Photos: Lord Pearson, Geert Wilders, Lord Ahmed
The UK ban-on-Wilders debacle has morphed into diplomatic "row" coverage of the ministerial back-and-forth between the Netherlands and the UK. Thankfully, the Netherlands government is strongly backing Wilders. (And, in order to think positive, I won't even add "so far.") On the side of the British angels (there still seem to be some) still upholding their invitation to Wilders, we have Lord Pearson and Baronness Cox, both Independence Party peers in the House of Lords. But look who's vocally supporting the British government ban? Dear old Lord Ahmed--the same Lord Ahmed, who, as the London Sun reports today, recently invited an al-Qaeda-linked former detainee into Parliament.
From the London Telegraph report:
Miss Smith's decision was backed by Labour peer Lord Ahmed, who had been lobbying Parliamentary authorities not to allow Mr Wilders to broadcast the film in the Lords.
"Lobbying." That's rich. He threatened to bring 10,000 Muslims down on the House of Lords in protest if Wilders appeared.
He said: "There was a real danger that his presence could lead to an incitement of racial hatred and violence in some communities. It could have provoked violence."
But Lord Pearson, along with Baroness Cox, questioned whether Mr Wilders would have been banned from Britain if he had said "Ban the Bible", rather than the Koran.
They said in statement: "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.*
"We don't want it banned but discussed. We are therefore promoting freedom of speech.
"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."
*Just a quick NB: Wilders' call for the Koran to be banned must be understood in the context of existing hate speech laws in the Netherlands, which ban Mein Kampf for its incitement to violence and hatred of Jews. Given the Koran's incitement to violence and hatred of non-Muslims, Wilders has argued that under the same existing laws, the Koran should be banned as well.