Thursday, 21 July 2011

this is not fun

His Master's Voice notes that on Sunday last (seemingly) an event was taking place at the Rivermead leisure centre, a council-owned venue, which was disrupted by some members of the English Defence League, who were apparently drunk, and thus removed by police.  The EDL were last seen in Reading being heavily publicised by Basher McKenzie.  The event being disrupted was an "inspirational talk" featuring the individual you can see in this video - it is worth watching if you have time, but for those who do not, he is an African-American convert to Islam, who believes that 9/11 was the work of "several governments" and not of al-Qaeda, that homosexual acts are punishable by death, and, well, you get the picture.  The video also reveals that the individual concerned, who calls himself Shaykh Hasin, is a fraudster and a thief.  Among other things.  The Rivermead event was sponsored by a Berkshire "Islamic" grouping, and the event is reported entirely uncritically by His Master's Voice.  I wonder if Reading Borough Council would have been happy for its premises to be used by the English Defence League themselves, or by any other grouping which is homophobic, racist and promoting of divisions between communities.

I wonder.  Not for very long.

What does newly Labour-controlled Reading Borough Council have to say about this event?  And who paid for the venue?  Did they pay the full commercial rate?  If not why not?  Do they distance themselves from homophobic hate preaching?  If not why not?

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