World 28 October 2010 Me versus French MP on the face-veil Watch the video of the BBC World News’s <em>Doha Debates</em>, hosted by Tim Sebastian. Print HTML A fortnight or so ago, I went out to Doha, Qatar, to participate in the Doha Debates programme on BBC World News. The show is beamed into 300 million homes in 200 countries and is hosted by the veteran BBC interviewer and anchor Tim Sebastian. The motion was: "This house believes France is right to ban the face veil." Speaking on the proposition side were Jacques Myard, a French MP from President Sarkozy's UMP, and Farzana Hassan, a Canadian author and activist; speaking on the opposition side were me and the French journalist Nabila Ramdani. I'm pleased to announce that my side won the debate on the night, with the 350-strong audience of Qataris and expats rejecting the motion by 78 per cent to 22 per cent. It was a pretty lively and heated debate. You can watch it all in one go in the video on the Doha Debates website. Or you can watch it via YouTube in four parts, beginning with part 1 below: Here are parts 2, 3 and 4. (My own opening statement kicks in at 4mins 45secs in part 2 of the four video clips and at 16mins 30secs in the full video of the debate on the Doha Debates website.) UPDATE: I forgot to mention above that I was a last-minute replacement on the panel for Sayeeda Warsi, who pulled out at the last minute. But was she forced to withdraw by her boss, the Prime Minister? From the Evening Standard: Muslim cabinet minister Baroness Warsi pulled out of defending the burqa at an international TV debate because of "government pressure", it was claimed today. The Tory party co-chairman had been due to appear in front of a global TV audience of 350 million people opposing the motion that "France is right to ban the face veil". However, a Tory party source said that Baroness Warsi, right, had pulled out for diary commitments. › Being untouchable no longer Mehdi Hasan is a contributing writer for the New Statesman and the co-author of Ed: The Milibands and the Making of a Labour Leader. He was the New Statesman's senior editor (politics) from 2009-12. Subscribe More Related articles For the first time in my life I have a sworn enemy – and I don’t even know her name The most dangerous job in America? US presidents have a fatality rate roughly 27 times that of lumberjacks A loyalist rebranded: will Ségolène Royal run again to be the French President?