The screening of Geert Wilders’ controversial anti-Islam film in the U.K. Sunday outraged Muslims and rights organizations earning the far-right Dutch MP the labels "fascist" and "racist."
The film, called Fitna, was screened at the House of Lords in response to an invitation Wilders got on March 5 from Lord Malcolm Pearson, leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) and member of the House of Lords, and Baroness Caroline Anne Cox, cross-bench member of the House of Lords.
" I believe that this man, Wilders, from Holland is a racist hater of Muslims, hater of Islam, and he shouldn't be allowed into our country to whip up that hatred "
British MP George GallowayWilders' trip to the U.K. is part of the Stop Islamization Of Europe (SIOE) campaign. SIOE is an organization whose goal is to prevent Islam from becoming a substantial political force in Europe. Wilders' visit is supported by the far-right English Defense League (EDL).
The film, which declares Islam is incompatible with democracy and calls the Quran a fascist book, was scheduled for screening in the U.K. in 2009. However, Wilders was denied entry to the country. He was accused of inciting hatred and designated a persona non grata. The ban was overturned in October 2009, a moved that Wilders called a “victory for freedom.”
British rights groups slammed the visit and submitted a complaint to the Interior Minister, calling Wilders the Dutch version of the English Defence League (EDL), whose sole goal is to fight the presence of Islam in Europe, and the far-right British National Party (BNP), which restricts its membership to Caucasians only.
Protesters from Unite Against Fascism (UAF) waved signs that read "EDL+BNP= Nazi racist thugs" and chanted "EDL, go to hell, and take your Nazi mates as well." The police made sure to keep UAF protestors away from ADL supporters who carried signs welcoming Wilders.
Meanwhile, Muslims inside and outside the U.K. continued their campaign against what they perceive as systematic and intentional insults directed against their religion, their holy book, and their prophet.
The campaigns, which are mostly launched on the internet and call for boycotting countries that insult Islam, cite Wilders' movie, the Danish cartoons, and Theo Van Gough's movie Submission as just a few, yet flagrant, examples European insults to Islam..
However, online campaigns also indicate that Muslims are losing hope as they no longer trust that serious political action will be taken to stop spread of Islamophobia in Europe.
The ban on Wilders’ film last year was not only praised by Muslims, but also by British officials who view the MP as a fanatic extremist intent on inciting intolerance in Europe.
British MP George Galloway expressed his support for the British government's decision to ban Wilders from the U.K.
"I believe that this man, Wilders, from Holland is a racist hater of Muslims, hater of Islam, and he shouldn't be allowed into our country to whip up that hatred," Galloway said in a T.V. interview.
Click to view image: 'fitna'
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