Islamist group Islam4UK, expressing outrage over their recent ban by the British government:
Bakri said that the ban was ”the gravest mistake,” describing his group was peaceful think-tank whose younger members would be pushed toward violence if it were driven underground.
[ . . . ]
”We (were) never involved with any violence, yet,” he said.
Yet, eh? Sounds awfully close to a threat, there.
Now, normally I would be inclined to agree that banning any group for holding views, however offensive or despicable, is a violation of freedom of speech as long as no other laws are being transgressed. But in this case, we’re not just talking about pissing people off by marching:
Bakri’s group argues that, as Muslims, they’re not bound by British law and has expressed support for bin Laden and al-Qaida. In its previous incarnation as al-Muhajiroun, the group was linked to several terror suspects and was accused of recruiting British Muslims to fight in Afghanistan and Chechnya. Bakri has acknowledged that some of al-Muhajiroun members have engaged in militant attacks but says the group can’t be held responsible for their actions.
Bakri, who was deported from Britain in 2005, added that, whatever happened, his followers could regroup under a different name.
”Tomorrow we can call ourselves whatever we think is suitable for us,” he said.
He’s right, of course. Banning the groups won’t erase the sentiment. But allowing them to openly collect funds and organise isn’t the answer either. The British government might have reacted to the wrong thing – moral outrage at the group’s planned (and cancelled) protest march through Wootton Bassett – when they implemented the ban. But it’s clear that we’re not just talking about distasteful speech here, but illegal actions. And that’s where the line gets drawn.
And they can always ban whatever the group decides to call itself tomorrow, too.