An exiled Egyptian television presenter has reportedly had his visa revoked by the United Kingdom for allegedly supporting Hamas amid government efforts to crack down on support for the Palestinian armed organisation it considers a “terrorist” group.
The Home Office cancelled Moataz Matar’s visa for, among other things, taking part in pro-Palestinian protests in London and supporting Hamas, according to the London-based Telegraph news website.
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The 49-year-old has also been put on a watch list, which means he will be unable to return to the UK.
This is reportedly the first “expulsion” by Home Secretary Suella Braverman and Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick since the October 7 Hamas attack inside Israel that killed some 1,200 people.
Since then, Israel has been launching air raids and a ground assault on Gaza, where the group is based, which has killed more than 11,000 Palestinians, mostly women and children, creating a humanitarian crisis. Israel has refused an immediate ceasefire despite growing international calls.
British officials have announced plans for a crackdown on alleged “anti-Semitic” behaviour in the wake of the Hamas attack, and the Telegraph reported at least another half dozen foreign nationals could have their visas revoked.
“There can be zero tolerance for visitors to the UK who abuse the privilege of a visa and endorse evil terrorist acts,” Jenrick was quoted as saying. “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.”
Matar has reportedly left the UK, but he will be barred from returning by border officials due to the watch list.
The Home Office has powers to revoke foreign nationals’ student, visitor, or work visas where it deems a person’s behaviour to be “not conducive to the public good” or if they are judged a threat to national security.
Jenrick and Chris Philip, the policing minister, have reportedly asked all 43 police forces in England and Wales to report any foreign individuals caught in any potentially “extremist activities” that could be grounds for the revocation of their visas.
Following the Hamas attack, Jenrick has also reportedly stayed in contact with the Community Security Trust, tasked with providing security to Jewish communities, to pass on names of any foreign nationals they deem to exhibit “anti-Semitic” behaviour.
France has also imposed a ban on pro-Palestinian rallies and cracked down on people demonstrating against the killing of civilians in Gaza.
France’s interior minister, Gerald Darmanin, has ordered that all foreign nationals who are found to commit anti-Semitic acts be expelled immediately from the country. At least three have already been expelled by France.
French President Emmanuel Macron said on Tuesday that Israel should stop bombing the besieged enclave and killing civilians. Israel quickly rejected his remarks, saying world leaders should be condemning Hamas, not Israelis.