Small Grants for Cultural Preservation Create New Anti-Mosque Hysteria

The good Christians of the American Family Association’s OneNewsNow uncover a new outrage:

According to The Associated Press, the Obama administration plans to spend nearly $6 million in American tax dollars to restore 63 historic and cultural sites around the world, including mosques and minarets in 55 countries. The projects include $76,000 for a 16th century mosque in communist China, $67,000 for a mosque in Pakistan, and numerous others.

A quote from Gary Bauer follows:

…”If anything like that was happening under a Republican or a conservative administration or government, the ACLU would be going nuts [and] all the major newspapers would be writing front page stories about it,” he observes.

“This is unacceptable,” he continues. “The United States taxpayer should not have their hard-earned money going to build mosques and minarets in China, in Pakistan, and other places around the world. It’s unconstitutional, and it needs to stop immediately”

The story has also been picked up by some other conservative websites; WorldNetDaily‘s headline screams that “U.S. paying millions to fund mosques around world”.

The money is being disbursed through the Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation, which was established by Congress in 2001. The Fund’s annual reports can all be seen here; it has been giving small grants for historic buildings and artefacts, including mosques, since then without provoking any controversy, let alone “the ACLU going nuts” or any “front page stories”. The 2001 report’s preface, by Patricia S. Harrison (the Bush-appointed Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs), explains that

As Congress intended, the Ambassador’s Fund allows us to show another side of America—one that recognizes the contributions of cultures in other countries that enrich us all. Heritage preservation allows us to work closely with our international partners, and to affirm our respect for other cultures as we jointly identify areas in critical need of preservation.

The Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation successfully demonstrates in concrete, visible ways, the U.S. commitment to understanding and preserving the heritage of others. Whether it is the preservation of ancient Islamic manuscripts, a historic monument of importance to a nation, or traditional music or language needed to sustain indigenous groups in modern times, U.S. Ambassadors have identified unique ways in which to achieve what Congress intended.

For reasons best known to itself, OneNewsNow has chosen to illustrate its story with a famous anti-Muslim poster created by the right-wing Swiss People’s Party (SVP), even though new mosques for Muslim immigrants in Switzerland plays no part in the Ambassadors Fund’s grants:

Perhaps we should be grateful that they didn’t use this alternative SVP poster:

In January 2009, OneNewsNow whipped up a hsyeria around the announcement that the US was planning to fund some archaeological restoration work at the site of Babylon.

General J.C. Christian Talks With Prince Shannon Carson

A few days ago, as has been widely reported, a Gaineville-based militia group called Right Wing Extreme has backed away from its offer to “protect” the Dove World Outreach Center (I blogged on the church here) during its planned International Burn A Koran Day. Right Wing Extreme’s website carries a press release:

After much thought and prayer the organization’s leadership determined this event does not glorify GOD in way that leads the lost to Jesus Christ. “We also believe the liberal media is intentionally using stories such as the burning of the Koran to distract, divide, and enrage the public says the organization’s leadership.

“Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath” James 1:19

…Dove World Outreach are our brothers and sisters in Christ. However we ask that they not hold this event for the reason that it may diminish the work of the Holy Spirit to witness to Muslims.

The press release also explains the militia’s name:

Right Wing Extreme was founded in April of 2009 after the Department of Homeland Security’s report titled Right Wing Extremism. The report labeled those who are against Illegal Immigration, abortion, higher taxation, returning military veterans, big government, and Christian groups as Right Wing Extremist and put them on a watch list. The report was sent out to all law enforcement agencies in April 2009 and the group has been recruiting members ever since.

The “group” – presuming there is more than just one publicity-seeking member – describes itself as “Armed Christian Conservative”, and its leader is a certain Prince Shannon Carson, who has a show on BlogTalkRadio called Right Wing Radio (formerly the Loose Cannon Show).

Prince Shannon’s relationship with Dove World is now perhaps somewhat strained; Dove member Fran Ingram has left a message on the Extreme Right Wing forum, sniffing that “I cannot believe you wrote your latest press release. I call it totally cowardly.”

However, Prince Shannon has some new friends, and he made contact with a kindred spirit – none other than General J.C. Christian (Patriot). In the telephone call posted below, Shannon explains to the General that the government is trying to provoke patriots into “lone wolf” attacks on government buildings, so that it can bring in gun control laws; the Prince, however, is trying to restrain people until there’s sufficient numbers and a “clear direction, and something clear that we’re gonna do” . The General, in turn, commends the value of naked Spartan wrestling for male bonding, and asks the Prince to send him some pubic shavings.

Glenn Beck’s Black Robe Regiment

As is being widely reported, Glenn Beck’s “Restoring Honor” rally saw Beck share the steps of the Lincoln Memorial with “240 men and women of all faiths”, whom he identified – along with “thousands” of other clergy – with the “Black Robe Regiment” of pro-Revolutionary preachers. This follows on from the “pastors and preachers panel” which he assembled in July, where the subject came up during the conversation:

TOM MULLINS, SENIOR PASTOR, CHRIST FELLOWSHIP: Well, Glenn, you know, in the Revolutionary War days, we had the Black Robe Regiment, ministers standing up from the pulpit. And the cries we heard in the streets of America were first heard in pulpits of America. And the people were educated from the biblical principles of what life and liberty is all about.

BECK: What was the — what was the thundering voice? Who said — Sam Adams.

[DAVID] BARTON: John Adams. John Adams called it the pulpit thunder. It was his description of it and it was the black regiment — the Black Robe Regiment.

BECK: Black Robe Regiment. There it is…

The panel also included the apocalyptic conspiracy-theorist John Hagee, and Hagee offered prayers the evening before the rally, at Beck’s “Divine Destiny” event (whether the opening quote-mark should aso encompass Beck’s name remains unclear). Also present at “Divine Destiny” was Rabbi Daniel Lapin, a long-time associate of the Christian Right. Beck also includes moderate Muslims among his “Regiment”, although it’s unclear whether he has anyone specific in mind.

Beck isn’t the first modern conservative to invoke the “Black Robe Regiment”, or “Black Robed Regiment”; the Constitution Party’s Chuck Baldwin has been appealing for Pastors to identify with a “Black Regiment” for several years now, and a holding website for the movement (bizarrely including an image of John Wesley) can be seen here. There is an alternative “Black Robed Regiment” based in Tennessee with a website here; the site identifies with Beck’s event, but does not appear to have any official association. The site emphasises the example of a Revolutionary preacher named Peter Muhlenberg, and it includes a sentimental picture of Muhlenberg ripping open his clerical garb at the pulpit, Superman-like, to reveal a military uniform beneath. It seems doubtful that either group would wish become an interfaith venture, even though many conservative Christians (but not all) are willing to overlook or even defend Beck’s Mormonism to jump on the bandwagon.

UPDATE: Beck’s new website, The Blaze, has a photo gallery of “The Black Robe Regiment: The Clergy of 8/28“.

A Year with Email Sockpuppets

Over the past year, I have received a number of email messages from persons using fake or misleading identities. The motive appears to have been to try to manipulate my writing, or to fish either for information or for some quote which could be used against me. Usually, an IP proxy was used. Here’s the list:

1) 14 August 2009: An email arrives in the name of Paul Ray. Ray, as I’ve blogged a number of times, is the self-styled “spiritual leader” of the English Defence League, although he has been marginalised from the movement. This email is not from Ray, but from someone faking his identity and using a similar email address. The message directs me to a website which has reposted some of Ray’s blog posts along with a new posting praising the neo-Nazis of Stormfront. Whoever did this obviously wanted me to write a bogus exposé, but they may also have been playing a double game: the new posting aped Glen Jenvey’s dyslexic writing style, so this may also have an attempt to spread discord between Jenvey and Ray or to manipulate me into writing something about Jenvey. A few weeks later, the real Ray complained on his site that someone had planted fake messages in his name on the RevolutionMuslim website.

2) 12 January 2010: The first of a series of emails arrives from “77 Truthseeker”, who signs himself “Kelvin”. He claims to have a number of documents concerning Dominic Wightman, and he explains that they were passed to him via email from a certain “mebsy786” in response to a request for information left on a real-world notice board at “Library House”, a squat-cum-community centre in south London. I play along for a while, and “Kelvin” comes out with all kinds of supposed  inside information about Charlie Flowers, the “Cheerleaders”, and “P-Group”, including purported real names, and warning me that they are dangerous. Whatever question I ask, “Kelvin” has a ready answer.

3) 5 March 2010: An email arrives from someone asking me about Farah Damji’s links with the “Cheerleaders”. The email is signed with the initials of someone who had previously been targeted for “Cheerleader” harrassment in relation to Damji, but again it’s a fake.

4) 18 August 2010: An email arrives in the name of a Muslim woman asking me how “the hacker group known as the Cheerleaders” had managed to delete a Facebook page she supposedly helped to admin, called the “Rise of Khudi”. This was a Hizb ut Tahrir-related Facebook page which did exist and which was deleted recently. Presumably the idea was that I would write back and this would expose me as someone who works with Muslim extremists. This email address also contained the number “786”.

UPDATE (30 August) : Unsurprisingly, Flowers has now created an anonymous attack blog accusing me of being a member of the far left and of being in league with Islamic extremists. This is part of Flowers’ mental syndrome: when challenged or criticised, he reasserts his sense of self-empowerment with on-line creepiness that anyone with a bit of dignity would consider too demeaning to engage in. As I’ve said before, this isn’t so much a matter of politics as a case of psychological dysfunction.

Third Segment from CNN on Child-Witches

CNN’s Connect the World has now broadcast the third and final part of its investigation into child-witch stigmatisation in Nigeria (I blogged parts one and two over the past two days). As before, the segment began with a depressing scene: in this instance, a young widow weeping with fear and distress as she rejects her three children from her home. Apparently, one of their siblings had died, and the woman had been told that her other children had done it through witchcraft. Despite attempts to persuade her otherwise, she remained convinced that unless she cast out her other children, she would die too. Instead, they were taken to Sam Ikpe-Itauma’s hostel for protection; Sam explained that as stigmatised witches, the children were in danger of death.

The programme also featured interviews with Akwa Ibom State spokesman Aniekan Umanah and with Joachim Theis of UNICEF. Umanah, as noted in CNN’s accompanying text article, denied there is a particular problem in Nigeria and he complained that NGOs looking after the abandoned and abused children are misrepresenting the situation to make money. Although he did not go into details, presumably he had in mind Babajide Kolade-Otitoju’s hackwork accusations against Stepping Stones Nigeria, which I dealt with here. Umanah is a reactive figure – the state government only stirred itself to make a few arrests connected to child-witch abuse following the 2008 Channel 4 documentary on the subject amd CNN noted that no convictions have so far taken place. Theis made the point that although the state has good legislation, the justice system is too weak to follow up with prosecutions when the victims are marginal.

Theis also explained that UNICEF had commissioned its own report on the subject, and that the “evidence is pretty clear, and pretty overwhelming”. I wrote about the report here. He also called for leaders to mobilise on the issue, and to work with religious groups.

Following my blog entry on yesterday’s segment, I received a comment from Barrister Victor Ukutt, who represents “Apostle” Helen Ukpabio. You can see it, and my response, here.

More from CNN on Pastors and Child-Witches in Africa

CNN’s Connect the World has broadcast the second part of its series on children who are being stigmatised as witches in Africa, focusing on the role of pastors [UPDATE: video here]. The programme drew on the 2008 documentary Saving Africa’s Witch-Children, which I blogged on here, and we saw once again the sad sight of Mary, the terrified young girl who was threatened with death by angry villagers who thought she had poisoned their food by witchcraft.

Helen Ukpabio’s church featured, although she avoided an interview request. I mentioned yesterday that Ukpabio  has tried to have the hostel where Mary now lives shut down, accusing its director of being a “wizard”. As I’ve noted before, she differentiates herself from other pastors who claim to be able to diagnose witchcraft, in that she claims that only a simple and mild “deliverance” session is required to cure a child. However, as CNN noted, her teaching, as expressed in films such as End of the Wicked, has spread far beyond her church. The report also had an interview with Lucky Inyang, who works for the charity Stepping Stones Nigeria – he makes the point that children are cast out by their parents after deliverance fails. This means that Ukpabio’s teachings remain toxic: her “deliverance” sessions will have no beneficial effect on adults who have suffered misfortune, and so children will continue to be blamed.

There was also an interview with Mags Gavan, who directed Saving Africa’s Witch-Children. Gavan expressed her annoyance “that churches haven’t spoken out against this”, and urged churches ” to stand up”. She also noted that many pastors are conspicuously wealthy, and called for more pastors to be arrested and convicted. CNN did have a brief quote from Pastor Celestine Effiong, who denounces accusing children as witches as ignorant, but he appears to be a lone figure. I’ve made the point before now that some of these pastors – including Ukpabio – are part of a global neo-Pentecostal movement, and that their counterparts in the West ought to intervene.

The third part is tomorrow, and looks at how local authorities in Akwa Ibom have been dealing with the problem – and it doesn’t look encouraging. According to Aniekan Umanah, the state’s Information Commissioner, as quoted on the CNN website:

“There may be problems yes but it’s been blown out of proportion and people are capitalizing, on what ordinarily may be a social problem, across the globe in painting Akwa Ibom state black — that is the aspect we say no to. We will not allow the image of our state to be smeared.”

CNN Highlights Child-Witch Stigmatisation

CNN’s Connect the World is broadcasting a three-part series on child-witch stigmatisation; as with other reports on the subject (most notably the documentaries for Channel 4 I blogged on here and here), there are depressing and poignant scenes of battered and bewildered homeless children who have been cast out by their families in Nigeria, thanks to pastors who teach that misfortune can be attributed to children who are supposedly witches.

The first part contained input from Sam Ikpe-Itauma, who runs a hostel for stigmatised children, as well as Justin Bahunga of Africans Unite Against Child Abuse (which has dealt with ten cases of witchcraft-related child abuse in the UK so far this year; I blogged on the UK situation here), and Philip Alston, a UN Special rapporteur who has previously highlighted the problem. The segment with Sam can be seen here.

CNN also has a text report on the subject by Christian Purefoy, which notes the significance of Helen Ukpabio:

…One of the most notorious and influential pastors is Helen Ukpabio of Liberty Gospel Church. Her 1999 film, the widely distributed, “End of the Wicked” has been attacked by child rights groups for its depictions of Satan possessing children.

She had agreed to an interview but the meeting was continually postponed for two days.

But in her preaching at Liberty Gospel Church, she heralds success stories of how she has driven out demons through deliverance.

“Witches and wizards, they started getting afraid. I never gave them rest!” she shouted to a cheering congregation.

I’ve written about Ukpabio on numerous occasions, with the result that I have received a number of abusive messages from her followers. She has also tried to have Sam’s hostel shut down, accusing him of being a “wizard”.

Also supporting efforts to end child-witch stigmatisation is the Nigerian sceptic Leo Igwe; Leo’s father recent lost an eye in an assault by gunmen, and one of Ukpabio’s followers left a comment under my blog entry on the subject:

Richard Bartholomew, Leo Igwe, and his father are all useless fools. you people have not seen any thing yet. Bad dogs barking in vain.

Connect the World goes out in the UK at 9.00pm (Freeview channel 84), and part two of the investigation will be broadcast tomorrow.

Click the logo below for information about a charity working in this area.

Geller Slams “Half-Assed” NY Anti-Mosque Protest where Black American was Misidentified as Muslim and Abused

“Who organized this anti-mosque protest? Sharif El-Gamal?”

Pam Geller is complaining about a “ill-conceived botched mess of a protest” which took place close to Ground Zero yesterday, at which a black man was abused by members of the crowd who mistook him for a Muslim. However, her post leads with her objection to a Tweet by Max Blumenthal on the subject blaming her, and she tells us that the “notorious Jew hater” is “lying, slandering and making up racist propaganda against me again”:

I have no idea who organized this rally. Clearly, whoever organized this was careless, unprepared, shooting from the hip and harmful to the cause of freedom and compassion. I wasn’t even in the state, nor did I know anything about this half-assed effort…

The protest was organised by the “Coalition to Honor Ground Zero”, although this group’s leadership remains unclear – there is a list of some “organizations and individuals” who are opposed to the “Ground Zero Cordoba Initiative Mosque and Islamic Center”, but clearly most of these played no part in organising the event. However, the “Coalition” claims that the protest was endorsed by a number of groups:

The Bravest; 9/11 Families for a Safe and Strong America; Blue Collar Corner; Women United International; Center for Security Policy; Stop Shariah Now; ACT! For America and ACT! Manhattan; Congress on Racial Equality; Alliance for Interfaith Resistance; Human Rights Coalition Against Radical Islam; Sudan Freedom Walk; Proclaim Justice to the Nations, Dr. Herbert London of the Hudson Institute; North Country Patriots; Victory Baptist Church of the Bronx; Lori Lowenthal Marcus, Z Street; Florida Security Council; The Peace through Strength Institute; Free the First Amendment Committee; V-USA – Veterans United to Save America; New York City Firefighters Hockey Team; Christians and Jews United for Israel; and many other organizations and leaders, as well as local residents living in the Ground Zero area.

Simon Deng, Frank Gaffney, and James Lafferty are listed among the speakers, as is Tom Trento if the Florida Security Council. There is bad blood between Geller and Trento over the handling of the Rifqa Bary case, and it’s perhaps significant that Geller’s Stop Islamization of America (SIOA) does not get a mention anywhere. One gets the impression that the rally was an attempt to sideline Geller and Robert Spencer, and that she led with Blumenthal’s Tweet because it provided her with the material and the excuse for a counter-attack.

Also involved with yesterday’s rally was the “Hard Hat Pledge”, and the most aggressive abuser of the black man – calling him a “coward” and apparently challenging him to a fight – was wearing a blue hard hat. The “Hard Hat Pledge” exists for construction workers who wish to pledge that they will not assist with the construction of the mosque. According to the group’s founder, Andy Sullivan:

We feel we have been betrayed by our civic leaders and elected officials as they allow the Cordoba Initiative Group build their Mega-Mosque on top of the ashes of the 3,ooo innocents who were slaughtered on 911.

Sullivan is also an activist against Obama and big government, complaining that

I presently am a field super for the biggest union construction outfit on the east coast and doing better than most but what I hear from the cash cows of the city is nobody wants to spend a dime or invest it while this guy is in office. These fears are coming from Bank of America, Citigroup and J.P. Morgan Chase maybe you heard of them.

I’m sure that Sullivan would disapprove of how this particular “Hard Hat Pledge” member conducts himself in the video, although it does raise the obvious issue of whether construction workers who would be willing to work on the project will be subject to intimidation.

Sullivan praises Geller on his blog, although he also identifies some Muslims as “salt of the earth” and explains that he has no problem with the project if it is relocated. The “Coalition”, though, regards mosques as “Trojan Horses”, and there are two so-far blank pages on its site labelled “Boston Mosque” and “London Mosque”.

There was also an ugly moment at a prior rally at the same site in June, when two Copic Christians were misidentified as Muslims. I noted a previous spat between Geller and Blumenthal here.

UPDATE: Charles Johnson notes a neo-confederate presence at the rally.

UPDATE 2: Max adds:

Geller’s claim that she had “no idea” about the August 22 rally is ridiculous. According to the Daily Caller, “Beth Gilinsky, an organizer for The Coalition to Honor Ground Zero and founder of the Jewish Action Alliance, is coordinating the rally.” And Gilinsky and Geller have worked hand-in-glove for years.

UPDATE 3: Someone on Facebook has claimed that the black man in the video had tried to provoke the crowd with “racist rhetoric”, while Andrea Lafferty of the Traditional Values Coalition has complained that the video was supposedly made by someone working for ABC news, and that this person had asked aggressive questions to members of the crowd. Geller has publicised both claims under the bizarre heading “Blumenthal Busted” (she seems obsessed with him), exulting, semi-coherently, that “That wasn’t a racist, that was ABC News. Evil schmuck.” Whether this means that she no longer considers the rally to have been “half-assed” remains similarly unclear.

UPDATE 4: Geller now writes, in an update to her original post, that

This incident (above) that was blown out of all proportion by Blumenthal was not the Ground Zero rally, but a skirmish outside the Path train entrance.

So it wasn’t the rally itself, just the people who were on their way to the rally. Looks like Geller’s realised she’s insulted all the other right-wing “anti-Islamist” outfits who organised the event and is now trying to dig herself out of a hole with a preposterous bit of hair-splitting.

Scottish Bible Society Cites Incest Case as Evidence of “The Bible in Scots Law”

Lallands Peat Worrier has a scan of the full text of The Bible in Scots Law: A Guide for Legal Practitioners. This is a short pamphlet which the Scottish Bible Society has recently sent out to Scottish courts, along with copies of the Bible itself (even though the Bible is already available in courts anyway, for swearing-in purposes). One page of the pamphlet lists a number of topics with associated Bible verses; Worrier helpfully provides the relevant passages, and observes in marvellous style that

Noteably absent is a favourite passage, from Matthew 7:1: “Judge not, lest ye be judged”... Most of the passages are, predictably enough, from the Pentateuch. To my eye, the selections are sometimes elegant, sometimes obvious but mostly mildly absurd, tendentiously applicable and rather a-historically facile. I particularly appreciated the anachronistic pegging of passages alongside such eccentric categories as strict liability and health and safety law, “racial equality” and “disability rights”. Hardly a boon friend and rod for the jobbing sheriff or procurator fiscal, I fancy. The inclusion of adultery prompted a frisson.

The pamphlet also makes specific mention of a 2008 judgement:

The case of HMN v BL 2008 HCJAC 10 Dec 2008 illustrates how relevant the Bible still is, even in areas of substantive law.

Worrier has a link to the relevant document, which is an Appeal Court opinion concerning the case of a man having sex with his step-daughter some years before, while she was between the ages of 12 and 17; the judges determined that this counted as incest according to the 1567 Incest Act’s interpretation of Leviticus 18.  The Bible only came into the discussion because the offenses had occured prior to the commencement of the Incest and Related Offences (Scotland) Act 1986, and the accused had sought to turn the antiquity of the previous law to his advantage by suggesting it had been unclear. The opinion is a difficult read for those of us unversed in legalese; a Scottish law journal has a summary:

…When the 1567 Act was passed, the only version of the Bible then in use was the Geneva Bible. Accordingly, that was where one had to look for the relevant chapter. But if, as in the present case, one was prosecuted in Kilmarnock High Court in 2007/2008 for offences allegedly committed between 1976 and 1982, how would one find out whether one’s alleged incest was criminal under the 1567 Act? The court noted that there is only one copy of the Geneva Bible in the National Library of Scotland in Edinburgh.

The court rejected the respondent’s arguments that the law was not reasonably accessible and was formulated without sufficient precision. A person such as the respondent would seek legal advice on whether intercourse between stepfather and stepdaughter constituted incest; such advice would be based on the standard criminal law texts, which were unequivocal on the point. The true nature of the offence was foreseeable; and so the case was remitted to the trial judge to proceed as accords. No need to pore over the Geneva Bible; no need for further research in Scotland’s historical archives.

The law today states that:

Any step-parent or former step-parent who has sexual intercourse with his or her step-child or former step-child shall be guilty of an offence if that step-child is either under the age of 21 years or has at any time before attaining the age of 18 years lived in the same household and been treated as a child of his or her family…

Obviously, the concern here is that although there is no blood connection, issues of improper influence and informed consent come into play. But this would be alien to the mind of the author of Leviticus; he, rather, is concerned exclusively with how certain sexual unions “violate” God’s kinship categories. This includes adulterous unions between in-laws (e.g. a brother’s wife), which today would be regarded as a private matter, and homosexuality, which has not been a criminal offence in Scotland since 1980.

In other words, the idea that HMN v BL 2008 HCJAC “illustrates how relevant the Bible still is” is clutching at straws: the case dealt with exceptionally old matters, and neither the spirit nor a good chunk of the letter of Leviticus 18 applies to the law today.

Andrew Brown Notes Robert Spencer’s UK Supporters

At the Guardian, Andrew Brown takes a look at some Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller’s European links, noting the views of Anders Gravers of Stop Islamisation of Europe, Geller’s support for the English Defence League, and Spencer’s association with Douglas Murray. Last year’s dinner fiasco is raised:

Spencer was invited to supper by Murray of the Centre for Social Cohesion when he visited England last autumn, only for the evening to break up before it had even started when a bunch of EDL skinheads turned up at the restaurant, invited along by a supporter of Spencer who was making a video about him and had been interviewing them, too. The difference between the EDL and the various “Stop Islamisation of [your country here]” on the one hand, and the Centre for Social Cohesion on the other, while obvious to Murray, does not seem to have occurred to the American videomaker.

This was an incident I blogged on at the time. (The videomaker was Martin Mawyer, an anti-gay Christian fundamentalist. Spencer and Geller maintained that Mawyer’s views on homosexuality were his own affair, although they changed their minds and acted shocked when his views reached Dutch media and embarrassed Geert Wilders.)


Spencer was the subject of a fulsome interview in the Catholic Herald in 2007, which was, in turn, plugged by Damian Thompson in the Daily Telegraph; Thompson was then the Herald’s editor-in-chief, and now is a leader writer on the Telegraph. “Major bookstores, gutlessly, refuse to stock Spencer’s work,” wrote Thompson then, “so here is a link to his main titles…

Thompson and I quarrelled, terminally, when I criticised him for reprinting without checking another Spencer-linked story about a mob of Muslims closing down a hospital in Sydney, which turned out to originate from the imagination of a neo-fascist group there. He hasn’t spoken to me since. Neither, though, has he used anything from Spencer on his blog. It looks as if some of the respectable English right has learned its lesson, but in America, Spencer and Geller are still taken seriously.

No response from Thompson so far.