Martin Bright (of all people) to lead discussion on Islamophobia

martin_brightThe Festival of Spirituality and Peace in Edinburgh on 16 August features a session on the subject of “Antisemitism and Islamophobia”.

And who is the main speaker at this session? The festival programme informs us: “Martin Bright, political editor of the Jewish Chronicle (and formerly of the New Statesman) and presenter of C4’s Who Speaks for the Muslims? discusses Anti-Semitism and Islamophobia – and other expressions of discrimination or hate crime – with members of the Jewish and Muslim communities. When does comment or criticism of a group become discriminatory and how much objection to the criticism is ‘crying wolf’?”

The programme omits to mention that Bright is also notorious as the author of When Progressives Treat With Reactionaries, published by the right-wing propaganda organisation Policy Exchange, which depicted the MCB and other mainstream Muslim organisations as extremists and called on the government to break all links with them. Indeed, it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that Bright was hired by the Jewish Chronicle precisely because of his record in attacking representative Muslim organisations.

Is Bright really an appropriate person to introduce a discussion on Islamophobia – particularly at a festival billed as “a celebration of diverse cultures and communities”?