Anti-Muslim Blogger to be Arrested in UK

A crank right-wing blogger in the UK by the name of “Lionheart” claims he has received word that he is to be arrested on suspicion of “stirring up racial hatred” for his virulent and obsessive anti-Muslim blog. The blogger concerned is deeply unpleasant; here’s a taster, chosen more or less at random (he’s easy to find on-line, but I’m not linking him):

In Luton we have a very large Pakistani Moslem encampment that has evolved over the last 40 years into a mini Islamic state with all the ingredients needed for it to be a state within a state within Britain. The Pakistani forbearers of this community were welcomed into our country to work alongside our forefathers in local industry to earn money to provide food, shelter and clothing for their dependents, just like the average British citizen. Little did the British public realize about the beast ‘Islam’ they were welcoming with open arms into their midst… The only way you can conquer another land and people is by military force, the first Pakistani Islamic religious leaders who arrived here would have known this fact and would have encouraged the first welcomed invaders to raise up from amongst them an army of young men who can defend this new Islamic community in this foreign land and when the time is right to rise up and conduct Jihad for Islam and conquer the Nation.

Etc, etc. Unsurprisingly, he also advises us to “get wise and vote B.N.P.” Apparently the police claim they are acting on a complaint received; once they have investigated, they will decide whether there is sufficient evidence to bring charges. Possibly the police will be reluctant – in November 2006 two leaders of the BNP were acquitted of the same charge after making anti-Islamic speeches. Tim Worstall puts the liberal free-speech view:

My view on this is pretty simple: other than libel and incitement to violence (which includes that shouting “Fire” in a crowded theatre thing) we’ve a right to say anything we damn well please without fear of the law. I also realise that this isn’t quite what the law itself says, but then that’s an error with the law, not with the right to free speech.

I concur with this, although of course this begs the question as to what we mean exactly by “libel” and “incitement to violence”. Might it not be libellous to suggest that the first Muslim leaders from Pakistan plotted to overthrow the UK by violence? Might it not also encourage certain individuals to go out and physically attack Muslims in the area? Perhaps, but without direct calls for violence (which Lionheart insists he has not made), where do we draw the line? And is it fair that we should only find out after the authorities decide it has been crossed? One wonders what public good is served, especially after the BNP trial fiasco. I would prefer it if the law treated citizens like reasonable adults and merely made it clear that those who allow themselves to become incited by this kind of rubbish will face serious consequences. Indeed, given that there is no practical way to stem the flow of inflammatory writing from abroad, this is the only sensible way to deal with the problem.

Meanwhile, news of the arrest has prompted the expected conspiracy-mongering from bloggers on the anti-Muslim right, with the whole thing seen as a plot by Islam to take over the UK. The fact that extremist Muslims have been jailed under the same laws is either ignored or played down; and of course I doubt that many of these sudden defenders of free speech would feel particularly bothered if a blogger targeting some other group got the same treatment.

UPDATE (10 Jan): More here and here.