Douglas Murray: Left dinner as soon as he learned EDL had been invited; didn’t know who CAN were
I recently posted a couple of blog entries (here and here) about what happened when members of the English Defence League showed up at a restaurant in London where Robert Spencer was preparing to dine with some British conservative “anti-Jihadi” types, in particular Adrian Morgan and Douglas Murray. Spencer was in town with a couple of members of the Virginia-based Christian Action Network; the day before, CAN director Michael Mawyer had conducted an interview with three balaclava-wearing EDL leaders, and his associate Jason Campbell (with whom Spencer had taken “strolls into a few mosques”) decided to invite them along.
However, Spencer’s British contacts were not pleased to discover at the restaurant that they were about to share a table with the EDL, and, as Adrian Morgan delicately put it, “Tensions between some of the anti-jihadist factions who had all been kindly invited by Jason to a meal caused splitting of the groups and confusion”. Extrication was eased, though, because, according to Spencer, the restaurant management had asked the party to leave anyway just before the EDL showed up , on account of the subject matter of their conversation.
I did not go to England planning to meet with the EDL, I did not make such plans there, and I did not meet with them…I will not work with racists, fascists, neo-Nazis, etc. Those who are inclined to buy Johnson’s guilt-by-association smears are invited to prove that I actually believe the things he is trying to pin on me…
And now, Douglas Murray’s Centre for Social Cohesion has sent me a message asking me to publicise the following:
CAN asked Douglas to do an interview with them – upon seeing the presence of the EDL at the CAN discussion he refused to deal with them and left the venue. He did however give an interview to CAN at another location on the water front. He didn’t actually know who the CAN were, and always says yes to interviews, hence his appearances on other dubious channels such as the Islam Channel.
He also did have dinner only with Spencer in a personal capacity later that evening.
Morgan, meanwhile, explains that
I…did talk briefly with the EDL members, to try to find out what sort of people they were (rather than believing the hype put about on internet weblogs).
My conversation took place on a walkway beside one of the docks, with neither Robert Spencer nor Douglas Murray present.
…I do not collude with or condone the EDL’s tactics of physical confrontation. I see such tactics as damaging – violence begets violence and benefits no-one, no matter how personally frustrated these EDL members may feel.
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