Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Geert Wilders wins appeal against ban on entering UK

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The right-wing, anti-Islam Dutch MP Geert Wilders has today had his ban on entering the UK overturned by the asylum and immigration tribunal. The ban was imposed back in February by the then-Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, in order to prevent Wilders attending a screening at the House of Lords of his film Fitna, which juxtaposes text from the Koran with newsreel footage of violence perpetrated by jihadists.

A Home Office spokesperson described the decision as disappointing, saying:
"The government opposes extremism is all its forms. The decision to refuse Wilders admission was taken on the basis that his presence could have inflamed tensions between our communities and have led to inter-faith violence. We still maintain this view."
So does this mean we can now look forward to a visit from Wilders? I wrote at the time that I found the whole banning affair regrettable, as it gave Wilders the status of a free speech martyr, which is something he quite frankly doesn't deserve (this is, after all, a man who would like to have the Koran banned in Holland). Even people who find his politics and his film Fitna repulsive (I happily include myself among those people) were forced to support him in relation to the government ban on the basis of free speech, which gave him a handy surge in publicity and allowed him to present himself as the great defender of Western values he likes to believe he is. In short, the government played into his hands.

Personally, I'd like to think we've heard the last of Wilders in Britain. It's right that he's no longer banned from the country, but wouldn't it be nice if he decided it wasn't really worth coming here
after all (or at least decided that if he does come, it'll just be for a quiet week in the Lakes or something).

Sadly, I don't think that's the man's style.

Update: And there we have it - he's on his way this Friday. Something for us all to look forward to, then...


Irregular Shed said...

In this publicity photo he looks like a shit magician in a terrible holiday camp, and with that in my mind, I'm happy - it detracts any credibility from what he says (like the Sinn Fein spokesman in The Day Today who had to inhale helium). So, if I find any of the lunatic fringe of my family nodding in agreement, should his opinions ever get aired in this country, I'll sidle up beside them and say,"yeah, but he's actually just a holiday camp magic act."

ZZMike said...

"In this publicity photo he looks like a shit magician..."

How typical. When you have no case, attack the appearance.

Anonymous said...

If he had just been allowed to come to the UK in the first place, do his speech thing, and leave, no one would have cared. Maybe the daily mail would've drummed up a minor thing over it (supporting him while trying to look like they don't), but it would've been overshadowed by something else in a week at most.

But now if he does come back it'll be bigger, because now you've got "wrongfully banned", "government flip-flop" attitudes towards it that certain papers (i.e. the daily mail) would run with. And then the controversy, stirred up entirely by the paper's own reaction, would lead to further stories. Maybe a single muslim somewhere would complain and there'd be an article about "muslim outrage" or some such thing, like that issue with the police dog pictures a while back (which didn't happen).

You can't ban something, or someone, in the 21st century. The internet exists. Websites like youtube and wikileaks exist. Banning something just draws more attention to it nowadays.

Then again maybe no one will care. It's not like most people outside of holland and the international atheism-blog-circle even know who he is.

Barry said...

To understand Wilders you must understand the environment he comes from. The Dutch government was paralysed by its own extreme political correctness and failed to acknowledge, let alone act upon, the growing problem of immigrant youth criminality. (And before I'm being labeled as a racist, when a minority of 12% is responsible for 45% of crime, there is a problem.)

Add to this the volatile mix of 9/11, the murder of Theo van Gogh by a muslim extremist, muslim outrage at anything that can even remotely be interpreted at criticism (Danish cartoons to name but one example), and a total failure of muslims worldwide to distance themselves from acts of terrorism and oppression, and you start to get the overall picture.

Geert Wilders makes use of the growing fear of islam in western society, and as long as muslism and governments keep playing in to his hands, he'll keep growing in popularity. Personally I don't see that as a huge problem - his popularity forces the Dutch government to deal with the problems they've been happily ignoring for decades, and forces Dutch muslims to engage in puiblic debates about today's issues - and I believe that he will eventually run out of steam.

That whole banning of the Koran thing, by the way, was an attempt to prove a point. Why ban Hitler's Mein Kampf while other books with far more malicious content (the Koran to name but one) are allowed to be published? Obviously that point was lost on many media outlets who instead spun the story for their own political agendas.

Irregular Shed said...

"How typical. When you have no case, attack the appearance."

The case against him is large enough for me to assume it is taken as read; he's a hateful little turd of a man who placates his ego by stirring up hatred. By Jacqui Smith banning him from the country she played right into his hands - if he'd have been let into the UK I'd never even have heard of him. As it is, I now know the name of the Netherlands' own Nick Griffin.

The problem is, I believe deeply in freedom of speech, and that (painfully) includes attention-grabbing rantings from a xenophobic illusionist.

Joe Hayhurst said...

Here he comes:


edwin sanchez said...

It is not Israel has done nothing to bring peace. They have had peace with Egypt and Jordan for years now.

Neuroskeptic said...

How typical. When you have no case, attack the appearance.

Typical of who exactly? Irregular Shed, or "people I don't like"? Anyway, you have to admit, his hair is ridiculous.