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Catherine Fieschi, Director of Demos, responds to Nick Cohen. Sort of

In the thread below, Catherine Fieschi says:

This is the one and only post I’m going to contribute to this string of inanities. First of all it’s good to know that the main price we seem to have to pay for ‘dealing with the MB’ is the wrath of the commentariat and the hysterical blog-postings of people whose world seems to not extend far beyond their computer screen (I mean whoever put up that ‘genocidal’ ranting post–please, get a life; get a grip. You’re going to faint. Is this the most excitement you’ve had in a while? do you need a quiet moment, or for your Mommy to come pick you up? have you learnt too many big words for one week?). Second, we’re a research organisation–that’s what we do. Research. We’re interested in the links between violent and non-violent Islamism. We know they exist and we also know that they’re hugely problematic. How do you suggest we carry out this research without talking to anyone involved? Shall we all sit back and rant and rave, and disappear up our own ideological assumptions or shall we have a go at a real fight? no, not as you suggest by promoting one brand of extremism against another, but by investigating, by looking for allies, by looking for people who we might influence, who might be a weak link in a chain about which we harbour few illusions. By talking, bluntly, to all those people who were in the big hall at IslamExpo. I realise it’s far more comfortable to preach to, er, the converted as it were, but we thought it would be interesting to engage with people who might disagree and find out what they think. So, what’s interesting here is that doing this places you beyond the pale of the so called Liberal intelligentsia. Demos is carrying out research on this–despite the affirmations on various sites, none of it is clear cut; It is a fast-evolving and extremely fluid set of ideological and tactical relationships and for all sorts of reasons (community safety and cohesion, operational and security imperatives, issues of fairness, justice and human rights) they’re worth investigating. And when we were asked to participate, we insisted on a large, public platform to debate Demos’ research on Islamism in exchange for agreeing to organise a single session in a two-day long academic/specialist seminar. That’s not about pandering, or appeasement, it’s about gathering the material we need to be effective in combating extremism.

Well, that’s us told!

Gene adds: According to Sunny at Pickled Politics, Catherine Fieschi has resigned as director of Demos. He also takes some pokes at Ed Husain and Maajid Nawaz of the Quilliam Foundation. As far as I can tell, part of his problem with them is their failure to equate Osama bin Laden with George Bush.

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