“There are certain things in Britain about which it is impossible to speak frankly. The birth rate of the Jewish population is a prime subject ... conditions for Jews in Europe must be made harder across the board”. What rabid anti-Semitic bigot said that? Nobody in their right mind would come out with that kind of thing ... would they? Well, not quite, but replace “Jews” with “Muslims”, and they would.
And, with the latter term duly inserted, you have two prime examples of the routinely Islamophobic drivel that emanates from the increasingly rabid, and increasingly desperate, Douglas Murray, who was given a platform by Spectator editor Fraser Nelson earlier this year, and has now been given one again. This has been given added unpleasantness by a front cover bordering on incitement.
“Taught to hate” is accompanied by the image of a child holding a dagger in one hand and the Qur’an in the other: once again, had that holy book been the Torah – and remember, Christian folks, most of that is in the Old Testament, so it’s your Good Book too – there would have rightly been an outcry. But because it’s all about those Scary Muslims, Nelson and Murray get away with it.
Or rather, they did not get away with it for long: across the political spectrum, Muslim voices condemned the Speccy. Sayeeda Warsi observed “Appalling front cover. Stigmatising children, alienating communities”. Sadiq Khan, for Labour, was in agreement: “I’m astonished and saddened that Fraser Nelson approved such an offensive and disgraceful Spectator front cover. Divisive and stigmatising”.
Do we have a Liberal Democrat in the House? We certainly do: Baroness Hussein-Ece asked “Is [the] editor of [the] Spectator happy with this appalling cover which demonises children in Birmingham schools?” For the media, Mehdi Hasan could only look on in disbelief: “‘Taught to hate’: Spectator cover story has pic of a Muslim kid with a sword in one hand & a Qur’an in the other. Byline: Douglas Murray!”
The Spectator’s deliberate use of a known bigot, backed up with a cover that is beyond mere provocation, asks questions not merely of Nelson and his boss Andrew “Brillo Pad” Neil, but also whether the magazine really is selling as well as all those right-leaning Clever People Who Talk Loudly In Restaurants would like us to believe. Nelson then underscores the possibility that this is no more than trolling for sales.
Yes, on other pages, he has “Matthew Parris on why [the] Birmingham ‘Trojan Horse’ plot is, like WMD, a neocon fantasy”. So he’s just wheeled out his pet bigot for shock value, and to score a few more sales. But this is not the kind of issue that can be taken out, dusted off, and then put back in its box ready for the next time the Spectator needs a sales lift. And Fraser Nelson seems unable to understand that.
Stirring up hatred for commercial gain is out of order. No ifs, no buts, end of story.