I had my second debate on Freedom of Speech today at King’s College London (University of London). The debate was more academic and considered then my debate on Tuesday. There was no sparks flying and not as much challenging controversy – but there was different points of view, although not so wide ranging as my first debate. One panellist, Miqdaad Versi, believed in open speech, but with no double standards. The other panellist, Rupert Sutton (with the org. ‘Student Rights’), believed in free speech, including the right to insult people’s beliefs, but not incite hatred (his organisation believes in a no platform policy in Universities, for groups defined as ‘extremist’). Both of my fellow panellists, were intellectual, polite and good mannered. I know I seem to end up in a lot of explosive debates – but I actually prefer the mild mannered ones. In those debates, you can actually discuss things honestly without people’s vanity placing obstacles in the way, or having to wade through heavy amounts of people’s rhetoric due to the lack of substance in their arguments. Such debates actually have more conceding and agreement – which is an excellent outcome for a debate.
My second debate this week not only touched upon the limits of speech, but also featured:
-What is extremism? and is the term extremism merely used as a cover to label others who we disagree with?
-Is Hizb ul Tahrir extremist? Does Hizb ul Tahrir really hate and want to kill all jews? (I argued it certainly does not – based upon their extensive and accessible online literature discussing the praiseworthy co-existence between Muslims and Jews historically),
-Should extremists be allowed to express their opinions for purely intellectual purposes? (I argued yes, for how can we refute their ideas unless we debate the advocates themselves publicly for all to see – the example was the EDL)
-Muslim perspective to foreign policy
-Is the media biased to reporting negative stories about Islam and Muslims? (I argued yes, sensationalism sells! – when a Muslim kills, rapes or steals, it is a tragedy, but when a White (and non-Muslim) Englishman does the same, it is a statistic).
..and a lot more subjects! (wait for the video Inshallah). Until the videos are uploaded, I will give you an EID gift – a preview into my arguments and discourse on this subject – please feel free to use in your own discussions Inshallah.
EID MUBARAK Everyone!! May Allah (swt) help all of us to improve in health, knowledge, helpfulness to others, and be the best we can be. Ameen.