A Muslim comedian has pulled out of a Quilliam Foundation event after acknowledging “clear issues” between the Muslim community and the controversial counter-extremism think-tank.
Stand-up comedian Sadia Azmat decided to pull out of Quilliam Foundation’s “Winning the War on Words” event, which is taking place tomorrow at the Free Word Centre in London.
She posted the following status on her Facebook page:
“It is annoying to have Maajid Nawaz and Quilliam speak on my behalf. Today they said I have been ‘bullied’ about doing their gig when I haven’t.
“I originally agreed to do the gig as an artist in my own right and not an advocate of Quilliam. A few guys said that they would never have an arranged marriage with me if I did the gig and I didn’t mind that.
“However, it feels as though there is clearly an issue between the community and Quilliam that I was being brought into the middle of – it feels like being in a threesome with two weirdoes who have some strange pre-existing sexual tension.
“You’ll love my comedy, come and see me perform when I’m not being used to advance any political agendas.”
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Scores of Muslims took to Twitter to show support for Sadia’s decision, whilst Maajid Nawaz and Quilliam supporters trolled her with questions and disgust.
Nawaz himself claimed on social media that Sadia had pulled out due to the alleged “hatred” and “bullying” from “community leaders”.
However, Sadia denied Nawaz’s claims by responding to him on Twitter, “I made a personal decision to withdraw from the gig. Maajid insists on making something more from this.”
This is not the first time Muslim speakers and organisations have pulled out of Quilliam-affiliated events.
In March, relief charity Penny Appeal and British Muslim TV swiftly disassociated themselves from Quilliam after a social media uproar about the two organisations sponsoring an event with Dr Usama Hasan and Salah Ansari of Quilliam, as well as one of the groups’s founding members Rashad Ali.
Both Penny Appeal and British Muslim TV condemned Quilliam’s work as “damaging” and “detrimental” to the Muslim community.