The government has been criticised by moderate Muslim groups for banning a controversial Muslim scholar from entering Britain and branding him an extremist.
The government confirmed to the Guardian that Yusuf al-Qaradawi had applied to come to the UK but had been refused.
The decision could hand the Tories a small political victory as the Conservative leader, David Cameron, last week called for his exclusion from the UK, saying Qaradawi was a â€œdangerous and divisiveâ€ preacher of hate.
But moderate British Muslim groups, including the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), are upset with the ban.
The Egyptian-born cleric wanted to come to the UK for medical treatment, his supporters say.
Qaradawi, who is banned from entering the United States, visited the UK in 2004 at the invitation of the London mayor, Ken Livingstone, sparking protests from Jewish groups and gay people, who regard him as anti-Semitic and homophobic.
In the same year, the cleric defended suicide attacks on Israelis during a BBC interview, saying: â€œItâ€™s not suicide, it is martyrdom in the name of God.â€
Muhammad Abdul Bari, the secretary-general of the MCB, condemned the ban. He said the UK government had bowed to Zionist and neo-con pressure and pointed out that a Tory government had allowed Qaradawi to enter Britain several times.
Bari said Qaradawi was respected as a scholar throughout the Muslim world: â€œIt is regrettable that the government has finally given way to these unreasonable demands spearheaded by the Tory leader whose government had, in fact, allowed Dr Qaradawi to visit the UK five times between 1995-97.
â€œI am afraid this decision will send the wrong message to Muslims everywhere about the state of British society and culture.
â€œBritain has had a long and established tradition of free speech, debate and intellectual pursuit. These principles are worth defending, especially if we would like to see them spread throughout the world.â€
The Home Office said: â€œWe can confirm that Al-Qaradawi has been refused a visa to visit the UK.
â€œThe UK will not tolerate the presence of those who seek to justify any acts of terrorist violence or express views that could foster inter-community violence.â€