Anti-Muslim pair banned from UK
Two American political activists who founded an anti-Muslim group have been banned by the Home Secretary from entering the UK following reports they were to attend an English Defence League (EDL) march.
Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer, who set up Stop Islamization of America and run the website Jihad Watch, have been forbidden from entering the country on the grounds 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 murdered last month. Mrs Geller and Mr Spencer were both set to attend.
A Home Office spokesman said: "We can confirm that Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer are subject to an exclusion decision. 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. We condemn all those whose behaviours and views run counter to our shared values and will not stand for extremism in any form."
Matthew Collins, researcher with anti-fascism and anti-racism campaigners Hope Not Hate, who campaigned for Ms Geller and Mr Spencer's exclusion, said the organisation was "absolutely delighted" with the move.
He said: "These two are among some of the most extreme anti-Muslim activists in the world. They've nothing to contribute to life in this country. They're not here to contribute to good community relations. They only wanted to come here and help the EDL stir up more trouble. Britain doesn't need more hate even just for a few days."
Keith Vaz, chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, said: "I welcome the Home Secretary's ban on Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer from entering the country. This is the right decision. The UK should never become a stage for inflammatory speakers who promote hate."
EDL leader Tommy Robinson said the Home Office decision was "embarrassing" and Ms Geller and Mr Spencer were coming to the UK to lay flowers at the place where Drummer Rigby died.
He said: "It's embarrassing for this so-called land of democracy and freedom of speech. 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."