Why, indeed. The "Newsnight" show on which Choudary subsequently appeared included news footage of an English bobby vigorously silencing such a citizen, described as a van driver, who, according to the televised report, had angrily criticized the Muslim protesters. It is tragically enlightening.
"Listen to me, listen to me," said the policeman, shaking his finger at the van driver. "They have a right to protest. You let them do it. You say things like that you'll get them riled and I end up in (trouble). You say one more thing like that, mate, and you'll get yourself nicked (arrested) and I am not kidding you, d'you understand me?"
Van driver: "They can do whatever they want and I can't?"
Policeman: "They've got their way of doing it. The way you did it was wrong. You've got one second to get back in your van and get out of here."
Van driver: (bitter) "Freedom of speech."
This vignette wasn't law and order in action. It was desperate, craven appeasement. As the bobby put it, "You say things like that, you'll get them riled." And we mustn't get them riled. Let Choudary and his band of thugs praise mass killings, threaten more attacks and advocate murder by beheading on London streets in broad daylight -- but don't get them riled.
Still, Choudary did end up in a British court of law, and this week a British judge handed down a verdict. Choudary has been found guilty of ... staging a demonstration without giving the required six days' written notice.
Tsk, tsk. That'll be $1,400 in fines, please -- easy enough to pay since Choudary, the Online Sun reports, receives more than twice that per month in government handouts. All of which makes Pax Britannica seem quite cheap at the price.