Speakers’ Corner focus group with the police

I have just left a meeting of the Speakers’ Corner focus group with the police.

It was ably chaired by PC Stephen Barnes of the Metropolitan Police.  About 20 people attended. Very productive. Two women shared their experiences of sexual assault at the park. A Shia spoke of his victimisation by Sunni Muslims.

I spoke of how anti-Muslim hate speech at Speakers’ Corner causes attacks on Muslims nationally through being broadcast on social media. Hatun, a Christian from DCCI ministries, dismissed my concerns.

Accusations were made by Raj and DCCI (Hatun and a male friend) against Muslim speaker Adnan Rashid (who was not present) that he “instigates” and “targets” individuals in the park making them feel threatened.
I defended Adnan and said these were utterly false and malicious claims.
The role of social media was discussed – how it influences people who come to the park. Solutions were discussed. I said how sad I was that too few Muslims came to the meeting. PC Stephen mentioned that he plans to have private meetings with individuals who have not attended the meetings.

Much more was said. Atheist Steve is producing a full account of the meeting.

Categories: London, Speakers' Corner

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