Dieudonne performs the "quenelle" gesture at
Dieudonne performs the "quenelle" gesture at Reuters

Anti-Semitic French comedian Dieudonne M'bala M'bala has been banned from entering Britain, the country's interior ministry said Monday, after he reportedly planned to visit to support Nicolas Anelka over the soccer player's use of the "quenelle" gesture.  

"We can confirm that Mr Dieudonne is subject to an exclusion order," a Home Office spokeswoman said in a statement. "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."

British media reported last week that Dieudonne was planning to perform a show in Britain and hold a press conference in support of his friend, French international Anelka.

Dieudonne, who has been widely accused of promoting anti-Semitism, already has a string of convictions in France for hate speech and other related offences, and recently saw his performances banned by French authorities due to their virulently anti-Semitic content.

Dieudonne regularly uses his shows to mock or deny the holocaust, and makes heavy use of negative, anti-Jewish stereotypes.

At a recent performance last December, the Shia Muslim convert invoked the Holocaust in a dig against a prominent critic and Jewish radio journalist, saying: "When I hear Patrick Cohen speak, I tell myself, you know, the gas chambers...shame [they no longer exist]."

Anelka has been charged by the Football Association, the sport's governing body in England, after he made the "quenelle" gesture, which was popularized by Dieudonne and is described by critics as an inverted Nazi salute with distinctly anti-Semitic overtones.

The West Bromwich Albion striker made the gesture during a goal celebration after scoring against West Ham during an English Premier League match on December 28. Anelka denies the charge, saying he is neither anti-Semitic nor racist, but admitted he had made it in support of Dieudonne.

The gesture has been adopted by extremists across the spectrum - from the far-right to Islamists and the far-left - who often post pictures of themselves making it in front of Jewish sites such as synagogues, Holocaust memorials and even in front of the Otzar Hatorah Jewish school at which Islamist terrorist Mohammed Merrah murdered a rabbi and three schoolchildren in 2012.

A recent march in Paris, which featured extremists shouting anti-Semitic slogans on the eve of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, saw marchers make use of the salute, fueling fears over rising anti-Semitism in France.