Spectator forced to apologise to Islam Expo

Inayat Bunglawala drew our attention yesterday to an apology published in the Spectator, a British right-wing political magazine (a tedious rag where people flaunt whatever privilege and bigotry they might have). It reads:

Stephen Pollard and the Spectator apologise for the unintended and false suggestion in a blog published on 15 July 2008 that Islam Expo Limited is a fascist party dedicated to genocide which organised a conference with a racist and genocidal programme. We accept that Islam Expo’s purpose is to provide a neutral and broad-based platform for debate on issues relating to Muslims and Islam.

Stephen Pollard is editor of the Jewish Chronicle and the smears he wrote in an earlier edition were sourced from Harry’s Place.

To begin with, Islam Expo isn’t a party, it’s a business which puts on an annual event in a big conference venue in London where there are speeches, exhibitions and entertainment and stalls from Muslim charities and businesses (or just those which might interest Muslims). I’ve never been to it, but I have been to a similar event, Global Peace and Unity. There is nothing remotely fascist about any of it; there are speeches and the speakers come from almost the entire spectrum of Islamic thought, including various preachers, thinkers, writers, charity workers, politicians etc including from some outside the Muslim community.

There was a time when using the word nazi or fascist in response to anything you don’t like was held to be trivialising of what the real thing led to in the past. Fascism has certain characteristics, including personality cults promoted heavily by the state, an oppressive one-party form of politics and a heavy government hand in the economy. These things exist in parts of the Muslim world today, but just because Sayyid Qutb or early thinkers of the Muslim Brotherhood were influenced by European fascists, it doesn’t make the Muslim Brotherhood fascist to this day. Certainly, it doesn’t make any event in which people from any organisation connected to the Muslim Brotherhood participate fascist.

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