As part of the ‘Don’t Hate, Debate!’ initiative, the Islamic Education and Research Academy (iERA) will be holding a cross-panel debate on the criminalisation of Islam and tackling extremism in London on Friday 16th October 2015 entitled:
The panel will be chaired by Peter Oborne, the former Chief Political Commentator for The Telegraph and will include:
• Dr. Anas Altikriti – Cordoba Foundation
• Mohammed Amin – Conservative Muslim Forum
• Fiyaz Mughal OBE – Tell MAMA
• Zara Huda Faris – Muslim Debate Initiative (MDI)
• Peter Tatchell – Peter Tatchell Foundation
• Hamza Tzortzis – iERA
On Monday 20th July 2015, Prime Minister David Cameron delivered a passionate speech on tackling extremism. The speech came in light of the proposed Counter-Extremism Bill, which includes within it, a number of questionable measures that go against the very founding liberal values of this country.
The suggested bill includes policies like banning speakers from preaching in public, proscribing Muslim organisations for advocating mainstream Islamic views, forcing venues not to host certain groups and individuals, as well as granting the Charity Commission powers to shut down charities and mosques. Whilst the Counter-Extremism Bill does not mention Islam or Muslims by name, it is very likely that if the bill becomes legislation, it will disproportionately target Muslims like previous laws have done.
During this climate of increasing Islamophobia, Muslims have found themselves in a situation where they are regularly scrutinised for believing in and holding normative Islamic beliefs, which are described by the Government as “extreme”, and are thought to lead to violence in certain cases. Even though this ‘conveyor belt’ theory cannot be empirically substantiated and has in fact been academically disproven, it is important that its propagation as a credible narrative by the Government, the right-wing media, and neoconservative think-tanks is addressed head on.