My post provoked an unexpected reaction – an extraordinary ad feminam attack upon me, on the Guardian’s Comment is free blog, by the ‘reformist’ Muslim Ed Husain which accuses me of displaying
zealotry and ignorance
and being filled with
anger, venom and hatred
not to mention also being
Such fame! It could turn a girl’s head.
The first question is why Ed Husain was so exercised by what I wrote. After all, this was not his fight; I had made no mention of him or his ‘anti-Islamist’ Quilliam organisation. Much more astonishing was that he was leaping to the defence of none other than Inayat Bunglawala and the MCB. The MCB is an Islamist body which wants to theocratise Britain according to the precepts of Islam.
Last March, the government suspended links with it after its deputy Secretary-General, Daud Abdullah, signed a declaration that was seen as calling for violence against Israel and condoning attacks on British troops in Iraq.
Earlier this year, it boycotted Britain’s annual Holocaust Memorial Day commemoration ceremony. Its Secretary-General, Dr Abdul Bari, has said Britain should adopt Islamic practices such as arranged marriages and that Britons should follow the teachings of Islam. Moderate it is not.
As I reported below, Bunglawala told me himself that he wants Britain to become an Islamic state. Yet Ed Husain, whose Quilliam organisation receives a great deal of money from the government in order to oppose Islamic extremism, actually extols Bunglawala for having moved to embrace liberal attitudes.
Ed Husain, who in 2007 vividly described in his own book Bunglawala’s anti-Jewish attitudes, now says Bunglawala should not be held to account for remarks he made in 1993 in support of Islamist extremism and from which he has now ‘distanced himself’.
People must decide for themselves whether Bunglawala’s apparent conversion to the causes of gay rights and freedom of speech is genuine. But what about his declared aim of turning Britain into an Islamic state? Does Ed Husain now think this too is evidence of Bunglawala’s ‘liberal’ attitudes? Or must we assume that Ed Husain too must not be held to account for his previous opposition to this Islamist goal?
Now let’s look at what Ed Husain says about me. His article sits underneath a strapline, almost certainly written by the Guardian rather than by him, which says:
In her McCarthy-style paranoid parallel universe, the Spectator columnist views every Muslim a potential Islamist terrorist.
You really do have to rub your eyes at this. In my blog post which provoked Ed Husain’s article, I praised and welcomed those truly moderate Muslims who were mounting a counter-demonstration against al Muhajiroun, particularly the group British Muslims for a Secular Democracy.
I have never said or implied that ‘every Muslim’ is a ‘potential Islamist terrorist’.
On the contrary, in everything I have ever written about the subject I have emphasised that there are many Muslims who sign up to secular western values and who are themselves victims of the jihadis.