February 14, 2018 Faith Matters

Home Office urged to refuse Polish far-right speaker entry to UK

The Home Office has been urged to prevent a Polish far-right speaker from entering the UK, amid growing concern about extremist groups sending people to Britain to spread hateful views.

Rafał Ziemkiewicz, a Polish author and journalist who has compared Muslims to “invaders” and “barbarians”, is due to speak at events in Bristol and Cambridge on Friday and Saturday.

He has written articles stating that he sees “no hope” for France as French Muslims are waiting for “white people to get exhausted while they gradually expand their sharia enclaves … taking control over the entire country”.

One of the events at which Ziemkiewicz was due to talk, in Acton, west London, on Sunday, has already been cancelled after Rupa Huq, the Labour MP for Ealing Central and Acton, was alerted to it. But Huq wants the Home Office to prevent Ziemkiewicz from entering the UK.

She said: “Ziemkiewicz’s presence is not conducive to good race relations anywhere in the UK and just as I have spoken in the House of Commons urging that we ban [Donald] Trump I similarly contend that Rafał Ziemkiewicz is not welcome on these shores.”

She said it was her understanding that the Acton event had now been moved to Slough. “I am relieved that it was blocked after the licensee became aware of the true nature of the gathering. This is a man with a track record of deliberately antagonising minority communities with his bigoted comments. His party pieces of Holocaust denial and Islamophobia are not welcome in Ealing.”

Ziemkiewicz is not the first far-right speaker from Poland who has attempted to come to Britain to increase their following and raise funds. In February last year Jacek Międlar, a former priest, was detained at Stansted airport to prevent him from attending a far-right rally in Telford, Shropshire. He has called Jews “a cancer” and accused Muslims of running grooming gangs in the UK.

Fiyaz Mughal, the founder of Faith Matters, which works to reduce extremism, said: “The big risk is clearly the targeting of local settled British communities of Polish heritage. These guys are trying to infiltrate them with far-right rhetoric. It’s extreme under Home Office definition … the comments are anti-LGBT and antisemitic.

“This is a growing movement and the problem is in Poland there are no checks and balances.”

The Labour MP for Cambridge, Daniel Zeichner, expressed similar concern over the event there. He said: “Any individual or group supporting Islamophobia, antisemitism or racial discrimination is not welcome.

“I would pose the question to the organisers of this event whether they believe a speaker that has made anti-Islamic or antisemitic statements will be warmly received in Cambridge. I can assure you that the residents of the city I represent do not support views of this nature in any way.”

Ziemkiewicz insisted his appearances would not be incendiary, saying: “I don’t see any reason to worry about my meetings in UK … There is nothing in my books, articles etc that would be against the law or indecent.

“I’m well known in Poland and about 10 of my books have been on bestseller lists … For more than 20 years my work has been in the mainstream of Polish public life. As long as the conservative and patriotic position is not banned in Europe … I strongly deny such accusations.”

Huq said the cancellation of Ziemkiewicz’s meeting in Acton was the second time in four months that the borough of Ealing had shown it “will not tolerate hatred and extremism from neo-Nazi speakers from Poland”.

Marian Kowalski, the vice-chair of the Polish far-right political party National Movement, was unable to speak in Ealing in October after the booking at Brentside high school was revoked when the school became aware of his views. The event was moved to a Polish restaurant, Kuźnia Smaku, in South Ealing Road but the authorities prevented him from speaking there too.

At the time Ealing police posted on Facebook, saying: “[We] have worked with our partners and used available legislation effectively to send a clear message that preaching hate is not acceptable.”

Mughal called for the Home Office to increase its focus on the issue. “Why are we leading the charge?” he asked. “We are a small NGO. The Home Office needs to look at what is happening … they need to be more proactive on this issue and engage with groups like us.”

A Home Office spokesperson said it did not comment on individual cases but added: “The home secretary may exclude an EEA national on the grounds of public policy or security if they pose a genuine, present and sufficiently serious threat.”

Click here for detail …