The moment that I found out Brunel was hosting controversial cleric Abu Usamah at-Thahabi, I knew that whatever was in my diary would be cancelled as I did not want to miss what could be potentially a real juicy story. I was, as the kids say, buzzing with excitement as I thought it could be my first big scoop and the national news may even be interested. At the same time, I’d seen the Dispatches documentary so I was afraid that his strong views may cause a huge backlash.
But how wrong I was on both accounts. On arrival, there was the Islamic Society waiting to enter the lecture theatre one side and the protesters (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender society) holding up posters kept behind crowd control barriers on the other. There were also bouncers and even Community Police Officer’s so I thought things were about to get heated. They didn’t. When inside, the talk went smoothly and at-Thahabi did not say anything too contentious. The main subject was Aisba and her role in Islam.
As a human, I was happy that Abu Usamah at-Thahabi was able to deliver an informative speech and a silent protest occurred without trouble but as a journalist, it was a pretty boring evening. Sweets being given by ISOC as a peace gesture to those who were upset with at-Thahabi certainly created a surreal atmosphere and the whole evening didn’t live up to the billing.
The highlight of the night was probably when a girl interjected and then stormed out angrily, for reasons unknown to me. Or perhaps at the end when at-Thahabi strenuously denied making comments about homosexuals, even though he was caught on video. Type it in Google if you haven’t seen it. Other search engines are available if you are boycotting the tax dodgers
I’ll tell you about my work experience tomorrow when I get back from Westminster. All I’ll say is it has been hectic today and I can’t wait to go back.
Bye for now!