Sunday, 15 February 2009


Dutch MP Geert Wilders was refused entry to the United Kingdom on Thursday afternoon. Wilders had been invited by Lord Pearson of Rannoch, a UKIP peer in the House of Lords, and crossbench peer Baroness Cox. Wilders's controversial film, Fitna, was due to be shown at the public meeting in the presence of a few people concerned by the threat of Islamic terrorism, plus invited media.

Three things need to be said, here. First, an invitation to a speaker does not mean that one agrees with everything that the speaker says. Lord Pearson said that he thought that the issue that Wilders wanted to raise, and on which he is campaigning in the Netherlands (where his party has nine seats in the 150 seat parliament), was one of the most important issues of our time. However, Lord Pearson and Baroness Cox said that they did not agree with Wilders that the Koran should be banned :

“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”

Second, anyone who has seen the film must surely agree that it does not incite religious hatred. Offensive it may be to many, but that is not a ground to call for its author to be banned from putting his point of view. If everything that is potentially offensive is banned there will not be much that we could talk about. That is the danger of proposals to outlaw offensive material. In reality, would not such laws be useful for one side to censor the other side of a debate?

Third, at least three prominent commentators on the left of politics, including David Miliband no less, have condemned the film while openly admitting that they haven’t actually seen it. Keith Vaz, on Newsnight, admitted he had not seen it. Ken Livingstone admitted he had not seen it. David Miliband, speaking to the BBC, said he had not seen it, though this didn’t prevent him from condemning the film in the strongest terms :

“The Home Secretary made a decision an individual case as she is required to do. He was invited to screen his program … which includes – his film – which includes extreme anti-Muslim hate. And we have very clear laws in this country. We have profound commitment to freedom of speech borne over hundreds of years. But there is no freedom to cry fire in a crowded theater. There is no freedom to stir up hate, religious and racial hatred according to the laws of the land. And what the Home Secretary did is follow the laws of the land [...] He applied to come and screen his film. And the Home Secretary made a decision on that case given the hate filled nature of that film.

Q. Freedom of speech issue though isn't it? The man who invited him calls it appeasement. He means appeasement of radical Muslim parties and factions in this country, who would undoubtedly would have made a big noise about it, but we are now appeasing them by stopping the man from even entering the country.

A. No, that is an appalling misrepresentation of the truth. A hate filled film which is designed to stir up religious and racial hatred…

Q. Have you seen the film?

A. No I haven't seen the film.

Q. Well how do you know what precisely what the film is like?

A. You and I know precisely what's in film, because it's no secret what's in the film. But a hate-filled film, designed to stir up religious and racial hatred in this country is contrary to our laws

How exactly can David Miliband “know precisely” what is in the film if he hasn’t seen it? Shouldn’t the Foreign Secretary take a more scientific approach to this – look at the evidence and base his decision on the evidence?

UKIP does not campaign on an anti-Islam ticket and, so far as I know, the initiative was that of Lord Pearson and Baroness Cox. But, once it becomes an issue of free speech, and so long as there is no incitement to violence, the right of Geert Wilders to put his views should be upheld.

Although disagreeing with the controversial Dutch MP Geert Wilders view to ban The Koran, UKIP have always fought for freedom of speech, and were disgusted by the UK governments decision to stop him entering Britain


ukipwebmaster said...

Mellie said...

Funny how when racists and right-wingers want to spread filth suddenly it's a question of that wonderful principle, "freedom of speech".

The right to freedom of speech should not be extended to people who want to spread race hate.

Bloggers4UKIP said...

Mellie have you watched the Film ? lol

wonkotsane said...

Mellie, Islam is a religion, not a race. Thankfully it is still legal to criticise a religion, it's a shame it's still legal for a peer to threaten to bring a riot to the Houses of Parliament for doing something legal though.

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