Geert Wilders, the Dutch politician who is being prosecuted over anti-Islam remarks, has been prevented from entering Britain. He was arrested at London’s Heathrow airport after being warned by authorities against trying to enter.
Wilders was en route for the House of Lords where he had been invited to show his controversial film that links the Koran with extremist violence. Malcolm Pearson of the UK Independence Party that invited him said: “I do think he has a right to say what he is saying and particularly in the mother of parliaments, so we are coming at this from the angle of free speech. This man must be allowed to say what he wants and he must answer questions on it and then everyone can make up their minds.” But leading Muslims supported the government’s action. Labour’s Lord Nazir Ahmed said: “If you are doing it to provoke and incite hatred and if you are doing it to provoke violence, surely that should not be allowed. In our country, we have banned people like (controversial Muslim cleric) Sheikh (Yusuf) Qaradawi, and many, many dozens of other people, who we thought that might be a threat to national security.” Wilder’s film, which was released on the internet, sparked protests around the Muslim world for linking Koranic verses with footage of terrorist attacks. After its release, and in the wake of other comments, a court in Amsterdam ordered him to be prosecuted for hate speech.