Chelsea Schilling is a commentary editor and staff writer for WND and a proud U.S. Army veteran. She has also worked as a news producer at USA Radio Network and as a news reporter for the Sacramento Union.More ↓Less ↑
WND columnist Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer, co-founders of Stop Islamization of America, have been banned from entering the U.K. because, the government says, their presence “is not conducive to the public good.”
Geller and Spencer were scheduled to speak in Woolwich June 29 at a memorial for Lee Rigby – the soldier who was brutally murdered May 22 by at least two Muslim men armed with a cleaver and a knife. After beheading Rigby, the men reportedly boasted of the murder in the streets.
BBC News reported a government spokesman said visitors whose presence “is not conducive to the public good” could be excluded by the home secretary.
He added: “We condemn all those whose behaviors and views run counter to our shared values and will not stand for extremism in any form.”
Geller, who runs the Atlas Shrugs blog, and Spencer, of Jihad Watch, are also executive directors of the American Freedom Defense Initiative, known for its “Defeat Jihad” poster campaign in New York, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.
On their blogs, the two posted a letter from the British Home Office issuing the ban.
“I have been banned in Britain,” Geller wrote. “My crime? My principled dedication to freedom. I am a human rights activist dedicated to freedom of speech, freedom of conscience and individual rights for all before the law. I fiercely oppose violence and the persecution and oppression of minorities under supremacist law. I deplore violence and work for the preservation of freedom of speech to avoid violent conflict.
“I have never been convicted of any crime. I have never been arrested. I became a writer and activist in the wake of 9/11.
“For this I am banned. I shed no tears. I am banned from Mecca, too.”
At Jihad Watch, Spencer wrote, “In a striking blow against freedom, the British government has banned us from entering the country. Muhammad al-Arifi, who has advocated Jew-hatred, wife-beating, and jihad violence, entered the U.K. recently with no difficulty. In not allowing us into the country solely because of our true and accurate statements about Islam, the British government is behaving like a de facto Islamic state. The nation that gave the world the Magna Carta is dead.”
According to BBC News, the Home Affairs Select Committee had called for the bloggers to be banned from the U.K. Chairman Keith Vaz said, “I welcome the home secretary’s ban on Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer from entering the country. This is the right decision. The U.K. should never become a stage for inflammatory speakers who promote hate.”
The English Defence League, which invited Geller and Spencer to its event, blasted the decision. Leader Tommy Robinson said, “It’s embarrassing for this so-called land of democracy and freedom of speech.”
“How many hate preachers are living in this country? It just shows what sort of a two-tier system we have here.”
Meanwhile a group called Hope Not Hate had campaigned to stop Geller and Spencer from entering the U.K.
Hope Not Hate researcher Matthew Collins told BBC News he was “delighted” with the decision to ban the two.
“These two are among some of the most extreme anti-Muslim activists in the world. They’ve nothing to contribute to life in this country,” he said. “They’re not here to contribute to good community relations. They only wanted to come here and help the EDL stir up more trouble. Britain doesn’t need more hate even just for a few days.”
“Imagine: The country of the Magna Carta Libertatum, or the Great Charter of the Liberties of England, would consider banning two human rights activists whose body of work is founded on the freedom of speech, freedom of conscience and individual rights. The Magna Carta led to the rule of constitutional law. It was the model for the legal structure of the American colonies.
“My organizations stand for the very things the British fought and died for in World War II and decades later in Afghanistan and Iraq. After their great sacrifices, the U.K. is going to ban freedom?”
“How about democracy in the U.K.?” asked Savage at the time, referring to his case. “The freedom to a trial? The freedom of appeal? The freedom to set the record straight?
“Why does the Cameron government protect Muslim terrorists and Muslim hate-preachers who espouse the overthrow of the British government, democracy itself, while banning Michael Savage from entering the land of their better forefathers?” he asked.
In 2011, an attorney for the British government reaffirmed the U.K. decision to ban Savage from entry.