Lauren Southern, one of three activist-journalists detained by British border security in the last week, was invited by UKIP MEP Janice Atkinson to share her story with EU Parliament, where she blistered the UK over its de facto enforcement of Islamic blasphemy laws.
Southern, a Canadian citizen, was en route from France when UK Border Force took her into custody and turned her over to Kent Police, who held and interrogated her under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act before eventually deporting and banning her from the country.
The incident took place just hours after Southern’s close friends and colleagues, American journalist Brittany Pettibone and Austrian activist Martin Sellner, had been released after three days detainment by UK authorities under similar circumstances, and the series of shocking events garnered international attention – including from MEPs Atkinson and Nigel Farage, who brought Southern in front of European Parliament to share her troubling tale.
Southern described the line of questioning to which she was subjected, pointing out that all rights had been stripped from her via the invocation of the Terrorist Act – including the right to remain silent – despite authorities’ refusal to cite a definitive reason for her detention. It was later revealed that she was not suspected of terrorism in a recorded conversation between Southern’s father and UK police, but instead was being held for political reasons.
EXCLUSIVE: UK Terror Police Called @Lauren_Southern‘s Father and Admit They “Don’t Think She’s A Terrorist”, Proving They Are Abusing Their Power & Exploiting The Law In Order To Prevent Criticism Of Islam.
FULL INTERVIEW: https://t.co/IRbaoJ362G pic.twitter.com/ENl47X5Qo5
— Tommy Robinson 🇬🇧 (@TRobinsonNewEra) March 13, 2018
She was queried about her political views and prompted to define them in-depth before she was asked if she is religious, and to what extent she practices her Christianity.
“It got very strange when they moved on to the question after that, where they said, ‘How do you feel about people running trucks into individuals to kill them – specifically Muslims,'” Southern said.
At the conclusion of the ‘investigation,’ she was given a formal ‘Notice of Refusal of Leave to Enter,’ which asserted that she had participated in the “distribution of racist material” – a reference to a social experiment she conducted in February in Luton, England, where she and Brittany Pettibone posed as left-wing activists and handed out pamphlets proclaiming Allah as an LGBT-friendly god.
The stunt was in response to a VICE article claiming that Jesus may have been gay, and it quickly produced the intended result, as UK police forced the group to end their experiment after complaints and threats of violence from Muslims.
“To bar Lauren Southern from the UK for distributing a leaflet in Luton that stated ‘Allah is gay’ (this is not a racist statement) may also be the first time UK border control have enforced medieval Islamic blasphemy law & medieval Islamic homophobia in one clean sweep,” Muslim journalist-activist Maajid Nawaz wrote in a tweet that was read aloud to the Parliament.
Finally – to bar @Lauren_Southern from the UK for distributing a leaflet in Luton that stated “Allah is gay” (this is not a racist statement) may also be the first time UK border control have enforced medieval Islamic blasphemy law & medieval Islamic homophobia in one clean sweep
— Maajid (@MaajidNawaz) March 12, 2018
So are we now to assume that the UK has a kind of reverse Muslim ban?
Anyone critical of the belief system of Islam (which is not a race) is now barred from entering the country?
Questions in Parliament need to be asked about this. Truly shocking. pic.twitter.com/cUzKgdRowK
— Paul Joseph Watson (@PrisonPlanet) March 12, 2018
“I worry that the United Kingdom – which does face problems from extremism, and does genuinely face problems from radical Islam and Islamic terrorism – they’re getting to a point where people will no longer be able to question the problems introduced here,” Southern said. “The great shame is that, not only is free speech being curtailed, but people who are coming in illegally with genuinely radical views are being overlooked.”
“You have police ignoring situations like the one in Telford, where young girls are being assaulted and raped because they are too afraid of being called racist or Islamophobic – whereas, they aren’t afraid of being called anti-Christian or anti-white because they ask me how I feel about running cars into people. It seems the UK has their priorities utterly out of control, utterly out of order.”
During Atkinson’s introduction to the assembly, she reminded them that at least 500 ISIS jihadis have returned to the UK from fighting in the Middle East, in addition to 30,000 known radical Islamists operating freely inside the country, while police forces and border security experience regular budget cutbacks and layoffs – making the singling out of Southern all the more indicative of where the misplaced priorities lie.