Saturday, 8 March 2008

The Latest Doha Debate

Is there free speech in the Arab World? Qatar seems to try to make respective arrangements. BBC WORLD is broadcasting the latest forum discussion today and tomorrow. Very interesting speakers.

GMT Saturday 8th March 08.10 and repeated at 14.10 and 20.10; Sunday 9th March 00.10 and repeated at 08.10 and 20.10

Here are the results:

THE LATEST DEBATE - MARCH 3rd, 2008 :
MOTION: THIS HOUSE BELIEVES THAT MUSLIMS ARE FAILING TO COMBAT EXTREMISM
RESULT: MOTION CARRIED 70.4% - 29.6%

"An overwhelming majority at the latest Doha Debate has criticised Muslims around the world for failing to combat extremism.

The vote came after a former Islamic fundamentalist accused Saudi Arabia of acting like "a machine" in pumping millions of dollars into the support of Islamic extremism.

Ed Husain, a British campaigner against fundamentalism, challenged the many Muslims who travel each year to Mecca to stand up to extremism "right there", claiming "Saudi Arabia has totally demolished our heritage in Mecca and Medina".

Such public criticism of the Saudi Kingdom - as well as Muslims in general - is extremely rare in the Middle East.

During the early 1990s Husain was a recruiter to fundamentalist groups at university campuses in the UK. Now deputy director of The Quilliam Foundation, a counter-extremism think tank, he insisted, "Muslims have to change their mindset of blaming others or we will be the laughing stock of the world".

"The Arab street hasn't risen up as it should," he said, adding that extremism was now "the default, violent culture among those who have grievances".

The motion was supported by US human rights lawyer Arsalan Iftikhar, who criticised Muslims for the mass demonstrations over cartoons in Denmark and the comparative silence over sectarian violence in Iraq.

"When the West sees our selective outrage, they are less likely to support us when we need their outrage," he said.

Speaking against the motion, Daisy Khan, executive director of the American Society for Muslim Advancement, claimed the era of extremism was over. "Soon," she added, "you will see a tidal wave of visionary Muslim thought."

Alongside her, Moez Masoud, a Muslim 'televangelist' watched by millions in the region, accused the media of ignoring Muslim calls for tolerance, saying: "We may not be doing an admirable job, but we are not failing."

This Debate will be broadcast on BBC World on Saturday 8th and Sunday 9th March, 2008."


http://www.thedohadebates.com/output/Page1.asp

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