Her invitation provoked outrage from Syrians and supporters of the Syrian revolution, as "Mother Agnes" has been a widely disseminated mouthpiece for the Assad regime's propaganda, including vigorously denying some of Assad's war crimes. (Of pictures of dead children in Ghouta, for example, she claims they are only sleeping.) Her lies are widely promoted by Russian media sources, by Christian news agencies, and by the LaRouche network. There are also live allegations about her own involvement in war crimes, and in the regime murder of journalists. Below the fold, I have pasted some information about her, but some good starting points are Linux Beach, Democratic Revolution, and Pulse.
Some of the more intelligent and honourable invited speakers at the Stop The War event had doubts when informed about sharing a platform with her. (Film-maker Jeremy Scahill and commentator/activist Owen Jonessaid they wouldn't speak alongside her, and writer Rachel Shabi appeared to be considering this.)
That pressure has led to the SWtC issuing the following statement:
Over the last few days a campaign has developed over the invitation we extended to Mother Agnes -- a nun from Syria, who leads a campaign called Mussalaha (Reconciliation) -- to speak in London at the International Anti-War Conference on 30 November organised by Stop the War Coalition.
Mother Agnes has now withdrawn from speaking at the conference.
In inviting speakers to participate in its events, Stop the War has never sought to endorse all their views. We have always provided a platform for a diversity of opinions within a broad anti-war perspective.
We hope that we can now build the conference as a strong focus for opposition to war and imperialism.
Mother Agnes will be be issuing her own statement giving her reasons for withdrawing from the conference.Diversity of opinion? Don't make me laugh. The SWtC is run by ex-members of the Socialist Workers Party now calling themselves Counterfire, another unreconstructed Trotskyist organisation led by the awful John Rees (a commentator at Iranian clerical fascist Press TV station) and his partner Lyndsey German the SWtC convener. Talk about "keeping it in the family".
The SWtC are not really against war at all, only the side they don't agree with.
This can be seen in this ridiculous statement:
In a historic setback for the organisers of the War on Terror, protest and public opinion helped stop a new war on Syria.
Bob from Brockley more than adequately summarises their folly:
Do they not realise that war has been going on in Syria for well over two years, that over 120,000 people have been killed, that 5 million people are displaced in Syria, that hundreds of thousands of Syrians have been forced to flee the country? How can "anti-war" people claim that as any sort of achievement?
Reality is not the forte of the German/Rees led SWtC. Their pernicious "campaign" is just a Trojan Horse for tired old Leninist politics that has led to so much oppression and murder around the world.
Real progressives would do well to steer clear of this mob.