Episode 2 Free Speech

Episode 2

Live current affairs debate show from the Broadwater Farm housing estate in Tottenham. Viewers help set the agenda by voting for the questions they want to see debated.

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Hello, and welcome to Free Speech, the show which makes your voice


heard in the national conversation. I'm Rick Edwards and welcome to Free


Speech. Tonight we are live from Broadwater


Farm in Tottenham, north London. Our live audience ready to tell us what


they think but we want to hear what you think too. Just tell Tina


Daheley. Thanks Rick - yes, we want to hear from you at home in this


show. Here are the hashtags and addresses you need. Your answers and


comments will come straight to me where I'll make sure they're heard


in the debate. As well as your comments we'll be running the Power


Bar. As the questions are asked we'll be putting them up on the


bottom of the screen for you to debate. Just use the hashtag Free


Speech Yes or hashtag Free Speech No to let us know what you think of the


topic being discussed. And here is our panel. Telegraph columnist and


historian, Tim Stanley, Broadcaster and Labour candidate for parliament,


Amy Lame Luisa Zissman, businesswoman and star of the


Apprentice and Celebrity Big Brother and Maajid Nawaz, co-founder of


anti-extremist think tank Quilliam and now Lib Dem candidate for


parliament. And that's our panel. APPLAUSE. Our first question comes


from our studio audience. My question is are the police right to


judge young people on the way we look? Are the police right to judge


young people based on the way that we look? Let's start with you


please, Maajid. My answer one absolutely not. I have been probably


the only person on this panel that has been arrested at gun point and I


was detained over night and I know how terrifying it can be. If you're


going to profile people racially, that tells you nothing about whether


they'ry -- carrying drugs or weapons and all it does is breed resentment


that we saw here in this area in Tottenham. It is difficult and some


people fit into a certain demographic that statistically they


will carry knives or do drugs. But on the flip side it is wrong to be


discriminated against. The police have to profile people, because they


can't stop and search everybody on the street. How would you respond to


that? I would say young people, why do the police have to take the media


stereotypes of young people, just because we're wearing hoodies or


trainers and on the street, just because a certain group of young


people commit those crimes, everybody who wears those brands is


not a criminal. The media stereotype that it was 18 to 24-year-olds, but


on the streets it was more 30-plus-year-olds who were looting


and stealing. The gentleman at the back. I don't think, it is easy to


jump on the police for profiling, but it is society in general. But we


as young people are being profiled in the media and on the streets, I


could walk op the street wearing a hoodie and see other people cross


the street. That is not just the police. That is society. What do you


think, Tim? That is a very good point. There are two issues. First


that of youth being targeted on the basis of the way people dress. Well,


no, if you wear a hoodie, it doesn't mean you're necessary lay criminal,


but you're more likely to be a criminal and you will be judged by


the police in that way. That is unfortunate, but the police have to


make snap decisions. That is separate from the issue of racial


profiling for which there is no excuse and none of this could


justify stopping and searching, which is unconstitutional. But I


don't think we can blame the police for trying to bring law and order to


the streets by making judgments that are rationale basis of people


hanging around in groups, or people looking a certain way on the basis


of clothing. That is not unreasonable. Maajid? If you think


that the majority of people that wear hoodies happen to be preparing


to commit a crime. I didn't say that. Most people in California are


wearing hoodies, so I find that strange where the statistics are.


People wear all sorts of clothing. That is preposterous as saying all


people in pink ties and suits are bankers and are ripping people off.


They probably are! The gentleman here. I agree that the police have


to make snap decisions. It is more of a society problem than it is the


police's false. If you're to be seen wearing a hoodie and what not, the


police do tend to think you're a xrl. But like I said, it depends on


the police have to make snap decisions, because they see somebody


wearing a hoodie and they have a knife and they leave them alone. It


could come back and be a problem. Has anyone experienced stop and


sench? -- search? A couple of years ago I was riding my bike home and I


got stopped and searched and it was quite at the time it was quite


humiliating. My first instances is the colour of your skin and I think


personally the proportion rate of stop and search is high on black,


African, Caribbean. You're seven more times like to be stopped if


your black an white. Yes. I would say to say the idea that if you wear


hoodie there is some chance that you're a criminal, I completely...


That is ridiculous. I go to college and everyone I know wears a hoodie.


So is everyone likely to be a criminal, are we all smuggling drugs


because we wear hoodies? Let's clarify that this. -- clarify this.


Police are walking down the street and a car alarm goes off, there are


two people in the street. A young person in a hoodie and a little old


lady with her bags, who are they going to stop? Let's live in the


real world. It is a hypothetical situation. It is hypothetical. This


gentleman? The fact that I wear a baseball cap does that make me me


more like to commit a crime. Because I'm young mayor of Lewisham. Is


something funny? Because it is a thing where I have been stopped


because I was wearing a baseball jacket and a hat. While the police


are not doing their job, they're supposed to be searching the guy in


the white van who could be carrying how many drugs, instead of profiling


young people. Because why am I being stopped and searched for my minding


my own business and the same excuse is given there has been a robbery in


the area. You should be stopping and searching the vans who have got


loads of drugs, instead of going for young people because of the way they


dress. That is reasonable. You can't stop everyone driving a white van.


Then you have the same problem with white van drivers. You have to


understand where the profiling comes from. So they will look at correct


me if I'm wrong, they will look at crime rate in the area and look at


the typical who does the crimes and typically I think from profiling and


statistically it will be a young male, I don't know if it is black or


white, I don't know if the colour of your skin makes a difference, in


your age range, wearing those clothes. That will be the profile


and that is when they stop people. There is a reaction on Twitter. To


you Tim, a lot of people reacting, not necessarily in a good way. No?


Monica says no it is discrimination, just because you're black and young


does not mean you're going to stab someone. I did not say that. One


says if you're innocent you have nothing worry about. And this, not


all police profile people, but if you carry yourself in a certain way,


be prepared. Picking up on what you said, if you're innocent and you


have nothing to worry about. There is a humiliation associated with it.


It is intimidation and if the first instance the young people have with


the police is stop and search, what situation is this present gt for the


future? It means young people will be intimidated by the police and


won't trust the police and we need an overhaul of stop and search


policies. Otherwise community relationships between young people


and people as a whole and the police will continue to break down. I can


answer that question. Because I was, when I was stopped is, I was 15 and


the tweeter that said if you're innocent you have nothing to worry


about. Having a gun put to your head is something to worry about.


Although I was released, no one wants a gun puts to their head and


we know how people can be accidentally shot to death. Well at


16 a year later I joined an extremist organisation, because I


became so disillusioned with mainstream society and what I saw


going on in terms of racism and then added of course my own ideological


dogma, which I now try to challenge. But people become so disconnected


and disen-Fran xhiezed from society that they start seeking identities


in other forms. And they are extra-legal organisations. How would


you respond to this? It is sad in the sense of someone says it is a


stereotype. I think the conversation we have picked up here is a


stereotype. One thing we don't know is stop people on the way sis --


basis of the way they dress, their skin colour or they're wearing a


baseball cap. It is sad, because there is lot of positive things that


we do with young people and lots of work we do with young people.


Particularly on stop and search. For example, some of the young people


want to go to Google fed up, it is a programme that we made with a local


company here about stop and search and talking about your rights. What


we can do and working with us. The majority of stop and searches are


not a problem. The issues that we are looking at is not the stop and


search, but the way we do it. It is the attitude of police officers and


the way he or she reacts with the young people and we are working with


young people to correct that. It is important. If you ask the majority


of young people should the police carry out stop and search, most


would say yes. But do it with respect and dignity and actually


tell me the reasons why you're stopping me so it makes sense. If we


do that, we get into a position where we use stop and search to


protect young innocent people who want to spend their time in a public


place and enjoy themselves. A few people nodding there. Following on


from the point about statistics and it is a certain demographic that get


chosen for stop and search. If you take it from race and think about


car insurance, there is a certain demographic, maems, who -- males,


who tend to cause the most accidents. Now there is no gender


discrimination with car insurance and we have to foot the bill. So now


will everybody get stopped and searched regardless? I think that is


the only way that is fair. If we have to do it with car insurance,


even should get stopped and searched. Because it is too


expensive. The police officer at the stop said the majority of stop and


searches are OK. For you and for me. But not for plenty of people here.


The fact is it is not OK for the thousands of kids who have been


stripped searched for no reason other than the colour of their skin


and the police close ranks, refuse to sxrut niez themselves --


scrutinise themselves when everyone knows they murdered a young black


man. The police have to be respectful to the people their


stopping and the people are powerless in that position. That is


what the police have to realise and I think they have a lot to answer


for. A power point. What people think. What we are thinking are the


police right to judge us on the way we look. 61% say yes it is right.


That is surprising. Yes. You mentioned about the way that we do


things and your scenario of a younger and an older person. There


was a video with a car set up with a keys not in it and expecting to see


who would steal it and it was an old lady? Does that not suggest maybe we


are profiling, but are we doing it in the wrong way. When you were


speaking, I chuckled, I was not chuckling at you. I was trying to


defend what may go through the minds of certain policemen. It doesn't


mean it is right or wrong. But the point made by the officer there is


the better one. There is a reality, there is a fantasy and a reality of


what goes on in police work of mistakes are made. People feel


targeted and that's bad for relations. In the majority of cases


police are trying to maintain law and order. Sometimes they make


judgements which turn out to be wrong, but the majority of cases the


police are on our side and we owe them more trust and respect than we


currently give them in the media. Yes, this gentleman here. Well, I


think we have engaged... A different one to what I was going for. We have


engaged in more general debates about stopping and searching. .


There will be anomalies to statistics, there is always a big


possibility that you are going to be dealing with an anomaly to those


statistics and therefore, I think, it becomes to the idea of respond to


go individual circumstances, what are the actual reasons that we are


going suspect an individual of committing a crime? A particular


moment rather than referring to statistics. There is something weird


about the way you phrase it. You said the probabliality of there


being an anomaly. I have been stopped and searched numerous


amounts of times and I have always responded with the utmost respect


from the police officers. They have treated with me dignity. The idea


that so many people feel that they have been mistreated and they feel


that the police force are not being in touch with the youth is in my


opinion not really true because there is things like the police


cadets and numerous organisation that is the police try and get


involved with the youth and other groups of people. It is not true


what everyone is saying. OK. Last comment up here and in the


grey jumper. I wanted to get back to you on that, when you get a line of


police officers, they stop you, they ask you about insurance and they ask


you what's on your floor and they ask you if you mok smoke and as a


full-time worker and graduate that takes liberties. Once it happens


with one person and it happens in the community, it breaks down the


trust and I think that's the issue. APPLAUSE


It feels like it is about respect. We are going to move on to our next


question. This one comes from our leaderboard, Tina. All week Free


Speech viewers have been going to Free Speech on Facebook. Clicking


through to the audience questions page and looking through the many


questions, all of which, have been submitted by you at home. This is


how it works. People click like on the questions they want to see on


the show and we count up the likes to make this, the leaderboard, here


it is. Published at 2pm this afternoon. There are the questions


and there are the number of likes they got. The top question is from


Jakes James Briggs, he asked should we legalise medicinal cannabis? No.


I can understand the case for those who are in tremendous pain and there


should be some resource for those people being able to access drugs.


But the reality is that turning marijuana to something you can get


on prescription creates a new market. If you spend your time in


California, you see people going to the doctor saying I am down, nudge,


nudge, wink. It creates a market for all kinds of new drugs. You don't


get people off harder things, you simply encourage people to


experiment with harder things. I think the message we need to send to


people is that drugs destroy lives, but they are also a moral choice


which means that you end up becoming part of a criminal system which


supports child labour, which supports gangsterism in foreign


countries, but is about dropping out of society and dropping out of the


system and I think that's the wrong message to send to people.


The gentleman up here in the stripy top. We should legalise all drugs.


APPLAUSE The problems that people describe,


aren't because of the drugs themselves, it is because they are


in the hands of criminals. It caused more harm than the drugs themselves.


Legalise drugs and it would solve most of the problems. Amy. I


disagree with your statement. I really don't think they should be


legalised. I have a very personal story about this because my sister


was a heroin addict for 12 years and I have seen first hand how drugs


tear apart families, communities, how they disturb children. The


devastation is massive and what I think we really need to do is to


look more kindly upon addicts and get to the root of the issue around


addiction which is often a backdrop of mental health issues, social


exclusion, economic exclusion, all sorts of things so I think we need


to approach drugs in a different way, I would come down with the full


force of the law on drug pushers and dealers, but I think we need to take


a more holistic and kinder approach to people who have addiction issues.


On Facebook, they don't want to give their name. Cannabis helped me live


with Crohn's disease. I have tried every treatment available. It puts


Crohn's disease into a more controllable state. I should have


the choice. Even my doctors told me off the record not to stop. Do you


think this person should stop? There are other medications that can deal


with pain. He tried every single treatment. This is the only thing


that works. I have an open mind about certain things, but I don't


think that creating a market for legalised cannabis in all cases is a


good idea. And that person is self medicating which is never a good


thing to do. The doctors told them not to stop and they have tried


every single treatment. Peter Reynolds. You are the leader of


Clear, you want cannabis law reform? Absolutely. Explain why. For


medicinal use. Crohn's disease is an excellent example. There are


clinical trials taking place in Israel on this subject. But what


most people don't realise is 100 years ago, half of the medicines


that you could get this this country contained cannabis for a wide range


of conditions. And it is only 80 years ago that we started this


experiment of banning cannabis and on no basis exempt on the basis of


prejudice and it is only 30 years ago that science has begun to


explain why cannabis is so effective for such a wide range of conditions


and what we advocate is very simple and that is if a doctor wants to


prescribe cannabis based on his professional judgement then he


should be able to do so and the fact of the matter is because there is so


much... Is it n true that they can? No, they can't. There is a cannabis


medicine which has existed in this country for five or six years. And


it is a spray? It is a spray, OK. The ridiculous thing we are the only


country in the world that is licensed to major pharmaceutical


company to grow cannabis for medicine and our Government, our


Home Office tells us there is no medicinal value in cannabis. So what


we want is we want doctors to be able to prescribe cannabis and


science has begun to explain why cannabis is effective. We have


something in our body and cannabis modulates this and it controls our


cardiovascular system. We will Google this later!


The gentleman in yellow. There is some clear benefits for medicinal


use, but where do you draw the line to ensure that access doesn't become


easy for recreational purposes and lead to potentially situations like


Amy discussed? One of the remarkable things about cannabis is it is safe.


Even professor, the chair of the Government's advisory panel says


that cannabis is a safer drug than aspirin and can be used without any


serious effects. That's not... Aspirin doesn't give you


schizophrenia. You are walking into The Daily Mail characture. Cannabis


does not give you schizophrenia. It is nonsense. You look at the


statistics, anybody in this country is six times more likely to be


admitted to hospital for mental and behavioural problems related to


alcohol than for cannabis. APPLAUSE


It done mean you should release another drug on to the market. There


are strong arguments for legalising cannabis for adults all around. Very


strong arguments, here tonight we are talking about medicinal use. It


is outrageous that politicians and civil servants can try and override


what a doctor wants to prescribe for his patients.


APPLAUSE We have got to be very careful.


There is two extremes to this debate. One is legalise everything,


let's go to the corner shop and buy crack cocaine, why not? There is a


middle ground. I agree request something that Nick Clegg said when


he came back from Columbia. He said that middle ground will be UN review


into this. The Government is under going a review into this and there


is a serious question about looking at cannabis because it isn't


statistically as you have said correctly, it doesn't lead to as


much social damage and health damage as alcohol. It has a medicinal


purpose. We are talking here specifically, not about


legalisation, but decriminalisation and changing the debate from being


one of law and order to health. It is a health question and like any


other health question, if someone is an alcoholic, we don't say let's ban


alcohol? We say they need rehabilitation. If someone gets


addicted to cannabis then they can go to rehab like everyone else who


is addicted to alcohol and cigarettes.


We were talking specifically about medicinal use. The evidence really


is overwhelming, OK. I am going to chat to the police about this.


LAUGHTER Alex Marshall, where do you stand?


The Government makes laws and it is for the police to enforce the laws


so the police don't have a role in make the laws, there is no doubt the


harm that is done. Interest a medical point of view, in medicine,


the established practise is you always test things thoroughly and


you have have a scientific basis for a treatment that a doctor provides.


I am from the College of Policing, we doing research to make sure the


policing approaches we use, stop and search an example we heard about


earlier, are based on sou evidence, not on judging people by the way


they look, but on the evidence of what works. You should look at


evidence in these things, but the laws are made by Government, not by


the police. This from someone called Younglin.


Tim needs to leave his elitist fantasy world and visit the


Netherlands. They have different access to


cannabis. Let's look at the Power Bar to see what people at home


think. Should we legalise medicinal cannabis. 66%, Free Speech, yes.


The gentleman at the back. I think cannabis is miraculous. I read a


story about a girl, $1 million of diagnostics wasn't able to diagnose


her condition and oil cured her having less seizures. I want to


address Tim on this one because he said if it was medicinal you could


go to your doctor and be like, "I am in pain. I need a little bit of -


what about alcohol, you don't have to lie to your doctor? You can go to


the shop and buy it and drink as much as you want and it kills


people. Weed never killed anybody. APPLAUSE


Alcohol is bad. People abuse it and it kills people. Let's ban it.


That's not an arguemed for legalising a different kind drug.


Alcohol is part of our society. If we did try and restrict it, or ban


it, if we did try to restrict it or ban it that would have extraordinary


societal effects. Like wise, if we tried to legalise drugs, it will


have societal effects because we have not... There are two sides to


this argument. It will have a massive, massive effect we can't


predictment Luisa? I'm all for legalising


cannabis for medicinal purposes. But if you have a problem like Crones


you can grow the weed its and from a corrupt Government point of view,


think how much the Government makes from pharmaceutical companies and


how much of an interest The In it. When you legalise weed, you go into


another shady area of grey, where people can self-prescribe and the


government would lose a huge amount of money from prescribing legal


drugs. The lady in red? Tim said about alcohol being part of our


society that is only because of its long-standing history. If it was


discovered today, would we accept it causes lung cancer and alcohol has


such long effects in society. It is only because of its history. That is


true. If we discovered alcohol I would say it should be illegal. No!


We have case studies where they have experimented with the legalisation


of cannabis and they have found that generally and this is not


necessarily the case going forward, but there hasn't been a mass surge


of people getting aticket dicted -- addicted and they started taxing the


trade and raised a lot of money. Because surprisingly, a lot of


people are on weed. And final think Afghanistansters -- gangsters, they


deprived them of a lot of money and it makes economic and social sense.


I am standing for Parliament answering the police point, I will


campaign on the legalisation of medicinal cannabis. That is


something I decided a long time ago before this debate. Yes? Does that


mean this is all a business to the Government? I thought our debate was


on the medicinal side. You mentioned they tax it. So that does mean that


we are looking at the economic benefits over the benefits of


people? That is what laws should be on. It comes down to a lot about the


Government and people don't realise how much influence the Government


has and how much is made from alcohol and Sigg ketds -- cigarettes


and how much they would lose out. Because people would self-grow. Any


taxation goes back into the health industry and you deprive organised


crime of lots of their revenues. Which is a huge problem when you


talk about the consequences and costs to society by policing


organised crime. And the cost to society, let's be real, drugs, when


we talk about regulating them, it is a huge industry and if you add that


to the health benefit and that poor soul who is living in pain, people


should be allowed to decide what to do with their own bodies when it


comes to medicinal cannabis. It is not crack cocaine. Now we tried to


debate this on our last show in Birmingham, but then we didn't. But


better late than never. I talk about being Muslim gay in society. These


labels shouldn't fit well together, but here I am and I refuse to give


one up over the other. I kept it to myself, because I was afraid what


the community would say, what my parents would say. I came out to my


parents when I was in my 20s. My mum came into my room and questioned me


about my sexuality. I said this in Urdu, which is my mother tongue.


That means my mum, gay. There was an occasion where my mum asked whether


I need to go and see a doctor. I said this isn't something that I can


take a medicine for. When I introduced my partner to my parents,


I introduced him as the person I want to marry and although I entered


into a civil partnership, they sort of saw it equal as a marriage and my


mum attended the ceremony and ended up giving me away and giving us her


blessing. It sounds a cliche but it was the best moment of my life. The


character has allowed me to reach out to many people. My mum, my


aunties and sisters came to one of my shows. The gay community were


inspired and in awe that a Muslim woman dressed in a nick nick cab has


come. So when it will be right to be Muslim and gay? Why did you want to


ask that question? It is an issue affecting a lot of gay Muslims in


the country. Thousands of gay Muslims and I think it is a topic


that is relevant today. It is a topic that doesn't get discussed on


any level. Continuously gets brushed under the carpet and I would like to


get it discussed. Amy? What do you think I think it is absolutely all


right. I think he is inspiring and to hear your story about your family


being so loving and gentle with you is just wonderful. Of course, it is


OK to be gay and Muslim and Christian and nonreligious and


whatever. This is the 21st Century and you know, not only do we have


the laws to support this equalitiers -- equality, we have changed a lot


of hearts and minds in the past 20 years. It is, we are looking at a


fantastic weekend ahead on Saturday we will have the first equal


marriages taking place here in the UK and I think it is a proud moment


for the country. What is your position on this? Well, the Islamic


position is we don't label people by their sexuality or their nationality


or their race. This label was invented in the Victorian era. As


soon as you diskrim napted by label, you diskrim named. In Islam we don't


have a title like that. You are just humans. The only thing that is


judged, it is just actions. And there many actions which are sinful


and many are permitted. We can't say you can't be gay and Muslim. We


don't make the disrim crimination between sexuality. That is when


discrimination begins. I'm confused. Would you therefore describe him as


sinful? What he does in his own home ills not my concern. I'm just


saying. Look, what he does in the privacy of his own home is not my


concern. If you want a judgment, you can refer it to god. I'm not God,


I'm just a human being. But Islamic says thr things like drinking


alcohol, eating pork or different gender intercourse out of marriage


which is sin you feel. But you -- sinful. You can still be a muss


Muslim. The real intolerance. It is rich that he says he can't profile


young people because they have hoodies, but his organisation


profiles Muslims who have orthodox beliefs and calls them extremists


and he is a Government-funded stooge attacking Muslims. What we are


talking about is different. But I have got a right to get back to the


subject. Quilliam doesn't profile Muslim and we are not Government


funded. But back to the subject... You were. It is time we had an


honest debate. We are as Muslim communities in the plural,


simultaneously oppressed and the oppressors. That is a dynamic that


plays out in any other scenario of victimhood, whetherivity is domestic


abuse, somebody usual lip has abuse done to them and they turn to an


abuser whether with a wife or children. It is a cycle of violence.


And with Muslim communities across the world, we have failed a lot of


violence. I faced torture in prison in Egypt I have been had police


brutality and in turn we become brutalisers of others. And in the


case of being a minority within this minority, we sometimes end up


discriminating against minorities within the minority and a case in


point is gay Muslims. Yesterday a film was shown about an openly gay


muz whip who has to -- Muslim who has to live in hiding because he has


been attacked. We have to have an honest debate. It doesn't mean every


Muslim is homophobic. But we have to be honest and say there is


discrimination within Muslim communities and call a spade a


spade. I'm a British Muslim, my family has been in London for 50


years. And the question raised, the two topics are controversial, but


you can be gay and Muslim. I think it was wrong for the mosque to ban


the discussion a few weeks ago, because we live in a democracy,


where we are allowed to disagree. The mosque are not here to defend


themselves. But OK, I don't think we're allowed to sensor anything.


But I know him and he does a lot of work for the gay community. Being a


drag queen isn't the same as being gay. It may sound obvious. Being gay


is not about and sex or sexual - anal sex or sexual membering


Nishings. -- mechanics. And to say they're in the same vein as


murderers and paedophiles. He has a position of responsibility and that


same language is used by people around the world to justify


murdering and persecuting people in the community and it causes a lot of


sadness. I volunteered for a UK organisation and we have helped


asylum seekers and people in the UK who have been disowned by their own


family and simply to love someone isn't a sin. No religion is


preaching hate. If there is 1.5 Muslims and 10% is gay. People need


to stop hating and start loving. Well Maajid talks about how he loves


minorities. But he tells the Government that certain beliefs are


extreme. Let's stick to what we are talking about. Including the belief


that what is sinful and what is not sinful to believe in mainstream


believes. If I believe that same gender physical intercourse is a sin


doesn't make me extremist. There are Christians that believe this. Don't


ask me to judge people. I'm not here to judge anyone. Will be judged when


I'm dead. You should not be called extremist for holding mainstream


beliefs. And people that hold these beliefs are not attacking anyone.


They are holding the beliefs and being treated as outcasts and modern


day her ticks. Anonymous, it is come -- it is hard coming out in a Muslim


family and you live two lives. I came out to my mum and still haven't


told the family. I don't wish to. I am happy, I am gay and I am Muslim.


And another one as a Muslim the issue around homosexuality within my


faith and community is one of anom imty -- anonymity and it has led to


depression and suicidal thoughts. My siblings know telling my parents is


something else. Isn't it attitudes within the community that we are


hearing stories like this? All Muslims are human and we all commit


sin. In the thee logy you cannot say I have done this. You keep it


private. We all do sins, but you shouldn't be I must come out. Who


said you should come out? Just you know I tell everyone about my


private life. You do not choose to be gay.


APPLAUSE If you want to live your life by a


book that's ancient, it is just so beyond the views are outdated. I


think it is bad... There is a confusion. It should be why can you


not be religious and gay? APPLAUSE


Can I braefl clarify that -- briefly clarify that? Being gay refers to


emotions of feelings, right? That's different from actions, all right.


We're talking about actions. I'm not saying about feelings in Islam


feelings are not sinful, right? Actions are a good person or a bad


person, that's all we're saying. Being gay is not bad. That's not


what I'm saying. We don't even label the people to discriminate them. You


are the one that discriminates them. You are the one that makes the


discrimination. You don't even acknowledge it, that's worse. I


treat them as humans. The lady here. He came out and said the censorship


that happened on BBC Free Speech was not only an attack on LG and BT. The


fact that you have sensored it and postponed it. Postpone is not the


same as sensored. The mosque, the concern, they expressed concern and


the BBC decided to abide by that and they came out saying. You need to


identify, you identify yourself as gay. Why do you chose to be Muslim


when it says within Islam, that that is prohibited?


APPLAUSE I would like to say that sexual


orren tation is not a choice. It is a choice for you to be Muslim. No.


No. Couldn't get involved in this. Why would you choose to be a Muslim.


In the Koran it says that's prohibited? What is prohibited is


the act... you to be Muslim.


That's wrong. I was brought up in an Islamic household. I am from a


conservative Pakistani community. If my mum and dad can accept me, why


can't the wider community accept me? The lady in the blue.


APPLAUSE I think the question that you are


asking is when will the Muslim community accept you as a gay


person, accept gay or homosexuality. It is not accepted in Islam so the


Muslim community will never accept homosexuality. You can be gay, but


then at the same time, if you choose to follow a religion which prohibits


homosexuality you can't ask when will they accept for you to be gay?


Can I just say then? Yes. What are people like me meant to do? Gay


teenagers, the suicide rate is going up. Homophobic crime is being


unreported. It is because of attitudes like that that are causing


people like me such dilemma. I will speak out and continue to speak out


and you are right to identify however you want, what we are


hearing right now and you can think whatever you want, the danger with


literalism is insisting there is only one way of doing things. If we


take literalism literally then only 200 years ago slavery was accepted


and justified by religion. Let me finish. The Koran explicity and


literally allows for slavery as does the Bible, but we no longer practise


that because our attitudes has changed. There is no one way of


interpreting things. Fed wants to -- fed wants to -- if he wants to be a


Muslim. This gentleman says he is not going to discriminate against




God does not exclude anyone. That's a crucial first point. Everyone has


the right to define for themselves what their identity is and we all


have identities which quite often are contradictory. We have to find


some way navigating that, of remaining faithful to our vision of


God whilst remaining faithful to who we are. To add to that also, the


rest of society and in particular the State, should not try to impose


its view, its morality upon Islam. This is a conversation that has to


happen within Islam. There might be room and there might be room for


growth and change. You decide for yourself, but the idea of saying to


someone, "You are a sinner." You cannot be part of this religion."


That's anti-God because that's a decision that God makes, not you.


APPLAUSE What you said about interpretation,


you are pushing the idea that there is no true sperption of Islam. By --


interpretation of Islam. You are saying that the people, the


extremists, their interpretation of religion is valid. There is


mainstream Islam. There are things that are universally accepted within


Islam. The gentleman brought up the idea of drinking, of doing drugs,


you know, those things are prohibited within Islam. I can chose


not to do them or I can, but for me to go out and say, "I am a Muslim


and I drink" And that should be accepted, that's not religion. You


are conflating choice. He was born the way he is and I am sure he can


speak for himself. Many, many Muslims would consider you a sinner


for covering your face. This is all interpreted, just as you have got


the right... No. No. No, look you are going into all sorts of


different avenues now. Can I finish my point? They should you shunnedant


be speaking in -- shouldn't be speaking in front of men. Oh come


on. Osama Bin Laden was asked why do you go against Islamic prohibitions


of killing women and children. He said, "Oh, the law is not set in


stone." He believes in different interpretation of Islam. You can


reinterpret it. In Islam, we believe in rules and principles. You can't


just change those things. Yes, you have been very patient. I


think the real question we should be asking is when will religion accept


homosexuality? Narrowing it done to Muslims is not doing anyone any


favours. APPLAUSE


Let's get to the Power Bar. Some comments. This is the minority view


though. You can't be gay in a Muslim. You are not a Muslim, you


are just Asian. These are the messages coming in. "Being gay and


Muslim is not right and it is disrespectful." # 1% of -- 71% of


people watching say yes, it is all right to be a gay Muslim.


APPLAUSE The gentleman up here.


The question of the Bible and the Koran. In society, there are laws


and we are here to abide by the laws. If Christians have the Bible


and the Bible sets out rules that Christians should follow, you are


either a Christian or not a Christian. Equally so, the Koran and


the laws that are set for you to follow, you either accept or reject.


On the basis of all these, people have rights to their choices. It is


all about choice and the life you want to lead. You should not hold us


to ransom because of the life you want to live. I am a Christian and I


am also a lesbian and I believe that they are all made in God's image.


APPLAUSE God has also given us the ability to


judge for ourselves and to think for ourselves and that is the crucial


point here. We will make the judgement that they want to follow a


biblical or a Koran-led form of that faith. What I find odd is the idea


that there is one true interpretation which can be applied


across the religion or across the culture. For me, I deeply respect


people who choose to live a chased life who are gay and who choose to


live according to the biblical precepts, but I accept you have to.


Those who choose to follow a different kind of relationship with


God and people who say, "You ain't going to get into heaven." That's


not my call. That's God's call to make. All religion practises love.


For you to separate them from the religion is not practising love. You


are not loving them for who they are. Love them regardless because at


the end, you are practising one religion.


The gentleman at the back there. The biggest problem here for Islam, I am


going to speak as an outsider, I am a Catholic Christian, Islam, the


issues is tolerance. I have friends who are Muslims. They would tell


you, Islam is not about love, it is about rules, rules, rules. The issue


here is what I call Protestant heritage. Islam, there are two many


interpretations involved. The big issues are defying some dogma saying


this is what it really means. You have got to tolerate that he is gay.


I tolerate that you are a lesbian. I congratulated this gentleman three


times for his nondiscrimination. I don't have a problem with him, but


he has a problem with me. Is the issue here not that as soon as you


start judging somebody else based on one factor of their personality and


identity you get it into a really dangerous... That's a good place to


end. That's it. We're off air until April, 10th. We are coming from


Winchester and we will be joined by a special audience made up of two


groups of people, those educated in a comprehensive system and those


educated privately. Our audience questions page on Facebook has been


reset and it is waiting for your questions. Click like on the ones


you most want to see on the programme, we will count them up and


see what comes top. This is your programme and we follow your agenda.


From us in Tottenham, good night. APPLAUSE


The live current affairs debate show comes from the heart of the Broadwater Farm housing estate in Tottenham. In the run-up to the show viewers help set the agenda by voting for the questions they want to see debated on the show's Facebook page, which are then discussed by the panel.

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