Anti-Islamist politician Geert Wilders refused entry to Britain
ReligionNewsBlog.com • Thursday February 12, 2009
Britain appeases Muslim extremists
Immigration officials denied the Dutch MP entry to the country after the Government decided he should not be allowed to attend a screening of his controversial anti-Islamist film tonight.
Mr Wilders said: “I am in a detention centre at Heathrow … I am detained. They took my passport. I will not be allowed to enter the country. They will send me back within a few hours.”
On his flight to London, he told The Times that the British Government was “the biggest bunch of cowards in Europe”.
“I am going to Great Britain because I was invited by another politician (Lord Pearson of Rannoch). I am a democrat, I am serving freedom of speech. They are not only being nasty to me they are being nasty to freedom of speech.
At 2.20pm, Mr Wilders was escorted through UK immigration by two plain-clothed officers and into the offices of the UK border agency.
At one stage, during the long walk from the plane to immigration, one of Mr Wilders’ bodyguards asked border agency guards to relax their grip on the MP.
The guards kept a tight hold on both Mr Wilders’s arms as they walked him through the airport followed by a gaggle of journalists and cameramen.
As he approached passport control, Mr Wilders was asked if he was nervous. He replied: “I’m not nervous. I’m just anxious to find out what will happen to me. Is this how Great Britain welcomes a democrat?”
Mr Wilders, 45, an MP in the Netherlands, caught a British Midlands flight from Amsterdam this afternoon brandishing his passport and boarding pass. He said he would have to be physically restrained from entering the country. “I’ll see what happens at the border. Let them put me in handcuffs,” he said.
The MP was invited to attend a showing of his 17-minute film, Fitna, at the House of Lords by the UKIP peer Lord Pearson.
The Home Office decision to refuse Mr Wilders entry on account of his views provoked Maxime Verhagen, the Dutch Foreign Affairs Minister, to call David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, to protest at the decision. “The fact that a Dutch parliamentarian is refused entry to another EU country is highly regrettable,” Mr Verhagen said.
In the House of Lords today, the peer who invited Mr Wilders to Britain mounted a staunch defence of the right-wing Dutch politician’s right to show a controversial film about Islam.
Lord Pearson aid he disagreed with some of Mr Wilders’ views but believed he should be allowed to express them.
He asked Home Office minister Lord West of Spithead: “Do you think this situation would occur if Mr Wilders had said ban the Bible. If it would not have occurred, why would it not have occurred?”
“Surely the violence and the disturbance that may arise from showing this film in this country is not caused by the film which attempts to show merely how the violent Islamist uses the Koran to perpetrate his terrible acts.
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