Two US far-right activists have been banned from the UK, in a personal intervention from Home Secretary Theresa May, after a concerted campaign to stop the two addressing an English Defence League rally in Woolwich.
The Huffington Post reported last week that anti-fascist campaigners Hope Not Hate sent a petition to the Home Secretary to stop two anti-Islam activists, Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer from America speaking at an EDL rally in Woolwich, where Drummer Lee Rigby was murdered.
And Labour MP Keith Vaz, chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee, told HuffPost UK he wrote to Theresa May, calling on her to stop the two coming to spread division in Britain.
From (l-r) Jihad Watch's Robert Spencer, EDL's Kevin Carroll, Atlas Shrugs Blogger Pamela Geller and EDL leader Tommy Robinson
Geller and Spencer have both now posted a letter from the Home Office on their respective blogs, a letter which warns them against against travelling to the UK.
The Home Office confirmed to HuffPost UK that the two had been banned from entry.
"The Home Secretary will seek to exclude an individual if she considers that his or her presence in the UK is not conducive to the public good," a spokesman said. “We condemn all those whose behaviours and views run counter to our shared values and will not stand for extremism in any form.”
The letter to Geller and Spencer, marked 'Private and Confidential', was sent on Tuesday.
It highlighted two quotes from Geller that informed May's decision. "Al-Qaeda is a manifestation of devout Islam... it is Islam" and "If the Jew dies, the Muslims will dies as well: their survival depends on their constant jihad, because without it they will lose the meaning and purpose of their existence".
It reads: "After careful consideration, she [the Home Secretary] personally directed that you should be excluded from the United Kingdom on the grounds that your presence here is not conducive to the public good.
"The Home Secretary has reached this decision because you have brought yourself within the scope of the list of unacceptable behaviours by making statements that may foster hatred which might lead to inter-community violence in the UK."
Atlas Shrugs' Geller and Jihad Watch's Spencer, two prominent bloggers who founded the 'Stop The Islamization of America' campaign, gained worldwide notoriety for their anti-Islam subway posters in New York.
The signs read, 'In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat Jihad'.
The Home Officer letter described SIOA as an "anti-Muslim hate group" and goes on to say that the government expects Geller to "continue to espose such views in the UK" and says Geller is "instructed not to travel to the UK as you would be refused admission on arrival."
There is no right to appeal the decision, but it may be reviewed in three to five years, the Home Office said.
Geller and Spencer said in joint response: "In a striking blow against freedom, the British government has banned us from entering the country.
"Muhammad al-Arefe, who has advocated Jew-hatred, wife-beating, and jihad violence, entered the UK recently with no difficulty.
"In not allowing us into the country solely because of our true and accurate statements about Islam, the British government is behaving like a de facto Islamic state. The nation that gave the world the Magna Carta is dead."
— Robert Spencer (@jihadwatchRS) June 26, 2013
"This is victory for common sense and people power," Hope Not Hate's Nick Lowles told HuffPost UK. "26,000 signed a HOPE not hate petition in just four days and this led others to also call for these anti-Muslim haters to be banned.
"The Home Secretary rightly viewed Pam Geller and Robert Spencer as a threat to community cohesion. Now, we need to re-double our efforts to bring our communities together in a positive and lasting way."
The EDL's Tommy Robinson took to Twitter to lament the ban, saying:
http://t.co/84xXeOJ17D I'm embarrassed of our country . Banning Geller and spencer for daring to speak against Islam!
— Tommy Robinson EDL (@EDLTrobinson) June 26, 2013
"It's embarrassing for this so-called land of democracy and freedom of speech," Robinson said.
"I'm just gobsmacked. How many hate preachers are living in this country? It just shows what sort of a two-tier system we have here."
Vaz welcomed the ban, saying: "This is the right decision. The UK should never become a stage for inflammatory speakers who promote hate."
Hope Not Hate are believed to have compiled a dossier of Geller and Spencer's most inflammatory rhetoric to send to the Home Secretary.
The letter sent from Hope Not Hate to May calling for them to be banned reads: "We believe that their [Spencer and Geller's] ultimate objective is to incite hatred against all Muslims and the consequences of their very presence in the UK will give encouragement to racists and extremists, who seek to use the awful murder of Drummer Lee Rigby to further their hateful agenda.
"Geller and Spencer are the most prominent anti-Muslim activists in the United States and their organisation, the American Freedom Defense Initiative, is widely considered a hate organisation. It recently placed adverts on the transport systems of several cities calling Muslims 'savages'.
"We believe that there is no place for such hate in the United Kingdom."
The EDL is planning a march to mark Armed Forces Day on June 29, ending in Woolwich where soldier Drummer Lee Rigby was murdered last month.
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