Geert Wilders visits Britain after ban lifted

17th October 2009, Comments 0 comments

The far-right Dutch lawmaker who made a controversial film about Islam arrived in London on Friday after winning an appeal against a ban on entering Britain, an airport official said.

London - The far-right Dutch lawmaker who made a controversial film about Islam arrived in London on Friday after winning an appeal against a ban on entering Britain, an airport official said.

Geert Wilders was stopped from entering the country when he tried to visit in February, but the ban was overturned at a court hearing this week.

He landed at London Heathrow Airport shortly before 11:00 am (1000 GMT) and was allowed through border control, an airport spokesman told AFP.

The 46-year-old leader of the Party for Freedom (PVV) was due to hold talks with Lord Malcolm Pearson, a member of parliament's upper House of Lords who invited him for the abortive visit in February, and hold a press conference.

Although the British government expressed its disappointment at the ban being overturned, a spokesman for Home Secretary Alan Johnson said Thursday that the minister was "not minded" to refuse entry to Wilders.

"Clearly Mr Wilders' statements and behaviour during a visit will inevitably impact on any future decisions to admit him," the spokesman said.

When Wilders was turned back at Heathrow in February, the Home Office said it was to stop him spreading "hatred and violent messages", but the action was condemned by the Dutch government.

The lawmaker has sparked controversy with his film "Fitna", which likens Islam to Nazism and juxtaposes images of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States with pictures of the Koran.

It has been described as "offensively anti-Islamic" by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

The PVV has nine of 150 seats in the Dutch parliament and came second in the June elections to the European Parliament with 17 percent of the vote. Wilders faces trial at home for inciting hatred against Muslims.

AFP/Expatica

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