British Muslims express `disgust` over Narendra Modi invite to UK

A group of Indian Muslims in the UK has expressed its "utter disgust" over an invitation for Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi to visit Britain.

Last Updated: Aug 15, 2013, 15:50 PM IST

London: A group of Indian Muslims in the UK has expressed its "utter disgust" over an invitation for Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi to visit Britain.

In an open letter addressed to ministers and political party leaders, the Council of Indian Muslims UK (CIM-UK) said, "This move will encourage extremism in India, will set a dangerous precedent in British politics and will go down in history as yet another shameful blunder by British politicians ..."

The India groups of the country`s two main political parties had issued formal invitations last week for the Gujarat Chief Minister to visit the UK.

The letter written by the chairman of the CIM-UK, Munaf Zeena, was addressed to UK Foreign Secretary William Hague, Home Secretary Theresa May, Conservative party chairmen Grant Shapps and Andrew Feldman, and Opposition Labour party leader Ed Miliband.

Barry Gardiner MP, chairman of the Labour Friends of India, made headlines recently for his invite to Modi to speak at an event at the House of Commons on `The Future of Modern India`.

His letter was followed up by the Conservative Friends of India co-chairman, Sailesh Vara MP, who also expressed his party’s wish to meet the chairman of the BJP`s national election committee.

"We are not unaware of a powerful BJP lobby, supported by Barry Gardiner, the Labour MP from Brent North, doing PR work for Modi in UK. In fact in his election campaign Mr Gardiner even shamelessly published a testimonial from Modi on his website claiming, `Gujarat has no greater friend in Britain than Barry Gardiner`," the CIM-UK`s letter goes on.

"We fail to express our utter sense of disappointment and disgust at these overtures by British MPs and earnestly request you to review your policies and restrain these MPs from supporting the Nero and Hitler of our time," it concludes.

Gardiner has vehemently stood by his decision to invite the BJP leader, who he describes as a politician "who cannot be ignored".

The UK government, like the US, had distanced itself from Modi in the aftermath of the 2002 Gujarat riots until late last year when the British high commissioner to India, James Bevan, made diplomatic overtures towards the Gujarat Chief Minister.

PTI