Two weeks ago I was at the Berlin Literary Festival on a platform with Patrick Bahners, the author of Die Panikmacher (“The Scaremongers”). While Bahners talked mostly about the German Islamophobes who were the target of his book, I sounded off about Islamophobes in the English-speaking world, including Robert Kilroy-Silk, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Robert Spencer and the English Defence League. Then a week ago I was at the Wigtown Book Festival, this time on a platform with Martin Bell, the former television BBC journalist, MP and UNICEF emissary to Yemen and Rosemary Hollis, formerly of Chatham House and currently lecturer on the politics of the Middle East at City University. This time the topic was the “Arab Spring”. Was regime change really happening? If so what were the causes? Was it part of the background to the impending vote at the United Nations on Palestinian nationhood? What role did the television broadcasts of Jazeera play in stirring up the Arab masses? And so on. Whither the Arab Spring? Whither Islamophobia? At both festivals I was at pains to point out that I pronounced on these issues with the full authority of someone who was an expert on medieval manuscripts of The Thousand and One Nights.