I have to dash away but I just want to point out Nick Cohen’s piece on the Maajid Nawaz-LibDems-Jesus and Mo turmoil for your enlightenment.
Just a bit, on LibDem activist Muhammad Shafiq:
Shafiq denies that he is spreading fear and if you had not done the research you might believe him. Certainly, you could think him a man who can snuffle out offence where no one else can find it. You could think that the 20,000 or so who have signed his petition are so desperate for reasons to censor that they will manufacture them. But this is a free country and they are entitled to their hysterias.
But to put it as politely as I can, Shafiq is not your standard Liberal Democrat. He is in charge of the Ramadhan Foundation, which has hosted speakers whose attitudes towards gay people and Jews are anything but liberal. To make sure that Nawaz felt the full force of his critique, Shafiq slipped an aside into his open letter to Nick Clegg. He talked of Nawaz’s “expected, suspected, wanted reaction from the minority of unhinged in those communities”. Nawaz was deliberately soliciting attacks from the “unhinged”, apparently. He expected them. He wanted them. And if the unhinged should assault or kill him – he had no one to blame but himself. Shafiq told me that he did not mean that Nawaz was inciting his own murder, but I struggle [to] see how else his followers can interpret his words.
On Twitter, Shafiq went further and gave a masterclass in double speak. “Ghustaki Rasool Quilliam,” he tweeted. Most of his audience had no idea what he meant. A few knew all too well. “Ghustaki Rasool” is “defamer of the prophet” in Urdu: a charge that incites Islamists to murder. Fanatics took to Twitter to prove the point. “Have spoken to someone in Pakistan,” one of Shafiq’s followers replied. “They will have a surprise for him on his next visit!” Another Twitter user contacted Nawaz to say: “Gustak e rasool is punishable by death anywhere in the world. Btw I’m in the UK not Pakistan.” A third cried that “dogs like Maajid Nawaaz will be punished!”