Eminent British scholar turned away from JFK

Lindsay Beyerstein at Majikthise:

The Guardian reports that immigration officials at New York’s JFK International airport refused to allow Professor Zaki Badawi, a world authority on Islamic theology and noted ecumenist, to enter the United States.

Dr Badawi has visited the US several times, most recently in 2003. He was given an honorary knighthood, and in 2003 was a guest of the Queen at a state banquet for the US president, George Bush. Earlier this week, Dr Badawi joined other British religious leaders, including Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, and Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks, in publicly condemning the London bomb blasts, which killed at least 54 people. […]

The US Customs and Border Protection office said Dr Badawi had been refused entry to the country based on information indicating that he was “inadmissible”.

As the unofficial spiritual leader of the Britain’s Muslims, the 82-year-old Bawadi has a spiritual stature comparable to that of the Archbishop of Canterburry. He is also a vocal opponent of Islamic extremism:

When Bin Laden issued a fatwa on Americans, he dismissed it as being without religious authority and declared acerbically: “Fatwas have become a cheap business. Since Ayatollah Khomeini issued his against Salman Rushdie, everyone has opened a fatwa shop.”

More here.