England rolled out the welcome mat this week for a Saudi hate sheik allowed to preach Tuesday night at the East London Mosque, prompted some heated complaints. Abdul Rahman al-Sudais is the chief cleric at Mecca's Grand Mosque.
He has disparaged Jews as "monkeys and pigs," Christians as "cross worshippers" and Hindus as "idol worshippers."
Human Rights advocate Peter Tatchell wonders why al-Sudais was allowed into the country at all, when Canada won't let him in and when the British government has banned others considered traffickers in hate. According to Tatchell:
"The East London mosque received from the Saudis towards its new London Muslim Centre. The mosque's links to Saudi Arabia go back many years, according to the BBC.
I don't understand why the Home Secretary is allowing al-Sudais into Britain, given that similar hate preachers have been banned. Is it because of the close business links between the British and Saudi establishments?"
Tatchell cites a 2002 sermon by al-Sudais that was broadcast on Saudi television which he characterizes as "echoing Nazi anti-Jewish propaganda, with openly racist caricatures of Jewish people."
Jews, al-Sudais said "are...the worst of mankind. Allaah cursed them and cast His wrath upon them. He turned some of them to monkeys and pigs and worshippers of creatures... History of Jews is full of deception, trickery, rebellion, oppression, evil and corruption."
Guardian newspaper wrier Rizat Butt also wondered why "the British appear to welcome" al-Sudais, noting he never contested the statements attributed to him or apologized for saying them:
"So why no uproar in the UK? It is either that people have forgotten what he has said or that they are willing to overlook it and concentrate on his more palatable condemnations of suicide bombings and extremism. Whatever the reason, his feting by Muslims and non-Muslims alike is no cause for celebration, just confusion."
The criticism did not seem to put a crimp in the turnout for the sermon, which drew an overflow crowd to the mosque that holds 7,000 people.