We have received the following joint statement from Baroness Cox and Lord Pearson of Rannoch, the joint sponsors of Geert Wilders's invitation:
Joint press statement from Lord Pearson of Rannoch and The Baroness CoxThe press conference remains booked: "The Koran and Freedom of Speech" A screening of Fitna (2008 – 17 mins) plus a Q&A with Geert Wilders MP (Holland).
The Koran and Freedom of Speech – Her Majesty's Government bans Geert Wilders from the United Kingdom
Would this have happened if Mr Wilders had said "Ban the Bible"?
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.
Geert Wilder's 'Fitna' film (available on the web) is not a threat to anyone. It merely suggests how the Koran has been used by militant Islamists to promote and justify their violence.
They react in fury and menace to our intention to show the film and have boasted that their threats of aggressive demonstrations prevented its previous showing in the Mother of Parliaments. This was not the case – the event was postponed to clarify issues of freedom of speech. The threat of intimidation in fact increases the justification for the film to be shown and discussed in Parliament and by the British and international press.
Indeed, any alleged threats associated with Lord Ahmed of attempts to prevent the showing of the film would themselves be a confirmation of the film’s message and the need for it to be shown.
The subsequent action by the Home Office to try to deter Mr Wilders from coming to the UK has, we believe, been rightly condemned by the Dutch foreign minister, and is a further example of the appeasement policies of the British government in giving in to the threats of militant Islam.
We intend to show and discuss the film with members of the British Parliament and the press as previously indicated, with or without Mr Wilders.