Writing on his Spectator blog, Martin Bright has threatened to sue ENGAGE over a piece they posted about his response to the MCB’s successful libel case against the BBC. (ENGAGE have understandably backed off in the face of Bright’s threats, and the piece now reads “Martin ‘The Great Koran Con Trick’ Bright criticises MCB libel win“.)
Bright objects to ENGAGE’s description of him as an “Islamophobe”. He writes:
“Under the disreputable headline ‘Veteran Islamophobe Martin Bright criticises MCB libel win’ an anonymous writer makes a seriesof unsubstantiated claims. I have already taken legal advice about this, although I wouldn’t have needed to do so to realise it is seriously defamatory. I object in the strongest terms to the way the insult ‘Islamophobe’ is thrown around so casually. It is essentially a charge of racism: the cheapest of shots and utterly without foundation….
“Should I take action against the Engage libel? As an anti-libel law campaigner it would provide an interesting moral conundrum. But it’s a serious defamation and my chances of success would be high.”
Oh yeah? Well, I can remember Bright telling a FOSIS conference at City Hall back in August 2005 that he had no problem being described as an Islamophobe – because, he said, there is a lot in Islam to be afraid of. He got himself booed, as you might expect. Around a hundred people were at the conference, so there is no lack of witnesses who can attest to this.
Here at Islamophobia Watch we have referred to Bright’s 2005 statement on numerous occasions, and on that basis we have described him as a “self-confessed Islamophobe“.
So if Bright would like to sue me – bring it on, I say. We might well consider a counter-claim against Bright himself over the piece in which he compared us to the notorious antisemite and Holocaust denier Michele Renouf.
Update: For further comment on Bright’s double standards on defamation, see Sunny Hundal’s post “Is Martin Bright libelling Mehdi Hasan?” over at Pickled Politics.