Images above: far-right media personality Rafal Ziemkiewicz, Rupa Huq MP
The British Ambassador and the Polish Foreign Ministry have concluded that ‘no further action will be taken’ following a diplomatic storm involving Ealing Central and Acton MP Rupa Huq and far-right Polish media personality, Rafal Ziemkiewicz.
On Friday 8 October, the UK Ambassador to Poland, Anna Clunes, was summoned to the Polish Foreign Ministry following the detention of Ziemkiewicz, who was denied entry at the UK border at Heathrow on Saturday 2 October. The Home Office sent Ziemkiewicz back to Warsaw for holding views which were “not conducive to the public good”.
Rupa Huq, who became embroiled in the matter after tweeting the news to her followers on Twitter, said:
“I have been in touch with our UK Ambassador and understand that she restated the UK Government’s position on freedom of speech and its limitations.”
Rupa Huq: ‘Free speech does not equate with hate speech’
In 2018 when Ziemkiewicz had attempted a UK tour speaking in Slough, Cambridge and Acton all three Labour MPs for the areas Tan Singh Dhesi, Daniel Zeichner and Rupa Huq condemned the tour, with Rupa writing in the Guardian on the matter in which she wrote: ‘free speech does not equate with hate speech.’
In a statement on the incident, Huq said:
“I was warned of Ziemkiewicz by constituents in 2018 and how he has sailed close to the wind with numerous controversial remarks on Muslims, Jews, the Holocaust and the LGBTQ community over a long-running career spanning several columns, books and tv appearances.
“Since then his comments on the morality of women and abortion have also caused offence. Whilst I learned of this recent decision via the web on Saturday after it happened I am pleased that the action was taken if it prevents problems for the police in handling breach of the peace issues, as was foreseen in 2018 when Ziemkiewicz cancelled his visit.”
The MP received a barrage of Twitter abuse from some of Ziemkiewicz’s supporters, but hit back with:
“Although there has been quite a lot of twitter traffic from Ziemkiewicz fans and even the man himself in a concerted campaign condemning me often with accusations hurled my way and ‘go back to Bangladesh’ type comments with 99% in Polish, cannot understand most, and also have had many many positive emails and messages from Poles grateful to me, wishing he could be banned from Poland too.
I’m not convinced sending me racist abuse is going to persuade the UK government of the anti-racist credentials of a guy they refused to admit for racism.”
Polish notifications still coming in apace. Cannot understand most but some are quite to the point/ being reported
Regarding misinformation re events Saturday at UK borderhttps://t.co/pfkkxLDsaE
I was not there, surprised me as much as anyone but pleased rule of law prevails pic.twitter.com/UcmPY19JJ1
— Rupa Huq MP (@RupaHuq) October 4, 2021
Above: Rupa Huq responds to graphic racist abuse on Twitter
In 2018 when far-right Rafał Ziemkiewicz was planning a UK speaking tour including Acton I raised concerns with @metpoliceuk and he cancelled
Anyone propagating racism including Islamophobia and Holocaust denial is unwelcome locally. Today looks like he’s been banned nationally: pic.twitter.com/2EZxJl0huf
— Rupa Huq MP (@RupaHuq) October 2, 2021
Image above: Rupa’s Tweet showing her 2018 complaint to the Met Police
Ziemkiewicz’s history of hateful and offensive comments
In 2020, Polish Ombudsman Adam Bodnar decided to sue Ziemkiewicz for anti-Semitic views after he criticised a Polish historian, Jan Grabowski. The case has yet to be heard.
UK based Polish journalist Stanisław Skarżyński of Gazeta Wyborcza said:
“He belongs to those supporting that twisted form of “sovereignty” which populists employ all around the globe – so it is quite funny to see him criticising a decision made, after all, by a sovereign state. In one of his columns he wrote: ‘LGBT should be shot at! Not literally, of course – it needs to be fought against.’
During one of the discussions about abortion rights he wrote on Twitter about a journalist, Anna Dryjańska, that she is ‘deformed, yet her mother born her’, for which he had to apologise. Digging this up made me weirdly happy that I do not live there anymore.”
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