By Douglas Murray of the Centre for Social Cohesion.
The Dutch MP and Party leader, Geert Wilders (pictured), has been told he cannot enter the UK. Wilders was due to speak to fellow Parliamentarians at the House of Lords tomorrow and show his film ‘Fitna’.
I blogged on ‘Fitna’ for Conservative Home when it came out, just after interviewing Wilders for The Spectator. The film, which can be seen here, equates verses in the Koran with actions carried out in their name by Islamist terrorists.
The meeting scheduled for tomorrow had already been cancelled once. Yesterday Wilders was presented with a letter written on behalf of the Home Secretary stating that she ‘is satisfied that your statements about Muslims and their beliefs, as expressed in your film Fitna and elsewhere would threaten community harmony and therefore public security in the UK.’
The thing that would ‘threaten public security’, let alone ‘community harmony’ is that twice in the last month Wilders has been invited to speak in the House of Lords and twice Lord Ahmed of Rotherham (soon to go to prison himself) and other Muslim ‘leaders’ have explained that they will provide a mob to object to the film. Ahmed proclaimed the previous effort to stop Wilders coming to Parliament as ‘a victory for the Muslim community.’
I have just got off Dutch television, and it is plain that a serious diplomatic row is now emerging between our own inept Foreign and Home Secretaries and their more robust Dutch counter-parts. Even those in the Dutch Parliament deeply in opposition to Wilders are outraged that he should be banned from the UK in this way. Having tried so hard to insult and alienate our Indian allies our diplomatic stars Jacqui Smith and David Miliband have now managed to insult a second close ally in less than a month.
The letter presented to Wilders is a disgrace. I hope that he is successful in entering the country tomorrow, as he has said he plans to do.
Meantime, there is something we need to be reminded of here. The government is currently trying to damage-limit by pointing out that they have in recent years managed to keep out foreign clerics who are due to stir up hatred.
Two things need stating.
Firstly: they haven’t. Numerous extremist clerics still come into this country each year and numerous others (not least those filmed by the Dispatches crew) remain happily untroubled by our authorities despite being filmed calling for the murders of Jews, homosexuals, Hindus, Muslim apostates and others. This country hosts many ambassadors – official and unofficial – for terrorist organisations such as Hamas and Hezbollah who call for the annihilation of whole peoples. These people do not find themselves deported, nor barred from entry or re-entry into the country.
Secondly: the government is displaying a false dichotomy. Many people disagree with Wilders. But he is not inciting violence. The people inciting violence are those he cites in his film, and those who in response to his film incite violence against him. Wilders attacks Islam, not Muslims. Islam is only an ideology, like any other, and as such cannot and should not be beyond criticism – even hostile criticism. Wilders calls for violence against no one. In his film he highlights those who do. Violence has been promised against him if he comes to Britain and so Britain has banned him from coming.
Our political leaders clearly do not mind about the terrible signals they are now giving to our allies. But I do wish they would sometimes think - for even a moment - about the signals they are giving to our enemies.