LONDON (AP) — Two American anti-Islam activists were banned Wednesday from entering Britain following reports they were planning to speak at a far-right rally this weekend.
Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller, who founded the organization Stop the Islamization of America, had been planning to attend an English Defense League march in London.
The Home Office said in a statement that Speller and Geller were “subject to an exclusion decision” and would not be allowed to enter the U.K.
“The Home Secretary will seek to exclude an individual if she considers that his or her presence in the U.K. is not conducive to the public good,” it said.
According to the letter sent to Geller, the Home Secretary’s exclusion decisions are reviewed every three to five years.
Spencer and Geller were due to attend an EDL march Saturday to mark Armed Forces Day. The march was set to finish in the London neighborhood where soldier Lee Rigby was killed last month by alleged Islamic extremists.
Spencer said in an email that the Home Office’s decision amounts to “craven capitulation.”
Matthew Collins, a spokesman from anti-racism campaigners Hope Not Hate, who had opposed Spencer and Geller entering the Britain, said his group was “absolutely delighted” by the Home Office’s decision.
“Free speech doesn’t give you a right to incite hatred against people,” Collins said.
EDL leader Tommy Robinson tweeted his disappointment: “I am embarrassed of our country banning Geller and Spencer for daring to speak against Islam.”
Spencer and Geller are best known in the U.S. for their opposition to the construction of a mosque near the ground zero site in New York.