Sunday, 26 February 2017

"Do we misrepresent Islam?"

Nicky Campbell popped up towards the end of the Marr show, as always, to tease us with the upcoming delights of The Big Questions
Join us from Birmingham at Ten when we'll be debating Islam - do we misrepresent it? - then reincarnation - have some of you been here before? - and marriage - one of the last bastions of patriarchy or is marriage what you make it? See you at Ten on BBC One. 
Here's how Nicky framed the first debate:
The activities of Islamist extremism across the globe have killed many more Muslims than people from other faiths, as we saw yet again earlier this month when 80 worshippers were killed and 250 injured by an Islamist suicide bomber at the Sufi Muslim shrine, Sehwan Sharif, in Pakistan. Last week Pope Francis declared that Muslim terrorism does not exist. Just as no-one puts the blame on Christianity when Christians engage in violent or criminal activities, so neither should Islam be blamed for the crimes of Islamists. Do we misrepresent Islam? 
The front row contributors were former Respect leader Salma Yaqoob, imam Ajmal Masroor, author of 'The Islamic Enlightenment' Christopher de Bellagiue, Peter Tatchell, Dr Afshin Shahi from the University of Bradford, Sadia Hameed of the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain, and humanist Alison Rawlinson. 

I didn't get very far with it. When Imam Masroor stated being unpleasant to ex-Muslim Sadia (almost from his first word), I switched off. 


  1. I’ve tried to watch The Big Questions, but I find it deliberately inflammatory and far too concerned with “good television”. In this format with Nicky Campbell at the helm it’s hard to imagine any of the big questions being discussed in depth. However, I would be interested to know how often Islam is the topic of the day? Perhaps I am wrong, but it seems to be discussed on an almost weekly basis.

  2. Debates on whether the underlying religion of Islam is peaceful, or 'correct' versus 'incorrect' interpretations of Islam, though they may be of interest to theologians, are not most relevant as was expertly pointed out by Dr. Afshin Shahi.

    The more pertinent question is why violent interpretations of Islam (correct or not) gain significant following, and what can be done about this? In the west, this has created a security threat; in the middle east and elsewhere in the world, various hard-line elements of Islam have permeated the political structure.

    These points also need addressing in BBC debates.