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Dutch MP Wilders enters Britain on free-speech ruling

Dutch MP Geert Wilders, who made a controversial film about Islam, won his appeal against a British ban imposed to stop him from spreading hatred and violent messages.

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An outspoken Dutch member of parliament on a "least wanted" British list of figures made a triumphant visit today after a British tribunal overturned a government decision to ban him from the country.

Geert Wilders, noted for anti-islamic rhetoric – comparing the Koran to Mein Kampf, for example – milked his propaganda coup today during appearances at Parliament, where he was a guest of the Euroskeptic United Kingdom Independence Party.

But legal experts widely regard the independent tribunal's ruling earlier in the week as a "slap on the wrist" for a clumsy attempt by the British government to gain populist points by barring figures such as Mr. Wilders, American talk-show host Michael Savage, and a hodge-podge of world extremists, including Muslim preachers, Russian neo-Nazis, and Fred Waldron Phelps, a homophobic American preacher. 

The move was met largely with indifference by the British public.

Wilders, who has cut a distinctive public figure at home as his Far Right party has made steady political gains, was turned back from the UK in February when he attempted to attend a screening in the House of Lords of his documentary, Fitna, which links atrocities such as 9/11 to Koranic instruction.

Britain's Home Office said he had been barred to stop him spreading "hatred and violent messages."

Fear of trouble not sufficient for ban


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