Who should have their say?
Ros Atkins (presenter of BBC World Have Your Say) on how she booked Ed Husain to appear on her programme on the BBC World Service, only to have him pull out because a spokesman for Hizb-ut-Tahrir had also been invited. He also professed disgust that Dr Azzam Tamimi, a known Hamas sympathiser, was invited onto a panel discussion about the Middle East:
‘It’s fine for you to create nice comfortable conversations in your studio but I know the real impact. It can consolidate radical opinion. It offers publicuity and kudos. i can remember when I was in Hizb ut-Tahrir, we got a real kick whenever one of our guys got attention in the media.’
While I agree that unrepresentative extremists should not be given undue publicity at the expense of the community they claim to speak for (like Omar Bakri, and let us remember that Ed Husain was part of Omar Bakri’s HT and left around the same time), both HT and Hamas are substantial movements and it is ridiculous to shut them out of any discussion, because you then end up with half the picture. It is dishonest to then pretend that this is the whole, even if you tell yourself that the “decent” bit is all that matters.
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