Democracy does not mean that you can call for the stoning of all homosexuals or the massacre of those who insult Islam.
Isn't it touching to see the chiefs of Islam4UK , the same people who once famously held placards that read "FREEDOM GO TO HELL", whingeing and moaning that "freedom is turning into a dictatorship" on the day the government finally decided to ban them?
Isn't it stunning to savour the contradictions of a man, Anjem Choudary, who calls for a fundamentalist Muslim regime in Britain where every single citizen should convert to his particular brand of Islam, while at the same time crying for his "freedom of expression"?
Isn't it pathetic to read that "Muslims merely stand up and say that we are being oppressed, that our brothers and sisters are being murdered", while not a word is ever said about the thousands of Muslim brothers and sisters who are butchered every month in the name of Islam in Pakistan, Afghanistan and other countries (see this)?
True, in theory the ban on Islam4UK and its sister organisations al-Muhajiroun and al-Ghurabaa may be a bad day for freedom of speech.
But their track record is just intolerable. Democracy does not mean that you can demonstrate in central London waving banners such as "Massacre those who insult Islam", "Be prepared for the real holocaust" and "the Fantastic 4 are on their way". You can't call a press conference and call for the "stoning of all homosexuals" without facing the consequences.
Anjem Choudary, current leader of Islam4UK, is the same man who went on BBC Hardtalk (and shame on those who invited him) and said that the victims of the 7/7 atrocity were fair game because "only the Muslims are innocent" and if you don't accept Islam "that is a crime against God". He refused to condemn the London bombings, called the 9/11 attack "magnificent", publicly remarked that "Islam is not a religion of peace" and said that "the Pope should face capital punishment".
A year ago, his mentor Omar Bakri, now in Lebanon, said at a public meeting "Do not obey the British law" and "we must fight and die for Islam".
If all of the above (and that's just a brief summary) isn't incitement to hatred, violence and terrorism, than what is? How can normally commendable bloggers such as A Very Public Sociologist write that "[Islam4UK] do not intimidate their opponents" and that the ban is "indefensible"?
Even the idea that the ban may "force some people underground" is ill-informed. To start with, you have to balance it out with the effect that Islam4UK's ultra-inflammatory activities can have on community cohesion and the stirring up of tension and violence.
Second, one assumes that security forces would be keeping an eye on those groups anyway, the only notable change being that their odious public glorification of terrorism and abuse against sexual minorities and other religions (which is illegal) will have to stop.
The fact that Islam4UK isn't a "white" or "christian" brand of nazism does not make it any less dangerous. To quote journalist Johann Hari, "the real racism would be to hold non-white people to lower standards, as if their bigotries were less real or less deadly".