BBC Denies Censoring 'Free Speech' Debate, Claims it Acted to Protect Mosque
The British Broadcasting Corporation has denied censoring a debate over homosexuality and Islam, instead claiming that it was protecting its venue host, Birmingham Central mosque, and "its community".
Breitbart London was first to expose the BBC's hypocrisy last week, when it decided to censor a discussion about Asifa Lahore, Britain's "first gay Muslim drag queen". At the time, the presenter of the ironically named 'Free Speech' programme, Rick Edwards, said: "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".
But the BBC now denies censoring the topic due to "deep concerns", instead claiming that "The Birmingham mosque had offered the venue as a location for an episode. When asked if there were any issues for discussion that would be off limits, no concerns were raised. Neither the production company nor the BBC would have chosen a venue that unduly limits topics for discussion."
"The mosque received threats which gave us cause for concern to the security of their community."
"This was a decision taken responsibly, with a great deal of thought, consideration and respect and not in any way about censorship of an issue. We were transparent with the audience about the decision."
But the story doesn't hold with the Birmingham mosque's chairman, Moahammed Naseem, who told the Radio 4 Today programme last Friday: "It was rather surprising how the programme was conducted. The impression given was that BBC3 wanted to discuss immigration.
"All I know is all of the members of the committee who were there on that day were just informed 20 minutes before the programme started that they wanted to discuss homosexuality. How could I have an idea that there were other [topics] also that the BBC was thinking."
The incident will raise questions as to whether BBC and Mentorn (the production company) producers were seeking to sneak the issue onto the programme without the mosque's consent, or indeed whether they simply acted incompetently.