After weeks of criticism from community leaders, pundits, academics and others, Quilliam has finally issued a response to those passing adverse comment on its “research” on the subject of so-called “grooming gangs”. The problem is that the group has, rather than engaged with its critics, engaged in yet more deflection, projection, smearing and dismissal. It is a sure sign that its members have lost the plot.
Quilliam’s response, authored by Haras Rafiq, gets off to a bad start. “The purpose of this piece is to deal with what are, quite frankly, lies that are being spread online about the report. It also discusses the agenda and judgement of those that are trying to whip up a frenzy on Twitter”. Lies. Agenda. Judgment. Whip up a frenzy on Twitter.
It gets worse. “Because of the level of denial that surrounds the grooming gangs issue, we expected a certain amount of opposition to the points that we raised in the report. Accordingly, we were unsurprised to encounter a degree of criticism from extremist organisations, anonymous blogs, and Twitter accounts”. Denial. Extremists. Blogs.
Then comes the deflection and projection. “However, when we see critics joining with groups like Cage to attack our work or giving interviews to the Socialist Worker - as Dr Ella Cockbain - has done, we tend to regard the criticisms as less than constructive”. What does the SW have to do with whether Dr Cockbain is right or wrong? What gives Quilliam the implicit authority to dismiss criticism on a whim? And then come the lies.
“One of the most surreal accusations, in recent days, is Dr Ella Cockbain’s suggestion that we have altered our report … That is simply not true”. And why not? “The original false tweets that claimed that Quilliam had made changes showed a cached URL of the generic Quilliaminternational.org website as evidence for this claim (i.e. the homepage of the website), and not the URL of the actual PDF report”. Ho intercoursing ho.
Look, Quilliam people, you’ve been caught bang to rights. Luke Collins (who Quilliam don’t have the spine to name) had an earlier copy of the “research”, from some months back. He put his copy alongside the new (free) version and the differences were immediately apparent, as Zelo Street described earlier. THE TWO ARE DIFFERENT.
But on drones Rafiq, sneering “The spectacle of a British academic, posting frenetically on Twitter for weeks and weeks is hugely unimpressive. Twitter is a flawed platform for those who want to conduct serious debate. I don’t presume to advise Dr Cockbain on how her time might better be spent. However, on reflection, she might conclude that working with anonymous trolls and extremist organisations to attack British Pakistani Muslims who are concerned about the prevalence of other British Muslims among those convicted of terrible crimes is unhelpful”. Trolls. Extremists. Flawed platform.
But enough of this weapons grade drivel. Sniffing “Oh, Twitter, how ghastly, we can’t possibly take that seriously” is bad. Lying about “anonymous trolls” when there aren’t any with any significant involvement in the criticism of Quilliam is worse. And smearing critics as “extremists” is totally out of order. Take the criticism and respond to that. Don’t make excuses and sneer at those making the criticism instead.
So while Maajid Nawaz deploys the full range of smears, deflection and projection with “Quilliam CEO @HarasRafiq responds to months of lies & smears being spread online by pro-jihadist groups, far-left socialists & anonymous trolls about our Grooming Gangs report, which curiously & frantically began after Home Secretary @sajidjavid ordered research into the problem”, others are not persuaded.
Dr Cockbain is one of them. Of the claims the “research” had not been amended, she responded “the screenshots I posted come directly from the report - which was indeed furtively amended. Claims to the contrary are patently untrue & can be disproved”.
One observer mused “Responses from Quilliam have at the very minimum been seen as unprofessional, chaotic, abusive, racist, Islamophobic and baseless In content. Refusal to engage professionally with experts in the field of #CSE such as @DrEllaC leaves you with little or no credibilty”. Miqdaad Versi of the MCB was also unimpressed.
“This type of dismissal of legitimate concerns by a variety of academics, experts, civil society groups and activists, demonstrates the way this organisation handles criticism”. Quite. And Dawn Foster knew what was going on: “Ella pointed out huge errors in Quilliam’s report on grooming, swallowed wholesale by the media, and has been attacked endlessly for it. They’re now furtively amending the report online”.
And now that Regressive Left Media has brought forth another in the Spooner and Stubbs series of debunking, titled “Text, Lies and Metadata - The Death Pangs of Quilliam”, this is what Nazir Afzal, former chief prosecutor, has had to say: “This is a well written, evidence based article. I reject the attempts to slur @DrEllaC whose analysis I found persuasive. Her credibility in the field of ‘grooming gangs’ is second to none - and that’s coming from someone who prosecuted more of them than anybody else”.
Quilliam is now well and truly bust. The use of deflection, projection, smears and dishonesty really will not do. This is a rogue organisation peddling a false prospectus.
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