Australians in bid to block BNP leader

By Dan Goldberg and Leon Symons, November 24, 2008
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 British National Party leader Nick Griffin

British National Party leader Nick Griffin

Australia's Jewish and Islamic communities have united to urge the country's immigration minister to deny a visa to British National Party leader Nick Griffin.

Griffin, who has a 1998 conviction for incitement to racial hatred for material denying the Holocaust, plans to visit Sydney and Melbourne in December to speak about the "demographic genocide" caused by immigration from the Third World.

Robert Goot, president of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, said he had written to Immigration Minister Chris Evans, arguing that there is a "significant risk" that Griffin will vilify Australians or "incite discord" in the Australian community. The Federation of Islamic Councils confirmed this week it was in the process of drafting a similar letter to Senator Evans.

Griffin, who was invited by the Australian Protectionist Party, a fringe far-right political group formed last year, was denied a visa to Australia in 1998. He has called the genocide of Jews a "Holohoax".

Griffin's visa application will be carefully reviewed by the Immigration Department, according to a spokesperson.

Tony Levy, chair of B'nai B'rith's Anti-Defamation Commission, said: "Nick Griffin is a man who deals with the Ku Klux Klan, who denies the Holocaust and defames Muslims and Jews. We don't want him in Australia."

Meanwhile, in London, the convicted Holocaust denier Frederick Toben has won his fight against extradition to Germany from Britain for publishing material online "of an antisemitic and/or revisionist nature".

Dr Toben, director of the revisionist Adelaide Institute in Australia, had been arrested while en route from America to Dubai on a European warrant executed on behalf of the German government.

Holocaust denial is a crime in Germany but not in Britain. Germany sought the extradition for material that appeared on Toben's website even though it was based in and emanated from Australia.

The arrest prompted an outcry from human rights groups and supporters, who argued that the warrant went against Britain's tradition of free speech, led by Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman Chris Huhne.

Mr Huhne said after hearing of the decision: "This is the right legal decision in the light of our principles of free speech and that we do not criminalise free speech in this country. Having said that, I find his views utterly abhorrent."

The Crown Prosecution Service, which acted on behalf of the German government, said this week: "We can confirm that following careful consideration of this case, the CPS has taken steps to withdraw the appeal lodged on behalf of the German authorities.

"Even if the appeal against the discharge of the warrant had been successful, in the light of further information received from the German authorities about the location of the conduct alleged, we would not have been able to satisfy the UK courts - for jurisdictional reasons - that it amounted to an extradition offence in accordance with the Extradition Act 2003."

Magistrates sitting at City of Westminster magistrates court in London signed an order releasing Toben, who had been held in custody since his arrest.

    Last updated: 3:12pm, November 24 2008