Former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke has been banned from the Czech Republic. On Friday, police arrested and questioned him on suspicion of denying the Holocaust, a legal offense under Czech law. Although he has not been formally charged, BBC News reports that David Duke has been ordered to leave the country.
On Friday, David Duke had also been scheduled to deliver a lecture on his book “My Awakening.” According to Associated Press, the lecture was to be presented at a university course on extremism. The university canceled David Duke’s appearance because they suspected that neo-Nazis had planned to attend.
David Duke Banned from Czech Republic: Life and Career
Born in 1950, David Duke is a White Nationalist, former Grand Wizard of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. He joined the Ku Klux Klan at age 17 after meeting White Separatist William Pierce. David Duke was best known for modernizing the KKK, bringing about the change of title from Grand Wizard to National Director and replacing the white robes with business suits.
David Duke is also a former Louisiana State Representative, a Democrat until 1988 when he became a Republican. He also ran unsuccessfully for the Louisiana Senate, the U.S. Senate, the U.S. House of Representatives, and Governor of Louisiana. David Duke ran two failed presidential campaigns in 1988 and 1992.
David Duke Banned from Czech Republic: White Separatism
In his 1988 book My Awakening: A Path to Racial Understanding, David Duke outlines his philosophy of racial separatism. He proposes a society where whites live in their own neighborhoods, attend separate schools, and work in their own cities and towns. David Duke also proposes a separate black homeland in order for each race to pursue its right to self-determination without racial conflict.
David Duke’s My Awakening has fueled his current controversy in the Czech Republic. Police as well as some Czech politicians argue that Duke’s book explicitly condones the Nazi genocide.
David Duke Banned from Czech Republic: Holocaust Denial
Holocaust denial (or revisionism as they call it) is illegal in 13 countries, including the Czech Republic. In spite of overwhelming historical evidence to the contrary, holocaust deniers subscribe to and propagate the claim that the Nazi policy of Jewish extermination did not take place. Many holocaust deniers also subscribe to the theory that the Holocaust was a Zionist conspiracy designed to further the interests of the Jewish people.
While the first Holocaust deniers were Nazis who sought to cover their deeds, modern holocaust denial has taken several manifestations including some Arab intellectuals such as Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish, political figures such as Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and several Hamas leaders. In Europe, Holocaust denial manifests itself in extremist groups such as Narodni Opdor (National Resistance), which fought to defend David Duke against Czech police.
Along with David Duke, one of America’s most prominent Holocaust deniers was chess master Bobby Fischer, who ironically is the son of a Jewish mother. In 1992, Bobby Fischer competed in a rematch against Boris Spassky and won. The competition had taken place in Yugoslavia, where President George HW Bush had explicitly forbade him to attend due to economic sanctions. The US Department of Treasury ordered for Bobby Fischer’s arrest. Bobby Fischer never returned to the United States. Instead, he became increasingly and vocally anti-Semitic.
While David Duke has been ordered to leave the Czech Republic by midnight tonight, I doubt many Americans will be looking forward to his return.
Czechs throw out ex-Klan leader, BBC News
Prague University bans lecture by David Duke, Associated Press