Dr Barham Salih claimed some mosques in Blackburn would be banned in Iraq for the extremist messages they preach.
He made his comments during a dinner party in Baghdad attended by Tory culture spokesman Tobias Ellwood.
The 41-year-old MP claimed Dr Salih said: “I am not surprised that you British are facing so many problems with extremists after what I saw in those mosques in Blackburn.
“What I saw would not be allowed here in Iraq. It would be illegal.”
Dr Salih, a Sunni Muslim, went to several mosques in Blackburn when he visited the town on the invitation of the then Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, in 2005.
If anyone is interested in the source of that claim by Tobias Ellwood, it was made at a Westminster Hall debate on Pakistan and terrorism earlier this month. In the Mail reporting above, Straw is quoted as saying people who were expressing ‘extreme’ views during Salih’s 2005 visit were from outside the area rather than inside mosques. The Lancashire Council of Mosques, whose leading members are on very good terms with Straw, has responded to Salih’s claim on its website. The main problem is, of course, Ellwood’s report of Salih’s views are unsubstantiated. For example, which mosques did Salih visit?
The Lancashire Telegraph says it has contacted Salih via the Iraqi embassy in London asking him to clarify his views. I don’t expect they will receive a response.