Bar Polish far-right speaker from UK, Home Office urged
Extremist groups targeting Britain to spread bigotry and hate, MPs and activists say
The Home Office has been urged to stop a Polish far-right speaker 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 been accused of comparing Muslims to “invaders” and “barbarians”, is due to speak at events in Bristol and Cambridge tomorrow and on Saturday.
He has been accused of writing articles stating 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”. He disputes the accuracy of these quotations and says he did not call Muslims barbarians.
One event 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. She said it was her understanding that the event had been moved to Slough.
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 added: “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 tried to come to Britain to increase their following and raise funds. Last February Jacek Międlar, a former priest, was detained at Stansted to stop him attending a far-right rally in Telford, Shropshire. He has 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.”
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 he was not homophobic and said that his appearances would not be incendiary, adding: “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.”
He added: “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.”
He later threatened to sue Huq.
ce 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.”
▲ Rafał Ziemkiewicz is due to speak at events in Bristol and Cambridge