The Danish anti-Islam politician, Rasmus Paludan, has been banned from entering the UK over his threat to burn a copy of the Quran in the northern town of Wakefield.
Tom Tugendhat, the British security minister, revealed that Paludan, who founded the anti-Islam party Stram Kurs, has been added to the UK’s immigration watchlist and would be prohibited from entering the country.
“Far-right Islamophobic Danish politician Rasmus Paludan said he’s going to travel from Denmark to Wakefield for the sole purpose of burning a Quran in a public place,” asked Wakefield Labour MP Simon Lightwood in a question to Tugendhat in the House of Commons.
“Mr. Paludan was previously jailed in Denmark for his hateful and racist statements. He’s a dangerous man that should not be allowed into this country,” he continued. “Can the Home Secretary assure me and my community that the government is taking action to prevent this?”
“Now I inform the house that Mr. Paludan has been added to the warnings index and therefore his travel to the United Kingdom would not be conducive to the public good and he will not be allowed access,” Tugendhat responded.
Meanwhile, the Muslim Council of Britain said in a statement:
Our Britain is a multicultural one; one in which diversity is our strength, and celebrated. We strive for a society where even fundamental differences in opinion are approached with empathy and respect for one another’s beliefs and cultures.
Freedom of speech is a basic human right. However, it comes with responsibility. Rasmus Paludan’s recent burning of the Koran was a wanton act of incitement, which sparked a firestorm of Islamophobic hate. The fallout, at both national and at a diplomatic level, has impacted Sweden’s standing internationally.
Paludan’s pledge to visit the U.K. was in response to news that four pupils were suspended from Wakefield’s Kettlethorpe High School in February after a Year 10 student brought in a Quran and defaced it, reportedly as part of a dare.
Police investigated the incident under the country’s draconian hate crime laws but concluded “no offenses were committed,” while the school’s headteacher said she was satisfied there was “no malicious intent by those involved”.
Following the incident, Home Secretary Suella Braverman announced a crackdown on police investigating incidents where no hate crime has taken place.
Meanwhile, Paludan said he would travel to the city to “fight back” against “undemocratic forces” imposing Islam across Europe.
“This is due to the great injustice that has been committed in Wakefield, England, where a brave innocent 14-year-old boy has been severely threatened by people – criminals – and undemocratic forces, merely because he did something with his own book,” Paludan said in a post on Twitter.
Paludan pledged to “burn a Koran in a public square” and declared that “whenever you try to humble us, whenever you try to humiliate us, we will fight back.”
The extremist Danish Islamophobe Rasmus Paludan has pledged to come to Wakefield on March 22 and burn a Quran. @WestYorksPolice pic.twitter.com/p1yyLWfNzg
— 5Pillars (@5Pillarsuk) March 19, 2023
The protest was intended to take place during the Holy Islamic Month of Ramadan, which begins for a month starting March 22nd.
Paludan, who leads the right-wing Stram Kurs (Hard Line) party, previously burned a copy of the Quran outside the Turkish Embassy in the Swedish capital of Stockholm in January after being granted permission by the Swedish authorities.
The following week, he set fire to another copy of the Koran in front of a mosque in Denmark, prompting anger and condemnation from many Muslim-majority countries such as Turkey, even leading to a diplomatic dispute between the two countries.
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