Banned from Britain, Dutch campaigner against Islam

A far-right Dutch MP whose film linking Islamic texts with the terror attacks on New York sparked protests around the Muslim world was last night banned from entering Britain.

Geert Wilders, who leads the small Dutch Freedom Party, was due to show his controversial 17-minute film at an event in the House of Lords tomorrow, but was informed yesterday by British officials that he would not be allowed to enter the country. The decision sparked an immediate diplomatic row after the Dutch Government pressed Britain to reverse the ban.

The film Fitna, which criticises the Koran as a "fascist book", sparked violent protests around the Muslim world last year. The film, which has been posted on the internet, juxtaposes images of the Koran with footage of the 9/11 twin tower attacks and other terrorist atrocities. Mr Wilders had been invited to show the film at an event in Westminster hosted by Lord Pearson of Rannoch, the former Conservative, who is now a UK Independence Party member of the House of Lords.

The film starts with an image of the hugely controversial cartoon of the Prophet Mohamed with a bomb as a turban that sparked global protests after it was printed in a Danish newspaper. The film then shows images of the 9/11 aircraft flying into the World Trade Centre, with quotes from calls to the emergency services from people inside the buildings.

It also contains images of bloodstained corpses following the 2004 Madrid rail bombings before showing gruesome images of beheadings and attacks. The film then shows statistics indicating a growing Muslim population in the Netherlands .

Last night, the Home Office refused to comment on Mr Wilders' case. But a spokesman said: "The Government opposes extremism in all forms. It will stop those who want to spread extremism, hatred and violent messages in our communities from coming to our country. That was the driving force behind tighter rules on exclusions for unacceptable behaviour that the Home Secretary announced in October last year."

Mr Wilders, who lives with round-the-clock security after receiving death threats, said a letter from the British embassy informed him he was being refused entry because his views "threaten community harmony and therefore public security" in the UK.

He condemned the British Government's decision as "cowardly".

"This is something you'd expect from Saudia Arabia, not Great Britain," Mr Wilders told a parliamentary session. But he signalled that he might make the journey to London on Thursday despite the ban.

"I am seriously considering just trying it out and just getting on the plane," he said. "Then I'll see what happens. Let them handcuff me," he was quoted as telling Dutch newspaper NRC.

The Dutch Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen said his government would continue to press Britain to reverse the ban. He said he "deeply regretted" that a Dutch lawmaker had been barred entry to the UK.

Mr Verhagen said he had first contacted the British ambassador in The Hague. Having failed, Mr Verhagen then telephoned his British counterpart David Miliband. "It is highly regrettable that a Dutch parliamentarian is refused entry to another EU country," he said in a statement.

Mr Wilders, whose Freedom Party holds nine of the 120 seats in the Dutch Parliament, said he was shocked by the travel ban. He said: "We are talking here about a European Union country, one of the oldest democracies in the Western world."

Lord Pearson, who invited Wilders to show Fitna at the House of Lords, said he was "very surprised" at the news and was looking into what had happened to the Dutch MP.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Environmental Adviser - Maternity Cover

£37040 - £43600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's export credit agency a...

Recruitment Genius: CBM & Lubrication Technician

£25000 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides a compreh...

Recruitment Genius: Care Worker - Residential Emergency Service

£16800 - £19500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to join an organ...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Landscaper

£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: In the last five years this com...

Day In a Page

The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

They fled war in Syria...

...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

Kelis interview

The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea