Right-wing Dutch politician Geert Wilders won his appeal this week against the Government’s decision not to allow him into the UK.
Wilders, leader of the Party for Freedom in the Netherlands, was originally refused entry in February after arriving in London. He had been due to show his 17-minute film Fitna, which criticises the Qu’ran as a “fascist book”, at the House of Lords, but was turned away at Heathrow airport.
The decision to deny entry to Wilders, made by Jacqui Smith, the then Home Secretary, led to criticism of what was seen by some commentators as the silencing of free speech.
The ruling by the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal (AIT) means that Wilders, who is accused of Islamophobia, could now be allowed into the country.
In initially refusing Wilders access, a letter sent to the politician by the Home Office, on behalf of Jacqui Smith, said his presence “would pose a genuine, present and significantly 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 the film and elsewhere, would threaten community harmony and therefore public safety in the UK.”
Today a Home Office spokesman said the Government was “disappointed” by the ruling. He said:
“The Government opposes extremism is 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.” Source: The Guardian
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