Anti-Muslim US bloggers barred from Britain
Two US political bloggers who founded an anti-Muslim group have been banned from entering Britain following reports they were to attend a march by the far-right English Defence League (EDL), the government said on Wednesday.
Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer, who set up Stop Islamization of America and operate the website Jihad Watch, have been forbidden from entering Britain on the grounds their presence would "not be conducive to the public good".
In response to the decision, Spencer said on the Jihad Watch website: "The nation that gave the world the Magna Carta is dead."
The EDL is planning a march on Saturday, ending in the Woolwich district of London, where a British soldier was brutally murdered last month. Geller and Spencer had been expected to attend.
Two Muslim converts have been arrested and are the chief suspects in the murder.
A Home Office spokeswoman said: "We can confirm that Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer are subject to an exclusion decision.
"The Home Secretary will seek to exclude an individual if she considers that his or her presence in the UK is not conducive to the public good.
"We condemn all those whose behaviours and views run counter to our shared values and will not stand for extremism in any form."
Anti-racism groups had campaigned for the Americans' exclusion.
Matthew Collins, researcher with the Hope Not Hate group, said the organisation was "absolutely delighted" with the move.
He described Geller and Spencher as "among some of the most extreme anti-Muslim activists in the world".
"They've nothing to contribute to life in this country. They're not here to contribute to good community relations. They only wanted to come here and help the EDL stir up more trouble."
But the leader of the EDL, Tommy Robinson, said the decision was "embarrassing" and insisted that Geller and Spencer were coming to Britain to lay flowers where the soldier died.
He said: "It's embarrassing for this so-called land of democracy and freedom of speech.
"I'm just gobsmacked. How many hate preachers are living in this country? It just shows what sort of a two-tier system we have here."
Spencer said on the website: "In not allowing us into the country solely because of our true and accurate statements about Islam, the British Government is behaving like a de facto Islamic state.
"The nation that gave the world the Magna Carta is dead."
© 2013 AFP