The Fag End of Hassan Butt

Belatedly, via Paul Stott’s blog I see that the latest issue of Lobster is available as a free pdf download. Among the goodies is a piece by Solomon Hughes that casts a sceptical eye over Prospect magazine – in particular, Prospect‘s use of material derived from Hassan Butt, the supposed “reformed jihadi” who turned out to be a fantasist. The piece includes quotes given to Hughes by Prospect editor David Goodhart:

Journalist Shiv Malik interviewed Hassan Butt for a long Prospect piece on the 7/7 bombing and editor Goodhart said that, ‘I did once hear that the services regard the Shiv Malik piece on 7/7 as essential reading inside the “security state”‘ and added: ‘a Pentagon official once said the same.’

Goodhart went on to say: ‘if Hassan Butt has now been “exposed” as a liar and fantasist we were certainly not the only ones taken in – there was a big Newsnight interview – and big pieces in several nationals.’

British journalists and security professionals taken in by a dodgy source on Islamic extremism? Surely not

Of course, Butt is not the only person to have made a career out of being a supposed former extremist – across the water there is Walid Shoebat, who regularly thrills church groups with tales of Muslim terrorist bloodlust mixed in with his bizarre re-interpretation of the Book of Revelation.