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Tuesday, July 16, 2024

UK revokes visa of an alleged Hamas supporter

The move comes in the wake of Matar's purported backing of the militant group, considered a "terrorist" organization by the UK government.

The United Kingdom’s Home Office has taken a decisive step in the fight against alleged support for Hamas, designating exiled Egyptian TV presenter Moataz Matar as the first foreign national to have his visa revoked. The move comes in the wake of Matar’s purported backing of the militant group, considered a “terrorist” organization by the UK government, and his participation in pro-Palestine protests in London.

Controversial Interviews

Moataz Matar, a former TV sports presenter with an extensive online following of 4.2 million YouTube subscribers, has been at the center of controversy for his recent interview with Abdelhakim Hanini, a co-founder of the Al-Qassam Brigades in the West Bank during the 1990s. In the interview, Hanini expressed strong views, advocating repercussions for those who support the “neo-Nazi Zionist enemy” and urging Muslims worldwide to rally in support of Hamas’ October 7 attack.

Read More: London faces unprecedented challenges as Pro-Palestinian March coincides with Armistice Day

Crackdown on Alleged Antisemitic Behavior

The UK Home Office’s decision to place Matar on a watch list and revoke his visa is part of a broader effort to combat alleged antisemitic behavior among foreign nationals, particularly in the aftermath of the October 7 attack. Home Secretary Suella Braverman and Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick are spearheading this initiative, emphasizing a zero-tolerance approach to individuals endorsing what they consider “evil terrorist acts.”

Escalating Tensions

The October 7 attack referred to by Hanini has escalated tensions in the region, leading to Israel’s airstrikes and violent responses. The aftermath has seen over 11,000 casualties in Gaza, with the majority being civilians and a significant number being children. The UK government’s stringent measures reflect concerns about the potential spread of extremist ideologies and actions in the country.

Watch List Inclusion

Moataz Matar, who fled Egypt in 2013, is a frequent visitor to the UK. However, his current absence from the country will be prolonged as the UK’s Border Force has denied him reentry. Matar’s placement on a watch list signals the UK’s commitment to monitoring individuals deemed to have engaged in activities that go against the nation’s security interests.

Government Warning

Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick issued a stern warning to potential offenders, stating, “There can be zero tolerance for visitors to the UK who abuse the privilege of a visa and endorse evil terrorist acts. To any individuals considering following suit in the coming days and weeks, be in no doubt that we will continue to revoke visas wherever required. We will not tolerate extremism on our streets.”

Additional Visa Revocations on the Horizon

According to The Telegraph, Moataz Matar is not the only individual facing potential visa revocation. The Home Office is reportedly reviewing the cases of at least half a dozen other foreign nationals who may also lose their visas due to alleged involvement in activities deemed antisemitic or supportive of extremist ideologies.

Read More: Pro-Palestinian protests in London lead to arrests and charges

The UK’s move to revoke Moataz Matar’s visa marks a significant step in its commitment to combating terrorism and antisemitic behavior within its borders. As tensions persist in the Middle East, the UK government’s firm stance sends a clear message that it will not tolerate the endorsement of extremist acts on its soil.