- The Washington Times - Friday, August 2, 2019

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Radio giant Michael Savage, who’s been outright banned from the United Kingdom for 10-plus years, sent, through his attorney, an open letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson asking him to reverse course and toss out the ban.

And indeed Johnson should.

It’s high time these ridiculous claims leveled in 2009 against Savage — an icon of American media, a friend to the cause of the patriot — be removed.

Apologies, even, are in order.

It was in May of 2009 when Home Secretary Jacqui Smith added Savage’s name to a list of supposed dangerous individuals — a list of 22 that included radical Islamic preachers, terrorist-types, Russian gangsters and other noted haters. And if that’s not bad enough, consider this: Smith shielded six names on the list for intelligence reasons — but publicly announced the other 16 as part of her naming and shaming game.



Among the named and shamed? Savage. For the supposed crime of promoting hate. For the supposed crime of “unacceptable behavior” possibly leading to “inter-community violence.”

That’s bureaucrat code for “telling uncomfortable truths.”

This is what Smith told a television interviewer at the time of release of her list: “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,” the Los Angeles Times reported, in 2009.

Hmm.

Can you say Anjem Choudary?

True, this fiery preaching sponsor of radical Islamism was born in Britain. But given his danger to the British people — described by even the left-leaning, politically correct BBC as “inviting support for Islamic State” — shouldn’t Choudary have at least been forced to finish his full 5½-year prison sentence?

“Radical Preacher Who Supported Islamic State Is Freed in U.K.,” the Wall Street Journal reported in October.

The guy headed up a network, ALM, that pressed for Sharia law, for crying out loud — a network that was banned after the 2005 terror attacks in London, no less. Now he’s free. Facing, as The New York Times put it, “strict controls” and government oversight.

But free.

Still “genuinely dangerous” to his fellow British fellows, warned his prison overseer Rory Stewart, back in September. But free.

And then there’s Michael Savage.

Author of numerous best-sellers, including “Banned in Britain”; winner of numerous radio and podcast accolades; coiner of the “borders, language, culture” phrase that says it all — grouped together with the likes of white supremacists and anti-gays and those with terrorist bents. Not Free to even enter the country.

The optics just aren’t good.

The OK-Choudary, Not-OK-Savage message just doesn’t sit well.

As Savage’s attorney, Daniel Horowitz, wrote in a letter to Johnson that was emailed to The Washington Times: “Dr. Savage has been President Trump’s frequent guest at the White House, it is anomalous that he is banned from your house, the entirety of Great Britain. The ban has stood in place for a decade. Now is the time to lift the ban and take a stand for the rights of free speech that have come under assault in the land of the Magna Carta.”

Absolutely. On the one hand, if a dangerous nutcase like Choudary can stay in Britain, even under government surveillance, even with the warnings and cautions about his continuing dangers to the nation, then it’s utterly indefensible that a patriotic American like Savage should still be denied entry.

On the other hand, it’s mind-boggling someone like Savage was ever barred from the United Kingdom in the first place.

Savage may not speak the comfortable truths. Savage may to this day irk the powerful and the mighty by pointing, for all of the radio world to hear, to their hypocrisies and evils and elitist deeds and corrupt acts. But truth-telling is not a crime. Not even in the United Kingdom.

And you know what? God save the world the day it becomes one.

For this reason — for the stand for truth — Savage must be granted entry to the United Kingdom.

• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter, @ckchumley.

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