The Grand Mufti of Egypt, Sheikh Shawki Allam, has cancelled a planned visit to Britain following a UK High Court order allowing the investigation of members of the Egyptian cabinet or armed forces for international crimes even while they are still in office.
Allam was due to fly to Britain on Friday to give a lecture at a conference on Muslim youth and Islamic extremism but cancelled the trip for fear of being prosecuted, Arabi.21 news site quoted informed sources as saying. He was scheduled to be the guest of honour at a seminar on religious extremism organised by the British right-wing Independence Party. The Times of England quoted the Independence party’s director of communications, Amjad Bashir, as saying that the occasion is an attempt to remind young Muslims in Britain of “the teachings of their religion and to develop strategies to counter extremism and religious fanaticism”.
The Egyptian Revolutionary Council, which includes Egyptian opposition leaders abroad, wrote to Lord George Leonard Carey, the former Bishop of the Anglican Church who is scheduled to participate in the conference, describing Allam’s position in support of Egyptian authorities and their killing of civilians as reminiscent of “the Nazis position”. Carey, who served as bishop in the period between 1991 and 2002, is known for his critical views of Islam.
In the letter, the Revolutionary Council strongly condemned the Mufti’s visit to Britain, and called for him to be banned from entry to the country and from speaking at public events.
The letter was also signed by several British Muslim organisations, including the Islamic Forum in Europe, Islam Expo, the Coalition Against Islamophobia, Finsbury Park mosque, the Islamic Association of Britain, Islamic House of Care and Muslim Students House.
The Times said the Islamic organisations in Britain expressed their “bewilderment” at the Mufti’s decision to participate in a seminar with the head of a right-wing party who is known for his extremist views, and also sent a letter to Lord Carey urge him to reconsider his decision.