(c) 2009, Los Angeles Times
LONDON -- Britain has just two words for controversial California radio talk-show host Michael Savage:
The San Francisco-based Savage, known for his fiery right-wing views, is one of 22 people who have been banned from entering Britain since October, after the government here concluded that they were agents of extremism and intolerance.
On Tuesday, officials publicly identified most of the 22 individuals on the blacklist, in keeping with the national penchant for "naming and shaming" anyone guilty of a crime, a gross injustice or an outbreak of really bad manners.
Among those for whom Britain has rolled out the unwelcome mat are radical Islamist preachers, a Jewish extremist, a pair of Russian gangsters and at least five Americans: Savage, who has attacked the Quran as a "book of hate"; two white supremacist leaders; and a father-daughter team that travels up and down the U.S. vilifying gay people, sometimes with placards using an epithet for gays and proclaiming that God hates homosexuals.
Jacqui Smith, Britain's home secretary, said she made the decision to publish 16 of the 22 names because potential visitors ought to be aware of what British society considered acceptable behavior. Six of the barred individuals were kept anonymous, most likely for intelligence reasons.
"It's important that people understand the sorts of values and sorts of standards that we have here, the fact that it's a privilege to come and the sort of things that mean you won't be welcome in this country," Smith told a television interviewer.
Savage told the Internet site WorldNetDaily that he was considering legal action against Britain.
"Darn! And I was just planning a trip to England for their superior dental work and cuisine," he joked to the Web site. "Then it sank in, and I said, `She said this is the kind of behavior we won't tolerate? She's linking me with mass murderers who are in prison for killing Jewish children on buses? For my speech? The country where the Magna Carta was created?' "
The government's descriptions of the 22 barred "hate promoters" provide almost no details of their religious or ideological backgrounds, or of who the targets of their hatred are. The published blacklist merely alleges, in bureaucratese, that one man glorified terrorist activity "in furtherance of particular beliefs" or, in Savage's case, engaged in "unacceptable behavior" that could "lead to inter-community violence."
Among those named were Yunis al-Astal, a radical anti-Western Islamic cleric and Hamas member in the Gaza Strip; Mike Guzovsky, an Israeli Jewish extremist said to be involved in militant training camps; and Artur Ryno and Pavel Skachevsky, Russian skinheads who, as teenagers, boasted two years ago of killing about 20 foreigners.
Besides Savage, the blacklist identified Americans Stephen Donald Black and Eric Gliebe, both of whom openly espouse white supremacist views, and Baptist preacher Fred Phelps of Topeka, Kan., and his daughter, Shirley Phelps-Roper, who call for divine wrath to be visited on gays and lesbians.