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Probe Launched After Banned Sheikh Enters UK

Probe Launched After Banned Sheikh Enters UK

12:04pm 29th June 2011
(Updated 4:02pm 29th June 2011)

An investigation has been launched into how a leading Palestinian activist managed to get into the UK despite being banned, the Home Secretary has said.

Sheikh Raed Salah, the leader of the Islamic Movement in Israel, was detained by police in London last night.

Mrs May said the UK Border Agency is now taking steps to remove him from the country.

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) has insisted Sheikh Salah is a leader of a legitimate political organisation and said he rejected all forms of racism.

A statement from his solicitor Farooq Bajwa added that he had "no knowledge" of an alleged travel ban and had made "no attempt" to conceal his identity when he entered Britain.

"Sheikh Raed Salah is the leader of the Islamic Movement in Israel, the largest movement for Palestinians in Israel," said Sarah Colborne, PSC director.

"This is a legitimate organisation which Israel has never moved to ban.

"Raed Saleh regularly speaks at venues across Israel where he has considerable support amongst the Palestinian citizens of Israel, who make up a fifth of the population.

"Sheikh Raed has been elected as mayor of his home town, Um al-Fahm, three times. He has never been convicted of anti-semitism in Israel.

"Before coming to Britain, he faced horrific allegations of anti-semitism, which he completely refuted.

"He has clarified his position of being opposed to all forms of racism, including anti-semitism, Islamophobia and racism against his own people, the Palestinians."

Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper said: "The Government's rhetoric of being tough on border controls has been exposed as an incompetent sham.

"The Home Secretary needs to urgently explain why an individual banned from this country was allowed to walk in and instead of being stopped at the border had to be pursued by the police instead."

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