Britain has banned Mohammed al-Arifi, a conservative Sunni Muslim cleric from Saudi Arabia with over 9 million Twitter followers, as it tries to deter young Muslims from going to join Islamic militants in Syria.
Arifi, who has called for jihad against President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, has visited Britain several times. British newspapers said this week he had preached in a Cardiff mosque attended by three young Muslims who have traveled to Syria to fight.
“We can confirm Mohammed al-Arifi has been excluded from the United Kingdom,” said a Home Office spokesperson in an emailed statement.
“The Government makes no apologies for refusing people access to the UK if we believe they represent a threat to our society. Coming here is a privilege that we refuse to extend to those who seek to subvert our shared values,” the statement said, without elaborating.