CAGE Outreach Director, Moazzam Begg, will be speaking at the Index on Censorship, Actors Touring Company and the Unicorn Theatre for an evening of theatre and debate on Thursday 8 Oct beginning at 7pm.
The discussion will feature:
- Nadia Latif – Director, Homegrown
- Moazzam Begg – ex-Guantanamo detainee and Director of Outreach CAGE
- Rev Giles Fraser – priest, former canon St Paul’s Cathedral and columnist
- Julia Farrington – Index on Censorship
- Matt Frei – Author, Journalist and Channel 4 Presenter (Chair)
Where: Unicorn Theatre
When: Thursday 8th October, Martyr 19:00 – 20:30, Event 20:45 onwards.
Following Index’s work on art and offence, and our recent publication of guidance on staging controversial productions, join us to debate free speech, tolerance and extremism.
The debate follows a performance of Martyr, a play produced by ATC and the Unicorn Theatre. About a schoolboy who decides to become an ‘extremist’ Christian, and his subsequent clash with his radical-secular school teacher, Martyr explores how far one will go for what they believe in?
Homegrown was a play that sought to explore Islamic radicalisation among young people in the United Kingdom. The National Youth Theatre, the producers, said that “the subject matter of this play, its immersive form and its staging in a school required us to go beyond our usual stringent safeguarding procedures”. Apparently worried about the “creative and personal development of the young people” involved – the show was cancelled.
CAGE Outreach Director and former detainee of Guantanamo Bay, Moazzam Begg said:
“The recent decision by the National Youth Theatre to cancel the performance of Homegrown a play that explores the causes of radicalisation among young people was described by leading British voices as “a troubling moment for British theatre and freedom of expression.”
At a time when the British government has been citing opposition to freedom of expression as a sign of radicalisation and extremism nothing could seem more ironic. But perhaps, if questions and conclusions contained within a play identify, in the form of performance art, that belligerent foreign policy and draconian internal policy play a key role in alienating our youth then the NYT, instead of providing a vehicle for artistic expression, has just endorsed the government’s view that radicalisation has nothing to do with either.
The debate around artistic freedoms is a crucial one and comes after at a time when Britain has passed laws that have convicted young Muslims for writing poetry and publishing books and, is well on the way to enact more laws that curtail more freedoms.”
(NOTE: CAGE represents cases of individuals based on the remit of our work. Supporting a case does not mean we agree with the views or actions of the individual. Content published on CAGE may not reflect the official position of our organisation.)