Wilders to appeal British ban

Dutch far-right politician Geert Wilders, best known for the anti-Islam film “Fitna,” said Friday he had appealed against a decision by Britain to block his entry to the country in February. “I have appealed to the British asylum and immigration tribunal,” the Dutch member of parliament told AFP, adding that he had a British and Dutch lawyer working on his case.

Wilders was detained by immigration officials on arrival at London’s Heathrow airport on February 12 before being sent home. British authorities said he was turned back to stop him spreading “hatred and violent messages,” but the action was condemned by the Dutch government.

Wilders had been invited to screen his 17-minute film in the House of Lords. The private screening later went ahead in his absence. The film, which likens Islam to Nazism and juxtaposes images of the 9/11 attacks with pictures of the Koran, has been described as “offensively anti-Islamic” by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

Wilders declined to say whether his appeal had been accepted by the court, but said he would find out in 28 days when his first hearing would take place.

AFP, 20 March 2009