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Controversial comments will be on agenda as MP George Galloway addresses Muslim women's group
George Galloway will face an audience of Muslim women tomorrow to explain his controversial comments about rape and disabled people as well as his performance as MP for Bradford West.
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 sparked the backlash by claiming the substance of the allegations against Mr Assange amounted to no more than “bad sexual etiquette”.
And he was forced to apologise after using the offensive term “window-licker” in a heated Twitter exchange. He later said he had used the term without realising its significance after being “relentlessly taunted” by a “bigoted, sectarian Rangers supporter”.
Tomorrow’s invitation-only Bradford Circle event, organised Bradford Muslim Women’s Council, will see Mr Galloway addressing an audience of women, who are credited with helping the MP win his seat in Parliament at a by-election in March.
They will be asking him about the work he is doing for the city, the recent controversies over his views, and how he will represent them.
Previously the group has held audiences with former Conservative Party Chairman Baroness Warsi and Labour leader Ed Miliband.
Bradford Muslim Women’s Council’s director, Selina Ullah, said: “We have a diverse membership and we will be letting Mr Galloway hear what our concerns are, what our priorities are and giving him a chance to explain what he has been doing since his election.
“As Baroness Warsi and Mr Miliband found, we are interested in a wide range of issues and we will be making sure questions are answered, and actions justified.
“The Bradford Circle events are an opportunity to hold to account senior figures from politics, business and the not-for-profit sector.
“We are providing a platform for dialogue, debate and understanding where the voices of Muslim women can be heard and our concerns understood.”
Mr Galloway said: “I really appreciate the invitation and I look forward to addressing a hugely important group of women, many of whom were influential in my victory.
“I’ll be updating them on what has been happening since that election – it would be rude and inelegant of me to say specifically what I’ll be talking about in advance of the meeting – and I will deal with any and every question asked of me.
“No doubt there will be questions on Assange and my recent comments where I will reiterate what I have said many times – no always means no! But I will also stress the shameful part that Britain has played in muzzling him and the whistleblowing site WikiLeaks.”
Mr Galloway’s comments were condemned at the time by Sabiya Khan, the chairman of Bradford's Muslim Women’s Forum, and the former Lord Mayor of Bradford, Councillor Naveeda Ikram , who said that women had been “outraged” by Mr Galloway’s attitude.