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UK government bans anti-gay US pastor from country

world Updated: Feb 20, 2009 21:01 IST

British officials have barred anti-gay US pastor Fred Phelps from entering the country.

Britain's Home Office says it barred Phelps and his daughter on the grounds that the pair were inciting hatred.

A government spokesman said on Thursday that Phelps had threatened to protest a play about the murder of a gay man due to be shown in the English town of Basingstoke. He spoke on condition of anonymity in line with government policy.

The play is entitled "The Laramie Project." It reflects on the brutal slaying of Matthew Shepard in 1998.

Shepard's funeral was picketed by members of Phelps' anti-gay church. The church group has since gained futher notoriety by protesting funerals of US soldiers killed in Iraq.