Indian Islamic scholar to appeal against British ban

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An Indian Islamic preacher who was banned from entering Britain due to "unacceptable behaviour" has vowed to appeal against the decision, which he blamed on the British media.

Mumbai-based television preacher Zakir Naik had been due to give a series of lectures in London and northern England but Britain's new Home Secretary Theresa May barred him last week.

"We have written to the UK home ministry, seeking them to revise their decision and revoke the exclusion order," a spokesperson for Naik told AFP on Wednesday.

Naik will take up legal proceedings in London if the government does not reverse its ban, he said.

On Tuesday Naik issued a statement accusing May of acting on British press reports which he said portrayed him as "preacher of hate" and a "terror-backer."

Naik has run into controversy for complimentary references to Al-Qaeda chief Osama Bin Laden, which he says were made in Singapore in 1996, prior to the September 11, 2001 attacks.

"It is not justified or sensible to use these quotes in the context of 9/11, when the atrocities had not taken place," Naik said.

Naik heads the Mumbai-based Islamic Research Foundation and gives talks on the Peace TV channel.

© 2010 AFP

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