Robert Spencer and Pam Geller banned from entering UK

The debate and challenge I wanted to see in the UK will now not happen.

Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer, who set up Stop Islamization of America [SIOA] and run the website Jihad Watch, have been forbidden from entering the country on the grounds that their presence would “not be conducive to the public good”.

The far-right EDL is planning a march to mark Armed Forces Day on June 29, ending in Woolwich, south east London, where soldier Drummer Lee Rigby was killed in May. – Sky News

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This has played right into their hands. Every foreign hate preacher that has been allowed entry into the UK will have their names repeated, their calls for violence against apostates, homosexuals and non believers said ad nausea. The narrative will be we deny freedom of speech accept for Islamists. The English Defence League (EDL) will have their intellectual heroes up on a pinnacle of free speech. Every irrational fear about Islamification of the UK will be bounced off the decision by the Home Secretary.

In short, by denying freedom of speech we have handed the extreme right the moral high ground. This should always give anyone pause for thought. The publicity is priceless.

I mentioned my concern that denying them entry may be a slippery slope towards silencing criticism of Islam. Some have said the distinction is between anti-Islam and anti-Muslim, the former covered by free speech and freedom of expression whilst the later a danger to human rights and more so religious freedom than the other.

Hope Not Hate reaction:

Hate Not Hope spokesman Rob Ferguson told IBTimes UK: “We are really pleased that Geller and Spencer, who are two of the leading Islampohobic and racist commentators in the United States, will not be coming to the UK.

“My only regret is the ban will not stop them or others from continuing to whip up Islamophiobia.

“The EDL will try to find and find a way to use the ban to promote themselves and their disgusting politics, but we are delighted with this result.”

They will not have to try very hard to use the ban for promotion. So concerned were Hope Not Hate to win this battle they have prolonged the war with the EDL.

It is crucial here, to define what is islamophobic. One definition that Quilliam mention in a seminar attended by Hope Not Hate, is not differentiating between global jihad and Islam:

In summary, this seminar gave a deep insight into the ‘Counter-Jihad’ movement. It is becoming popular and the movement is attracting activists even outside of Europe. Prominent Islamophobes such as Pamela Geller, an American, has proactively campaigned under the umbrella of ‘Counter-Jihad’. Essentially, the ideas and sentiments generated by this movement are counter-Islam and not counter-Jihad. It completely ignores the issues of misinterpretations by Islamists and attack Islam as a whole, religiously and culturally. This seminar was the first of its kind specifically focusing on this movement. It is hoped that it will lead to more active and intellectual discussions on the rise of Islamophobia and mainstream anti-Muslim rhetoric. [Quilliam]

As such, I am clearly not an islamophobic as I do make this distinction in my writings and point out the cherry picking by Islamists, though clearly as an anti-theist I am not a fan of religion at all. There are moderates and liberal Muslims who do challenge extremist Islam. They need support and they will have it from me. I will encourage them to go further too.

I am not convinced though how my article The Dehumanising Done By Islam would go down. I hope free speech, and the concern expressed about how Islamists use the Koran and Hadith would prevent Hope Not Hate coming after me next. That is the slippery slope when you use the public good to reduce free speech.

This is the debate I wanted to see in the UK:

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It will not happen, and Robert Spencer will be on the media circuit talking about the Islamisation of UK, the EDL will supplant the BNP (something that before Woolwich looked unlikely) and find a new lease of life as defenders of free speech. Pam Geller will raise even more money for SIOA off the back of this. Keith Vaz will celebrate having doused the flames of inflammatory speakers, while those very people get more media time because of this.

This is no time for celebration. Your right to hear and challenge the views of someone in the UK has been denied. I can defend my own good when it comes to the battle of ideas. The values of my nation are strong enough to overcome this hate.

How worrying the Home Secretary does not agree.

Update: link to letter sent to Robert Spencer

My twitter conversation with unpleasant Robert Spencer

Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog

Follow @JPSargeant78

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Filed under British Politics, British Society, Culture, Religion

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