A ‘Quiz a Muslim’ event in Bedford tomorrow has been slammed by an outspoken reformed radical.
Among the panel is Moazzam Begg who was held at Guantanamo Bay for almost three years before being released without charge.
Maajid Nawaz - the co-founder of counter-extremism think-tank Quilliam Foundation and a former member of radical Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir - has taken to Facebook to express his outrage about the forthcoming debate.
He posted: “Every single one of these speakers is a Caliphate-advocating Islamist.”
But while organiser and Bedford-born journalist Dilly Hussain agrees the panel is controversial he says the public should have the opportunity to quiz them in an open forum.
“Some of them are very controversial, some of them have said things that have been deemed distasteful,” he admitted.
“On the flip side none of them have broken any laws and none of them are convicted criminals.
“My aim is to put aside my own personal bias and actually challenge these individuals, for them not to have an easy ride.
“It is open to the public and it is an interactive Q and A session where people’s views will be questioned and scrutinised.”
Mr Begg, who is part of advocacy group CAGE, which was labelled ‘extremist’ by David Cameron during a speech on counter terrorism, was arrested again last year on terror charges linked to Syria but the case was dropped by the Crown Prosecution Service before it reached court.
Some of the other panellists have also been labelled ‘extremists’ in the press and Sheikh Al Haddad, who will be answering questions, has been branded a hate cleric by some.
The free event is being held in the Harpur Suite, where there is space for 184 people, at the Corn Exchange in St Paul’s Square on Friday from 7pm.
Mr Hussain said: “Please attend the event and voice your concerns and challenge these speakers.”