Douglas Murray and Anjem Choudary – two self-publicists help each other out

Murray and Choudary

Over at Comment is Free, Douglas Murray of the Centre for Social Cohesion tries to defend his decision to debate Anjem Choudary at a meeting at Conway Hall, London, organised by an al-Muhajiroun front calling itself the “Global Issues Society”.

The meeting was cancelled following a confrontation over al-Muhajiroun’s attempt to impose gender separation, resulting in lots of publicity for both Murray and Choudary.

Murray claims: “We were sceptical of GIS from the start. We strongly suspected that they were some sort of front group. But we couldn’t satisfactorily confirm the fact. Despite our concerns, and our knowledge that it was a possible ambush, I gave them the benefit of the doubt and decided to attend the event in good faith.”

According to Murray, he went to Conway hall with the highest motives, intent only on defending “religious pluralism, women’s rights, gay rights, and actual diversity in society”. It is, Murray asserts piously, “possible to chip away at the mindset of radicalised Muslims – sowing seeds of doubt. Even if it is just one member of the audience who is receptive to the anti-totalitarian possibility it is vital to do this. It is the reason why I debate.”

Yeah, right. This is the same Douglas Murray who in 2006 told the Pim Fortuyn Memorial Conference: “All immigration into Europe from Muslim countries must stop…. Conditions for Muslims in Europe must be made harder across the board: Europe must look like a less attractive proposition.” Some defender of “actual diversity in society”!

Contrast Murray’s efforts at self-justification with Yayha Birt’s explanation of the CSC’s motives:

“the CSC says it acted in ‘good faith’ in accepting this invitation, an assertion that can’t be left unchallenged…. It seems probable that the CSC was more focused on highlighting their own campaign for a quick ban and burnishing their reputation as a scourge of radical Islam by playing up to al-Muhajiroun’s all-too-familiar tactics.”

Update:  See Yusuf Smith’s comments at Indigo Jo Blogs, 21 June 2009