Published on Thursday, 27 September 2012 10:58 Written by Gerry Gable
Searchlight would like to thank all those who responded so quickly to our Open Letter attacking the debate and its venue, and pay tribute to the work of Unite Against Fascism in calling for a united response to this insult.
Unity is Strength They Shall Not Pass.
PRESS RELEASE: Conway Hall cancels hall booking for debate event with Tommy Robinson, head of the English Defence League
MDI regretfully announces that the venue for our public debate with Tommy Robinson on ‘Islam and Islamophobia: which is a threat to Britain?’ – the Conway Hall – has cancelled our booking for 4th October 2012.
Conway Hall, has decided based upon advice from the Police, and under pressure from various anti-fascist organisations and at least one MP, that the event may put the public at risk to public health and safety concerns under the current climate. Despite the security procedures of MDI within the building, the Venue Director was concerned about the safety of attendees outside the hall when going to, and leaving the event. Therefore, Conway Hall has informed Muslim Debate Initiative that for the time being, they will have to cancel the hire of the hall to MDI for public event.
We regret the decision of Conway Hall to not allow MDI at this time to host Tommy Robinson of the English Defence League as part of an open public debate.
We at Muslim Debate Initiative believe strongly in the need for debate, as a means to discuss and express intellectual and political difference of opinion, and thereby facilitate the public to reach a educated conclusion and judgement upon any matter. MDI believe that there should be no limits to what can be sincerely debated, and no restrictions as to what intellectual or political position can be enunciated for the deliberation of the public and the pursuit of truth and clarity.
It should be noted that both the Police, and the Conway Hall agreed that there were no perceived threats of disruption coming from the Muslim community. Rather, it is MDI’s experience that the Muslim community overwhelmingly welcomed such debates, and are eager for such open and frank discussions to occur. MDI feel that the Muslim community, and the wider community are being denied the chance to openly debate the real issues and express their worldviews freely, for the purpose of seeking a real solution to the current issues we face. It seems that open debate and discussion is being straight-jacketed into only the approved discourse which pervades accepted mainstream political discourse. But to seek real solutions, the only be the way forward should be for people to express, debate and prove their intellectual, confessional and political standpoints, no matter how controversial.
MDI has a proud history of both mainstream and controversial debates, with mainstream and controversial speakers, which were conducted civilly and respectfully but frankly and robustly.
Despite the cancellation of the hire booking, MDI will re-organise and re-schedule the event for another venue in another part of England, and a suitable time/date where we can be sure of no disruption. We will keep all our subscribers, regular attendees and guests informed once we have secured a new location and time. Please note, the re-scheduled event may not necessarily occur on the 4th October 2012, please standby for further updates.
MDI will continue its commitment to initiate open, frank and robust debate, and push the boundaries of intellectual and political discourse.
To see the official statement by Conway Hall, and contact that them with any Press queries, please click here:
Members of the Press can get into contact with MDI on: email@example.com
Muslim Debate Initiative