Islamist preacher who compared Jews to ‘fleas’ to speak at Palestine Expo event in government building

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From the Telegraph

An Islamic hate preacher who once cited a Nazi comparison of Jews to “fleas” has been given a platform to speak at a conference to be held in a prominent Government building run by the department responsible for tackling extremism and encouraging integration.Ebrahim Bham, a South African cleric who previously acted as an interpreter to the Taliban’s head legal advisor, will address the Palestine Expo at the Queen Elizabeth II Centre this weekend, despite Home Office officials warning Sajid Javid, the Communities Secretary, to cancel the event, the Telegraph can disclose.

Last night a group of Conservative MPs and ex-servicemen called on the Prime Minister to intervene in order to prevent government buildings being used by “groups which oppose our values and ideals.” Mr Bham is due to speak at the conference tomorrow [SUN] afternoon having already attended events at a number of London mosques this week as part of a UK tour.

The Palestine Expo has been organised by the Friends of Al-Aqsa, whose chairman, Ismail Patel, once publicly denied that Hamas was a terrorist organisation.

Recordings of Mr Bham’s sermons can be found on the website of South Africa’s Council of Muslim Theologians, of which he is secretary general.

In one he says: “Goebbel [sic] was a very famous minister of the Nazis, and he tried to justify the killing of the Jews. Now as far as we are concerned, we do not need to feel apologetic because it was not done by Muslims.

“The Muslims did not do it, but they had to suffer the consequences of the Holocaust. Because Europe, because of its guilt, had to shed its Jews. And they couldn’t put them in Europe, they put them in Palestine at the expense of the indigenous Palestinian Muslim people.”

Quoting Goebbels, he adds: “One day he said that ‘People tell me that Jews are human beings. Yes, I know they are human beings. Just as fleas are also animals. Just as fleas are also animals, they are also part of human beings like that.’

South African intelligence documents claim that in 1997 Mr Bham acted as an interpreter for Nizamudeen Shamzai, the then head legal counsel to the Taliban.

The decision to allow the event was strongly criticised by Christian Concern, a group which had a booking at the centre cancelled in 2012 during its campaign against the legalisation of gay marriage. Andrea Williams, Christian Concern’s chief executive, said: “Allowing this event to go ahead represents a blatant double standard from the government, after it earlier banned our conference on marriage at short notice from taking place in the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre.”

Writing in today’s Daily Telegraph, a group including four Conservatives MPs, Col Tim Collins, the Iraq War commander, and the chairman of the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism state: “Whilst the government is rightly strong in its rhetoric, it must back this up by denying extremists of all kinds the platforms they require to divide our communities.

“We call on the Prime Minister to take all necessary steps to prevent Palestine Expo from taking place in UK taxpayer-owned buildings, and prevent the future use of such buildings … by groups which oppose our values and ideals.”

Mr Patel said the charge of extremism was simply an attempt to prevent pro-Palestinian voices from being heard, and that “our speakers are from across communities”. When he denied that Hamas was a terrorist organisation he was referring to the “political entity” rather than the proscribed military wing, he added. Here we go again – Terrorist flags off our streets!

Mr Bham denied preaching hate and said he had never supported the Taliban nor agreed with categorisations of Jews as “sub-human”. 

A DCLG spokesman said the QEII centre operates “at arm’s length from government” and “does not represent, endorse or support the views of any organisations hiring its event spaces.” Any events must be “in line with fundamental British values.”

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