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Canada bans antiwar British official

Associated Press / March 21, 2009
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TORONTO - Canada has banned an outspoken antiwar British lawmaker from the country on national security grounds, officials said yesterday.

George Galloway is well known in Britain for his opposition to the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. He was due to give a speech in Toronto on March 30.

A spokesman for Canadian Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said Canadian border officials made the decision because Galloway constitutes a national security threat.

The government will not overturn the decision for someone "who only recently bragged about providing financial support for Hamas, which is a banned terrorist organization in Canada," Alykhan Velshi said.

Last week, Galloway was awarded an honorary Palestinian passport in a secret meeting with the Hamas prime minister. Ismail Haniyeh's office released a photo of the two men embracing.

Galloway has also celebrated Taliban soldiers fighting Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan, Velshi said.

"In this case, I believe folks that are supporting and promoting and helping terrorist organizations are not needed to visit Canada," Kenney said.

Galloway called the ban outrageous.

"This is a very sad day for the Canada we have known and loved - a bastion of the freedoms that supporters of the occupation of Afghanistan claim to be defending," Galloway said.

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