Douglas Murray (author)

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Douglas Murray
Murray in 2019
Murray in 2019
BornDouglas Kear Murray
(1979-07-16) 16 July 1979 (age 41)
London, England
OccupationAuthor, political commentator
EducationSt Benedict's School
Eton College
Alma materMagdalen College, Oxford
SubjectPolitics, culture, history
Notable worksBosie: A Biography of Lord Alfred Douglas (2000)
Neoconservatism: Why We Need It (2006)
Bloody Sunday: Truths, Lies and the Saville Inquiry (2011)
The Strange Death of Europe: Immigration, Identity, Islam (2017)
The Madness of Crowds: Gender, Race and Identity (2019)

Douglas Kear Murray (born 16 July 1979[1]) is a British conservative author and political commentator.[2] He founded the Centre for Social Cohesion in 2007, which became part of the Henry Jackson Society, where he was associate director from 2011 to 2018. He is also an associate editor of the British political and cultural magazine The Spectator.[3][4]

Murray has written columns for publications such as Standpoint and The Wall Street Journal. He is the author of Neoconservatism: Why We Need It (2005), Bloody Sunday: Truths, Lies and the Saville Inquiry (2011) about the Bloody Sunday Inquiry, The Strange Death of Europe: Immigration, Identity, Islam (2017) and The Madness of Crowds: Gender, Race and Identity (2019).

Murray is described as a conservative,[5] neoconservative[6][7] and a critic of Islam.[8]

Early life[edit]

Murray was born and raised in Hammersmith, London, to an English mother, a civil servant, and Scottish Gaelic-speaking father, a school teacher, along with his brother.[2][9] He would go to his father's ancestral home, the Isle of Lewis, every summer as a boy, where he enjoyed fishing.[9][10]

Murray was educated at West Bridgford School and was awarded a music scholarship at St Benedict's School[11] and later at Eton College,[9][12] before going on to study English at Magdalen College, Oxford.[13]


At age 19, while in his second year at the University of Oxford, Murray published[14] Bosie: A Biography of Lord Alfred Douglas,[13] which was described by Christopher Hitchens as "masterly".[15] Bosie was awarded a Lambda Award for gay biography in 2000.[16] After leaving Oxford, Murray wrote a play, Nightfall, about the Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg.[17]

In 2006, Murray published a defence of neoconservatism — Neoconservatism: Why We Need It — and made a speaking tour promoting the book in the United States.[17] The publication was subsequently reviewed in the Arab journal Asharq Al-Awsat by the Iranian author Amir Taheri: "Whether one agrees with him or not Murray has made a valuable contribution to the global battle of ideas."[18] In 2007, he assisted in the writing of Towards a Grand Strategy for an Uncertain World: Renewing Transatlantic Partnership by Gen. Dr. Klaus Naumann, Gen. John Shalikashvili, Field Marshal The Lord Inge, Adm. Jacques Lanxade, and Gen. Henk van den Breemen.[19] His book Bloody Sunday was (jointly) awarded the 2011–2012 Christopher Ewart-Biggs Memorial Prize.[20]

In June 2013, Murray's e-book Islamophilia: a Very Metropolitan Malady was published.[21] His book The Strange Death of Europe: Immigration, Identity, Islam was published in May 2017. It spent almost 20 weeks on the Sunday Times bestseller list and was a No. 1 bestseller in non-fiction. It has subsequently been published in more than 20 languages worldwide.[22][23] The Madness of Crowds: Gender, Race and Identity was published in September 2019 and became a Sunday Times bestseller; the publication has also been nominated as an audio book of the year for the British Book Awards.[24][25][26]


Douglas Murray being interviewed on the Mark Steyn Show in 2019

Murray has appeared on a number of British current affairs programmes, including the BBC's Question Time,[27] This Week,[28] HardTalk,[29] the Today programme,[30] The Big Questions,[31] Daily Politics,[32] and Sunday Morning Live.[33] Murray has written for The Sunday Times,[34] The Daily Telegraph,[35] The Guardian[36] Standpoint,[37] and UnHerd.[38] In 2012 he was hired as a contributing editor of The Spectator.[39] He has debated at the Cambridge Union, the Oxford Union, and participated in several Intelligence Squared and Intelligence Squared US debates.[40] He has also appeared on other TV channels such as Sky News[41] and Al Jazeera.[42]

In June 2009, Murray accepted an invitation from the Global Issues Society (GIS) to a debate with Al-Muhajiroun leader Anjem Choudary on Sharia law and British law at Conway Hall. Members of Al-Muhajiroun tried to segregate men and women at the entrance of the event, despite GIS's assurance that the event's security was provided by a third party. Violence broke out even before Murray arrived. Conway Hall management cancelled the debate in protest at the forced separation of men and women. Outside the building, a confrontation between Choudary and Murray over the cancellation of the event occurred. Murray alleged that the event was not neutral and that it was being policed by Al-Muhajiroun guards.[43] Murray's Centre for Social Cohesion had published a study showing that one in seven Islam-related terrorist cases in the UK could be linked to Al-Muhajiroun[44] and the organisation was banned shortly afterwards due to its links with extremism.[45]

In 2016, Murray organised a competition through The Spectator of offensive poems about Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, for which a reader donated £1,000 as the top prize.[46] This was in reaction to the Böhmermann affair, in which German satirist Jan Böhmermann was prosecuted under the German penal code for such a poem.[47] One of Murray's articles on the affair[48] contributed to his being longlisted for the 2017 Orwell Prize for Journalism[49] five years after his book, Bloody Sunday: Truths, Lies and The Saville Inquiry, was longlisted for the 2012 Book Prize.[50] He announced the winner of the poetry competition as Boris Johnson (former editor of the magazine, current British prime minister and former Mayor of London), who is one-eighth Turkish.[51]

Murray is on the international advisory board of NGO Monitor.[52]


Murray is a frequent critic of Islam, saying that there is "a creed of Islamic fascism—a malignant fundamentalism, woken from the Dark Ages to assault us here and now".[53][54]

In 2008, Murray listed the cases of 27 writers, activists, politicians and artists – including Sir Salman Rushdie, Maryam Namazie and Anwar Shaikh, all three of whom had received death threats due to their criticism of Islam. Murray said that "Unless Muslims are allowed to discuss their religion without fear of attack there can be no chance of reform or genuine freedom of conscience within Islam."[55]

In February 2006, Murray wrote of Muslims,

Conditions for Muslims in Europe must be made harder across the board: Europe must look like a less attractive proposition… From long before we were first attacked it should have been made plain that people who come into Europe are here under our rules and not theirs… Where a mosque has become a centre of hate it should be closed and pulled down. If that means that some Muslims don't have a mosque to go to, then they'll just have to realise that they aren't owed one.[56][57][58]

After Murray refused Paul Goodman's offer to disown these comments, the Conservative Party frontbench severed formal relations with Murray and his Centre for Social Cohesion.[57][59]

In The Strange Death of Europe, Murray argued that Europe "is committing suicide" by allowing non-European immigration and losing its "faith in its beliefs".[60] In the book, Murray defends the German nationalist, anti-Islam, far-right group Pegida.[61] Murray also writes that the English nationalist, anti-Islam, far-right English Defence League "had a point".[61] The book described Viktor Orbán, Prime Minister of Hungary, as a better sentinel of "European values" than George Soros.[61] Juliet Samuel of The Telegraph praised the book: "His overall thesis, that a guilt-driven and exhausted Europe is playing fast and loose with its precious modern values by embracing migration on such a scale, is hard to refute."[62] Rod Liddle of The Times called the book "a brilliant, important and profoundly depressing book".[63] Pankaj Mishra's review in The New York Times described the book as "a handy digest of far-right clichés".[61]

In 2010, Murray argued against the motion in an Intelligence Squared US debate titled "Is Islam a Religion of Peace?"[64] In 2014, he argued for the motion in an Oxford Union debate titled "This House Believes postwar Britain has seen too much immigration".[65]

Murray wrote about social justice and identity politics in the western world in The Madness of Crowds. William Davies in The Guardian described the book as "the bizarre fantasies of a rightwing provocateur, blind to oppression".[66] Tim Stanley in The Daily Telegraph praised the book, calling Murray "a superbly perceptive guide through the age of the social justice warrior".[67] Katie Law in the Evening Standard said that Murray "tackled another necessary and provocative subject with wit and bravery".[68] In the book, Murray points to what he sees as a cultural shift, away from established modes of religion and political ideology, in which various forms of victimhood can provide markers of social status.[69] Murray divides his book into sections dealing with different forms of victimhood, including types of LGBT identity, feminism and racial politics.[70] Murray criticises the work of French philosopher Michel Foucault for what he sees as a reduction of society to a system of power relations.[71]

In 2009, Murray was prevented from chairing a debate at the London School of Economics between Alan Sked and Hamza Tzortzis, with the university citing security concerns following a week-long student protest against Israel's attacks on Gaza.[72] The move was criticised by the conservative press such as The Daily Telegraph and The Spectator.[73][74][75]

Murray is a Brexit supporter, citing concerns with the Eurozone, immigration and the prospect of ever-closer union.[76] He has said that the Brexit vote "has just not been accepted by an elite", leading to a "profoundly dangerous moment" for Britain's democracy.[citation needed]

In 2019, Murray spent weeks urging New Statesman journalist George Eaton and editor Jason Cowley to share the original recording of an interview between Eaton and Sir Roger Scruton, with Murray branding the published interview, which attributed a number of controversial statements to Scruton, as "journalistic dishonesty".[77] Murray eventually managed to acquire the recording, which formed the basis of an article defending Scruton, arguing that his remarks had been misinterpreted.[78] The New Statesman subsequently apologised for Eaton's misrepresentation.[79][80][81]

Murray is the recipient of frequent death threats as a result of his views.[82] Following the Charlie Hebdo shooting in January 2015, he was advised by the police not to appear in public.[82]

Personal life[edit]

Murray is an atheist, having been a practising Anglican until his twenties,[9][17] but has described himself variously as a cultural Christian[83] and a Christian atheist,[84] and believes that Christianity is an important influence on British and European culture.[9][23][85][86] Murray is gay.[87]


  • Brandon, James; Murray, Douglas (2007), Hate on the State: How British libraries encourage Islamic extremism (PDF), Westminster, UK: Centre for Social Cohesion.
  • Murray, Douglas (2000), Bosie: A Biography of Lord Alfred Douglas, ISBN 0-340-76771-5.
  • ——— (2005), Neoconservatism: Why We Need It, ISBN 1-904863-05-1.
  • ——— (2007), Towards a Grand Strategy for an Uncertain World: Renewing Transatlantic Partnership (PDF)
  • ———; Verwey, Johan Pieter (2008), Victims of Intimidation: Freedom of Speech Within Europe's Muslim Communities (PDF), London, UK: Centre for Social Cohesion.
  • ——— (2011), Bloody Sunday: Truths, Lies and the Saville Inquiry, London: Dialogue, ISBN 978-1-84954-149-7.
  • ——— (2013), Islamophilia: A Very Metropolitan Malady, emBooks, ISBN 978-1-62777050-7.
  • ——— (2017), The Strange Death of Europe: Immigration, Identity, Islam, Bloomsbury, ISBN 978-1-47294224-1.
  • ——— (2019), The Madness of Crowds: Gender, Race and Identity, Bloomsbury, ISBN 978-1-47295995-9.


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  4. ^ "24/8/2016". Newsnight. 24 August 2016. BBC. BBC Two. Retrieved 29 August 2016. And from our Oxford studio, Douglas Murray, Associate Editor of The Spectator.
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  6. ^ "Douglas Murray on immigration, Islam and identity". London Evening Standard. 4 May 2017. Retrieved 2 October 2019.
  7. ^ Mughal, Fiyaz. "The Neo-Conservative Speaker, Douglas Murray, Is Simply Wrong It Comes to British Muslims and Extremism". Huffington post. Retrieved 2 October 2019.
  8. ^ "Douglas Murray on immigration, Islam and identity". Standard. 4 May 2017.
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  11. ^ "ACTIVITIES BULLETIN 6" (PDF). Archived from the original on 5 October 2011. Retrieved 21 February 2009.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  12. ^ "Education Supplements: Chance of a lifetime – Douglas Murray". Archived from the original on 21 April 2013. Retrieved 4 May 2012.
  13. ^ a b Smith, Dinitia (18 July 2000). "Article". New York Times. Retrieved 12 November 2010.
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  16. ^ Cerna, Antonio Gonzalez (10 July 2001). "13th Annual Lambda Literary Awards". Lambda Literary. Retrieved 2 September 2019.
  17. ^ a b c Daniel Freedman (17 August 2006). "Mugged by Reality". New York Sun. Retrieved 24 December 2011.
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  24. ^ "The British Book Awards 2020".
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  28. ^ "This Week – Douglas Murray on Afghanistan". BBC News. 9 October 2009. Retrieved 4 May 2012.
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  30. ^ "Radio 4 – Today Programme Listen Again". BBC. 2 September 2006. Retrieved 12 November 2010.
  31. ^ "BBC One – The Big Questions, Series 2, Episode 34". 13 September 2009. Retrieved 4 May 2012.
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  33. ^ Williams, Sian (24 August 2014). "What should be done about British Islamic Extremists?". Sunday Morning Live. BBC One.
  34. ^ Douglas Murray (30 April 2017). "Europe signs its own death warrant | News Review". The Sunday Times. Retrieved 2 September 2019.
  35. ^ "Douglas Murray". Retrieved 2 September 2019.,
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  41. ^ Secker, Jayne (8 January 2015). "The Sky News Debate: Paris Attacks". Sky News.
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  45. ^ "Prevention and Suppression of Terrorism: The Proscribed Organisations (Name Changes) Order 2010" (PDF). UK Home Office.
  46. ^ Murray, Douglas (18 April 2016). "Introducing 'The President Erdogan Offensive Poetry Competition'". The Spectator.
  47. ^ "'Insult Turkey's Erdogan' contest set up by Spectator magazine". 19 April 2016. Retrieved 19 April 2016.
  48. ^ Murray, Douglas (23 April 2016). "Send us your entries for our 'President Erdogan Insulting Poetry Competition'". The Spectator.
  49. ^ "2017 Journalism Prize Longlist". The Orwell Prize. Institute of Advanced Studies. Retrieved 31 March 2017.
  50. ^ "Orwell Prize 2012 Longlists Announced". The Orwell Prize. Institute of Advanced Studies. Retrieved 31 March 2017.
  51. ^ Elgot, Jessica (19 May 2016). "Boris Johnson wins 'most offensive Erdoğan poem' competition". The Guardian. Retrieved 20 May 2016.
  52. ^ "NGO Monitor International Board Profiles". Retrieved 4 December 2013.
  53. ^ Ali, Ayaan Hirsi (2 February 2018). "Would Mark Twain be prevented from speaking at Berkeley?". Newsweek.
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  55. ^ "Muslims' free speech 'threatened'". 10 November 2008. Retrieved 15 April 2020.
  56. ^ Murray, Douglas (3 March 2006). "Pim Fortuyn Memorial Conference on Europe and Islam: What are we to do about Islam?". The Social Affairs Unit. Archived from the original on 1 February 2008. Retrieved 16 January 2017.
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  65. ^ Murray, Douglas (31 January 2014). "Immigration is Bad For Britain". YouTube. Google. Retrieved 2 October 2019.
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  70. ^ Shriver, Lionel (19 September 2019). "The Madness of Crowds by Douglas Murray review — why identity politics has gone too far". The Times. Retrieved 2 October 2019.
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  83. ^ Murray, Douglas (29 December 2008). "Studying Islam has made me an atheist". The Spectator.
  84. ^ Harris, Samuel 'Sam' (22 November 2015). "On the Maintenance of Civilization". Podcast.
  85. ^ "This House Believes Religion Has No Place In The 21st Century". The Cambridge Union Society. 31 January 2013.
  86. ^ Murray, Douglas (14 September 2013). "Richard Dawkins interview: 'I have a certain love for the Anglican tradition'". The Spectator.
  87. ^ Law, Katie (4 May 2017) "Douglas Murray on immigration, Islam and identity", Evening Standard.

External links[edit]