Craig Murray Gets Libel Threat from Quilliam Foundation

The Quilliam Foundation exists to counter Islamic extremism in the UK by promoting a moderate Muslim alternative. This is of course a worthy aim, although the Foundation has critics who complain that it is a establishment-backed venture that uses public money to manipulate Muslim opinion for politicized ends. One of those critics is blogger and author (and “renegade former ambassador”) Craig Murray, who is now facing the threat of a libel action from the Foundation and its directors.

Without going into too many details, Murray made an accusation about the filing of the Foundation’s accounts, and expressed his views concerning the psychological character of the Foundation’s director, Ed Husain. This led to a bizarre subterfuge from the Foundation:

Yesterday afternoon I received an unusual phone call. A man telephoned me and said that he had been following my blog for some time and was most impressed by it, and would like to know how to make a donation. I replied truly that I was extremely grateful, but the website really was just me, and therefore I did not request donations, unless for some specific expense like an election campaign.

You may be surprised to hear that people do not generally phone me up out of the blue and offer cash, so I was a bit suspicious. I did go on and suggest that if he wanted to be helpful he could buy my books, but he lost interest in the conversation very quickly in a manner that just seemed wrong compared to his initial eagerness.

So when I got a letter today from lawyers threatening libel action, I wondered if this was an attempt to get financial information on what funds they might target. So today I phoned him back. He gave his name as Ed, so I asked directly if he was Ed Husain or Ed Jagger of the Quilliam Foundation. At first he replied “I am not Ed Husain”. I had to ask again before he admitted he was indeed Ed Jagger of the Quilliam Foundation.

I put it to him that he had lied when he phoned and said he wanted to make a donation. He said that he just wanted to establish my contact details for the lawyer.

Murray has shown a willingness to give the Foundation a full right of reply, and to amend any details on his site that prove to be incorrect. His personal views about Husain’s character are not based on any pretended medical expertise or access to private information, and should be dismissed as fair comment and/or meaningless abuse. To push on with a libel case is disproportionate and wasteful: Murray has limited assets, and the Foundation is unlikely to recover its costs even if it wins. And English libel law is so inherently unfair that winning a claim proves nothing anyway.

Murray now tells us that the Foundation is targeting his webhost – a strategy which sometimes works in shutting down websites without going to court, but which never reflects well on the person who resorts to it. It was a strategy previously used against Murray by the Uzbek billionaire Alisher Usmanov.

3 Responses

  1. Murray was a brave soul who was appalled at the USA’s and Britain’s behavior in doing anything necessary to keep the 70 year long planned war against the Muslim world hot.

    Who wouldn’t be, when he found out that:

    Ambassador Craig Murray, rector of the University of Dundee and until 2004 the UK Ambassador to Uzbekistan, which he describes as a Stalinist totalitarian state courted and supported by the Americans.

    As ambassador, Murray saw the MI5 intelligence reports from the CIA that described the most horrible torture procedures. “People were raped with broken bottles, children were tortured in front of their parents until they [the parents] signed a confession, people were boiled alive.”

    “Intelligence” from these torture sessions was passed on by the CIA to MI5 and to Washington as proof of the vast al Qaeda conspiracy.

    Amb. Murray reports that the people delivered by CIA flights to Uzbekistan’s torture prisons “were told to confess to membership in Al Qaeda. They were told to confess they’d been in training camps in Afghanistan. They were told to confess they had met Osama bin Laden in person. And the CIA intelligence constantly echoed these themes.”

    Raped by broken bottles? Torture your children in front of you?

    Boiling people alive in oil?

    Anyone would confess to anything under that torture. Pat Robertson would even fess up to having a torrid romance with the dead Jerry Falwell if someone was raping him with a broken bottle.

    “Oh beautiful, for spacious skies, for ….”

    For what?

  2. The mystery is why the government-funded Quilliam Foundation is pursuing someone with a libel action for such a mundane reason. Especially since QF hasn’t sued any Islamists who have said extremely nasty things about them!

  3. A good point made by John. They have had numerous defamatory comments thrown at them by Islamist bloggers.

    Such partiality of punitive response may be done to avoid hostility from borderline or moderate Muslims, who they need to work with constructively. But singling out Craig Murray alone is bewildering.

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