Wilders Wins – by Jacob Laksin

wilders

It took eight months, nearly $16,000 in legal fees, and the perseverance of a Muslim lawyer, but the British government has been overruled in its notorious decision this February to ban Dutch politician Geert Wilders from entering the country.

In a decision with important implications for free speech, London’s Asylum and Immigration Tribunal yesterday ruled that the British Home Office, under the authority of former home secretary Jacqui Smith, was wrong to turn Wilders away when he arrived in Heathrow airport this February to screen his anti-Islam documentary, “Fitna,” for the British parliament.

Depicting Wilders as a threat to the public, the Home Office had used a 2006 law that allowed for the exclusion of those who represent “a genuine, present and sufficiently serious threat affecting one of the fundamental interests of society.” At the time, Wilders protested that his expulsion was an outrageous violation of free speech and vowed to fight the ban. With the support of his legal team – including a British Muslim lawyer, Arfan Khan – and the backing of the immigration tribunal, Wilders seems to have won the fight.

m1bzw10ax3fxBanned in the UK: Wilders after being turned away at Heathrow Airport.

The ban was always a scandal – and a hypocritical scandal at that. While the Home Office claimed that Wilders’s presence had the potential to “threaten community harmony and therefore public safety,” the unspoken but deeply relevant reality was that the threat came not from Wilders but from Islamic extremists who already resided in the UK.

For instance, the Muslim Council of Britain, the UK’s largest Muslim organization, applauded the Home Office’s ban, calling Wilders “an open and relentless preacher of hate.” But the charge was more appropriate when applied to the MCB: The group has repeatedly boycotted Holocaust Remembrance Day, while supporting the entry into Britain of Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, the anti-Semitic Egyptian cleric whose support for suicide bombings has kept him from setting foot in the United States since 1999.

The Home Office ban was also greeted with approval by another Muslim leader, Labor Party peer Lord Ahmed. Ahmed warned that allowing Wilders into the country “would certainly cause problems within communities around Britain.” Yet his concern for public order did not deter him from threatening to march 10,000 angry Muslims to physically prevent Wilders from entering the House of Lords.

Even as the British government indulged Muslim spokesmen who met the prospect of civil debate with unhidden hostility, it closed the country’s door to the elected leader of European democracy who was campaigning against religious extremism. Compounding the blatant act of capitulation was the Home Office’s shameful rationale for the ban – a rationale to which it clung even in the wake of yesterday’s reversal. A government spokesman insisted that Wilders was banned because the British government “opposes extremism in all its forms,” as though there were any credible comparison between Wilders and the Islamic terrorists who pose a genuine security threat. Even more shamefully, the Home Office suggested that Wilders had to be banned so as to avoid “inter-faith violence.” But of course there was never any danger of Wilders engaging in violence. It took the radical voices in the British Muslim community to make that threat credible.

6a00e008c6b4e5883401156fcb02cd970cDisturbing the Peace: Wilders’s Muslim “critics”

If the British government supposed that its ban would marginalize Wilders and diminish the influence of his Islamo-skeptic message, it got things exactly backwards. Not only did even political adversaries in his native Netherlands defend Wilders against the undiplomatic snub of a fellow countryman and elected official, but the simple fact that British authorities felt forced to ban a critic of radical Islam rather than risk a confrontation with its adherents served as powerful proof of Wilders’s longtime charge that Europe no longer had the will to defend its laws and culture against Islamic extremists.

Within weeks of Wilders’s ban, his Freedom Party (PVV) had surged to become the second most popular polling party in the Netherlands. The PVV translated popularity into political success this June, when it outperformed expectations to become the second largest Dutch party in the European Parliament. Polls have since shown that the PVV could become the largest or second largest party in the Netherlands. Wilders himself remains at risk. Death threats from Islamic militants have become a routine part of his life since he became an outspoken critic of Islam. But his party’s fortunes have never been better.

Now Wilders has won another victory. He has already promised to visit Britain the coming weeks. That means he will have another opportunity to screen a film whose disgraceful censorship by the British government should never have occurred in the first place.

A Note To Readers:

On Thursday, October 22, Geert Wilders will be appearing at the Union League Club in Philadelphia, PA, in an event hosted by the David Horowitz Freedom Center–Philadelphia . To register for the event, “Defending Free Speech and Geert Wilders,” please click here. For more information, please contact Mike Finch at the David Horowitz Freedom Center at mfinch@horowitzfreedomcenter.org.

  • Proxywar

    I just don't understand why Wilders doesn't come to America spend a few years here then run for office.

  • xyz

    This is great news! I've been waiting to hear how this part of his travails turned out. Let's hope the one in his own country turns out as well. Geert Wilders is a hero although it may take years before the world recognizes his greatness. There are not many people willing to risk what he has to get the word out. Can any other man say he loves his country more? I hope the Netherlands puts his party on the top with the biggest majority it has ever seen. Geert Wilder's values are what used to be American values. Do we have any politician in this country willing to risk it all to save his country or all they all just stuffing their pockets with Saudi money and doing favors to insidious forces within our borders?

  • thinker1

    UK Gov – and now is the time to remove the ban on Michael Savage and to stop kissing the arsches of muslems.

  • abrahamstubenhaus

    Mr. Wilders' victory is so fantastic!
    It strengthens my hope again, that just maybe, justice will prevail in other cases too.
    How dare the British hypocrites allow the Imam of hate to enter, while denying Mr. Wilders entry?!!!
    It is just too bad that England will now not reimburse Mr. Wilders for the sixteen thousand he had to pay for fees.
    Thank you Front Page for following up on this vital news.

  • Fred Harris

    Now let the British stop their witch hunt of Michael Savage.
    The Muslems will take over their sad country soon enough as it is. No need to jump
    the gun.

  • josephwiess

    Congratulations to Wilders, maybe now England will realize that it's not the voice of reason, but the voices of anarchy (namely the muslim extremists) that will destroy their country.,

    When any person threatens to march 10k angry men up to a place and physically prevent a person from entering, that is extremism. If England and Europe aren't careful, they'll be overrun by billions of extremists that will tear their world apart, and civilization will be destroyed.

    It's already happened in France, where law enforcement can not go into muslim area's, and where Sharia law is practiced. There is still time to reverse this, it just takes guts and bravery.

  • pieraprister

    Is Europe reversing its slipping into islamist retrogression? Prime Minister Gordon Brown just released from prison Megrahi, the terrorist responsible of Lockerbie massacre and barred Geert Wilders from entering The UK when he arrived at Heathrow airport, in London. What a shame! But now Wilders won his legal battle and Justice has finally arrived!

  • aliasMrJones

    Fantastic news for us Brits who love truth and freedom. The Home Office are the ones who have caused unbelievable division in the UK with their insane pro Muslim policies and lax immigration policies. Smith has been named and shamed in more ways than one recently but this is the best.

    Welcome to Britain Geert – and SOON !

  • jmcaul

    The silence in this article regarding an identical, equally outrageous (and still standing) ban on U.S. talk show host and author Michael Savage is deafening.

  • lancebrownsteine

    Banning Wilders is like a chain-smoker with lung cancer choosing not to add sugar to their coffee because it adds calories. The British have lost something serious upstairs. If I was Wilders, I would not go to Britain as their government has insulted him and demeaned themselves. They do not deserve him: his standards of morality are higher and he is not a hypocrite. If they want him they should send a governmental letter of apology along with reimbursement for his costs and lost time. If there aren't enough British who want him and can vocally demand their government act decently, they clearly don't deserve him. They give crowns to their rock stars; one would expect them to send a private jet and pick him up, and then treat him like royalty. He has no duty to fight this coming “Battle of Britain” alone.

  • deroulede

    Bravo Geert Wilders !
    On t'aime !

  • deroulede

    Beaucoup de gens vous soutiennent en France : voir le site fdesouche.com

  • brimp

    The article states that he was stopped at the border because of 'his anti-Islam documentary, “Fitna,” '. I saw Fitna. It wasn't anti-Islamic. It was accurate-Islamic. If we let the less civilized people define our terms then we are at a disadvantage.

  • Name

    congrats all

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Eric-Roth/1065726286 Eric Roth

    A great victory for press freedom and commonsense!

  • GJTryon

    Go Geert, go! A true leader, passionate, principled and brave.

  • paddydonovan

    Reason and free speech prevails over hate and cowardice!
    The once proud British government should be ashamed at it's cowardly capitulation to hate groups. They laud the government while laughing behind the scenes at the way the British are so easily manipulated. What happened to this Country?