The British peer who invited anti-immigration MP Geert Wilders to London to show his 15-minute film Fitna says he is shocked by the British government’s ‘weak’ decision to ban the Dutch MP.
Malcom Pearson told Nova tv that while he does not agree with Wilders’ call for the Koran to be banned, he would ‘defend his right to say what he has said’.
The aim of the film showing at the British upper house of parliament was to encourage discussion and would go ahead without Wilders, Pearson said.
On Tuesday it emerged that the British government had banned Wilders from entering Britain because his presence could be a threat to public order.
The British government ‘will stop those who want to spread extremism, hatred and violent messages in our communities from coming to our country,’ the home affairs ministry said in a statement.
Wilders, who wants an end to Muslim immigration in the Netherlands, is to face legal action for inciting hatred and discrimination.
Dutch MPs are also angered by the ban. Opposition right-wing Liberal (VVD) MP Hans van Baalen urged foreign minister Maxime Verhagen to increase diplomatic pressure on Britain.
‘A Dutch MP must be able to travel to another EU country. Verhagen must make a formal protest,’ he was quoted as saying.
GroenLinks and D66 MPs urged prime minister Jan Peter Balkenende to raise the issue with the British premier Gordon Brown.
MPs from the coalition Christian Democrat and Labour parties said the situation was ‘undesirable’ and disputed the claim that Wilders would be a threat to public order.
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