Hurrah! A setback for the enemies of free speech

8 May 2014

This has been a bad month for those who want to shut down free speech in Britain.

First there was the wholesale failure of Fiyaz Mughal (whose ‘work’ I have written about before). Readers will recall that Mr Mughal – whose website, Tell Mama, claims to record and counter ‘Islamophobia and anti-Muslim hatred’ – used the immediate aftermath of the murder of Drummer Lee Rigby to claim hysterically that, ‘The scale of the backlash is astounding… there has been a massive spike in anti-Muslim prejudice’. He also used the opportunity to attack the UK government’s counter-terrorism policy. All this before Drummer Rigby – who some people may remember was killed in an actual attack by two Islamic extremists – was buried.

The Sunday Telegraph subsequently revealed that Tell Mama’s study was completely wrong. Among many other things Tell Mama had conflated actual incidents with virtual online expressions of hatred and failed to do even the most basic checks, reporting all claims as facts. In a follow-up story the Sunday Telegraph also revealed that:

‘The organisation has received a total of £375,000 from the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) since last year. “Mr Mughal was giving data on attacks to DCLG which wasn’t stacking up when it was cross-referenced with other reports by Acpo [the Association of Chief Police Officers],” said one source closely involved in counter-extremism. He was questioned by DCLG civil servants and lost his temper. He was subsequently called in by [Liberal Democrat MP] Don Foster and told that he would receive no more money.’

Well, unsurprisingly Mughal didn’t like these facts being exposed to public view and did everything he could to try to reclaim his credibility. I believe his attempt to be what people on Twitter call an ‘epic fail.’

First he tried to sue the Telegraph. Not for the reports, but for a column following on from them by that well known extremist Charles Moore. (The column in question is available here.) Mughal claimed that the typically intelligent and sobering piece by Charles Moore somehow gave the impression that Mughal was a ‘Muslim extremist… more extremist in his views and actions than the far-right extremists in the English Defence League’ and a ‘hypocrite’ who ‘falsely portrays himself as being anti-extremist’.  And so he sued.

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Happily there has just been a ruling in the case where Mr Justice Tugendhat said that there was ‘little scope …for restrictions on political speech or on debate on questions of public interest’, and said that Charles Moore was entitled to criticise Mughal’s views.

But what a month in the courts it has been for Mr Mughal. It is only a few weeks since he had another legal attempt thrown out of court. On that occasion Mr Mughal had attempted to sue a Twitter user who had referred to Mughal as a ‘Mendacious Grievance-Mongering Taqiyya-Artist’. (‘Taqiyya’ is a concept in Shia Islam which permits believers to lie in certain circumstances.) Last month at Birmingham magistrates’ court Mughal’s claim of racially aggravated harassment was thrown out by the judge who said that ‘the prosecution had manifestly failed to meet the bar required.’ Just another day in court for Mr Mughal.

But at least he has some small residual sense. For he failed to back up another great time-waster of the British police and public called ‘Mo Ansar’. This man, someone who has absolutely no history or CV but who pretends to be one of the great Muslim figures of our age, apparently spends his life and career on Twitter. Apart from the occasional brief media appearance, this seems the only medium on which Mo has any identity. Although now, after some online digging, it appears that he may in fact have several such identities.

Anyhow, sometime in March Mo was engaging in his second favourite pastime, having lengthy discussions with himself via his apparent Twitter sock-puppets and praising his own media appearances, when suddenly he seems to have engaged in his absolutely top favourite pastime and reported someone to the police for ‘Islamophobia’. The person in question was the wonderful Iain Dale: blogger, radio host and all-round good thing. To cut a long story short one day on Twitter (as himself) Mo was defending the now dead head of Birmingham Central mosque (a lunatic who believed that the 7/7 bombers did not carry out the 7/7 attacks).  And when Iain objected to this and other things Mo was saying, Mo suddenly decided to report Iain to the police. The reasons given were that he thought Iain had ‘violated his dignity’ and said things which Mo said he ‘consider[ed] prejudiced and targeted towards me based on my race or religion.’ Foremost among these claims appeared to be the fact that Iain had said that he would never again have Mo on his LBC show. For Mo, being barred from a radio talk show is as fearsome as being shot and disappeared would be for most of us.

Anyhow, after considerable and protracted unpleasantness for Iain Dale, the police have decided that no crime has been committed. Iain writes about the whole horrible business here. It is a devastating tale. An account of how a sinister buffoon can waste a lot of good peoples’ time for no good end. Nevertheless, in his piece Iain does praise Tell Mama for ignoring Mo’s request to jump on his bandwagon and backing him in that particular claim.

So why do I go into this tawdry business? For several reasons. First, because such tales have become the absolute norm in this country; being frivolously legally harassed is now something you must get used to should you ever tread into contentious territory – such as taking a dim view of something false said by anyone who holds themselves out as a ‘moderate’ Muslim. That can come to a blogger, a tweeter or a respected former editor of the Telegraph. But the aim is the same: to shut down free speech and debate. And in particular to persuade people that it is best not to speak out because the cost of doing so has become so off-putting.

But one other thing this shows is far more serious. Both Mo and Mughal are regularly presented in the media as ‘moderate’ Muslims. As Maajid Nawaz has recently shown, Mo is no such thing. But most people don’t want to go into the details. As long as you sound nice, wear the right clothes, put the correct amount of eyeliner on and simply show up, you can get the job. Yet the striking thing about both these two men trying and failing to shut down legitimate criticism of themselves is that they so evidently misunderstand the laws of the country they are trying to influence. Both have been a tremendous drain on the resources of our country, our police and courts. Both clearly have no concept whatsoever of the long and important tradition of free speech in this country. Both misunderstand the point of the rule of law and the role of the police and judicial authorities, believing they are there to shield them from legitimate criticism.

For my part, I cannot help thinking that such frivolous claims like these should cost the complainant rather more than they currently do. Until there is as serious a cost to making such frivolous and costly claims as there is to the people they are made against, these legal tourists will continue to push their wares unhindered.

But for now, rejoice! The latest attempts to end our historic freedoms have failed in the most beautiful ways possible.

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Show comments
  • Abigail Appiah


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  • Abigail Appiah


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    Best wishes,


  • Al

    Very good, Douglas. But considering that you have continually attempted to silence your critiques through legal threats, you’re hardly a champion of free speech.

  • KC2013

    Couldn’t help but laugh at Mughal losing against Tim Burton in court. He is an attention seeker which is proven by the fact he gave evidence via video link as he was concerned for his safety by attending in person. What a bell end!

  • KC2013

    Couldn’t help but laugh at Mughal losing against Tim Burton in court. He is an attention seeker which is proven by the fact he gave evidence via video link as he was concerned for his safety by attending in person. What a bell end!

  • londondave

    Where on earth would Muslim Supremacists get the idea that the “law” is to be used to close down free speech, intimidate opposition, and generally bully people who don’t like their little death cult.

    Why from whatever tribal crap-hole they can trace their lineage back to.
    Pakistan, for instance.

  • Coleridge1

    First class piece. It’s a wonder why so few commentators have the courage to take on the fascist, Women-stoning, Gay-hanging, Jew-hating ideology of Islamism that is spreading like cancer through our schools and universities.
    Islamists with dubious residential status should be deported back to apartheid Pakistan.
    Islamists who use the Koran to spread hatred against Gays, Christians, Jews or Hindus should be prosecuted and proscribed for being in possession of the Koran.

    • tokoloshiman


  • Blazingcatfur

    Fabulous piece.

  • Ethan

    Does anyone really care? Britain sold its soul decades ago. Britain’s future is a multiple choice option: a) just like the Middle East was last week; b) just like the Middle East was a century ago; c) just like the Middle East was when Mohammad (pbuh) walked the Earth. British elites decided decades ago that Britain’s traditional population was unsatisfactory to their needs. And the average Brit-on-the-street has been going along with it for years and years. I’m afraid the term “just desserts” comes to mind.

    • James Lovelace

      “the average Brit-on-the-street has been going along with it for years and years. ”

      A standard pattern in wars is for the invaders of a country to kill the intelligentsia and the middle class. Muslims had no need to do that in the west. The academics, clergy, journalists all whitewashed islam, back in the 1960s. In 1973 islamic scholars produced a 2nd edition of a classic collection of essays on islam from the 1930s. The only change? An article by communist Maxine Rodinson, which warned that the Left and the churches have been lying about the evils of islam for years.

      So, don’t blame the average Brit. Blame the clergy, the academics, the Left, the journalists, the politicians. They are the people with the knowledge and the positions of power as gatekeepers of public discourse. They control what is remembered and what is forgotten, they frame the debates.

      They have betrayed their people. There’s not even any sign they did it for 30 pieces of silver. When the civil war starts, muslims won’t need to decapitate the middle class. They are willing agents of the enemy of the British people.

      • Moa

        Look up “Cultural Marxism” and the “Frankfurt School”. Also check out “Antonio Gramsci”. Islam is a symptom, the cause of the affliction is Cultural Marxism (rampant in your universities, media and political parties – except for UKIP).

  • BigCheddar

    Good piece, thank you

  • simon

    how very true, characters such as these are proof of one or both of two things – that Britain is a democracy or that we are absolute fools for putting up with this nonsense

  • BBC Farage

    Oh yes, I have seen him in Great Immigration Row @ Channel 5. Polish Ambassador accepted invitation to attend the panel opposite Kate Hopkins and this Mo guy. Disgrace!

  • Agrippina

    You have to ask why the DCLG handed over nearly £400k of taxpayers monies to an unknown, without any proper checks. Why such a large sum to an unknown person who holds himself out as an expert/community leader the other favourite handle they like to use.

    Secondly, why do the radio & TV have any old twit on their progs, who claims to be some sort of expert, a little bit of due dilligence would not go amiss.

    If these individuals continue to issue spurious claims, then those affected should apply to place them on the vexatious litigants list.

    The problem lies with a weak and pathetic governing class that gives in to them at every turn. It has encouraged them to behave outrageously and without fear.

  • lookout

    Psalm 83, judgement on islam

  • Teddy Bear

    This has been a bad month for those who want to shut down free speech in the Britain.
    While I wish I could rejoice, it’s somehow muted by the ridiculous recent demonisation of Paul Weston and Jeremy Clarkson led by the left wing Ministry of Thought (BBC).

    I’m just waiting for the Mo in Eeny Meeny Miney… to be determined to be blasphemy.

  • Keith D

    In truth theres only three ways this whole avoidable mess can end.

    Islam in the West embraces a reformation. Likelihood….Nada. Islam gets even more repressive by the day.

    We get sick of being boiled like frogs and reclaim our liberties along with our country and values. Likelihood, small but increasing. Will increase exponentially if we get rid of the pro immigration toxic three.

    Or, we let them win, and if we do, our kids will never forgive us.

    • James Lovelace

      Muslims are 21% of young offenders, 14% of normal inmates, 43% of max-security inmates. Muslim academics have pointed out that changes to the 2011 Census meant that suddenly 7% of the UK’s population refused to state their religion – the academics believe this 7% to be mostly muslims. That would put the muslim population of the UK at 12% (which is still far less than the amount of meat which is halal: 25%).

      I have no kids. But time is running out for those of you who do have kids. The future of the UK is likely to be civil war, within 10 to 20 years. There have been at least 4 large-scale riots by muslims in England since 2009; only 1 of these was ever reported by the media. The riots that happened in Bradford and Oldham in 2001 and 2002, were almost certainly linked to locals protesting about grooming gangs, and the muslims responding to those protests with riots. It’s no accident that the government was pouring huge amounts of money into Bradford in the mid 1990s to conceal the grooming problem; the grooming continued, and by 2001 there were “race riots” (i.e. muslims were rioting).

      Chapter 4 of this book explains the chronology of the grooming gangs.

  • judyk113

    Superb post, Douglas. Love the bit about the right amount of eyeliner. I suspect you might get a very angry libel lawyer letter for that one…By the way, Mohammed Shafiq, who Julia Harris refers to below, is not just another “angry British Muslim” with a chip on his shoulder. He is the plausible sounding besuited front man for the Ramadhan Foundation, which has a track record of promoting and praising Islamist extremist hate preachers who call for the murder of gays, Jews and Hindus, as well as Muslims they deem to be not Islamist enough.

    • James Lovelace

      I kept asking Mohammed Shafiq why the “spiritual leader” of the Ramadhan Foundation was someone who called for gay people to be killed. Shafiq did nothing but make excuses.

      Finally I tweeted Tommy Robinson about it, and he started asking that question. Only then was this horrific “spiritual leader” of Shafiq’s foundation removed from the website (I wouldn’t be surprised if the same Sheikh isn’t still giving guidance to Shafiq, just not in public).

      How come a score of our journalists had interviewed moderate Mo Shafiq in the previous 5 years, without one of them pointing out that killing gay people is not very moderate? Why were the media giving credibiliity to this man, who had to be publicly shamed into removing any reference to this “Spiritual guide” from his organisation’s website?

  • James Lovelace

    Tommy Robinson exposed Mo Ansar in the documentary “When Tommy Met Mo”. Yet it’s Tommy Robinson who’s in prison.

    • Pootles

      For mortgage-related fraud. If Robinson had only had the sense to be a New Labour big-wig before he gave incorrect information on a mortgage application, then, who knows, he might not be inside. Odd, too, that despite the endless stream of death threats that Robinson received via twitter etc, not one person seems to have been prosecuted for them. Funny. But not really laugh out loud funny.

      • Agrippina

        Tommy should have applied to the DCLG who appear to give out our monies to any old mossie claiming to be an expert.

        He could have said he was setting up some sort of office to counter islamists who would harm us Brits and see if he could walk away with £400k, that would have paid his mortgage.

        • Pootles

          Yes. That’s another ‘funny’ thing too – how our governments seem to think that a good part of any counter-terror/extremist strategy is trying to buy people off. Same thing happened in N.Ireland where plenty of UK money went into boosting Irish language and culture. That worked. Not.

  • NedMissingTeeth

    Death by a thousand cuts. It’s happening right now and the process is gaining traction. We have sleepwalked into a nightmare.

    • global city

      No, we have been deliberately sent down this path by the multicultural fetishists and the progressive left.

  • zanzamander

    Both have been a tremendous drain on the resources of our country, our police and courts.

    You see, that is their aim — to be a drain on the resources of this country. Why do you think so many hate preachers and Islamists are living on the dole in council houses? That in itself is a victory for them. Jihad comes in various shapes and forms, this being one of them — being a royal pain and a drain.

  • FrenchNewsonlin

    The blame lies with the “hate speech” legislation and other “Newspeak” that provides these “victimologists” with their dubious claims on legitimacy. The campaign for free speech should involve removing these travesties from statute books in the UK and elsewhere in the EU. It is abject pandering to demagogues to allow such uncivilised, time-wasting and costly nonsense to continue.

  • Julia Harris

    brilliantly said Douglas, they are along with Mo Shafiq + Medhi Hasan some of the worst examples of British Muslims…angry with chips on there shoulders and distorted views of fairness and freedom.

    • James Lovelace

      The problem is, no “moderate” muslim will condemn/criticise the behaviour of Mohammed. This image of how Mohammed behaved comes from ISLAMIC texts. He is shown to be a mass-murderer, a slave-taker, a rapist, a vindictive & greedy torturer, an assassin of critics.

      If the “moderate” muslims still think that this behaviour is perfectly moral, what hope does the west have for any kind of non-violent future with muslims living among us?

      • JackyTreehorn

        I work with very well educated professional Muslims. On the whole they are kind considerate good eggs, what I find worrying is fact they have no idea about what Mohammed was like. Once in conversation with a colleagues about Islam I asked him what he thought about killing those that left the faith, I expected him to immediately condemn it but amazingly he had a go at trying to justify it, he never attended mosque but spoke very highly of Mohamed saying he never hurt a hair of anybody’s head.

        • James Lovelace

          What you are witnessing is the sheer brilliance of the islamic system (don’t get me wrong – I hate islam, it is Ur-Fascism).

          Islam is entirely predicated on separating the world into Us and Them. The koran is obsessive about saying (alternately) muslims are victims/muslims are superior, and on denigrating the non-muslims (and disbelief). Muslims are imbued with this throughout their lives.

          The koran is an impenetrable mess – the chapters have no logical order (not thematic, not chronological). You can find chronologically-ordered korans (but they are uncommon). Then it becomes clearer – Mohammed moved from preaching (relative) tolerance to preaching robbery, killing, apartheid and genocide.

          Add to this, many muslims are made to switch off to the koran, by being made as children to learn to recite it from memory. It just becomes a semantically-meaningless system of punishment and domination.

          In this context, the imams (leaders) can then tell muslims what they need to know, in order for islam to advance in that society. So, in our society (muslims being 5%) they are told the more peaceful verses. However, they are still inculcated with the “us v. them” mentality. And they are told that Mohammed was attacked and he fought back and they must do the same.

          They are now primed to present the view of islam that is needed to slowly take over that society. When the proportion of muslims is far greater, the more violent supremacist parts are brought to the fore.

          Muslims CANNOT criticise Mohammed. They’ve had it beaten into them that he is the perfect man. I’ve seen “moderate” muslims defend slave-taking, genocide, etc. done by Mohammed. Most will simply deny he ever did these things (whether they are honest or deceitful in this denial, I cannot know).

          I’ve known people who converted to islam. They were appalled to hear muslims saying in private, that non-muslims were litterally walking piles of faeces.

          • global city

            and the progressive Left have made common cause with Islam, as being anti ‘us’ is enough for the herd of stupid bores.

          • Kamil Hussain

            It seems youre knowledge of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) is very low.

            I am a muslim. Not because I wished to be part of a group or elite club. Neither just because my family members are muslims.
            Rather I have always searched for the truth, the absolute truth, which affirmed for me my faith in ALLAH and HIS perfectt messenger peace be upon him.

            I did ask and probe for answers regarding all the objections you wrote about and I found the answers all made sense.

            I was born and raised in Britain. I am also a sunni muslim. I absolutely detest terrorism and injustice toward the innocents but I am not ashamed to defend the islamic concepts such as slave trade or punishments stated in the quran,

            After seeing people like mo ansar and majid nawaz, both of whom seem to be ashamed of the islamic rulings. I dont bla,e you so much for getting the wrong idea of islam (to a certain degree) because after reading any verse you should find the background to it also. These two fools cannot provide you with any of that. They are still judge the world through a scope clouded by their personal views on how islam should be. A sad reality for most people nowadays. Not a trait found in most intellectuals.

            I see islam as the perfect way of life regardless of the country you reside in.

            reply if you have any questions.

            Kamil Hussain

            • James Lovelace

              “I absolutely detest terrorism and injustice toward the innocents but I am not ashamed to defend the islamic concepts such as slave trade or punishments stated in the quran,”

              Explain to us the difference between Mohammed, who killed 100s of people (including boys with any trace of pubic hair), and a terrorist.

              Explain to us the difference between a terrorist and those critics of Mohammed (some of whom were women) that the founder of islam had assassinated by his mercenaries.

              Explain to us the difference between a terrorist and Mohammed, who had his mercenaries burn down a mosque containing muslims who would not go to war.

              Since you see slavery, beheadings, burning of muslims in mosques, the killing of children, assassination, etc. as “the perfect way of life” I really don’t think there are any grounds for discussion between you and a human being.

              • Kamil Hussain

                i didnt say anything about supporting beheadings, burning of anyone, killing of children or anything you wrote.
                Take a deep breath answer without being overwhelmed with passion.

                Firstly I would like for you to provide references for the actions you described the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him, to have committed,

                Muslims have an idea of accurately quoting the words of the Prophet rather than getting carried away with anyrhing we read on google. Also by stating a reference I will be able to find the context and relate the details back to you.

                So for this post I will only describe the idea of slavery in Islam.
                Yes, Islam allows the owning of slaves but the owner has certain rights over that slave such as kindness. This means treating the slave as a member of your own family so a male slave would be considered a brother or son figure and a female slave like a wife or daughter figure. The owner would be required to provide accommodation, food and clothing for the slave.

                This idea of kindness towards a slave was emphasised by the prophet because in his time people treated slaves like we understand it to be now ie beating anfd torturing them,
                Knowing full well that people will not just free their slave the Prophet set ground rules for owners of slaves. This meant that slaves were given back their human rights.

                An example of this is the slave of the Prophet anas ibn malik. He was a slave of the Prophet for over ten years. His father was also a slave. Later in life his father was freed by his owner and set out in search of his son. He approached the Prophet peace be upon him, and asked him to free his son anas so that they may start a new life together,
                The Prophet peace be upon him, called anas outside giving him the choice of leaving with his father as a free man.
                The reply was along the lines of ‘how can i choose to leave you for anyone, Oh Prophet of ALLAH!’

                This is an authentic narration, My question to you is that if slavery was a terrible experience for ALL slaves then why did Anas decide to remain a slave?? He had enough witnesses to leave without being compelled by anyone but he chose to stay.

                Please don’t misunderstand me. I believe the majority cases of slavery are wrong and the treatment of slaves is horrific however the Holy Prophet peace be upon Him, condemned such actions so please don’t associate this negative connotation of slavery to him or islam.

                • rodger the dodger

                  Very funny. It is a satirical post, right?

  • Donafugata

    These people believe they are doing their duty by doing anything they can to ruin us.
    It’s not possible for all of them to be suicide bombers but they can all find ways to drain us dry, unless, of course, we put a stop to their antics.

    And these are the so-called moderates.

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