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Saturday 15 February 2020

Maajid Nawaz - A Smear Too Far?

Of all those prepared to spray around accusations of Islamism and anti-Semitism, few come close to LBC host Maajid Nawaz, whose preferred method of defending the Quilliam report’s claims about Grooming Gangs has been to go on the attack, rather than engage with his critics and their apparently superior evidence. How his modus operandi might change, now that the boot is firmly on the other foot, will be an interesting sight to see.
Nawaz’ latest target, for reasons which are not apparent right now, is Miqdaad Versi of the Muslim Council of Britain, who has worked tirelessly to impress upon our free and fearless press that much of their wilder reportage on Muslims and Islam is inaccurate to the point of being plain flat wrong. Despite the barrage of falsehood and misinformation, he has stuck to his task courteously and tenaciously, earning widespread respect by doing so.
The attack came out of a Tweet by an account calling itself Islamist Watch: “Here are a bunch of images where M Shafiq of [The Labour Party] and the defunct [Ramadan Foundation] blames the [Times] piece on [Qari Asim] on [10 Downing Street] office, [The Home Office] and [the Commission for Countering Extremism] and [Andrew Gilligan]. He claims he has a ‘Govt Source’ who told him so”. And so off went Nawaz.
[Miqdaad] Versi of the Jamat-e-Islami dominated [Muslim Council] of Britain (MCB) exposed here sharing a private Whatsapp group to coordinate UK political lobbying to legally define ‘Islamophobia’ (sic) with pro-blasphemy activist Muhammad Shafiq of the defunct ‘Ramadan Foundation’”. Rather a lot of accusations being sprayed around there. It looked as if Versi was merely adding some information and asking a question.
Two days later, Versi mused “This week, an individual tried to frame me & damage my reputation by falsely claiming I leaked a message from a private group of Muslim activists … An individual has admitted his phone was responsible for the fake imagery, but claims his phone was ‘hacked’ or ‘cloned’”. So the images may have been faked anyway.
He went on, quoting Nawaz’ claim about him, “Why the individual chose to target me in this way, I cannot know, nor can I know whether the individual was working *with* others, or at the behest of others. What I can know, however, is who weaponised this lie against me, and who is (again) trying to lie and demonise me”. Did he mean Nawaz?
While that one was being answered, Versi added “What I can know, is the editor of which newspaper, shared this fake news about me”. Step forward Stephen Pollard of the Jewish Chronicle. He does seem to get around. Then Nawaz appeared to own up.
Interesting pivot (without denying central allegation) by Miqdad Versi of Islamist-pandering MCB. He was clearly revealed as having been in a private Whatsapp coordination group named ‘Tackling Islamophobia’ with the pro-blasphemy Muhammad Shafiq of the defunct Ramadan Foundation”. Yes, Versi did mean Nawaz. Nawaz says so.
Versi responded “Caught spreading a lie about me (& refusing to retract & apologise), Mr Nawaz now changes his accusation. Apparently, now merely being in a WhatsApp group of individuals tackling Islamophobia (which includes [Mohammed Shafiq]) is unacceptable to Nawaz. The hypocrisy is as clear as day” before concluding “Those who have propagated the false news, to damage my reputation, know who they are - and have the opportunity to retract and publicly apologise. They will face due recompense for their actions”. That sounds as if matters are about to become serious. Legally serious.

Maajid Nawaz has proved adept at instructing lawyers to go after others. It will be interesting to see how adept he is when someone instructs lawyers to go after him.
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