A number of allegedly conservative Englishmen have been invited by organisers of the IslamExpo (IE) being held in London.
Among them is Douglas Murray, a writer for the CentreRight blog. Murray reproduces an open letter to the organisers of the IE explaining his withdrawal symptoms, which you can read here.
His reasons? Apparently one of the directors of IE has commenced defamation proceedings against another conservative blogger who produces the Harry's Place blog.
I will not come on a platform hosted by people carrying out legal action against a deeply admirable and informed proponent of free speech.
What a bunch of sooks these so-called conservatives are. They refuse to partake in a debate at a forum attended by at least 50,000 people. Then they wonder why people don't take them seriously.
In the past 6 months, I've had numerous phone calls from journalists and in-house lawyers working for a certain media organisation. They've threatened me with defamation action because of material I've written on this and other blogs. Yet if that same media organisation provides me with a venue to share my views and participate in debate, why should I refuse?
After all, just because one or two individuals within an organisation enjoy providing humble bloggers like myself with an enormous ego boost, it doesn't mean the entire organisation reads (let alone objects to) the contents of this blog.
Of course, the real reason these so-called conservatives don't wish to participate is that they don't wish their own views to be subjected to intelligent scrutiny. Murray and his co-horts are happy to label IE as part of a giant jihadist conspiracy to take over the Western world. They are happy to lead us to believe some directors of IE have links to groups often associated with theocratic Islam. Or groups or individuals who allegedly support groups or individuals associated with theocratic Islam. Or groups or individuals who allegedly support groups or individuals who allegedly support groups or individuals associated with theocratic Islam (the lattermost being people who, according to writers like Ed Husain, are just waiting for the right moment to blow up a bus or two).
But they won't be too happy if someone mentions their associations with political extremists such as the Israeli Likud Party which is opposed to the creation of a Palestinian state. They won't be happy for their support for the disastrous Iraq war or their own links to theocratic Christianity (and its allies in the neo-C0nservative movement) to be discussed.
They don't like engaging in debate because they prefer to engage in another exercise. One that rhymes with the words "mass debate".
Words © 2008 Irfan Yusuf