Geert Wilders refused entry to UK

Geert Wilders (in front) walks past justice minister Hirsch Ballin prime minister Balkenende and home affairs minister Ter Horst during the parlementary debate about his film Fitna.
By our news staff in partnership with Radio Netherlands Worldwide

Dutch populist politician and controversial anti-Islam campaigner Geert Wilders has been refused entry to the United Kingdom despite being invited to visit by a member of the House of Lords, the British parliament's upper chamber.

Wilders, who was due to go to London this Thursday, received a letter on Tuesday from the British ambassador to the Netherlands telling him that he was not welcome, reportedly because his visit would constitute a threat to public order. Dutch minister of foreign affairs Maxime Verhagen released a statement about the situation and said he phoned his British counterpart David Miliband to voice his dissatisfaction that a member of the Dutch parliament has been prohibited from entering a fellow European Union member state

Wilders showed the letter from the embassy in Dutch parliament on Tuesday and said that he still intended to travel to London: "I'll see what happens at the border. Let them put me in handcuffs."

Geert Wilders, perhaps best known outside the Netherlands for having made the video Fitna, in which the religion Islam and its holy book the Koran are attacked as providing a basis for terrorist attacks and for the undermining of western democracy and values, had been invited to London for a showing of this film to members of the British parliament. Wilders f.

Wilders, who faces prosecution by an Amsterdam court for inciting hatred and discrimination, said on his party's website Britain had sacrificed freedom of speech. "This is something you expect in Saudi Arabia but not in Britain. I think this cowardly position of Britain is very bad," he wrote.

Verhagen commented regarding the showing of Fitna in the British parliament that this was a matter for the House of Lords to decide on, but added: "the fact that a Dutch parliamentarian is refused entry to another EU country is highly regrettable."

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