Franklin Graham should be banned from Britain, according to the country's leading Muslim organisation.
Graham, the founder of the Samaritan's Purse relief organisation and son of famed evangelist Billy Graham, is due to speak at a Christian festival in Blackpool later this month. He is a controversial figure who has made inflammatory statements about Islam, calling it an 'evil' and 'wicked' religion, and is a high-profile opponent of homosexuality and same-sex marriage.
The Muslim Council of Britain, along with three MPs, has said Graham should be denied a visa for his visit, the Guardian reported yesterday.
'In the past the government has banned individuals whom they claim are "not conducive to the public good". Mr Graham's remarks are on record and clearly demonstrate a hatred for Muslims and other minorities,' its statement said.
'We would expect the government to apply its criteria here. If it does not, it will send a clear message that it is not consistent in challenging all forms of bigotry.'
The Labour MP for Blackpool South, Gordon Marsden, said he would write to Home Secretary Sajid Javid to call for the visa to be denied, saying his visit would cause 'considerable offence'. 'It's perfectly possible for the government not to admit someone whose presence is not conducive to the public good,' he said.
Graham's visit has also been opposed by Blackpool North and Cleveleys MP Paul Maynard, andby Manchester Gorton MP Afzal Khan.
He is due to speak at the Festival of Hope at Blackpool's Winter Gardens on September 21 at an event organised by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.
While around 30 churches are supporting the event, others have distanced themselves from it because of Graham's statements.