The original language of the British religious hatred legislation was draconian, making it a crime to use words or to behave in a way "threatening, insulting or abusive to religious groups." The most enthusiastic backers of the law were, to no one's surprise, the radical Islamist imams and other troublemakers. Mr. Blair's government insisted that no one would be unreasonably molested by the authorities — the usual "reassurance" of bureaucrats — but given the sensitivities of the radical Muslims, prudent Englishmen for whom the stalking of Salman Rushdie is a current affair were not reassured.
Mr. Blair then offered legislation to make "glorification" of terrorism a crime, without saying, exactly, what "glorification" might be. British anger is growing in the wake of demonstrations in central London, when Muslims waved placards demanding beheadings and other unpleasant things for anyone replicating the infamous Danish cartoons, and the "glorification" legislation was a sop to that anger.