London, Asharq Al-Awsat- Right-wing Dutch MP Geert Wilders has been banned from entering the UK based on laws that prevent individuals who promote extremism from traveling to the UK. He is known for his extremist stance towards Islam.
British authorities refused Wilders entry to the UK at the invite of Lord Pearson, a member of the right-wing UKIP party, to attend a parliamentary session to discuss the European Union and Islam on Thursday where his anti-Islam film ‘Fitna’ is expected to be shown.
A spokesperson for the Home Office told Asharq Al-Awsat, “The government opposes extremism in all forms and will stop those who want to spread extremism, hatred and violent messages in our communities from coming to our country.” “This was the motive behind the tightening up of laws regarding preventing entry [to the UK] based on unacceptable behavior, which the Home Office announced last October.”
The Dutch Foreign Ministry told AFP Tuesday, “We have learned from the British embassy that the British government has decided to refuse entry to Mr. Wilders,” a ministry spokesman said. “The British government justified its decision for reasons of public order and security.”
Wilders is accused of inciting hatred and discrimination against Muslims in the Netherlands. He has called for banning the Quran in the Netherlands where he has launched a campaign against Muslims saying that the country must counter the “Islamification” of society that is taking place through the rising number of Muslims migrating to the Netherlands.
The British government based its decision to refuse Wilders entry to the UK on the European law that states that any EU country can prevent a citizen of any EU member state from entering its territories if that person is considered a “threat to public policy and/or public security and public health.”
A spokesperson for the British Foreign Office stated that the British government is not associated “in any way whatsoever,” to the House of Lords session to which Wilders was invited and where the ‘Fitna’ film is expected to be shown. The spokesperson refused to comment on Wilder’s case saying, “We will not comment on individual cases.”
In February 2008, the British government prevented Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi, head of the International Union for Muslim Scholars, from entering the UK based on fears that his visit could contribute to the spread of extremism. British authorities refused to issue Qaradawi an entry visa and justified the decision by saying that Qaradawi’s application did not comply with British immigration laws.