Wednesday, February 18, 2009

One Member Of The House Of Lords Stands Up For Geert Wilders & Freedom Of Speech

(This is a long post)

Via Infidel Bloggers Alliance

From Jihad Watch:

From the UK Parliament: "A Private Notice Question - urgent question to the Government - was asked in the Lords Chamber on 12 February on the Government's justification for denying Dutch MP, Mr Geert Wilders, entry into the UK."

Asked By Lord Taverne

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their justification for denying Mr Geert Wilders entry into the United Kingdom.

Lord Taverne: My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question of which I have given private notice.

Lord West of Spithead: My Lords, under European law, a member state of the European economic area may refuse entry to a national of another EEA state if they constitute a threat to public policy, public security or public health.

Lord Taverne: My Lords, I am aware that Mr Wilders holds views highly offensive to the Muslim community, but freedom of speech issues often raise awkward questions. Indeed, this ban has united in opposition the noble Lord, Lord Pearson, the Dutch Government—unusual allies—and also a section of the Muslim community which cares about freedom of expression. Does the Home Office agree that causing offence, even deep offence, to particular religious groups is no reason for compromising on the principle of freedom of expression? Why else did we repeal the laws on blasphemy? Since this is a ban on an EU citizen and Member of Parliament who has been convicted of no offence, and who has been invited to a private showing of a film in this House—not a rally in Trafalgar Square—does it not set a deeply disturbing precedent for the vital question of freedom of expression?

Lord West of Spithead: My Lords, the Government and I are great believers in freedom of expression. Indeed, I am constantly getting into trouble because I am too free with my expressions at times. But the decision was not based purely on the film “Fitna”, but also on a range of factors, including prosecution in the Netherlands for incitement and discrimination, and other statements. The Home Secretary has to make a decision, as was said, on anyone coming in if they are a threat to public policy or public security in particular. We are constantly looking at this and are very robust about it with all sorts of extremists, from whichever corner they come. I regularly, across my desk, have to give advice to the Home Secretary about stopping people coming into this country, because I do not think it is appropriate that they should be here. I think it is good that we are being robust about this, and absolutely appropriate that the Home Secretary should have made this decision.

Baroness Hanham: My Lords, there seems to be a bit of a lottery as to who is admitted and who is not. Are there any criteria by which the Home Secretary works, even if advised by the noble Lord, to justify who is refused admittance and who is not?

Lord West of Spithead: My Lords, there is effectively a list of things the Home Secretary will check through when she is making a decision about whether someone should be allowed into this country. Of course, as the House will well know, quite often we will say that someone should not come into this country, but they then appeal and, through our judicial system, it is decided that they should be allowed to do so. One of the great strengths and joys of this country is that there is a very robust approach to these things. Sometimes, it surprises many of us that that person is allowed to come in and continue to say things—that seems very strange, whatever persuasion they come from. There is a list, and it is checked through. As I said, the Home Secretary thought long and hard about this. The decision was based on a whole raft of things, not just on this film. I believe that it was the correct decision.

Lord Pearson of Rannoch: My Lords, I take this opportunity to thank the noble Lord, Lord Taverne, for asking this Question. I suggest to the Minister—perhaps he will correct me if I am wrong—that a man is innocent until he is proved guilty. I only have one question, because I know that we do not want to spend long on this. Does the noble Lord think that this situation would have occurred if Mr Wilders had said, “Ban the Bible”? If it would not have occurred, why not? Surely, the violence and the disturbance that may arise from showing this film in this country is not caused by the film, which merely attempts to show how the violent Islamist uses the Koran to perpetrate his terrible acts, but by the jihadist, the violent Islamist. In doing what the Government have done, surely they are therefore guilty of appeasement.

Lord West of Spithead: My Lords, I certainly do not think that we are guilty of appeasement in any way whatever. I do not want to go down the route of discussing a hypothetical case about what if he had talked about this or that. I am afraid that I am rather constrained about exactly what I can say about him. He is under prosecution in the Netherlands for incitement and discrimination. Clearly, anything that I say in this House could become involved in that, and I would not wish that to happen. It would be wrong if that was the case. Also, he can appeal against the Home Secretary’s decision, and anything that I say could be used there.

As I said, we are very robust across the board. We take no sides on this. We treat people whom we believe are a threat to the security and safety of this nation in exactly the same way, from whatever cloth they come; that is extremely important. I believe that this was the right decision.

Lord Trimble: My Lords, the Minister has talked about incitement, and reference has been made to the possibility of counterprotests. These are public order matters. The criterion that the Minister should be operating under is public security, which is a different thing.

Lord West of Spithead: My Lords, again, I really cannot go too far down this route. These things will be looked at in the Court of Appeal and in the court of another nation. I do not wish to go down this route; I think that it would be wrong for me to do so.

Lord Peston: My Lords, will the Minister comment on one matter, which might enable us to make up our minds? Who brought this matter to the attention of the Home Secretary? Since this man is an EU citizen, he does not have to apply specially to come to our country. How did this become a matter of public policy?

Lord West of Spithead: My Lords, I am afraid that I cannot give my noble friend an answer to that question, because I am not quite sure how it came to the attention of the Home Secretary. I was first aware of this about a week ago. I do not know the answer. Perhaps I can write to my noble friend when I can discover the answer.

Lord Wallace of Saltaire: My Lords—

Baroness Falkner of Margravine: My Lords—

Meanwhile, this story from the Telegraph indicates that Geert Wilders might have a law suit in mind:
Dutch MP Geert Wilders is "seriously considering" taking steps to sue Jacqui Smith over her decision to ban the controversial film-maker from the UK

The legal action would have the backing of the Dutch Government, in a move which could aggravate the diplomatic row over the ban between London and Amsterdam.

Mr Wilders said he was looking to take legal action against the Home Secretary for "blatant discrimination" in the High Court or International Court in the Hague.


Mr Wilders is being encouraged to sue the Government by Maxime Verhagen, the Dutch foreign minister who is still furious with the Home Office's decision.

He said he would back Wilders in a possible decision to bring a case against the British Government's "disgraceful decision".

Mr Verhagen said: "Everybody, but especially a Parliamentarian from an European Union member country, has the right to freedom of speech."...
Please take a few minutes to read the speech Geert Wilders would have given before the House of Lords, had he been allowed to:
London, Feb. 12, 2009

Ladies and gentlemen, thank you very much.

Thank you for inviting me. Thank you Lord Pearson and Lady Cox for showing Fitna, and for your gracious invitation. While others look away, you, seem to understand the true tradition of your country, and a flag that still stands for freedom.

This is no ordinary place. This is not just one of England’s tourist attractions. This is a sacred place. This is the mother of all Parliaments, and I am deeply humbled to speak before you.

The Houses of Parliament is where Winston Churchill stood firm, and warned – all throughout the 1930’s – for the dangers looming. Most of the time he stood alone.

In 1982 President Reagan came to the House of Commons, where he did a speech very few people liked. Reagan called upon the West to reject communism and defend freedom. He introduced a phrase: ‘evil empire’. Reagan’s speech stands out as a clarion call to preserve our liberties. I quote: If history teaches anything, it teaches self-delusion in the face of unpleasant facts is folly.

What Reagan meant is that you cannot run away from history, you cannot escape the dangers of ideologies that are out to destroy you. Denial is no option.

Communism was indeed left on the ash heap of history, just as Reagan predicted in his speech in the House of Commons. He lived to see the Berlin Wall coming down, just as Churchill witnessed the implosion of national-socialism.

Today, I come before you to warn of another great threat. It is called Islam. It poses as a religion, but its goals are very worldly: world domination, holy war, sharia law, the end of the separation of church and state, the end of democracy. It is not a religion, it is a political ideology. It demands your respect, but has no respect for you.

There might be moderate Muslims, but there is no moderate Islam. Islam will never change, because it is build on two rocks that are forever, two fundamental beliefs that will never change, and will never go away. First, there is Quran, Allah’s personal word, uncreated, forever, with orders that need to be fulfilled regardless of place or time. And second, there is al-insal al-kamil, the perfect man, Muhammad the role model, whose deeds are to be imitated by all Muslims. And since Muhammad was a warlord and a conqueror we know what to expect.

Islam means submission, so there cannot be any mistake about it’s goal. That’s a given. The question is whether the British people, with its glorious past, is longing for that submission.

We see Islam taking off in the West at an incredible speed. The United Kingdom has seen a rapid growth of the number of Muslims. Over the last ten years, the Muslim population has grown ten times as fast as the rest of society. This has put an enormous pressure on society. Thanks to British politicians who have forgotten about Winston Churchill, the English now have taken the path of least resistance. They give up. They give in.

Thank you very much for letting me into the country. I received a letter from the Secretary of State for the Home Department, kindly disinviting me. I would threaten community relations, and therefore public security in the UK, the letter stated. For a moment I feared that I would be refused entrance. But I was confident the British government would never sacrifice free speech because of fear of Islam. Britannia rules the waves, and Islam will never rule Britain, so I was confident the Border Agency would let me through. And after all, you have invited stranger creatures than me. Two years ago the House of Commons welcomed Mahmoud Suliman Ahmed Abu Rideh, linked to Al Qaeda. He was invited to Westminster by Lord Ahmed, who met him at Regent’s Park mosque three weeks before. Mr. Rideh, suspected of being a money man for terror groups, was given a SECURITY sticker for his Parliamentary visit.

Well, if you let in this man, than an elected politician from a fellow EU country surely is welcome here too. By letting me speak today you show that Mr Churchill’s spirit is still very much alive. And you prove that the European Union truly is working; the free movement of persons is still one of the pillars of the European project.

But there is still much work to be done. Britain seems to have become a country ruled by fear. A country where civil servants cancel Christmas celebrations to please Muslims. A country where Sharia Courts are part of the legal system. A country where Islamic organizations asked to stop the commemoration of the Holocaust. A country where a primary school cancels a Christmas nativity play because it interfered with an Islamic festival. A country where a school removes the words Christmas and Easter from their calendar so as not to offend Muslims. A country where a teacher punishes two students for refusing to pray to Allah as part of their religious education class. A country where elected members of a town council are told not to eat during daylight hours in town hall meetings during the Ramadan. A country that excels in its hatred of Israel, still the only democracy in the Middle-East. A country whose capitol is becoming ‘Londonistan’.

I would not qualify myself as a free man. Four and a half years ago I lost my freedom. I am under guard permanently, courtesy to those who prefer violence to debate. But for the leftist fan club of islam, that is not enough. They started a legal procedure against me. Three weeks ago the Amsterdam Court of Appeal ordered my criminal prosecution for making ‘Fitna’ and for my views on Islam. I committed what George Orwell called a ‘thought crime’.

You might have seen my name on Fitna’s credit role, but I am not really responsible for that movie. It was made for me. It was actually produced by Muslim extremists, the Quran and Islam itself. If Fitna is considered ‘hate speech’, then how would the Court qualify the Quran, with all it’s calls for violence, and hatred against women and Jews? Mr. Churchill himself compared the Quran to Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf. Well, I did exactly the same, and that is what they are prosecuting me for.

I wonder if the UK ever put Mr. Churchill on trial.

The Court’s decision and the letter I received form the Secretary of State for the Home Department are two major victories for all those who detest freedom of speech. They are doing Islam’s dirty work. Sharia by proxy. The differences between Saudi-Arabia and Jordan on one hand and Holland and Britain are blurring. Europe is now on the fast track of becoming Eurabia. That is apparently the price we have to pay for the project of mass immigration, and the multicultural project.

Ladies and gentlemen, the dearest of our many freedoms is under attack. In Europe, freedom of speech is no longer a given. What we once considered a natural component of our existence is now something we again have to fight for. That is what is at stake. Whether or not I end up in jail is not the most pressing issue. The question is: Will free speech be put behind bars?

We have to defend freedom of speech.

For the generation of my parents the word ‘London’ is synonymous with hope and freedom. When my country was occupied by the national-socialists the BBC offered a daily glimpse of hope, in the darkness of Nazi tyranny. Millions of my country men listened to it, illegally. The words ‘This Is London’ were a symbol for a better world coming soon. If only the British and Canadian and American soldiers were here.

What will be transmitted forty years from now? Will it still be ‘This Is London’? Or will it be ‘this is Londonistan’? Will it bring us hope, or will it signal the values of Mecca and Medina? Will Britain offer submission or perseverance? Freedom or slavery?

The choice is ours.

Ladies and gentlemen,

We will never apologize for being free. We will never give in. We will never surrender.

Freedom must prevail, and freedom will prevail.

Thank you very much.

Geert Wilders MP
Chairman, Party for Freedom (PVV)
The Netherlands
All those ideals of freedom Mr. Wilders so praised in the speech never given — where have they gone? HERE is the Telegraph's answer to that question.

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posted by Always On Watch @ 2/18/2009 10:00:00 AM