Far right Dutch MP Geert Wilders visits the UK on Friday. The English Defence League will "defend free speech" by demonstrating in favour of the visit.
On Friday the English Defence League, a single issue pressure group which describes itself as a “Counter Jihad movement based in England”, will “defend free speech” by demonstrating in favour of the visit of the far right Dutch MP Geert Wilders. Demonstrations by British Muslims against Wilders are also expected.
The EDL argue that:
Geert Wilders has been harassed, threatened, litigated against and terrorised because of his views …
Agree or disagree with Geert Wilders the fact remains that he is a democratically elected member of a fine democracy and should be welcome on these or any other shores …
The Radical Islamists will be there. The EDL will be there.
The EDL leadership are not entirely consistent on free speech however, asking their demonstrators to refrain from “sticking fingers up” at journalists and singing some of their favourite obscene and inflammatory “songs”.
Wilders will be visiting Parliament on Friday, having accepted an invitation from from Lord Pearson of Rannoch, the leader of the UK Independence Party and Baroness Cox, a crossbench peer, to show his film ‘Fitna’ in the Palace of Westminster. The sixteen-minute film juxtaposes acts of terrorism with lines from the Koran.
Wilders’ anti-immigration Freedom Party has been doing well in the Dutch opinion polls and hopes to make significant gains in the coming national elections after the recent collapse of the Dutch government over troop commitments to Afghanistan. He recently faced trial in Holland for inciting hatred and discrimination against Muslims.Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.