the country. It has, for example, barred the Canadian activist and blogger Lauren Southern. It has also banned the Austrian activist and ‘identitarian’ Martin Sellner. Whatever anyone’s thoughts on either of these individuals, it is not possible to claim that either has ever addressed a rally of thousands of people which they have used to extol a murderer… Yet Hassan Haseeb ur Rehman has done these things – and yet has been allowed into the UK three years in a row.
It is more than a year since the UK suffered three Islamist terrorist attacks inquick succession. It is also more than a year since the Prime Minister, Theresa May, stood on the steps of Downing Street and announced that ‘enough is enough‘
Yet the striking aspect of the last year has been how little has changed.
Consider, for instance, the lax controls on extremist preachers that the UK had in place in 2016. As reported here at the time, in the summer of that year, two Pakistani clerics performed a tour of the UK. Their seven-week roadshow took in numerous UK hotspots including Rochdale, Rotherham, Oldham and the Prime Minister’s own constituency of Maidenhead. The two clerics — Muhammad Naqib ur Rehman and Hassan Haseeb ur Rehman — began their tour by visiting the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, at Lambeth Palace for a meeting on ‘interfaith relations’.
How expert are these two clerics at ‘interfaith relations’? Well, they are so good that their main credential is their enthusiastic support for the murderer of somebody accused of ‘blasphemy’. Yes — these two preachers are famed in Pakistan for having supported Mumtaz Qadri, the murderer of the progressive Punjab Governor Salman Taseer. Because Taseer believed in a relaxation of Pakistan’s barbaric blasphemy codes (specifically he opposed the execution of a Christian woman — Asia Bibi — who was falsely accused of blaspheming the Muslim god), Qadri — who was meant to be guarding the governor — instead murdered Taseer in 2011. Qadri himself was subsequently tried, sentenced to death and executed by the state. After Qadri’s funeral in Rawalpindi, Hassan Haseeb ur Rehman whipped up the crowds of the murderer’s mourners. Rehman acclaimed the murderer Qadri as a ‘shaeed’ (martyr). The crowd subsequently chanted slogans such as ‘Qadri, your blood will bring revolution’ and ‘the punishment for a blasphemer is beheading’.
Despite criticism from Shahbaz Taseer (the son of the man whom Qadri had murdered), the UK government had no problem allowing into the UK these two men who, as Shahbaz Taseer said, ‘teach murder and hate’. On their tour of the UK in 2016, these two preachers were reported to have spoken to mosques packed with worshipers.
A forgiving person might point out that the Archbishop of Canterbury does not know what he is talking about when he claims that Rehman and Rehman are interfaith experts, and that until 2016 the UK border agencies and other authorities could not have known that the two men are preachers of incitement in their home country. A forgiving person might even have thought all these authorities were naïve but would not be so naïve again.
In 2017, however, it did happen again. In July of last year the clerics were back, ostensibly speaking at a conference on ‘counter-terrorism’. The idea that either man would know how to counter terrorism when the only expertise that either man has is in encouraging terrorism makes their presence at such an event insulting to anyone involved in countering terrorism. Even more so given that their main facilitator in the UK would appear to be the head of the one-man organisation calling itself the ‘Ramadan Foundation’, run byMohammed Shafiq, a man with his own dark history of extremism and incitement.