The EDL Dines Alone

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.

Spencer’s near-encounter with the EDL and his association with Mawyer have since become a source of goading from Charles Johnson; Spencer retorts that that Johnson is a “libelblogger”, and adds that

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.

Another Religious Event at US Capitol

A strange bit of writing from Julia Duin, religion blogger at the Washington Times:

On Sept. 25, Dar ul Islam, a mosque in Elizabeth, N.J., is slating a massive Friday “jummah” prayer event at the west front of the U.S. Capitol; on the very site that President Obama gave his inauguration speech not so long ago. This is not a joke.

Why would it be “a joke”?

She observes:

Well, I guess if Louis Farrakhan could preach from the same spot during the Million Man March nearly 14 years ago, so can these folks.

Erm…there’s a  more recent example of preaching there by someone from a minority religious group: just last year, the spot was taken by the son of Washington Times owner Sun Myung Moon, as part of one of Moon’s Universal Peace Federation’s Global Peace Festivals (slogan: “One Family Under God”). As was reported at the time:

The festival, held on the West Lawn of the Capitol, represents the launch of a long-term initiative by more than 150 faith- and community-based organizations to advocate for peace and unity worldwide.

Speakers included D.C. civil rights activist and former D.C. Delegate Walter E. Fauntroy and GPF Chairman Hyun Jin Moon, son of Unification Church founder the Rev. Sun Myung Moon.

There was also one in London.

Robert Spencer on the EDL and CAN

The latest spat between Robert Spencer and Charles Johnson continues (see my previous blog entry here); Johnson had mocked Spencer for associating with the Christian Action Network while on a visit to the UK, and for a near-encounter with the English Defence League:

Spencer claims he never met with the English Defense League (although he obviously can’t deny meeting with the extremists of the Christian Action Network), and it’s actually true — as far as it goes. But in reality, the only reason he didn’t meet with them is because he and the leaders of CAN were thrown out of the restaurant before the meeting could occur.

Spencer again retorts:

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…As for the CAN, I am working with them because of their excellent work on the documentary Homegrown Jihad. I do not feel myself bound to endorse every one of their other positions, or consider that I have done so, by working with them. In reality, I don’t make public statements on issues that are not jihad-related. In reality, 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 from what I have actually written, not from the words or deeds (actual or fabricated in Johnson’s defamation and lie factory) of others.

It will of course be dismaying for the EDL to see Spencer repudiate any association in such terms. And as for CAN, its director Martin Mawyer is certaimly not racist, but his homophobia is intense and vicious: he has promoted the rumour that Hilary Clinton is a lesbian and rails against “one-world government extremists … radical, disease-carrying homosexuals … anti-family lesbian feminists…”

Spencer has an ongoing relationship to Christian fundamentalism, and he has endorsed a book which claims that the Bible predicts the rise of a Muslim anti-Christ. The book is entitled The Islamic Antichrist, by Joel Richardson, and it was previously packaged as Antichrist: Islam’s Awaited Messiah. The book is being heavily promoted by WorldNetDaily; I blogged it here and Richardson (who is personable) has left some comments here and there. The book’s thesis, of course, is a farrago of nonsense, in which Biblical texts are ripped from their historical context and a new meaning imposed based on what Richardson wants them to contain. Christian fundamentalists have been doing this kind of thing for a long time.

Spencer’s endorsement of this piffle appears on the book’s cover, and inside he enthuses thus:

A fascinating and provovative work. Joel has broken fresh ground in the ongoing exploration of the relationship between Islam and the rest of the world. A must-read for priests and pastors, students and lay readers everywhere. Bravo!

Richard AntiChrist 2