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Abu Hamza Gets 7

It certainly is ironic that the British press, not particularly well known for its reluctance to publish inflammatory or provocative material, has so far refrained from showing readers exactly why Muslims were wandering through the streets of London the other day with signs saying they would behead anyone who mocked Mohammed. 

There is, I'm told, a certain amount of economic interest involved (as is almost always the case) but the sudden outbreak of reticence among the British press corps is clearly due in large part to fear. Undoubtedly, that fear has been cultivated over the years by allowing people like radical cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri to spew the most violent, hateful rhetoric without consequence. Yesterday a British court convicted Hamza on 11 out of 15 counts of inciting murder, resulting in a seven year jail sentence.

One of the boundaries of free speech in a civilized society is that you may not preach or encourage the killing of other innocent members of society. As offensive as it may be to most Brits, Hamza can call Jews the decendants of pigs and apes as often as he'd like.  What he can't do, however, is instruct his fellow Muslims that it's okay to take to the streets and murder innocent Jews, Christians and Buddhists simply because they don't believe in Allah.

The Times editorializes on the subject:

First, it is worth saying what the trial was not about. As Mr Justice Hughes emphasised in his summing-up, it is not an offence to describe living in Britain as a “toilet”, as Abu Hamza had. Nor is it an offence to suggest that Western societies are corrupt and without moral value. But the prosecution succeeded in demonstrating beyond reasonable doubt that Abu Hamza’s outpourings of bile overstepped not just the boundaries of taste, decency and liberal tolerance but also those of the law. At a time when the limits on free speech are at the forefront of our national debate, the jury delivered an unambiguous verdict: preaching that the killing of non-Muslims was justified in any circumstances, “even if there was no reason for it”, as Abu Hamza put it, was not just beyond the pale but also beyond legality. [snip]

Abu Hamza’s conviction offers an opportunity for British Muslims. In his defence, he claimed he was encouraging Muslims to stand up for themselves. This they should do, but by denouncing the fanaticism he breathed in the name of their religion. Rather than perpetuate the image of victimhood that he thrust on them, Britain’s moderate and rightfully proud Muslims owe it to their faith to denounce Abu Hamza for the thug he is and set about repairing the image of Islam from the damage he has inflicted on it.