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Freedom at risk in Brown's Britain

 Dutch MP vows to defy Home Office ban

If you are a Muslim then apparently there is no restriction

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---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Christina Speight <cspeight@dircon.co.uk>
Date: 2009/2/11
Subject: Freedom at risk in Brown's Britain.
To: prime, spec
Cc: circ2, libertaerian alliance <libertarian-alliance-forum@yahoogroups.com>


The Milliband-led Foreign Office is behaving like the rest of this autocratic and undemocratic machine.  We now have to fight to be free.  We cannot take freedom for granted any more in Brown's Britain. 

Christina 
===================
DAILY MAIL   11.2.09
'Let them arrest me': Dutch MP vows to defy Home Office ban and fly to Britain to show anti-Islam film

By MICHAEL LEA

Banned from the UK: Geert Wilders was due to show his film Fitna, linking Islamic texts with the 9/11 atrocity, at the House of Lords

A right-wing Dutch politician who has been banned from Britain said today he planned to defy the authorities and fly to the UK, stating 'Let them put me in handcuffs'.

Geert Wilders had been invited by the UK Independence Party (UKIP) peer Lord Pearson to show his anti-Islam film 'Fitna' and hold a Q&A session in Parliament tomorrow.

The 17-minute documentary features verses from the Koran - which it brands a 'fascist book' - alongside images of the 9/11 and 7/7 terrorist attacks. 

It equates Islam's holy text with violence and ends with a call to Muslims to remove its 'hate-preaching' verses.

After being alerted to the private screening, Home Secretary Jacqui Smith barred Mr Wilders on the grounds that his visit was a threat to 'community harmony and therefore public security'.

But Mr Wilders today said he planned to contravene the ban and defiantly announced his intention to arrive in the UK tomorrow.

He told Radio Netherlands today: 'I'll see what happens at the border. Let them put me in handcuffs.'

The ban brought a furious response from the Dutch foreign minister Maxime Verhagen  - a political opponent of Mr Wilders - who complained directly to the Foreign Secretary David Miliband in a 'curt' telephone call.

'The fact that a Dutch parliamentarian is refused entry to another EU country is highly regrettable,' he said.

However, Britain is refusing to give way, even though Mr Wilders is a democratically-elected politician and the leader of a legitimate political party.
A defiant Mr Wilders, who claims to have visited the House of Lords in December, called the decision 'cowardly' and vowed last night to go ahead with his visit.

'Let them try to detain me,' he said. 'I'll see what happens at the border. Let them put me in handcuffs. We are talking here about a European Union country, one of the oldest democracies in the Western world.'

 While Mr Verhagen said the Dutch government would press Britain to reverse the ban, Lord Pearson said he was 'very surprised' to hear the news.

Under UK and EU immigration rules, a person can be refused entry to Britain, 'if his exclusion is justified on grounds of public policy, public security or public health.'

The Home Office refused to comment on the individual case of Mr Wilders.
But a spokesman said: 'The Government opposes extremism in all its forms. It will stop those who want to spread extremism, hatred and violent messages in our communities from coming to our country.. {They don'y apply it to Muslims though -cs] 

'We endorse the original condemnation of the film 'Fitna' by the Dutch Government, and feel that it serves no constructive purpose.
'The British Government has absolutely no connection with any screening of this film that may take place in the House of Lords or anywhere else in the UK. It is a matter for the House of Lords or any other venue as to whether they choose to show it.
'Freedom of speech is a fundamental right, but one that must be used responsibly and not as a cover for causing offence and division. We fully appreciate the sensitivities around the portrayal of any religious figure or text.'  [Unless they are Christian beliefs which are routinely rubbished -cs] 

The film, which has been posted on the internet, was originally to have been shown last month but the screening was cancelled following fierce protests from the UK's Muslim community.


Supporters of free sppech also condemned the move by Britain. Tory MEP Daniel Hannan said: 'It's true that Geert Wilders is a controversialist, who takes pleasure in causing offence. I wouldn't vote for him if I were Dutch.
'But what I think of him is neither here nor there. Freedom means the freedom to express any opinion, however eccentric, however offensive. The Dutch foreign minister, a political opponent of Mr Wilders, has complained to David Miliband. Good for him.
'Whether our government is actuated by cowardice or authoritarianism, it's equally ugly. We are a meaner country than we were this morning.'

A Foreign Office spokesman refused to comment on the diplomatic row, saying simply: 'The two ministers spoke today.'

Mr Wilders has urged that the Dutch government to ban the Koran in the same way it did Adolf Hitler's book 'Mein Kampf' and warned of a 'tsunami' of Islam swamping the Netherlands.

He is currently facing prosecution in Amsterdam for incitement to hatred and discrimination, a rarely punished crime in the generally liberal Netherlands which carries a maximum one-year prison term.   As a result of hs controversial views, he has lived for five years with round-the-clock security because of his fierce criticism of Islam.

His Freedom Party holds nine of the Dutch parliament's 120 seats.
===================
FINANCIAL TIMES      11.2.09
Dutch party chief barred from UK
By Michael Steen in Amsterdam

Britain has taken the unusual step of banning a Dutch member of parliament from entering the country due to his stridently anti-Islamic views, prompting the Dutch government to protest. Geert Wilders, who heads the anti-immigration Party for Freedom, had been due to travel to London on Thursday for a screening of his film, Fitna, organised by Lord Pearson of Rannoch, a eurosceptic peer. The film criticises Islam, one of Mr Wilders' main targets.

The Dutch foreign ministry said it "deeply regretted the decision by the British government to deny Party for Freedom leader Wilders entry to the country". Mr Wilders told Dutch television he had received a letter from the British Embassy in The Hague informing him of a decision by Jacqui Smith, Home Secretary, to bar him for public security reasons.

Last month a Dutch court ordered prosecutors to try Mr Wilders for hatred and discrimination after he used a newspaper article in 2007 to call for the "fascist" Koran to be banned as Mein Kampf is in the Netherlands.

Prosecutors, with the backing of the justice ministry, had originally decided not to pursue him because they said his criticism of Islam was within "the context of public debate", prompting the court case by anti-racism and other groups.

Maxime Verhagen, the Christian Democrat foreign minister, said every country within the EU had a right to bar EU citizens on public order grounds but Hirsch Ballin, justice minister, would discuss the decision with Ms Smith.
===================
EU REFERENDUM Blog        11.2.09
Statement from Baroness Cox and Lord Pearson of Rannoch

We have received the following joint statement from Baroness Cox and Lord Pearson of Rannoch, the joint sponsors of Geert Wilders's invitation:

Joint press statement from Lord Pearson of Rannoch and The Baroness Cox

The Koran and Freedom of Speech – Her Majesty's Government bans Geert Wilders from the United Kingdom

Would this have happened if Mr Wilders had said "Ban the Bible"?

Our western society, and indeed the majority of peaceful Muslims, are being intimidated far too much by violent Islamists. On this occasion, the British government is guilty of appeasement.

We do not agree with Geert Wilders that the Koran should be banned – even in Holland where 'Mein Kampf' is banned. We don't want it banned but discussed – particularly by the majority Muslim community; and specifically as to whether it may promote or justify - or has promoted or justified - violence. We are therefore promoting freedom of speech.

Geert Wilder's 'Fitna' film (available on the web) is not a threat to anyone. It merely suggests how the Koran has been used by militant Islamists to promote and justify their violence.

They react in fury and menace to our intention to show the film and have boasted that their threats of aggressive demonstrations prevented its previous showing in the Mother of Parliaments. This was not the case – the event was postponed to clarify issues of freedom of speech. The threat of intimidation in fact increases the justification for the film to be shown and discussed in Parliament and by the British and international press.

Indeed, any alleged threats associated with Lord Ahmed of attempts to prevent the showing of the film would themselves be a confirmation of the film's message and the need for it to be shown.

The subsequent action by the Home Office to try to deter Mr Wilders from coming to the UK has, we believe, been rightly condemned by the Dutch foreign minister, and is a further example of the appeasement policies of the British government in giving in to the threats of militant Islam.

We intend to show and discuss the film with members of the British Parliament and the press as previously indicated, with or without Mr Wilders.

The press conference remains booked: "The Koran and Freedom of Speech" A screening of Fitna (2008 – 17 mins) plus a Q&A with Geert Wilders MP (Holland).
--------------------------------
Posted by Helen Szamuely 



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