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.
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