The Islamia Village event that was to take place at Thorpe Underwood Estate this Bank Holiday weekend (24th— 27th August) has now been cancelled.
Readers of this blog were first alerted to this event by The Islamic Far-Right in Britain, reposted at Harry’s Place on the 13th of July. Further coverage of the hate-preachers set to headline the event were subsequently posted at Hope Not Hate, Harry’s Place, and Student Rights.
As reported by The Islamic Far-Right in Britain several days ago, anti-extremist activists have been in negotiation with Thorpe Underwood Estate since the event was reported at Harry’s Place in July. Following several meetings of their Board of Trustees, Thorpe Underwood took a number of steps to ensure that no comments relating to “threats, violence or any form of intolerance” would be be tolerated on their premises. Such steps included banning the most extreme speakers and demanding that the organisers of the event, The Islamic Network, as well as each of the individual speakers, sign up to a legally binding agreement proscribing any and all forms of hate speech. Thorpe Underwood also made it clear that, if the event was to go ahead, there would be both English and Urdu speakers monitoring each of the sessions (even when held in parallel), as well as full visual and sound monitoring in real time. In their negotiations with the organisers, they were firm in their insistence that they were prepared to (quite literally) “pull the plug” on any speaker who violated these strictures, in which case the event would be cancelled forthwith.
Following what were described as long and intensive negotiations with the organisers, the only question was whether or not The Islamic Network would agree to these strict conditions. As of yesterday, it was still not at all clear whether or not the event would be going ahead. Late this afternoon Thorpe Underwood Estate released the following statement:
Trustees of Thorpe Underwood Estate near York have cancelled an event planned for this weekend.
The Islamia Village was due to start tomorrow, Friday August 24th, and run until Bank Holiday Monday, providing a holiday retreat for Muslims from across the country.
A spokesman for Thorpe Underwood Estate said that there had been problems in accommodating some of the key speakers in the event and that the Trustees had had no choice but to cancel.
This outcome should be seen as a victory for peaceful campaigning and reasonable negotiation over hatred and extremism, whether the latter comes from Islamist fanatics or anti-Muslim hooligans. The latter will not, on this occasion at least, be claiming a victory for themselves on the back of others’ hard work.
Harry’s Place adds:
You can read the statement from Islamia Village here, where they blame this blog, the Quilliam Foundation, and the EDL for the cancellation of the event.
In the thread that follows, a Trustee has explained more fully their reasons for cancelling. They confirm that they attempted, and succeeded, in persuading the organisers of the event to withdraw the hate preachers, and to agree to conditions which would have allowed them to ‘pull the plug’ on the event if hatred had been preached.
The hosts should be commended for their refusal to allow hatred to be promulgated to their guests, which would have included young children, at this event. They are mistaken in believing that such an event could ever have avoided controversy.