Zakir Naik, an Indian-based Islamist preacher, has been banned from entering Britain after the home secretary revoked his visa due to his comments on Osama Bin Laden, Jews and other issues:
While it is evident that most of Naik’s views are out of step with the values of any 21st-century liberal democracy, this in itself does not provide sufficient justification to exclude him from the UK. As Lord Justice Sedley stated in the notable high court judgement Redmond-Bate vs Director of Public Prosecutions : “Free speech includes not only the inoffensive, but the irritating, the contentious, the eccentric, the heretical, the unwelcome and the provocative, providing it does not intend to provoke violence. Freedom only to speak inoffensively is not worth having.” Incitement to violence is a crucial caveat of this fundamental principle, and forms the basis of the Home Office’s “unacceptable behaviour” policy.
I am always dubious about such bans, and am not sure what to think. No one has a right to enter this country, Britain is unlikely to benefit from Mr. Naik’s presence, and he is clearly an unpleasant anti-Semite, but do his utterings constitute an incitement to violence? Perhaps.
|Post to del.icio.us|
Filed in: Civil liberties,Islamists