A week after region-wide riots started in Cairo, Hezbollah sent half a million supporters into the streets of Beirut’s southern suburbs, ostensibly to protest the trailer for the now-infamous movie on YouTube. The mob screamed the same tired slogans we’re accustomed to hearing—“Death to America” and “Death to Israel”—but Hezbollah’s secretary general Hassan Nasrallah said something new. “The U.S. should understand that if it broadcasts the film in full it will face very dangerous repercussions around the world.” …

You’re kidding yourself if you think he’s bluffing or that this is just talk. He’s not and it isn’t. There are precedents. In 1989, Iran’s blood-soaked ruler Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa condemning acclaimed novelist Salman Rushdie to death for allegedly blaspheming Islam in his novel, The Satanic Verses. Terrorists and death squads went after him and anyone who dared to publish, translate, or sell his books all over the world. They set bookstores in the United States and the United Kingdom on fire. They firebombed a small newspaper office in New York City with Molotov cocktails. They killed dozens of people around the globe as far away as Japan. Rushdie spent years in hiding under the assumed name Joseph Anton and still lives with the knowledge that he could be murdered at any time. Just a few days ago, the Iranian government increased the bounty on his head to $3.3 million. …

Terrorists and state sponsors of terrorism have been going after apostates and blasphemers for years. But the Egyptian government, supposedly an ally of the United States, just filed international arrest warrants for eight American citizens allegedly involved in the now-notorious video. All are currently in the United States, so unless they’re kidnapped, there’s no chance they’ll ever see the inside of an Egyptian courtroom. But the prosecutor’s office in Cairo says they may receive the death penalty if they’re convicted. And who can say that death squads will never go after them, Rushdie style, if they’re convicted in absentia or even beforehand?