A radical American preacher is now banned from all 28 European Union countries, including Ireland, which has used an exclusion order for the first time under its 20-year-old immigration law. Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan signed the order Sunday to keep out Steven Anderson, the anti-gay extremist pastor of a fundamentalist Baptist church in Arizona, the Irish Times reports. Anderson, who has been likened to an "American Taliban" and once told parishioners he prayed every night for former President Obama's death, was due to speak at an event in Dublin on May 26. His Faithful Word church has described gay people as "abominations which God punishes with the death penalty."
Anderson, who also denies the Holocaust, has praised the gunman who killed 49 people in the Pulse nightclub attack in Florida in 2016. "I have signed the exclusion order under my executive powers in the interests of public policy," said Flanagan. This is the first time an exclusion order has been granted since the Immigration Act was introduced in 1999, the BBC reports. After Anderson's Ireland visit was announced, more than 14,000 people signed a petition calling for him to be banned from the country. The Netherlands banned Anderson last month under what officials said was a policy of "taking strong action against extremist speakers who, by spreading their beliefs, restrict the freedoms of others or even incite hatred or violence." (Read more Steven Anderson stories.)