Asim Qureshi on the This Week programme
Asim Qureshi on the This Week programme

Cage director Asim Qureshi, who provoked outrage when he described the Islamic State (Isis) militant known as Jihadi John as "beautiful", repeatedly refused to condemn stoning adulterous women to death.

Appearing on the BBC's This Week programme, Qureshi was asked his view on a series of positions advocated by Muslim scholar Haitham al-Haddad, who he has defended, including female genital mutilation, stoning woman to death for adultery, the belief that homosexuality is "evil" and that Jews are descended from pigs.

When pressed on whether he condoned the views, Qureshi said "I'm not a theologian."

"As far as I am concerned, sharia law isn't practised correctly anywhere in the world," he replied, when questioned further by host Andrew Neil.

Qureshi accused Neil of confusing "theological issues within Islam" with the issue of radicalisation.

Qureshi was widely condemned when he alleged that harassment from UK security services was responsible for radicalising Mohammed Emwazi from west London, nicknamed Jihadi John, but on the programme he backed away from this view.

"We're not saying that MI5 are making these people into jihadists, what we are saying is that they are creating an environment here in the UK, which is making people feel that they don't belong," he said.

In the wake of Qureshi's claims about about Emwazi, a video emerged from 2006 of Qureshi calling for jihad outside the US embassy in London.

When pressed on the video, Qureshi said "There was a lot of emotion that day.

"Jihad is part of the religion of Islam."

Former Home Secretary Alan Johnson asked Qureshi if he believed that Emwazi was on his way to a safari in Tanzania when he was stopped by security services in 2005, "because you must be the only person in the world that does".

Emwazi is alleged to have been on his way to join extremist organisation Al-Shabaab in Somalia.

"That's what he told me and nobody has provided me with any evidence to the contrary," Qureshi said.