A public debate organised by a banned Islamist group sparked scuffles and angry confrontations over segregated seating for women. Police were called after members of Al Muhajiroun physically prevented men and women from sitting next to each other leading to claims of assault and intimidation.
The event titled Sharia law versus British law was meant to see radical preacher Anjem Choudary debate Douglas Murray, director of the right-wing thinktank the Centre for Social Cohesion at Conway Hall in central London. However the venue’s owners cancelled the meeting before it even got under way because of “fundamentalist thugs” who clashed with Mr Murray’s supporters at the entrance.
It led to a noisy stand-off outside the building in Red Lion Square for more than an hour as police intervened to keep the two sides apart. Mr Choudary planned to use the event to publicly relaunch Al Muhajiroun five years after it was supposedly disbanded. It was led by Omar Bakri until his deportation for glorifying terrorism after praising the 9/11 hijackers as “the Magnificent 19”.