Mystery of Javid’s banquet ban

28th Jun 2019
Mystery of Javid’s banquet ban

Home Secretary, Sajid Javid’s invitation snub from the State Banquet held for US President Donald Trump by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace was not Islamophobic said the Spokesman for the Prime Minister (Sajid Javid profile photo: UK Parliament/CC) -(Banquet photo: Dominic Lipinski/PAWire/PA)

Hamed Chapman

Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, has refused to spell out whether he was banned from attending the lavish banquet at Buckingham Palace held as part of US President, Donald Trump’s state visit to Britain this month because of his Muslim heritage but admits it was an “odd” decision.

The Muslim Council of Britain has written to Prime Minister, Theresa May, to question whether Javid had not been invited due to his faith after accusation that the Government was trying to appease Trump’s repeatedly outspoken hatred towards Muslims, including his ban on nationals of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen from entering the US.

“There are fears that our nation is willing to give up on our principles of fairness and equality for all, in order to placate President Trump, even going so far as to exclude our Home Secretary solely due to his Muslim heritage,” Muslim Council Of Britain Secretary-General, Harun Khan, said. “In this letter, we are seeking to clarify whether this was actually the case.”

Those invited to the state banquet included a handful of cabinet members, some much more junior than the Home Secretary such as Environment Secretary, Michael Gove, International Trade Secretary, Liam Fox, Foreign Office Minister, Sir Alan Duncan MP and Defence Secretary, Penny Mordaunt.

Other senior cabinet ministers invited were Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office David Lidington, Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond and Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and Jeremy Hunt.

Questioned why he had not been asked to attend, Javid admitted that it was “odd” and that he did not like it being the only senior member of the cabinet not to be invited but insisted he did not know the reason why.

“I don’t know. I don’t know. I’ve asked but I’ve been told that home secretaries are normally not invited, so I don’t know,” he told the BBC’s Today programme. When asked if it was because he was Muslim, he said: “No I’m not saying that at all. I really don’t know.” He added: “My office did ask No 10 [to be invited to the banquet] and they said ‘no’”

A spokesman for the Prime Minister told The Muslim News that home secretaries are not necessarily invited to the banquet and very few cabinet ministers are invited. However, then Home Secretary, Theresa May, was invited to the banquet held in honour of Turkish President Recep Erdoğan in 2011 and then Home Secretary Amber Rudd was invited in honour of the King Felipe of Spain in 2017.

Some commentators have referred to the Home Secretary previously criticising Trump for re-tweeting a post by far-right anti-Muslim group Britain First in November 2017, when Javid responded in kind, saying the United States President “has endorsed the views of a vile, hate-filled racist organisation that hates me and people like me. He is wrong and I refuse to let it go and say nothing.”

Downing Street tried to controversially distance itself from the decision to ban Javid, insisting that “the invitations to the state banquet were organised and led by Buckingham Palace” though it is understood that both the Prime Minister’s Office, and the US Embassy, have an input in selecting the 170 guests.

Additional report by Ahmed J Versi

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