• First published in 2004 as Bartholomew’s Notes on Religion (BNOR).

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    blogs.salon.com/0003494
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UK Press Spikes Another Article on Bin Mahfouz

The new Private Eye magazine (1196, p. 7) notes the continuing chill over free speech in the UK caused by litigious Saudi billionaire Sheik Khalid bin Mahfouz. As has been widely reported (and blogged by me here and here), thanks to the Sheik’s libel threats, both the left-wing Pluto Press and the Cambridge University Press have pulped books, while the American neo-conservative Deborah Ehrenfield lost a case on default when the Sheik chose to sue her in London (apparently 23 copies reached the UK via Amazon). Ehrenfield is now counter-suing in New York, and the case has drawn considerable comment in the US press. In the UK, however, all is silent:

Three months after the pulping of Alms for Jihad, the controversy hasn’t been mentioned in a single British national newspaper. An Observer column on the subject was stopped by the paper’s lawyers, as was a long piece in the Spectator. Now the Eye learns that a similar article for the Economist has also been spiked.