Gitmo detainee speaks at Cathedral

Moazzam Begg spoke about his experiences at Blackburn Cathedral on Tuesday describing how he was tortured and held in solitary confinement. Moazzam Begg, a British citizen, said how he travelled to Afghanistan to start a girls’ school with his wife and within a year he had been captured by American forces as part of the “war on terror” and transported to Guantanamo Bay. He was kept without charge until his eventual release in 2005. Moazzam Begg said he knew what it was like “not to have a voice”. But he insisted that members of all faith communities in East Lancashire needed to make sure that they articulated themselves well – and avoided violence. Mr Begg said he wanted to tell all people, not just Muslims, that they have a voice.

Council’s integration solution ‘sticking plaster’

Problems with segregated communities cannot be cured by new schools, a leading cleric said on Wendesday. Blackburn Cathedral’s Canon Chris Chivers described the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) scheme, which will see a major shake-up of secondary education in Blackburn and Darwen, as a “band-aid” for other, deeper social problems. But Muslim leaders in Lancashire have defended the council, saying that it is working hard to promote cohesion. Blackburn with Darwen Council this week revealed finalised BSF plans which will see three new super-schools created – Witton Park and Pleckgate High Schools will be completely rebuilt on site, and a new East Lancashire Community College will replace Blakewater College.