A US pastor who critics call a “Holocaust-denier, Islamophobe and anti-LGBT+ extremist” has become the first person banned from visiting Ireland under exclusion powers.
Steven L Anderson, a Baptist pastor based in Arizona, came to public prominence in 2009 when telling his congregation he had prayed for the death of then president Barack Obama. And also praised the gunman who killed 49 people in an attack on a gay club in Florida in 2016.
His website stated he planned to preach to a congregation in Dublin on May 26th but did not specify the time or venue. An online petition calling for Mr Anderson to be banned has so far being signed by 14,000 people.
On Monday, Ireland’s Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan, signed an exclusion order under the Immigration Act 1999. It said “in respect of Mr Steven Anderson, aka Pastor Steven L Anderson… in the interests of public policy”.
That makes him the first person to be banned from visiting the country under the exclusion powers.
The Irish Department of Justice would not say if the minister’s decision had been influenced by the letters and petitions from the rights groups, which welcomed the action.
What he said
“The good news is that there’s 50 less pedophiles in this world, because, you know, these homosexuals are a bunch of disgusting perverts and pedophiles,” Pastor Anderson said in a video he posted online. “That’s who was a victim here, are a bunch of just disgusting homosexuals at a gay bar, O.K.?”
Pastor Anderson was banned from the United Kingdom in 2016 and has also been denied entry to or deported from Botswana, Canada, Jamaica, Malawi and South Africa.
Pastor Anderson did not immediately respond to requests for comment, and there was no mention of the travel bans on his church’s website or personal twitter account, which continued to list the dates in Dublin, Amsterdam and Stockholm.
Source – news.sky.com, irishtimes.com, nytimes.com