Wilders at Westminister
Dutch Anti-Islam Politician Sparks Protests in London
Geert Wilders, the Dutch populist politician known for his anti-Islam remarks, said his success in overturning a ban on entry to the United Kingdom was a victory for freedom of speech. Muslim protesters demonstrated against his arrival, waving banners reading "Wilders go to hell."
Geert Wilders, the leader of the Dutch Freedom Party and the man behind a film linking the Koran to violence, arrived in London on Friday after a ban prohibiting him from traveling to Britain was overturned earlier this week.
Police created a barrier between Wilders' car and a group calling itself "Islam in the UK" as a handful of protesters waved banners reading "Shariah for the Netherlands" and shouted "Wilders go to Hell" and "Muslims rise up," Reuters reported.
The travel ban was imposed on Wilders in February because some in the British government were concerned that his presence could trigger violence. Wilders traveled to London to discuss a possible showing of his film "Fitna" in parliament. The politician sought to visit the UK for a screening of his 15-minute film, "Fitna," a film which seeks to prove that the Koran incites Muslims to violence. In the past, he has compared the Koran to Adolf Hitler's book "Mein Kampf."
After arriving in London on Friday morning, Wilders lauded the reversal of the ban at a press conference. "Being here today in the United Kingdom is a victory, it's not so much a victory for myself, because I am not that important, but it is a victory for freedom of speech," he told reporters.
Wilders' press conference was originally planned to be held outside the Palace of Westminster but he was forced to relocate it to a parliamentary office on the insistance of police.
He is in London at the invitation of UK Independence Party peer Lord Malcolm Pearson. Wilders faces prosecution in Amsterdam for inciting hatred and discrimination. He has enraged Muslims by drawing parallels between the Koran and "Mein Kampf" by Adolf Hitler. In an
interview with SPIEGEL in early 2008, he claimed that there is no such thing as moderate Islam.
"I have nothing against Muslims, I know the majority of Muslims in our society are law-abiding people," he insisted at the press conference.
On Tuesday, Britain's Asylum and Immigration Tribunal overturned the decision to prevent Wilders coming to the UK after the Dutch populist challenged the ruling. British authorities said they would closely monitor Wilders' activities during his stay.