Newsnight: Maajid Nawaz, Mo Ansar And Mehdi Hasan Debate 'Jesus And Mo' Tweet By Lib Dem Candidate

Why Did Newsnight Drop Female Muslim From Panel Discussion On Islam?

Lib Dem prospective parliamentary candidate Maajid Nawaz, who recently tweeted a cartoon of Jesus and the Prophet Mohammed, sparking a petition to have him deselected by his party, locked horns with Muslim community organiser Mo Ansar and the political director of the HuffingtonPost UK Mehdi Hasan on Newsnight on Monday.

Nawaz, who runs the anti-extremism think-tank the Quilliam Foundation, tweeted a picture of a t-shirt, featuring a print of controversial comic strip Jesus and Mo, alongside the words: "This is not offensive and I'm sure God is greater than to feel threatened by it."

The petition on, which gained around 20,000 signatories, stated: "Maajid Nawaz’s recent activity on social media outlets Facebook and Twitter have been both disrespectful and offensive to the Muslim community in the UK and abroad and the Islamic faith at large... And hence the Party must take punitive action ideally through disassociating itself with Mr Nawaz by removing him from his position as PPC for Hampstead and Kilburn."

Following the tweet, Nawaz received several death threats as well as condemnation, notably from MP George Galloway, who responded by tweeting: "No Muslim will ever vote for the Liberal Democrats anywhere ever unless they ditch the provocateur Majid Nawaz, cuckold of the EDL."

During the discussion, it emerged that Myriam Francois-Cerrah, the prominent writer and journalist, was dropped from the discussion in favour of Ansar, resulting in no female Muslim voice on the panel.

Before the show she tweeted:

Peeps,been replaced by @MoAnsar so it's not just me w/facial hair next to @MaajidNawaz & @mehdirhasan - 4 men discussing Islam,how original!

— M Francois-Cerrah (@MFrancoisCerrah) March 24, 2014

Twitter reacted to Francois-Carrah's removal from the panel with some disdain:

@MFrancoisCerrah@MoAnsar@MaajidNawaz@mehdirhasan sorry to hear it. Would have been refreshing to see women discussing islam in uk

— Sabbiyah Pervez (@sabbiyah) March 24, 2014

Ian Katz, the Newsnight producer who made the decision to drop the only female voice from the panel, tweeted:

English Defence League reorganisation

o-Founder and Executive Director of Quilliam, Maajid Nawaz


What's Hot