Far-right Dutch MP ignores Britain on entry refusal
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.