Letter to the Editor

This is the letter which I have sent to the Guardian:

Dear Sir

The Guardian has today published a Comment piece by Sa’ad al-Fagih. Al-Fagih is described as “a leading exiled Saudi dissident and director of the Movement for Islamic Reform in Arabia”. I am concerned that the Guardian does not know that on 23 Dec 2004, Mr Al-Fagih was included on the United Nations 1267 Committee consolidated list of individuals belonging to or associated with the Al Qaida organisation.

My concern is this. If the Comments Editor of the Guardian did not know that al-Fagih is included on the United Nations list, he should have known. If he did know, the article should have informed your readers of al-Fagih’s status.

The reason that is is important that al-Fagih’s inclusion on the United Nations list should have been disclosed with the article is as follows. Without that knowledge, the Guardian’s readers have no means of judging the perspective from which al-Fagih is writing. With that knowledge, the article can be read as setting out the position of those who share Al Qaeda’s philosophy, on the Government’s response to the terrorist attacks of the 7th and 21st July. The inclusion of of Mr al-Fagih’s name on the United Nations list is in any event a highly material piece of information, which makes his article considerably more important than it would otherwise be.

My view is that, as a liberal and progressive newspaper, the Guardian should not be publishing, without context or criticism, what appears to be a propaganda piece for a theocratic and totalitarian terrorist organisation. However I appreciate that this is a matter of judgement for the Guardian.

David T, Harry’s Place blog