George Galloway reveals he has ‘protection from theocratic fascists’ as he is heckled once more

Video: The Bradford West MP was speaking at The Independent Live debate

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George Galloway revealed he brought "protection" with him to a debate on Tuesday evening "due to fascists threatening to blow him up".

The Respect MP for Bradford West was speaking at The Independent Live debate, on a panel that included prospective London mayoral candidates David Lammy MP and Ivan Massow, Independent On Sunday columnist Janet Street-Street Porter and Lib Dem candidate Maajid Nawaz.

Responding to the question "How can we most successfully address extremism in young people in the UK", Nawaz, a co-founder of and chairman of Quilliam, the counter-extremism organisation, said, "We need to start challenging this extremism where we see it; not being afraid of being called racist when somebody's a theocratic fascist. The problem is that they're a theocratic fascist, that's the problem, and they need to be challenged, and we've got to make this form of extremism as unattractive and unappealing as Saddam Hussein."

Galloway, who has clashed with Nawaz in the past, replied, "It takes one to know one and Maajid used to be a theocratic fascist."

Galloway was then interrupted by a heckler who swore at him as he accused him of supporting Saddam Hussein.

The debate chair, Independent editor Amol Rajan, denounced the heckler and told him further such language would get him thrown out of the debate.

Returning to the debate, Galloway said that he was not someone who denies there is a problem with extremism in young people in the UK, stating, "Indeed, I have protection this evening from theocratic fascists threatening to blow me up. I don’t deny it; I denounce it. The question is what’s the effective way of denouncing it?"

Galloway was then critical of the "prevent strategy" employed by Nawaz and the Quilliam Foundation, accusing the organisation of being "notable and massive inheritors of very large sums of public money" for a strategy that "clearly has failed". He argued for more intelligent policing, as well as clearer stances from politicians and the media.

Nawaz repllied, "It's absurd to blame Quilliam which is a civil society-based organisation that attempts to safeguard our civil liberties in the so-called war on terror."

Tuesday night's panellists were:

• George Galloway, the controversial Respect MP for Bradford West, who was last month heckled on Question Time for his anti-Israel stance

• Maajid Nawaz, who is hoping to become a Lib Dem MP for Hampstead and Kilburn. Nawaz is the co-founder and chairman of the counter-extremist organisation Quilliam

• Janet Street-Porter, Independent on Sunday columnist and the newspaper's editor at large

• David Lammy, Labour MP for Tottenham and Labour London mayoral hopeful

• Ivan Massow, one of the Conservative party's London Mayoral candidates

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