The truth Behind Paul Rowen MP’s refusal to attend Rochdale’s Question Time

rowen1.jpegPRESS RELEASE from Majed’s Blog Saturday 09/02/2008

Amid much planning, organising and Public discussion, the event titled “Dialogue, Debate and Discussion on Extremism, Islam and the Muslim Community” organised by Majeds Blog, a popular Rochdale based Blogger, has gone ahead, despite Paul Rowen MP, deciding not to attend the event.

Paul Rowen MP

Unfortunately, in true local Politics fashion, Paul Rowen has hid behind arguments to justify his decision for not attending.

His first excuse was aired whilst on a radio show on the Local Community radio station, Crescent Radio, when on being asked why he is attending an event alongside a member of the organisation Hizb ut-Tahrir he replied:

I only found out on Friday (01/02/08) that Hizb ut-Tahrir were going to be on the panel that i had agreed to go to………….My position is clear. I am not willing to engage in Public discussion with Hizb ut-Tahrir…………..I have been given false information for a second time now about who is going to be there at that particular meeting

However, correspondence with panelists for this event began in November 2007, where it was agreed that such a debate would be beneficial to Rochdale and more importantly the Muslim Community who have not engaged on a public level on the Subject matter.

Simon Danczuk, the Labour parliamentary candidate for Rochdale as well as Ali Khan from Hizb -ut-Tahrir were immediately ready for the discussion.

Paul Rowen was contacted on 30th November 2007 in a letter which stated

To initiate debate and discourse and to obtain a real sensation of the feeling of the community on these issues I am arranging a Panel Discussion event exploring the various serious questions related to Terrorism and Extremism which have targeted and singled out the Muslim community through one way or another.

The current confirmed panelists for this event are Simon Danczuk (Labour Parliamentary Candidate for Rochdale) and Ali Khan (Hizb ut-Tahrir). Your presence in such an event would aid widening the discussion and help explore the diverse range of issues currently being aired in your constituency.”

Paul replied back to the letter commenting

“Thanks very much for your letter of 30 November 2007. I understand and appreciate some of the issues that have been raised in your letter………….Diary permitting. I will be very happy to attend a meeting to discuss some of these issues”

Hence, from the onset it has been clear who the oragniser of the event was as well as the confirmed panelists. However, the argument used on the Crescent radio Show changed in Paul’s press Release where he stated

I accepted the invitation in good faith in the normal way that I deal with such invitations. Since the event was publicised, I have received a number of complaints and I have reached the decision not to attend the debate………….it’s clear that my presence will only give the organisation publicity……….it is clear their views and mine are incompatible. It is for those reasons I will not be attending“.

Hence, from

I only found out on Friday (01/02/08) that Hizb ut-Tahrir were going to be on the panel that i had agreed to go to

Paul now makes it out in his press Release that he knew al the way along and resorts to attacking the organisation, Hizb ut-Tahrir under the pretext that

“it is clear their views and mine are incompatible

Not only did Paul Rowen disagree to have Simon Danczuk on the panel, forcing me to withdraw Simon’s panel position for this event; he also withdrew his position refusing to engage in any debate with the organization Hizb ut-Tahrir, in the entire process stifling discourse on the topic on a public level where his views maybe challenged.
These were similar tactics used earlier when Paul Rowen’s agent, Dave Hennigan said in response to Simon Danczuk’s presence on the Panel

“We will not take part in a debate with that man. He is not elected and should not be on the same panel.

Simon Danczuk responded

“I am disappointed and baffled by Dave Hennigan’s comments. Is he suggesting that unless you are an elected politician you cannot take part in a public debate? His wish to exclude me from this process is very much at odds with the oft-quoted views of his boss on the importance of democracy

Consequently, Paul Rowen’s refusal to not attend the event has little to do with not receiving correct information but more to do with lack of insight into the topic at hand and debating the subject matter out with an organization that has played an active role in Rochdale to engage with the community and produced a dossier titled “Radicalisation, Extremism and Islamism- realities and Myths in the War on Terror” as well as debating the issue out with his opposition.

Slogans of engaging communities and advocation of community cohesion have fallen short for Paul Rowen who has hid behind excuses like those stated above. It is high time that he stopped playing politics with his constituency and have prepared answers for some real issues.


Notes for Press

For further information contact Majed Iqbal on

Phone: 07968 107409

Scanned copies of letter Correspondence with Paul Rowen is available (JPEG Format) as well as Paul Rowen’s comments made on Crescent community Radio (MP3 format). Available on request to Press and community Leaders by contacting the above details.


  1. Troubled by the lies says:

    The true face of the politicians that represent us and their so called democracy!!!

    I was appalled not just because the Mr Paul Rowen was absent, but even more upon hearing that he claimed he did not know the The panelists from Hizb- ut-tahrir, when his own correspondence letters say otherwise. How can we trust him again???

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