Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Wilders Wins Appeal In Britain

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An immigration panel in Britain has overturned a decision by the country's Home Office that denied Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders entry into the country early this year.

The Dutchman's troubles with Britain's Home Office began when the UK Independence Party's Lord Pearson invited him to show his film Fitna, which connects quotes from the Muslim Holy book, the Koran, with Islamic terrorism. The invitation prompted a Muslim member of the House of Lords, the Pakistani-born Nazir Ahmed, to raise a ruckus, after which British authorities collapsed. When Wilders emerged from the plane, the country ejected him. The reason, it said, was the Wilders was a threat to public safety because of his views on Islam, which includes a comparison between the Koran and Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf and says Islam is conquering Europe demographically.

Wilders lives in safehouses with 24-hour security because Muslims have threatened to kill him.

But now, he has turned the tables. Wilders' lawyers appealed, and the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal thumped the Home Office for restricting the right to speak freely because the speech might be offensive. According to the Guardian newspaper, the judge in the case ruled that "substantial evidence of actual harm would be needed before it would be proper for a government to prevent the expression and discussion of matters that might form the opinions of legislators, policy makers and voters." As well, the judge said, the immigration authorities did not present evidence that Wilders' other visits caused problems and that "it was more important to allow free speech than to take restrictive action speculatively."

The Home office may appeal the ruling.

Britain isn't the only country giving Wilders trouble. The Netherlands will put him on trial for "inciting hatred" because he opposes the Muslim takeover of the country, and France wants to put him on trial as well. Denmark cancelled an environmental conference because Wilders was an invited speaker.

Wilders said he will return to Britain this month to show his film. His lawyer on the case against the British Home Office is a Muslim.

Photo: AP Images

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