The United Kingdom`s decision to put right wing talk radio host Michael Savage on their persona non grata
travel ban list has elicited a storm of media attention. A google news search
of "UK and `Michael Savage"
turns up well over a thousand stories. Even the Council on American-Islamic Relations defended
his right to free speech.
In 2007, CAIR led a campaign
to boycott Savage because he called the Koran a "book of hate"
and said "I don`t wanna hear anymore about Islam. I don`t wanna hear one more word about Islam. Take your religion and shove it up your behind. I`m sick of you."
Of course I don`t think those words warrant a boycott. But they seem no harsher than calling Islam a "wicked, vicious, faith"
. And in 2005 British National Party Chair Nick Griffin was charged
with incitement of religious hatred - a crime that held a penalty of up to seven years in prison in Britain - for saying those three words.
Shameful as the travel ban is, it`s far less totalitarian than jailing your own citizens.
The prosecution of Griffin and many other anti-immigration and anti-Islam politicians such as Frank Vanhecke,
and Susanne Winter
received scant attention in the American media and even less criticism. In fact I often hear conservatives repeat the "neo-fascist"
smears against the populist right in Europee using the charges of hate crimes as proof. I`ve always responded that if they were in Europe, half of America`s talk radio hosts would be in jail.
Maybe the Savage affair will help open the Respectable Right
`s eyes - preferably before Sen. Teddy Kennedy`s Hate Crime Bill
sneaks into law.