British Muslim Youth object after cancellation of debate following police intervention

Posted: Tue, 05 May 2015 11:39

A Muslim youth organisation has complained that a debate they had arranged with ex-EDL leader Tommy Robinson was prevented from taking place by South Yorkshire Police and the Rotherham Borough Council.

British Muslim Youth (BMY) issued a statement expressing their disappointment that a debate on whether "child sexual exploitation was a Muslim issue" was cancelled following interventions from South Yorkshire Police and the Rotherham Borough Council.

The founder of British Muslim Youth, Muhbeen Hussain, reported that the BMY had been 'bombarded' with messages asking why the event had been cancelled, and Mr Hussain said he wanted to expose the real reasons for the cancellation.

Mr Hussain was due to debate against Tommy Robinson.

Hussain said the first venue pulled out of hosting the talk after pressure was exerted by the South Yorkshire Police and the Rotherham Borough Council.

He blamed both the police and the council for preventing the event from going ahead as originally planned. The BMY had informed the police that the event was going on, and notified them that it was being held as a private event, with private security. Mr Hussain said he wanted the police to be aware of the event, however it now appears that the talk was scrapped because "pressure" was exerted on the venue, by the police.

A second venue is then said to have backed out of a signed contract to host the debate because of "advice" they had received from the Rotherham Borough Council and South Yorkshire Police. Mr Hussain claims that the venue was advised by the council and the police to cancel the event.

He said the police and council simply "didn't want" the debate to happen, and that they failed to contact the organisers after recommending that the second venue drop the planned talk.

Mr Hussain claimed there were "no substantial concerns" about the event and that he did not believe they had any "legal authority" to stop the event from going ahead. He alleged that the police used their "social authority" to wrongly stop the debate. He said the police scared the venue off hosting the talk.

The BMY founder said that police simply wanted to "cancel the event." He added that he would not be bullied into scrapping the talk.

NSS campaigns manager Stephen Evans commented: "A climate exists whereby any critical discussion of Islam is being made difficult or even off-limits. Such a situation is counterproductive for British Muslims and is deeply deleterious for society".

We understand the debate has now been re-arranged for late July early August.

Watch the statement from the founder of British Muslim Youth, Muhbeen Hussain.

Tags: Freedom of Expression, Islam