Quilliam, New Labour and the witch-hunt of Osama Saeed

Osama and AlexCraig Murray responds to the disgraceful attempt by Ed Husain and his mates to smear Osama Saeed:

“The party political nature of the Quilliam Foundation is shown in their astonishing and completely unbalanced attack on Osama Saeed, a prominent SNP candidate and a friend of mine. They try to portray him as an Islamic extremist. If Osama is an Islamic extremist, then I am a Blairite.

“For New Labour to have even the faintest hope of a respectable performance at the general election, they must protect their Scottish base against the SNP. This pathetic attempt to smear the SNP as connected to Islamic extremism is a blatant abuse of taxpayers’ money….

“The real scandal here is not Osama Saeed, who is a good man dedicated to freedom and to bringing Scotland’s Muslim community into its mainstream politics. The real story is the blatant misuse of taxpayer funds by New Labour.”

Personally I’m not convinced that this is the Quilliam Foundation’s actual motive for their attempt to instigate a witch-hunt against Osama. It’s better understood as a particularly vicious product of their general campaign against Islamism.

But the fact remains that an organisation in receipt of large sums of money from the government is using these resources to smear a prominent member of a party opposed to Labour, and this is already being openly exploited for party-political purposes. How can this possibly be justified?

Meanwhile, over at Harry’s PlaceTom Gallagher adds his support for the Quilliam witch-hunt. Feigning surprise at the forthright response by an SNP spokesperson (“the Quilliam foundation has zero credibility … when we are all working to build unity, the very last thing we need is people with no knowledge of Scotland spreading nastiness and smears”), Gallager writes:

“I would like to think that there are still civic-minded folk in the SNP prepared to acknowledge that the Quilliam Foundation is well-meaning and only has good intentions towards Scotland and even the SNP itself.”

Indeed, Gallagher has a friendly proposal to make: “Would it not be a constructive step for Alex Salmond, perhaps on one of his visits to the House of Commons where he still sits as an MP, to invite Ed Husain and Maajid Nawaz for tea to hear their views about Islam in its highly politicised forms?”

Don’t, as they say, hold your breath.