A glitch in the UK's border security system allowed a radical Islamist preacher to get into the country despite being on a list of banned people, the BBC reported Tuesday.
Raed Salah, leader of the Northern Islamic Movement in Israel, was arrested June 28, days after entering the country in late June and has been jailed since due to a ban placed on him by the Home Office.
Salah's name was on a database of banned people, but the information was routed to an incorrect terminal at Heathrow Airport. The information wasn't sent electronically, but on slips of paper. "There's no joined up IT thinking, we're living in the Dark Ages," an anonymous source at the UK Border Agency explained.
Before being arrested, Salah spoke at a meeting in central London, sponsored by the UK Islamist media group Middle East Monitor and the radical Palestine Solidarity Campaign. He also scheduled to participate in a speaking tour with Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood figure Ahmed Nofal, Viva Palestina leader George Galloway and other radicals. He was also slated to speak at a meeting at the UK Parliament alongside British MPs.
Charities run by Salah's Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement were shut down by Israel in the 1990s for transferring funds to Hamas in the West Bank. Salah also was jailed in 2005 for funneling money to the terrorist group. The Islamic Movement has been described by an Israeli terrorism expert as "a faction of the Muslim Brotherhood organization."
Two indictments were filed against Salah last month in Israel, on charges of inciting racism and violence and obstructing a police officer. The charges relate to a fiery blood libel speech that Salah delivered to a crowd of one thousand in Jerusalem in February, 2007. "We have never allowed ourselves to knead [the dough for] the bread that breaks the fast in the holy month of Ramadan with children's blood," Salah declared. And, "whoever wants a more thorough explanation, let him ask what used to happen to some children in Europe, whose blood was mixed in with the dough of the [Jewish] holy bread."
On Friday, the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) reported that Salah wrote that Jews were warned not to come to work on 9/11:
"Was it a coincidence that 4,000 Jewish employees were absent from work, or what? On the other hand, this warning did not reach the 2,000 Muslims who worked at the World Trade Center. Consequently, there were hundreds of Muslim victims."
Such statements likely contributed to the British ban, which was imposed because his presence would be "not conducive to the public good," the BBC reported.
Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh condemned the UK for Salah's arrest, calling him a "messenger of freedom, respect and human rights." Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) activists demonstrated in front of the British Cultural Centre in Gaza. One senior PIJ figure accused the British government of capitulating to the "Jewish lobby," and committing another crime after having "given the Jews a 'national homeland' in Palestine."
Salah is appealing the British government ban in court.