Galloway refuses to apologise at Muslim women's meeting over Assange rape remark (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Galloway refuses to apologise at Muslim women's meeting over Assange rape remark
9:20am Thursday 13th September 2012 in News
The leader of a Muslim women’s organisation said women will have been left “disappointed” by George Galloway ’s refusal to apologise for controversial comments he made about rape and sexual consent.
The Bradford West MP tonight faced a meeting of the Muslim Women’s Council Bradford Circle where he was quizzed over comments he has made in podcasts and on Twitter and how he was representing them.
Mr Galloway caused outrage last month with his podcast comments about the case of Wikileaks campaigner Julian Assange, who is facing rape allegations in Sweden.
The Respect MP claimed the substance of the allegations against Mr Assange amounted to no more than “bad sexual etiquette”.
At last night’s meeting Mr Galloway refused to apologise for remarks he made on the podcast, saying it was his “belief”.
But after the meeting Bradford Circle’s chairman Bana Gora said: “A lot of people came here today expecting a public apology and George made it perfectly clear that was not what he wanted to do and he would not do that.
“As a chairman obviously I’m impartial, but on behalf of the Muslim Women’s Council and on behalf of women’s organisations and rape crisis organisations that have been represented here today, I’m sure there’s many women that will actually go home disappointed, which is a shame.”
Before the questions started Mr Galloway told the audience rape was a vile crime. He said: “No means no. No never means yes and sex without consent is a sexual assault or rape. That’s always been my view.”
He faced questions from the audience, including an invitation by Amy Sanderson, of Bradford About Consent, to apologise, acknowledge the dangers of “misinformation” and offer a clear description of the law.
Mr Galloway said his remarks about consent were made in the context of Mr Assange, who he said was being set up by the US, in league with the Swedish and British governments to punish him for the revelations made through Wikileaks.
He said: “That is the context of my remarks. I cannot and will not apologise for what I said, for what I said – not for what The Sun said I said – because it’s my belief. Now, I may well forfeit your political support as a result, but I do not do things to win political support.”
Mr Galloway refused to comment about the resignation of Respect Party national leader Salma Yaqoob. He also faced criticism about his use of the term “window-licker” in a heated Twitter exchange.
He told the audience he should have used the word “moron” instead to describe the “bigot” who had taunted him on Twitter.