The organiser of a controversial ‘Quiz a Muslim’ event has branded those who linked the public gathering to terror attacks in Paris as ‘irresponsible’.
As several outspoken figures gathered in Bedford on Friday night to be questioned on their beliefs horror was unfolding in the famous capital.
But although Bedford-born journalist Dilly Hussain has hailed the three hour Question Time style debate a success he said national media claims that linked it with the atrocities in Paris were both ‘embarrassing’ and ‘irresponsible’.
“Whilst the event was happening Paris was unfolding and we didn’t have the slightest of clues,” he said.
“All our phones were switched off or on silent.
“It was really unfortunate that as a result of Breitbart News making that ridiculous and very irresponsibly link, it received further coverage from the Daily Mail.
“I think the right wing press were very irresponsible with what they did.”
Among the line up were Moazzam Begg, who was held at Guantanamo Bay for almost three years before being released without charge, and Sheikh Al Haddad, who has been called a hate cleric by some.
It is estimated that between 30 to 40 non-Muslims attended the event, which was held in the Harpur Suite in the Bedford Borough Council-run Corn Exchange.
Mr Hussain said: “I really commend and applaud Mayor Dave Hodgson for allowing this event to go ahead and I would invite other local councils to follow suit.
“The audience had absolute freedom to challenge the speakers and I challenged the speakers as well.”
The event organiser, who is also deputy editor of British Muslim news site 5Pillars, said he has received death threats and hate mail since the debate.
But he said he would hold the event again and has already been invited to host debates in London and Birmingham.
Speaking of the mass murder in Paris, he told Bedford Today: “It is unequivocally wrong in the Islamic faith and there is no room or space for it.”