MP Tony Burke says he did not call for a visa to be issued to, or give a reference for, an Islamic preacher with controversial values.
MP Tony Burke says he did not call for a visa to be issued to, or give a reference for, an Islamic preacher with controversial values.

Islamic preacher had Tony Burke’s backing

SENIOR Labor frontbencher Tony Burke wrote a letter in support of an Islamic preacher's request for a visa application - even though he said in Parliament that he did not call for a visa to be issued.

Mr Burke wrote to the Australian Embassy in Jordan when ­Mohammed Rateb Abdalah Ali al-Nabulsi was attempting to travel to Australia to speak at a charity dinner for The Voice of Islam.

In the letter, obtained by The Daily Telegraph, the former immigration minister said Mr Nabulsi, whom Australian intelligence officials believe holds views against Western values, women and homosexuality, had "always complied with visa requirements".

"It would be appreciated if you could attach my letter to Prof Rateb and his wife's file where it may be taken into consideration at the appropriate time," Mr Burke writes in the letter.

Before signing off, Mr Burke asks the embassy to contact him if there was "any additional information you believe I should be aware of with regards to the application".

Mr Burke told The Telegraph at no stage did he ask for a visa to be issued.

"Any claim that I provided a reference for this individual is inaccurate and defamatory," he said.



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