The British government has banned two prominent U.S. anti-Islam bloggers who had planned to enter the United Kingdom to speak at a far-right rally, the Home Office said Wednesday.
Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer, co-founders of Stop Islamization of America, were planning to appear at a march by the far-right English Defence League in Woolwich, the site in southeast London of the hacking death of a British solider in May.
On their blogs, Geller and Spencer posted copies of a letter from the British Home Office issuing the ban.
A government spokesman said individuals whose presence "is not conducive to the public good" could be excluded by the home secretary, the BBC reported.
"We condemn all those whose behaviors and views run counter to our shared values and will not stand for extremism in any form," he added.
The soldier, Lee Rigby, was killed in a gruesome knife attack near an army barracks. The attacker, whose hands were covered in blood, then walked up to a bystander with a video camera and said he killed Rigby because "Muslims are dying daily by British soldiers."
Geller, who writes the Atlas Shrugs blog, and Spencer, who blogs at Jihad Watch, are also co-founders of the American Freedom Defense Initiative, which mounted a controversial pro-Israel "Defeat Jihad" poster campaign on the New York subway with signs that read: 'In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat Jihad.".
They also promoted a campaign to block the building of the so-called "Ground Zero Mosque," which was in fact an Islamic center to be located several blocks from the site of the 9/11 attack.
Geller sharply criticized the action by the British Home Office.
"In a striking blow against freedom, the British government has banned us from entering the country,"Geller wrote on her blog." In not allowing us into the country solely because of our true and accurate statements about Islam, the British government is behaving like a de facto Islamic state. The nation that gave the world the Magna Carta is dead."
Spencer called the decision "a victory for the campaign of smears and defamation" against them, The Independent reported.
"In reality, our work is dedicated to the defense of the freedom of speech and equality of rights for all," Spencer said. "If that is too hot for the U.K. now, then Britain faces a grim future."
EDL leader Tommy Robinson criticized the ruling, saying the two Americans were coming to lay flowers at the place where Rigby died.
"It's embarrassing for this so-called land of democracy and freedom of speech," he said.
Keith Vaz, chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, who had called for the ban, said he welcomed the decision.
"The UK should never become a stage for inflammatory speakers who promote hate," he said, according to the BBC.