Banned From Britain, Dutch Lawmaker Denied Entry at Heathrow
Thursday, February 12, 2009
An anti-Islam Dutch politician banned from entering Great Britain says he has been detained upon arrival at Heathrow Airport and will be returned home.
Upon Geert Wilders' arrival at Heathrow Airport, he was presented with a letter from Britain's Home Office saying that his opinions "threatenen community security." The right-wing lawmaker had been invited by a member of Parliament to show his anti-Islam movie "Fitna," which calls the Koran a "fascist" book and accuses Islam of being a violent religion.
The news comes one day after he dared the "weak and cowardly" British government to arrest him when he gets there.
He criticized the travel ban as an attempt to stifle freedom of speech and traveled to Britain on a point of principle.
"I'll see what happens at the border," Wilders told Radio Netherlands on Wednesday. "Let them put me in handcuffs."
Wilders was told by the British Embassy in a letter Tuesday that he could not set foot in the country.
Britain's Home Office would not comment specifically on the ban, but it said it "opposes extremism in all its forms" and would work to "stop those who want to spread extremism, hatred and violent messages in our communities from coming to our country."
The U.K.'s Lord Malcolm Pearson, who invited Wilders to Britain, told the Daily Mail newspaper that the screening of the film would go ahead today "with or without Mr. Wilders."
Wilders remains held at the airport. Dutch Foreign Minister Maxine Verhagen told the Mail that the Netherlands government would press to lift the travel ban.
Here is the Home Department's letter regarding his travel ban as given by Fox News:
UK Border Agency
Mr Geert Wilders :
For delivery via: British Embassy in The Hague
Dear Mr Wilders
The purpose of this letter is to inform you that the Secretary of State is of the view that your
presence in the UK would pose a genuine, present and sufficiently serious threat to one of
the fundamental interests of society. The Secretary of State is satisfied that your statements
about Muslims and their beliefs, as expressed in your film Fitna and elsewhere, would
threaten community harmony and therefore public security in the UK.
You are advised that should you travel to the UK and seek admission an Immigration Officer
wil! take into account the Secretary of State's view. If, in accordance with regulation 21 of the
Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2006, the Immigration Officer is
satisfied that your exclusion is justified on grounds of public policy and/or public security, you
will be refused adrnission to the UK under regulation 19. You would have a right of appeal
against any refusal of admission, exercisable from outside the UK.
On behalf of the Secretary of State for the Home Department