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Sunday, June 30, 2013

American Declared Blogger Non Grata in Britain for Anti-Islam Crusade

Pamela Geller, the American blogger whose inflammatory campaign to “Stop the Islamization of America” has led her to buy advertising space denigrating Islam and organize protests against mosque-building, was informed this week that she is no longer allowed to travel to Britain.

In a letter from the British government she quickly posted on her blog, Atlas Shrugged, Ms. Geller was notified that she has been added to a list of “extremists” barred from travel to the country, on the grounds that her presence could “foster hatred which might lead to inter-community violence in the U.K.” Although the travel ba n cannot be appealed, the designation “is reviewed every 3 to 5 years.” Ms. Geller's colleague Robert Spencer received a nearly identical letter from the British Home Office noting that his blog, Jihad Watch, was “a site widely criticized for being Islamophobic,” and two organizations he founded with Ms. Geller “have been described as anti-Muslim hate groups.”

The American activists had been invited to take part in a march through London on Saturday, passing a mosque and ending in Woolwich, where a British soldier was hacked to death last month by two converts to Islam. The planned march was organized by the virulently anti-Islam English Defense League, which rallied in Woolwich after the killing, and sent a contingent of activists to New York in 2010 for a protest in Lower Manhattan led by Ms. Geller and Mr. Spencer on the ninth anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The two bloggers helped spearhead the campaign that year to block the construction of an Islamic community center and mosque near the site of the World Trade Center.

In a joint message posted on both of their blogs under the headline “Britain Capitulates to Jihad,” Ms. Geller and Mr. Spencer complained that they were branded dangerous extremists while a Saudi preacher “who has advocated Jew-hatred, wife-beating, and jihad violence, entered the U.K. 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.”

Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, a leader of the E.D.L. with Irish roots who uses the more English-sounding pseudonym Tommy Robinson, responded to the news by posting a message on Twitter claiming that Win ston Churchill was “a outspoken critic of Islam.”

The American bloggers also used the social network to alternately boast of and complain about their bans. Mr. Spencer was even drawn into a long dialogue with the British activists who had agitated for him to be added to the list of banned extremists, after he sent them a sarcastic note of congratulations. The activists replied in kind, and also mocked the s mall scale of the rallies staged by the E.D.L.

It is unclear if the English nationalist march will be allowed to proceed on Saturday. Mr. Yaxley-Lennon posted and then removed from Twitter a photograph of a letter he received on Wednesday from London's Metropolitan Police, informing him that he could be arrested if he enters the area around the mosque that he planned to march past.

A letter from London's Metropolitan Police to the English Defense League leader who goes by the name Tommy Robinson. A letter from London's Metropolitan Police to the English Defense League leader who goes by the name Tommy Robinson.

As the British site Political Scrapbook reported, the E.D.L. leader has apparently tried to keep his march through London from being banned by portraying it as a walk to raise money for a young British girl with cancer.

Earlier this week, an E.D.L. group was caught posting a fake endorsement from the British physicist Stephen Hawking. In a fabricated video posted on an E.D.L. Facebook page, a speaker using what sounded like Mr. Hawking's computerized voice said: “Why is the British government to emigrate and have chil dren in such large numbers? These Muslims threaten the British way of life.”

While the group is seen as marginal in Britain, it has been hailed by American conservatives recently. As Ms. Geller noted on her YouTube channel, Mr. Yaxley-Lennon was interviewed by Bill O'Reilly on Fox News in the wake of the Woolwich attack. Under the pseudonym Tommy Robinson, the anti-Islam activists described the E.D.L.'s struggle as a “fight for Christianity, fight for our children's future, fight for our culture, and fight for our country's identity, which is completely under attack.”

In a subsequent appearance this month on the radio program of another Fox News host, Bria n Kilmeade told the E.D.L. leader, “Tommy, we got your back and we'll definitely keep in touch and I really think it's great what you're doing.”

Audio of Brian Kilmeade's radio interview of the English Defense League leader who uses the name Tommy Robinson.