Dutch anti-Islam MP gets UK ban reversed

A Dutch MP can now enter the UK after winning his appeal against a Home Office decision in February which barred him from entering the country because of his anti-Islam views.

Geert Wilders, the maker of anti-Koran film Fitna, described the decision as a “victory for freedom of speech” and plans to visit “as soon as possible”.

Mr Wilders aims to broadcast his controversial film, which juxtaposes quotations from the Koran with footage of terrorist atrocities and speeches by Muslim preachers.

He was originally invited by Lord Pearson of Rannoch, a member of the House of Lords, in February to show his 17-minute film at a private screening in Parliament.

But the then Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, banned him from entering the UK after accusing Mr Wilders of threatening “community harmony” and “public security”.

Mr Wilders is delighted that the ban has now been overturned.

He said: “I am very, very happy. It is not just a victory for me. It is a victory for freedom of speech.

“It was a politically motivated decision to not to allow me to enter the UK, to detain me and to send me back.

“As soon as I can, as soon as possible, I will visit the UK. I will certainly be invited again by Lord Pearson to show my film and have the debate. I will proudly accept that invitation.”

The Home Office said it was “disappointed” with the decision made by the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal and is considering an appeal against the ruling.

A spokesman for the Home Office said: “The Government opposes extremism in all its forms.

“The decision to refuse Wilders admission was taken on the basis that his presence could have inflamed tensions between our communities and have led to inter-faith violence. We still maintain this view.”

In February when Mr Wilders was originally refused entry he told the BBC it was a “very sad day” for UK democracy.

He said: “I’m not doing anything wrong. I’m not protesting or running through the streets of London”.

“Democracy means differences and debate. It’s a very sad day when the UK bans an elected parliamentarian”, he added.

Lord Pearson described it as a “matter of free speech”, adding: “We are going to show it anyway because we think MPs and peers should see this film.”

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