EXCLUSIVE: BBC 'Free Speech' Show Censors Gay Muslim after 'Concerns' from Mosque
BBC Three's Free Speech programme was broadcast from Birmingham Central Mosque last night, and one of the topics set to be debated was homosexuality and Islam.
But after the "BBC snake ate its own tail" (host Rick Edwards words, not mine) by discussing the necessity of BBC Three for 20 minutes, we were treated to an excellent example of how and why the BBC fails to do its job properly. Sort of like the snake eating its own tail, vomiting it back up, then eating it again.
A short clip was broadcast, featuring Asifa Lahore, Britain's "first and only" gay Muslim drag queen. The topic had "the most comments on the audience questions page", but this was still not enough for the BBC 'Free Speech' programme to force the issue with its venue hosts, the Birmingham Central Mosque.
As the clip ended, host Rick Edwards announced, "We were going to debate that question but today after speaking to the mosque they have expressed deep concerns with having this discussion here... so we'll move on to our next question".
No one batted an eye-lid. Even amongst the predominantly 'liberal left' panel, no one said a word. Not the Liberal Democrat peer, not the Huffington Post editor, not the left-wing comedian, and not even the transgender rights activist.
Twitter users expressed their anger, with one claiming: "So the mosque hosting #FreeSpeech are "uncomfortable" with a question about gay Muslims? Kind of defeats the point of a show with that title".
Stephen Evans, campaigns manager at the National Secular Society said: "After agreeing to allow a programme on free speech to be filmed at the mosque, it is absurd and wholly counterproductive to then censor the topic being discussed.
"It is unfortunate that the BBC allowed itself to be censored on this occasion by reactionary imams, but this was a place of worship, and perhaps the BBC would do well to choose religiously neutral venues to hold such debates in future."