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 may 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 some 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.
To that end, on Friday 16th October 2015, as part of our ‘Don’t Hate, Debate!’ initiative, the Islamic Education and Research Academy (iERA) will be holding a cross panel debate in central London entitled: The Big Question: Is Islam The Cause Or Solution To Extremism? The panel will include prominent journalists, academics and activists, whose opinions on the subject matter have shaped the current debate.
iERA’s head of Public Relations and Media, Mohammed Hussain said: “Events such as these are aimed at raising the standard of intellectual discourse. iERA encourages debate on topical matters that affect people of all faiths and none. In this case, government policies that directly concern the Muslim community.”
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