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LONDON (Reuters) - Britain said on Monday it had banned a French comedian accused of anti-Semitism, saying he would not be allowed to enter the country for public policy and security reasons.
Dieudonne M'Bala M'Bala, 46, has been repeatedly fined for "hate speech" in his native France where local authorities in several towns have banned his shows as a threat to public order.
He is closely associated with the "quenelle", a gesture that critics have likened to an inverted Nazi salute and said carries anti-Semitic overtones.
Dieudonne, who has said he is not anti-Semitic, had planned to visit Nicolas Anelka, a striker at England's West Bromwich Albion football club who is at the centre of a race row.
Anelka made the comedian's salute after scoring a goal in a match in December, saying it was a tribute to his close friend. He is being investigated by England's Football Association over the incident.
"We can confirm that Mr. Dieudonne is subject to an exclusion order," a spokeswoman for Britain's Home Office (interior ministry) said.
"The Home Secretary will seek to exclude an individual from the UK if she considers that there are public policy or public security reasons to do so."
Reporting by Andrew Osborn and William James; Editing by Andrew Osborn