And not just threats, but also demands. Like this demand.

British imams have demanded changes in the law and a strengthening of the Press Complaints Commission code to outlaw any possible publication of the cartoons of the prophet Muhammad in the UK.

That’s quite a demand. Quite a bold, confident, aggressive, demanding demand. I don’t think clerics and priests and rabbis and imams should make demands like that of secular societies.

Yesterday’s event, which involved imams and grassroots figures from throughout England and Scotland, marked the foundation of the Muslim Action Committee (MAC), whose leaders plan a continuous campaign to confront the alleged disparagement of Muslim communities and to call for “global civility”…Faiz Siddiqi, the MAC’s national convenor, said: “What is being called for is a change of culture. In any civilised society, if someone says, ‘don’t insult me’, you do not, out of respect for them.”

True. If you’re polite and reasonably kind, you don’t insult people. But in any civilised society, if someone says, ‘don’t insult Jesus’ or ‘don’t insult Spock’ or ‘don’t insult Aphrodite’ or ‘don’t insult Loki’ then that’s different. Siddiqi is confusing two completely different kinds of insult. That confusion of course is pervasive, and is a tool of coercion. But one could use the same logic about anything and everything, with the outcome that I keep pointing out: total mental paralysis. To be wearyingly repetitive, free speech isn’t free speech if it is forbidden to say anything offensive, and if one offensive thing is ruled out, why not all offensive things?

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