The BBC controversially scrapped a debate on homosexuality that was to be aired from a live panel discussion taking place at Birmingham Central Mosque, after the mosque’s authorities objected to the same. The show titled Free Speech is aimed at young people and for its March 11 segment, it intended to ask the question, “When will it be accepted to be Muslim and gay?”
After the show aired a clip of Asifa Lahore, UK’s first Muslim drag queen discussing his various identities, the show’s host Rick Edwards announced that the debate would have to be called off.
“We were going to debate that question today, but after speaking to the Mosque, they have expressed deep concerns with having that discussion here,” said Edwards.
According to the producers of the show Mentorn Media, the debate will be aired on the show’s next segment scheduled for March 25.
“After agreeing to allow a programme called Free Speech to be filmed at the Mosque, it is absurd and counterproductive 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,” said Stephen Evans, campaigns manager at the National Secular Society.