Rochdale’s Question Time Event on Extremism draws hundreds

Rochdale’s Question Time Event was greeted by over 200 eager members of the community on Saturday night including men and women, young and old, professionals and students, community leaders and Media who all attended for a real insight into the debate on “Extremism, Islam and the Muslim Community”.

The Event, which was heavily publicized and drew extra attention after Paul Rowen MP refused to come on the panel and debate the issues was warmly welcomed and fulfilled the purpose of engaging the Rochdale community in discussions on a grass-roots level with issues that were close to their hearts.

The oragniser, Majed Iqbal, who runs the Rochdale based Blog on community affairs “Majeds Blog” opened the event by explaining why Paul Rowen refused to engage in this debate and cited all the lies, false propaganda and baseless excuses that were used to justify his position.

Many participants from the audience displayed similar disgust in their comments aired on the day that how can the MP for the area refuse to dialogue on these issues alongside a panelist from the organization Hizb-ut-Tahrir, which is an active organization in the Rochdale community and has put forward credible views on the issues at hand.

The audience aired concerned views on the governments approach on tackling issues related to the Muslim community, especially with millions of pounds of funds being pored into the community. Women stood up firmly at the event and highlighted incidents at an event oragnised by Hazel Blears in Bolton where they expressed concern on government approach towards Muslim women issues. She explained that these comments were interpreted as being extreme. The lady in the audience in the Rochdale event asked “Just because we may disagree, does that make us extreme?”

Ali khan, from Hizb-ut-Tahrir went on to tackle a multitude of comments and questions ranging from liberal values and Islamic values, Materialism, the concept of Britishness, engagement with wider society and talking about these issues, Mosques and Imams and what the ideas the Youth need to be active in airing in the current climate.

The packed out hall was booming with discussion and debate clearly highlighting a discord to what some community leaders claim to represent as being the “Official view” of Muslims in Rochdale. The event was apt in picturing how the Muslim community indeed has thoughtful views on the current climate and that the threats and fear created by opportunistic Politicians, including local ones, as well as government were not strong enough to silence the real debates which people are actively engaged in at a grass-roots level.

Unfortunately, some self-styled leaders of the Muslim Community in Rochdale, who visit the Government quarters allegedly on behalf of representing Rochdale and National Muslims were absent from the debate despite repeated reminders and visits.

So let the Muslim community decide and find out themselves who their voice is and let not opportunists in our midst who have pandered to wider agendas steer the debate off course.

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Comments

  1. Just what is it that Mr. Rowen fears about hizb ut tahrir?? He has a preconception which I’d also describe as a misconception about hizb ut tahrir and refuses to partake in any discussion with the group. With such attitudes as this how is the muslim community supposed to make progress and tackle these important issues that face us as muslims living in britain?? Mr. Rowen should know that the debate was not about hizb ut tahrir but about the muslims in Rochdale, a chance for us to air our concerns and questions to him and for there to be an honest and open discussion. For this reason he should have attended. Since we are living in a so called democracy it would have only been fair for him to attend and for us to actually speak to the politician first hand.. an opportunity that doesn’t come along too often.

  2. Time and time again we here about the muslim community being isolationist, that they live in their ghettos, they fail to integrate and dont get on with wider society. What makes this worse is that it is the same politicians that refuse to dialogue and debate that have the audacity to make such comments!!

    Politicians talk about the battle to win hearts and minds but these merely empty slogans used for public support and winning elections. On saturday it seemed that Paul Rowen definitely lost the battle of both hearts and minds as he didnt have the interests of the community at heart and refusal to attend showed he has no mind and no ability to have a REAL debate!!

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