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

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Gina Khan and the Cheerleaders

A new essay by Douglas Murray (published on Ruth Gledhill’s blogcontra shariah law features input from Gina Khan, a British Muslim who is known for her vocal support for women’s rights and a secular society. Murray notes that:

Khan had been forced to move out of the Muslim area she lived in because of intimidation and threats.

No-one can deny Khan’s fortitude, and it is clear she has suffered for speaking out.

However, given her experience it is not therefore very strange that she should be listed as an “officer” on the Facebook page of “the Cheerleaders”? This is a mostly pseudonymous group (connected with a music band called the Fighting Cocks) which has itself used “intimidation and threats” against Tim Ireland after Tim discovered that a supposed expert on extremism named Dominic Wightman had lied to us (although Wightman has expressed disapproval of these attacks). Messages from the Cheerleaders early last autumn included the promise that Tim would be “put back in his box”, that he would be made to “go back to Australia”, and that there was “a machete” at his throat. They also posted his home address widely, even though this was only months after Glen Jenvey had made bogus postings on-line accusing Tim of being a paedophile.

After a bit of a lull, the attacks have now begun again; Tim tells us that they

have begun posing as me, claiming I’m a bank manager of a small regional branch, and sending my home address to Nigerian scammers.

Of course, Khan is a semi-public figure who doubtless receives all kinds of invitations. Also, people often join Facebook pages and groups without fully investigating all the details about them, and the “Cheerleaders” purport to be foremost about opposing Islamic extremism. There is no reason to suppose she knew anything about these attacks when they occured.

However, Tim also sent her an email asking her to clarify her involvement with the group and explaining the threats he had received – Khan declined to reply. Further, Wightman previously told us that Khan is a personal on-line acquaintance of Charlie Flowers, front man of the Fighting Cocks:

From: Richard Walker [Dominic Wightman]
To: Tim Ireland
Cc: Richard Bartholomew
Date: Wed, May 27, 2009 at 5:22 PM
Subject Re: Update

Ludas Matyi aka Charlie Flowers. Chief Cheerleader (likely the only one there is as far as I know). I met him the month before after I had been put in touch by him online with Gina Khan…

Wightman previously interviewed Khan for his Westminster Journal. He goes on to tell us in his email that unknown persons connected to the Ummah.com website had once thrown a brick through her window; Tim and I have had dealings with this website’s moderator in our efforts to track down fake extremist postings made by Glen Jenvey, and Wightman and the “Cheerleaders” have both suggested this means we are ourselves in league with Muslim extremists (Wightman also used this as a justification for lying to us, although his motive was in fact to get us to write about another person, against whom he has a grudge).

I’m sure that Khan disapproves of threats, harassment, and identity theft, whosoever is the victim. I’m also sure that she has a busy schedule which means that she cannot pay full attention to all the messages she receives, or follow closely all the activities of the groups and bodies with which she is associatied. But being linked with the “Cheerleaders” is inconsistent with the values she makes so such effort to defend in her public activism.