The controversial far-right Dutch politician Geert Wilders appeared at the House of Lords today to screen an anti-Islam film and denounce the religion as “totalitarian” and incompatible with democracy.
The visit, which was originally planned for last year, sparked demonstrations from anti-fascists and a show of support from the far-right English Defence League.
Wilders, 46, who leads the Freedom party, was banned from the UK when Jacqui Smith was home secretary. She said his presence had the potential to “threaten community harmony and therefore public safety”.
Wilders succeeded in getting the ban overturned and told a press conference that he had screened his film in the Lords and discussed it afterwards in what he termed a “victory for freedom of speech”.
“I had to debate with people who disagreed with me and people who agreed with me,” he said.
Wilders said he had “nothing against Muslims whatsoever” but Islam was a “totalitarian religion”.
“Islamism and democracy are incompatible. The more Islam we have, the more freedom we will lose and this is something worth fighting for.”
Wilders, whose film describes the Koran as a fascist book, has received death threats for denouncing Islam and has been under close protection for more than five years.