Deja-vu. It is not an English word, but French. However, the word immediately springs to mind when hearing about yet another Western politician or Islam critic, whom some British politicians want to ban from entering their country. Welcome, Donald Trump, in the company of Pamela Geller, Robert Spencer and myself.
Both Pamela, Robert and myself have been banned from entering the United Kingdom. In my case, it happened on February 12, 2009. Two highly respected members of the British House of Lords, Lady Caroline Cox and Lord Malcolm Pearson, had invited me to show my 2008 documentary Fitna to members of the House in a conference room of the parliament building in Westminster. Fitna is a movie, juxtaposing Koranic verses calling for violence with footage of terrorist attacks and other violent deeds these verses inspired.
However, a Pakistani-born Islamic member of the House of Lords, one Nazir Ahmed, demanded that the then British Labour government ban me from entering the UK. He threatened that he would personally mobilize 10,000 Muslims to prevent me from entering the Upper House. The government complied and had me banned. Though a member of the Dutch parliament, invited by British colleagues, I was locked up in a detention room upon arrival at Heathrow Airport. Three hours later, I was put on the next flight to Amsterdam.
The British authorities said that my “presence in the UK would pose a genuine, present and sufficiently serious threat to one of the fundamental interests of society.” My statements as expressed in Fitna and elsewhere were said to “threaten community harmony and therefore public security in the UK.” Lord Ahmed boasted of his victory in the Pakistani media. He termed the decision “a victory for the Muslim community.”
However, I challenged the ban before the British Asylum and Immigration Tribunal. On October 12, 2009, this tribunal overturned the ban. In March 2010, I returned to London and showed my movie to my colleagues in Westminster. There were no incidents and no disturbances of Britain’s “fundamental interests,” “community harmony,” or “public security.” The bans served but one goal: It was an attempt to shut me up for speaking the truth about Islam.
When the great Ronald Reagan visited the British Parliament in 1982, he told the British parliamentarians that “if history teaches anything, it teaches self-delusion in the face of unpleasant facts is folly.” This is an advice that politicians everywhere should take at heart.