THE image was profoundly shocking. A young Muslim rigged out as a suicide bomber parades in London, a city which six months ago saw 52 innocent people murdered by real suicide bombers.
Inflammatory? It could hardly be more so. An incitement to violence? Given the accompanying placards urging murder and mayhem, potentially.
Yet the Metropolitan Police refused to intervene in this hate-filled protest.
The only arrests made were of two counter-demonstrators carrying the offensive cartoons of Mohammed which triggered this row in the first place.
The right to protest peacefully is, like the right to free speech, inalienable, a cornerstone of a civilised democracy.
But with those rights must come responsibilities.
And just as we have argued that European newspapers were wrong to publish these offensive cartoons, we would also argue that much of the London demonstration was dangerously provocative.
Our many Muslim readers would, we are sure, share that view just as the overwhelming majority of Britons are disgusted by the vile ravings of the BNP.
Muslim leader Sir Iqbal Sacranie said the protest disgusted him. And Asghar Bukhari of the Muslim Public Affairs Committee said it should have been stopped by the police. Why wasn't it?
That's a question that only Sir Ian Blair, the Metropolitan police chief, can answer.
Regrettably, he has form in this area.
Only last month he made a fool of himself by accusing the British press of being 'institutionally racist' - a crass and sweeping generalisation for which he produced not a shred of evidence.
And last year he was accused of 'hanging out to dry' three officers who had been wrongly accused of racism. Here is a man so steeped in political correctness he …