Right-wing thinktank Policy Exchange's latest report into the Muslim community has implicated Edinburgh Central Mosque in apparently distributing hate literature.
They have said that the material in question called for apostates from Islam to be killed. The mosque have not made official comment themselves, but I've spoken to people close to them who say that this is not something they stock or distribute. Further, as evidenced during an event at their Islam Festival held during August, their view on apostasy is that everyone should have the right to practice religion as they see fit. This includes leaving Islam.
I've spent half a day fielding calls from the media on what is really a non-issue. Policy Exchange themselves say they only found one offending piece of literature, which was about killing apostates. There have been no killings of apostates in Edinburgh to date. Clearly, if this was something they were promoting, they're not very good at it.
The Times covered it today and tomorrow the Daily Mail and The Herald will follow suit. BBC Reporting Scotland had it at the top of their bulletins today, and Newsnight Scotland also have it as their top story. Why? If they think this has something to do with terror, I'm sorry folks, it's not. Even if the mosque were guilty as charged, it would be grossly intolerant and wrong, yes. Producing suicide bombers, no.
The Policy Exchange report is clearly timed to coincide with Saudi state visit, fingering them as it does in disseminating this kind of illiberal literature. Despite this, the Times today was strong in its criticism of our mosques, concluded that the Saudis were guilty of sending the material here, but oddly that we should remain friends with them.
Vince Cable is right in not taking part in the pomp of the Saudi state visit. I heard someone from the business community on the radio saying that we had too much trade with the state to be worrying about human rights there. We are not going to starve without Saudi cash.