Britain denying entry to far-right Dutch MP
Extremist Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders unwelcome in Great Britain.
THE HAGUE—Britain is refusing to let Dutch far-right politician Geert Wilders, best known for the anti-Islamist short film "Fitna," step onto its soil, the Dutch foreign ministry said 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."
On his Internet site, the Dutch member of parliament said he had been invited by members of the House of Lords to go to Britain to screen "Fitna" and to join a debate on freedom of speech.
"Great Britain is sacrificing freedom of speech," he said. "You would expect something like this to happen in countries like Saudi Arabia, but not in Great Britain. This cowardly act by the British government is a disgrace."
Wilders is facing legal action in the Netherlands for inciting hatred and discrimination against Muslims, with the court of appeal in Amsterdam ordering prosecutors on January 21 to mount a case against him.
Seventeen minutes long, and first released on Wilders's website in March 2008, "Fitna" claims that the Koran has a "fascist" character not unlike Adolf Hitler's "Mein Kampf."
The British government has a policy of not commenting on individual cases, but a spokeswoman for the Home Office in London highlighted new rules announced in October allowing it to exclude people who foster extremism or hate.
"The government opposes extremism in all its forms," she said.
"It will stop those who want to spread extremism, hatred and violent messages in our communities from coming to our country, and that was the driving force behind tighter rules on exclusions for unacceptable behaviour that the home secretary announced in October last year."