i despise him. but that's no reason to ban him.independent, 6 march 2010I despise Geert Wilders. I loathe his populist anti-immigration rhetoric. I despair of his tirades against Muslims. I find his film Fitnaobnoxious.But I also think that he has every right to be as crude and as loathsome as he wants to be. He should be free to be as rude about me and my beliefs – indeed, about anybody’s beliefs - as I am about him and his beliefs. That is the essence of robust political debate in a plural society.When he was banned from Britain last year, the then Home Secretary Jacqui Smith claimed that his ‘statements about Muslims and their beliefs… would threaten community harmony and therefore public security in the UK.’ Wilders is a threat to public security only insofar as some of his critics may be provoked enough to respond with violence. But then they, not Wilders, should be held responsible. It is neither logical nor just to penalize Wilders not for his actions but for actions others may take against him.
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