Sunday, October 10, 2010

ISLAM IS A RELIGION OF PEACE | Intelligence Squared US

Intelligence Squared US



About This Debate

Is the rise of terrorism and violence justifiably traced to the teachings of Islam, or is this call to war a twisted interpretation of the true Muslim faith? Most of the world's 1.5 billion Muslims are moderates who see Islamic terrorism as a violation of their sacred texts. Is it wrong to let a radical minority represent authentic Islam? Has fear blinded us to its lessons of tolerance and peace?

The Panel

For The Motion

  • Zeba Khan
    Zeba Khan
    Zeba Khan
    is a writer and advocate for Muslim-American civic engagement. Born and raised in Ohio by devout Muslim parents, she attended Hebrew school for 9 years all while actively participating in her local Muslim community. In 2008, she launched Muslim-Americans for Obama, an online network to mobilize Muslim-American voters in support of the Obama presidential campaign. Since then, she continues to work on issues of Muslim-American civic engagement and was recognized for her work by the American Society for Muslim Advancement as a 2009 Muslim Leader of Tomorrow.
  • Maajid Nawaz
    Maajid Nawaz
    Maajid Nawaz
    is director of the Quilliam Foundation. Formerly, Nawaz served on the UK national leadership for the Islamist party Hizb ut-Tahrir (HT), and was involved in HT for almost 14 years. He was a founding member of HT in Denmark and Pakistan and eventually served four years in an Egyptian prison as a "prisoner of conscience" adopted by Amnesty International. In prison, Maajid gradually began changing his views until finally renouncing the Islamist Ideology for traditional Islam and inclusive politics.

Against The Motion

  • Ayaan Hirsi Ali
    Ayaan Hirsi Ali
    Ayaan Hirsi Ali
    was born in Somalia and raised a devout Muslim. She escaped an arranged marriage by immigrating to the Netherlands in 1992 and served as a member of the Dutch parliament for 3 years. She has since become an active critic of fundamentalist Islam, an advocate for women's rights and a leader in the campaign to reform Islam, establishing the AHA Foundation in 2007
  • Douglas Murray
    Douglas Murray
    Douglas Murray
    is a bestselling author and award-winning journalist. He is also founder and director of the Centre for Social Cohesion (CSC), a non-partisan think-tank in Westminster, London, which focuses on radicalization and has published work on both Islamist and far-right extremism.


John Donvan is a correspondent for ABC News Nightline. He has served as ABC White House Correspondent, along with postings in Moscow, London, Jerusalem and Amman.

Poll Results

Pre-Debate Poll Results
41%For | 25% Against | 34%

Post Debate Poll Results
36% For | 55% Against | 9%

Debate Media





  • There are many verses in the Koran that promote peace and tolerance.
  • Today's radical ideology is closer to fascism than true Islam.
  • The majority of Muslims do not support extremism, and painting Islam as a religion of war will only empower the radicals.
  • Islam prohibits violence, especially the killing of innocent people.


  • There are many verses in the Koran that promote violence and killing.
  • Islam is intolerant toward non-believers—the Koran implies and Hadith clearly state that apostasy is punishable by death.
  • Islam is incompatible with modernity, relying on fixed readings of religious texts from over 1,000 years ago.

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