Belfast Telegraph

Death of Europe author Murraywill face Belfast festival protest

By David Young

Best-selling author Douglas Murray will face a protest when he visits Belfast to speak at the Belfast Book Festival tonight.

Murray's latest book, The Strange Death of Europe: Immigration, Identity, Islam, is currently at No 1 on the London Evening Standard's non-fiction list, and at No 18 in the Amazon UK best-seller chart.

In the book, Murray argues that Europe is a continent and culture caught in the act of suicide.

He claims declining birth-rates, mass immigration and cultivated self-distrust and self-hatred have come together to make Europeans unable to argue for themselves and incapable of resisting their own comprehensive change as a society.

The writer's appearance at the book festival has been criticised by the Belfast Anti-Racist Forum, which called for his invitation to be rescinded.

The Belfast Telegraph has learned that a protest is planned at tonight's event by his critics, who claim that Mr Murray's writings are racist and Islamophobic and should not be given a platform at an event which receives public funding.

However, book festival organiser Keith Acheson said that the event would go ahead - despite the protest threat.

In a letter responding to calls to cancel the event, Mr Acheson said: "We at the festival have always attempted to embrace a wide range of authors with a diverse range of views, both left and right of the political spectrum.

"We in no way endorse the views of any author or provide a 'sole platform', rather, we provide an opportunity for authors to be challenged in an appropriate fashion by both the interviewer and audience."

Mr Acheson said that the author would be interviewed by Daniel Jewesbury, a lecturer in film at the University of Ulster, who has "the necessary background to challenge Murray on his writing and views in an appropriate and robust fashion."

Reviewers of Strange Death of Europe have described Murray's arguments as "brilliant, important and profoundly depressing" (Rod Liddle in The Times), and "hard to refute" (Juliet Samuel, Daily Telegraph).

Murray's earlier book on Bloody Sunday was (jointly) awarded the 2011-2012 Christopher Ewart-Biggs Memorial Prize.

He is also scheduled to speak at the Edinburgh Book Festival in August this year.

Douglas Murray will speak at the Crescent Arts Centre. Belfast, tonight at 8pm. Tickets £10 (£8 concession).

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