Far-right Dutch MP ignores Britain on entry refusal

12th February 2009, Comments 15 comments

Geert Wilders tests diplomatic waters by traveling to London today, despite an emphatic ban on his presence there.

THE HAGUE—A far-right Dutch politician facing trial after likening Islam to Nazism vowed Wednesday to press ahead with a planned trip to London despite Britain's refusal to grant him entry.

"I am going tomorrow. We will see what will happen," Geert Wilders, best known for his anti-Islam short film "Fitna," told AFP.

He said his plane was scheduled to land at Heathrow airport on Thursday at 1305 GMT.

Wilders, 45, is the leader of the Dutch Freedom Party (PVV), which has nine seats in parliament.

British authorities informed Wilders on Tuesday that his presence in the United Kingdom would pose a "genuine, present and sufficiently serious threat to one of the fundamental interests of society."

"Your statements about Muslims and their beliefs, as expressed in your film 'Fitna' and elsewhere, would threaten community harmony and therefore public security," said a letter addressed to Wilders and made available to AFP.

The 17-minute film, which likens Islam to Nazism and links it to terror attacks, has been described as "offensively anti-Islamic" by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

Its screening in the Netherlands prompted protests in much of the Muslim world including Afghanistan, Indonesia, Iran and Pakistan.

Wilders, a vocal opponent of what he calls the "Islamisation of the Netherlands," said he had been invited by members of the House of Lords to screen his film and join a debate on freedom of speech.

Dutch Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen protested Wilders' exclusion in a phone call to his British counterpart David Miliband Tuesday, stating that The Hague "strongly deplores" London's decision.

The Dutch ambassador to Great Britain, Pieter Willem Waldeck, will meet Wilders when he arrives in London today to offer him any help, if wanted.

In London, a spokesperson for the Home Ministry highlighted new rules allowing the government to exclude people who foster extremism, and stressed the government "opposes extremism in all its forms."

Wilders had been invited by a member of the House of Lords to show his film Fitna. He is facing trial in the Netherlands for inciting hatred and discrimination against Muslims.

AFP/Radio Netherlands/Expatica

15 Comments To This Article

  • AndreaUKA posted:

    on 13th February 2009, 15:27:59 - Reply

    No, I don't see him as a 'symbol of freedom' - I merely respect his right to his own views. It becomes even more bizarre when you consider that Mugabe is fairly frequently invited to meet world leaders, considering what he has done to his country and his people.
    Look, Wilders was invited to the HoL for a debate - he wasn't intending to rant on a soapbox outside Finsbury Mosque. A sense of proportion here wouldn't go amiss.

    Incidentally, I don't agree with all of what he says either, especially about banning the Koran (which I have read). As Heinrich Heine said, 'When you start by burning books, you end by burning people'

  • Jelengar posted:

    on 13th February 2009, 12:14:16 - Reply

    Have anybody seen the piece of art Entropa which is in Brussels, by Chechian artist David Czerny? How does he depict Netherlands? It's a flood-land Netherlands with just a bunch of minarets sticking out of water.
  • stringer posted:

    on 13th February 2009, 08:22:20 - Reply

    Andrea: I think we're in agreement on the principle that he shouldn't have been stopped - the only issue is that you see him as some sort of symbol of freedom.

    He fights against and immigration control only because it affects him but would propose arbitrarily setting immigration controls to remove people according to his own prejudices. He says that he is a symbol of suppressed free speech but wants to ban the Koran. Say what you like about the idiots that gave him attention by sending him home but don't come here like a few others and tell me that he's anything other than a pure hypocrite.

  • Jelengar posted:

    on 13th February 2009, 03:16:07 - Reply

    I fully agree with AndreaUKA and the likes. Wilders is as much far-right extremist as The Queen is extreme fascist. But then again, God Save The Queen by Sex Pistols is coming to my mind. What a shame for UK.
  • AndreaUKA posted:

    on 12th February 2009, 20:13:35 - Reply

    Oh, come on, Wildday, force? He fought when he entered the terminal, did he? Whipped out an AK47 and eliminated a few customs officials? Er...he disembarked from a plane, entered the terminal and was 'detained for questioning'. Perhaps you should look up the dictionary definition for 'force' :-)

    Stringer...yes, the HO can decide (however erroneously, and for whatever reason (fear?)) whether or not a person can enter a country (even though he was invited by citizens of that country, remember), but Wilders, by flying to the UK anyway, was making a valid point and taking a stand. Have you never flown in the face of adversity to make a point? If not, perhaps you should try it. Okay, it might get you arrested, but in my opinion it's better than rolling over and exposing your belly in abject submission.

    Big Brother is well and truly on the prowl...

  • Wildday forgeert posted:

    on 12th February 2009, 19:59:17 - Reply

    This person was denied entry into the UK,why did he have to travel?Wanting to get in by force without permission clearly shows what kind of person he is. Netherlands has some of the strict immigration rules yet a dutch parliamenterian want to enter another country by force!!How ironical is this?!!

    I dont have a problem with his views but he has to obey simple instructions and laws of another country.
  • gerryfromengland posted:

    on 12th February 2009, 18:51:19 - Reply

    I am ashamed of my country and its treatment of Mr. Wilders. Labour has developed a totalitarian state in which freedoms of speech and thought have been steadily eroded. If you are reading this, Mr. Wilders, please accept my apology.
  • stringer posted:

    on 12th February 2009, 18:04:27 - Reply

    Andrea, I agree with you that it's a sad day that he was stopped but the immigration law states that the Home Office can decide whether or not a person can enter the country so by flying there anyway, he was being a hypocrite.
  • Tom Turner posted:

    on 12th February 2009, 17:49:25 - Reply

    I have long followed the career of Geert Wilders. He is a very intelligent and brave man who knows that someone has to speak out, and loudly, against the Islamization of his small country. Good for Wilders--he is not afraid of UK immigration or of the charges against him in The Netherlands!
  • AndreaUKA posted:

    on 12th February 2009, 16:41:12 - Reply

    Stringer, those are not the immigration laws of the UK. This is a ban on an individual, simply because of his views. Holland does not put a blanket ban on all Muslims because of their views, it asks them to follow the correct procedure when applying to live and work in The Netherlands.

    In fact Wilders was invited to the UK by a member of the House of Lords. The film was to be shown and a debate was to follow. THAT is democracy, not cowering in fear and banning an elected politician (no matter what you think of his views) because you fear the reaction of a violent mob. You notice that the Dutch Ambassador, whilst not too sympathetic to WIlders' platform, was there at the airport in protest and to offer help and support.

    Personally I think this is a sad day for the UK and freedom of speech in general.

    They'll be banning Christmas street decorations next, in case they offend anyone. Oh, I forgot, in some places they already have...
  • stringer posted:

    on 12th February 2009, 14:18:42 - Reply

    I find it kind of funny that Geert Wilders is lauded for breaking the immigration rules of another country when this forms such a major part of his own platform. Should every, god-forbid, muslim who believes that Dutch immigration rules unfairly prevent him from entering the Netherlands take the same approach?

    I don't agree with the UK turning this idiot into a martyr, they should have let him in to show the shallowness of his arguments...that's democracy, after all...
  • Paul G posted:

    on 12th February 2009, 13:53:12 - Reply

    I agree with the three comments above. Unfortunately, this is what our unelected so-called government have done to us in the UK. I think WIlders is very brave and speaks a hell of a lot of sense. How people come to the conclusion he's far-right is beyond me too.

    I too have made the point about Abu Hamza on other articles. Quite astonishing isn't it? Wake up Brown and co.! I'm glad the Dutch government is putting pressure on the British government to overturn the decision.
  • AndreaUKA posted:

    on 12th February 2009, 12:47:18 - Reply

    You've go to admire the balls on that guy.
    Agree with the guys above.
    They're in a bit of a pickle now, aren't they? Do they back down and offend the Muslims (bearing in mind that those with any sense wouldn't give a fig whether he entered or not), or stand firm and offend the Dutch? Interesting to see what happens. My guess is that they'll back down, saying something like 'We don't approve, but for diplomatic reasons/due to diplomatic pressure...blah blah...'

    Incidentally, his remark likening Islam to Nazism doesn't sound very 'far right' to me. If he WAS far right, surely he'd be applauding (extreme) Islam (if it was as close to Nazism as he suggested), rather than condemning it.

    Yes, I made the point about Abu Hamza on another Wilders article yesterday. Quite bizarre.
  • mattblack posted:

    on 12th February 2009, 10:56:30 - Reply

    I echo Dan's comments. He's not an extremist, he's a realist. He doesn't preach hatred like Abu Hamza al-Masri who was allowed into the UK!
  • Dan posted:

    on 12th February 2009, 10:50:36 - Reply

    May Wilders continue to set an example to the world in his fight for free sppech and against Islamization.