Banning Dr Zakir Naik and Dr Bilal Phillips
30 June 2011
RE: Exclusion Order for Dr Zakir Naik & Dr Bilal Philips
Freedom of Speech being undermined
On behalf of the Muslim Community of Birmingham, Green Lane Masjid and Community Centre is deeply alarmed by the decision taken by the Home Secretary, Theresa May MP, to ban Dr Zakir Naik from a visiting tour of the UK.
Dr Zakir Naik is a renowned mainstream Muslim scholar on comparative religions, who has a track record of dialogue with interfaith communities’ world wide, and is a leading figure in promoting peace and harmony between the world’s major faiths. Through his Peace TV Channel, Dr Naik has captivated the hearts and minds of millions of viewers around the world and has become an international figure respected for his knowledge and integrity. This visit was another ordinary visit of his to promote peace and tolerance, a message which he has been delivering in the UK since the early 90’s.
It has also come to our attention that Dr Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips, who arrived at Heathrow Airport Terminal 3 on 19th June 2010, was ordered to be removed from the UK by the UK Border Agency under the instructions of the Secretary of State.
Dr Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips is also a respected mainstream Islamic scholar and an academic who obtained his doctorate in Islamic Theology from the University of Wales. He has been lecturing world wide and has visited the UK on countless occasions for the last two decades to promote a peaceful and a knowledge based approach to Islam. Dr Phillips has also authored and translated over 50 books on various Islamic subjects and has a large following and support base worldwide.
Both of these international personalities have been very vocal against terrorism and extremism in all their forms both in their written works and public speeches.
A spokesperson for Green Lane Masjid and Community Centre said, ‘It is with great regret that our government allows people such as Geert Wilders into the UK to promote his intolerance of other faiths and communities under the pretence of ‘freedom of speech’, yet ironically internationally respected Islamic Scholars and Academics are refused entry based on misleading and false propaganda and are not afforded the same values.’
Excluding leading Muslim personalities from entering the UK, does not serve the interests of the British people, but rather goes against the universal values of freedom of speech and will attempt to undermine community cohesion. Such draconian actions will only serve to further the agenda of extreme elements within society and is not conducive for the public good.
We commend The Muslim Council of Britain for taking the lead in voicing its concerns over this decision and we urge the Muslim Community to unite behind their community leaders and oppose such irrational aggression.
Green Lane Masjid and Community Centre has always spoken against terrorism, extremism and will continue to promote the true message of Islam. We ask our new coalition government to be balanced in their approach to such sensitive matters and not simply to bow down to political pressure, such decisions will only alienate the Muslim community.
Green Lane Masjid and Community Centre is determined to join hands with all those who want betterment for the British people and our country.
[End – 23rd June 2010]
Notes to the editor:
For Dr Zakir Naik Press Release’s, please click here, http://zakirnaikexclusion.com/index.php/press-release
For The Muslim Council of Britain Press Release issued on 18th June 2010, please click here, http://www.mcb.org.uk/media/presstext.php?ann_id=405
For further information on our position on terrorism and extremism, please refer to our publication Islam – A Religion of Terror? of which 36,000 copies have been distributed to date.
For further information, please contact:
Media Relations Committee
Green Lane Masjid and Community Centre
20 Green Lane
Fax: 0121 713 0081