Maher challenged readers' editor Stephen Pritchard (the paper's independent ombudsman) who judged the Cohen-Maher charge unfounded.
Perhaps this is just the players (or fans) criticising the ref in the pub after the match? All reasonable observers now know why the charge was unfounded.
But Maher extended the attack with a new nonsense charge: the slur that the Fabian Society has "extended a platform to some of the most reactionary elements within the Muslim community".
My letter in today's paper challenges this.
Shiraz Maher's letter (last week) falsely claims that the Fabian Society has "extended a platform to some of the most reactionary elements within the Muslim community" and so resuscitates a charge rejected by the readers' editor in his recent column. Maher turns out to be making an absurdly hyperbolic objection to Sir Iqbal Sacranie debating with Ben Summerskill of Stonewall and being challenged over gay rights in 2006. Maher calls that a mistake. I call it important democratic engagement. Maher writes that it is "hugely depressing" that his "adolescent politics" are thought relevant, yet last month deployed them in his Daily Mail article "We must be mad to give £90m to these fanatics - and I should know, I used to be one". He can hardly have his ex-Hizb ut-Tahrir cake and eat it.
I think the episode highlights how often the tactic of 'condemn and polarise' has been deployed in an undiscriminating way.
I think it is worth doing more to examine why this now makes strategies and coalitions to challenge extremism more difficult.