BBC sparks anger by dropping homosexuality in Islam debate from panel show

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

The BBC has come under fire for dropping a planned debate about homosexuality in Islam from a BBC3 politics show.

The panel on Free Speech, which aired a live show from Birmingham Central Mosque last night, were due to answer the question ‘When will it be accepted to be Muslim and gay?’

However, after an introductory clip was shown featuring Asifa Lahore, a Muslim drag queen, presenter Rick Edwards said that due to deep concerns from the mosque, the subject would be dropped.

He 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.”

“We will talk about it on our next programme, on March the 25th.”

The panellists on the programme were Lib Dem peer Susan Kramer, political editor of The Huffington Post Mehdi Hasan, trans activist Paris Lees, former Conservative candidate Shazia Awan, and Heydon Prowse, co-creator of ‘The Revolution Will Be Televised’.

Raheem Kassam, blogging for BreitBart London, said that it showed the BBC “failing to do their jobs properly” by allowing the item to be censored.

Stephen Evans, campaigns manager at the National Secular Society said: “After agreeing to allow a programme called Free Speech to be filmed at the Mosque, it is absurd and counter-productive 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”.

A statement from the BBC said: “BBC’s Free Speech is determined to discuss the issues that matter to its viewers. However, out of respect to the Birmingham Central Mosque, who hosted the programme, the decision was made to delay the debate on Muslim gay rights to a future programme. The topic will be raised and debated in full in the edition of Free Speech airing on 25 March.”

Watch the clip below: