LBC has released a statement this afternoon confirming that presenter Maajid Nawaz is leaving the station with “immediate effect”:
“Maajid Nawaz’s contract with LBC is up very shortly and following discussions with him, Maajid will no longer present a show on LBC with immediate effect. We thank Maajid for the contribution he has made to LBC and wish him well.”
Nawaz’s increasingly vaccine-sceptic views had drawn ire from almost all corners, not least from his own colleagues at LBC. Just before Christmas, Iain Dale said he couldn’t “stand by while this sort of irresponsible and dangerous propaganda is spread by someone who ought to know better.” Looks like his position became untenable.
MPs are debating Islamophobia today after Buzzfeed revealed that the Government intends to reject the definition proposed by the APPG on British Muslims on free speech grounds. Given the report repeatedly cites notorious Jewish-obsessed conspiracy theorist David Miller it’s no bad thing this is being opened to wider debate…
Now an open letter from numerous senior public figures has been sent to Home Secretary Sajid Javid, urging the Government against the “uncritical and hasty adoption” of the APPG’s definition and warning that the definition “will be used to shut down legitimate criticism and investigation”, effectively making it a “backdoor blasphemy law”.
The letter, organised by Emma Webb at Civitas, has been signed by over 40 public figures including Peter Tatchell, Richard Dawkins, Tom Holland, Julie Bindel and Maajid Nawaz, and numerous representatives of faith and non-faith organisations, including the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain, Conservative Muslim Forum (in a personal capacity), Network of Sikh Organisations, Hindu Forum of Britain, British Pakistani Christian Association and National Secular Society. They stress that “no religion should be given special protection against criticism” and warn that “a proliferation of ‘phobias’ is not desirable, as already stated by Sikh and Christian organisations who recognise the importance of free discussion about their beliefs”…
They conclude that the APPG’s definition is “deeply problematic and unfit for purpose”, warning that “acceptance of this definition will only serve to aggravate community tensions and to inhibit free speech about matters of fundamental importance.” When this many senior figures and organisations are urging a rethink, MPs ought to take note…
Read the letter and list of signatories in full:
On Tuesday, the BBC was forced to issue an on air apology after Masoud Shadjareh, the head of the Khomeinist IHRC group, called Quilliam’s counter-extremism campaigner Maajid Nawaz a “hate preacher” in an interview:
Today the BBC has had to give another apology for Shadjareh describing Spectator journalist Douglas Murray in the same terms:
Almost as if the IHRC are a bunch of Khomeinist wrong ‘uns who peddle anti-Semitic bigotry and untruths about their critics. Their director is facing a police probe over alleged hate crimes at the pro-Hezbollah rally last weekend. Why do the BBC keep giving them a platform?
The Guardian’s readers’ editor has censured the editor of its opinion desk for writing a hatchet job on anti-extremism campaigner Maajid Nawaz. Chris Elliott blasts David Shariatmadari’s interview as “insidious” and “wrong“:
“The editorial guidelines state clearly that if a journalist thinks there is a case to be made for using pejorative anonymous quotations the matter should be discussed with a senior editor. In this case these were discussed and the editor approved the use of the quotations… the use of anonymous quotes is an insidious way to take a swipe at public figures, and the Guardian was wrong to have used three in this way”
Intriguingly, Elliott also investigated whether the Guardian “set him up“, revealing a gushing email sent by commissioning editor Nosheen Iqbal to Nawaz prior to the piece being written. This is how Iqbal got Nawaz to take part:
“Given Maajid’s consistently dedicated work to combat extremism and the increased public awareness around Quilliam Foundation following the PM’s speech yesterday, would be great to build on that momentum and flag up the crucial work being done behind the scenes.”
You wouldn’t have guessed it would be a hit job, would you?
Judging by this tweet critcising Nawaz the day before she sent that email, Iqbal wasn’t being entirely truthful about her motives for commissioning the piece:
@aishagani don't think M**jid Nawaaz making a Harry Potter ref outlines lack of credibility; there's a lot worse that he says that does
— Nosheen Iqbal (@NosheenIqbal) July 20, 2015