Muslim radicals to justify violence at student debate

Islamists will seek to justify the use of violence at a debate this week organised by students at Trinity College Dublin.

They will be opposed by moderate Muslims, including the Turkish ambassador to Ireland, at an event organised by the Philosophical Society on Thursday.

In an atmosphere where the UK government is seeking to clamp down on signs of extremism on campus the debate is guaranteed massive media interest.

The Trinity students have invited Anjem Choudary, a former spokesman for Al-Mahajiroun, to participate and make the case for violence. He will be joined by Sulayman Keeler, of al-Ghurabaa, Omar Brooks, religious leader of the Saviour Sect Islamist group, and Mohammed Shamsuddin.

Al-Mahajiroun, al-Ghurabaa and the Saviour Sect group have all been banned by Westminster.

“People are saying that we are giving the extremists a platform to preach hatred but to not allow freedom of speech is to go against everything that this society stands for and this country,” said Daire Hickey, president of the society.

“This is obviously a hugely contentious issue, but like any argument has two valid sides to the story, which in this case is the views of the moderate and the extreme.

“The society is here to listen, to question and to understand and the open forum that we provide is the very best place for them to dispel any myths.”

Opposing and speaking on behalf of moderate Muslims are Berki Dibek, the Turkish ambassador, David Pidcock, of the UK Islamic party, and Shaheed Satardien, of the Supreme Muslim Council of Ireland.

Mr Hickey said: “We have not deliberately chosen this topic to provoke an outcry, but to address the issue of violence and to give the students an opportunity to challenge both sides.”

He added: “The issue of the veil will more than likely be raised because of Jack Straw’s recent comments but it will all tie in well together.”

The immense media attention to the debate promises a crowd of high proportions, but organisers say they will not change venue.

“We have enough capacity for 250 people and it’s going to be crowded, but we didn’t want to change venues simply for the reason that we always have it in the same place and the subject matter shouldn’t affect that.”

The university has given permission for the debate to take place, but a spokesman added: “This event is being organised by the Philosophical Society, which is a student society. The College authorities have no part in the organisation of these debates or the choice of speakers.”

The debate will be held at the Graduates Memorial Building, Trinity College, Dublin, at 7.30pm.


(Listed if other than Religion News Blog, or if not shown above)
Suruchi Sharma, The Guardian, Oct. 17, 2006,

Religion News Blog posted this on Wednesday October 18, 2006.
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