Martin Bright

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Martin Bright is the political editor of the Jewish Chronicle.[1] He also blogs at The Spectator.[2] Bright is a former political editor of the New Statesman.[3] Bright is married to Vanessa Thorpe, the Observer’s arts correspondent.[4]

The great Koran con trick

In 2001 the New Statesman published an article by Bright titled "The great Koran con trick" which cited, among others, the work of Gerald Hawting, Patricia Crone and Michael Cook to question the authenticity of the Quran.[5]All three historians took exception to Bright's interpretation of their work.[6]Bright's former teacher and SOAS professor Gerald Hawting wrote:

The spurious air of conspiracy and censorship conjured up in Martin Bright's article is nonsense. All of the named scholars whose 'conclusions' are said to be so 'devastating' for Islam hold or held senior positions in front-rank universities and their books are published by leading university presses and other houses, freely available for anyone who cares to read them.
I did not 'warn' (whatever that might mean) the journalist concerned not to publish the article, and the 'decent obscurity' I suggested was for the right-wing and fundamentalist websites by which he is so fascinated. Penguin Books has not 'postponed' the publication of 'a controversial new history of Islam' by me. I was never contracted to them to write such a work. The implication that John Wansbrough was the founder of SOAS was probably the result of slipshod editing*, but the suggestion that his decision to live in France following retirement reflects a desire to live in 'obscurity' (a faraway country of which we know little!) is mere embroidery.[7]

When Progressives Treat with Reactionaries

In August 2005, Bright wrote in The Observer that "far from being moderate, the Muslim Council of Britain has its origins in the extreme orthodox politics in Pakistan. And as its influence increases through Whitehall, many within the Muslim community are growing concerned that this self-appointed organisation is crowding out other, genuinely moderate, voices of Muslim Britain."[8]

It was reportedly as a result of this article that Bright was contacted by a Foreign Office source who provided him with the material for a Channel Four documentary, Who Speaks for Muslims? and a Policy Exchange pamphlet.[9]

Published in July 2006, the pamphlet, When Progressives Treat with Reactionaries, accused the British Government of "pursuing a policy of appeasement towards radical Islam that could have grave consequences for Britain" through the Foreign Office's Engaging with the Islamic World Group and the Government's engagement with the Muslim Council of Britain.[10] It included a series of documents leaked by Bright's source, civil servant Derek Pasquill.[11] According to Bright, he chose a "slightly provocative publisher, because I believe a coalition of the left and right needs to be built around this issue."[12]

Policy Exchange has claimed[13] that this pamphlet influenced Communities Secretary Ruth Kelly to change the Government's relations with Muslim organisations.[14]


In May 2008, Bright traveled "in Israel with a group of four other journalists as a guest of BICOM, a British organisation set up to improve Israel's image in the media."[15]


Contact, References and Resources




Articles by Bright


Related Articles


  1. Ian Burrell, A gentile voice that's set to trigger some heated debate, The Independent, 14 September 2009.
  2. Martin Bright, The Opening Salvo, The Bright Stuff,, 6 February 2009.
  3. Stephen Brook and James Robinson, Martin Bright leaves New Statesman,, 233 January 2009.
  4. Nick Cohen, Gordon Brown: the Fear and the Filth, Standpoint, 31 January 2010
  5. Martin Bright, The great Koran con trick, New Statesman, 10 December 2001.
  6. Dismissal of the Koran is offensive and counter-productive, New Statesman, 17 December 2001.
  7. Dismissal of the Koran is offensive and counter-productive, New Statesman, 17 December 2001.
  8. Martin Bright, Radical links of UK's 'moderate' Muslim group, The Observer, 14 August 2005.
  9. James Silver, Politically Correct - Interview: Martin Bright, The Guardian, 6 October 2007.
  10. When Progressives Treat with Reactionaries (pdf), by Martin Bright, Policy Exchange, 1 July 2006.
  11. 'Brave' official praised for leak, BBC News, 9 January 2008.
  12. James Silver, Politically Correct - Interview: Martin Bright, The Guardian, 6 October 2007.
  13. Terrorism and Security, Policy Exchange, accessed 6 March 2008.
  14. Britain: our values, our responsibilities, Ruth Kelly, Communities and Local Government, 11 October 2006.
  15. Martin Bright, The great betrayal, The New Statesman, 15 May 2008.