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Experts take any questions

PUBLISHED: 18:24 13 October 2001 | UPDATED: 10:40 03 March 2010

WORLD events were brought into sharp focus as the nation tuned in to its radios last night to join an audience in Felixstowe for an enthralling live debate.

WORLD events were brought into sharp focus as the nation tuned in to its radios last night to join an audience in Felixstowe for an enthralling live debate.

Radio 4 broadcast its popular Any Questions show – one of the nation's favourite radio programmes – from the town.

The Old Felixstowe Community Centre was packed for the event – the 53rd anniversary of the show, since its first broadcast in 1948 – as 200 people crammed into its main hall to take part in the programme.

Jonathan Dimbleby was joined by Foreign Office Minister Ben Bradshaw, Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions David Willetts, Guardian columnist Polly Toynbee, and Ajmal Masroor, the president of the London branch of the Islamic Society of Britain.

Questions were posed by members of the audience, with those chosen selected from a huge number submitted as people arrived for the broadcast.

Topics included – inevitably – the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington and the subsequent retaliation bombing of Afghanistan's ruling Taleban regime for its failure to hand over Osama Bin Laden.

While three of the panelists felt the action "absolutely necessary", Mr Masroor believed not all avenues of diplomacy had been exhausted and many people believed it was an attack on Muslims at large – and that the allies were not winning the propaganda war and failing to get their reasons across.

Other topics included the incident involving spin doctor Jo Moore, Railtrack's demise and the plans to bring in "religious hatred" laws.

The Old Felixstowe Community Association was delighted with how the evening went – as were the BBC, which thanked and praised them for their hospitality, help and organisation.

Today it was back to business as usual at the centre in Ferry Road as it staged one of its more usual events, its autumn fayre.

WEBLINKS: www.bbc.co.uk/radio4

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