Martin Bright

Winning the argument

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Whenever I worry that my instinct for pluralism and debate is drawing me to listen to siren voices, I am reminded of the idiocy of the authoritarian alternative. This week I had the honour of being singled out by the Islamist fellow-travellers of iEngage after I dared to write that such a sectarian organisation should never have been considered to act as the secretariat for the new All-Party Parliamentary Group on Islamophobia.

The full letter from the head of iEngage, Mohammed Asif, is available on the organisation’s website.

This is the meat of the gripe:

“It is the machinations of journalists like Martin Bright who have through their disreputable work sought to advance the “good (apolitical) Muslim”/”bad (politically active) Muslim” dichotomy that has created a situation in which Muslims who challenge and demur from the sham discourse on “Islamism” are derisively treated and cast beyond the pale.”

Beyond the barely comprehensible jargon, I think what he is saying is that he’s really angry that I rumbled him. I have no desire to close down the debate with political Islam. But it was never right that such an ideologically driven organisation was considered as the appropriate body to administer and advise such an important committee. The argument was an important one. It has now been had and the committee has made the decision to drop iEngage. Of such debate is democracy made.