Prevent Watch

Bradford Literature Festival withdrawals: Prioritising principles over promotion

Within the past day, a number of scheduled participants for the Bradford Literature Festival have announced their withdrawal from the event, on account of the Festival’s acceptance of counter-extremism funding.

These participants include poet Suhaiymah Manzoor-Khan, organiser Sahar Al Faifi, ex-NUS President Malia Bouattia, activist Lola Olufemi, authors Waithera Sebatindira and Hussein Kesvani – and all should be rightfully applauded for their principled stances.

The Bradford Literature Festival had accepted funding from the Building a Stronger Britain Together (BSBT) fund, which comes under the 2015 Counter Extremism Strategy.

The list of fundees of the BSBT strategy is publicly available on the Home Office website, and spans Muslim organisations as well as sports teams, cultural organisations, social enterprises and supposedly ‘antiracist’ groups such as Hope not Hate, Faith Matters and Show Racism the Red Card.

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