Islam Is A Peaceful Religion: Mehdi Hasan in an Oxford Union Debate following the murder of a British Soldier by an Islamist fanatic in Woolwich
Thank you very much mister President, Ladies and gentleman, good evening, Assalmoalikum, lovely to see you all here tonight. We are having a very entertaining night, are we not? With some very interesting things being said from the other side of the house tonight. let me begin by saying as a Muslim, as a representative of Islam, I would consider myself an ambassador for Islam, as a believer in Islam, a follower of Islam and its prophets, so in that capacity let me begin by apologizing to armory for the Bali bombings, apologize for the role of my religion, me and my people for the killing of fear and go off the seven yes. That was all of us that was Islam, That was Muslim, that was the Quran, I mean astonishing, astonishing claims to make in the very first speech on a day light today, whether conservative prime minister of United Kingdom and the come out and point out that these kind of these are not from and I believe you’re trying to stand for the labor party M.P. Election in Briton, if you do that and you make these comments, I’m guessing you have the wit withdrawn from you but then again you keep on the rise. They’ll take heed the BNP they might have something to say about your views. A lot of factual points as we had a lot of our second speak about that could be Muslims.
On a factual point you said the Islam was born in Saudi Arabia. Islam was born in six ten AD, Saudi Arabia was born in nineteen thirty two AD, only One Thousand Three Hundred Twenty Two Years off. Not bad, talking of Math’s by the way, a man called Al-Qawarizmi , one of the greatest of all time mathematician was Muslim, worked in the golden age Islam. He’s the guy who came up with not just Algebra but Algorithms, without Algorithm we won’t have laptops, without laptops Daniel Johnson cannot print out a speech in which he came to break us Muslims holding back the advanced an intellectual achievements of the west, which will happen without any contribution from anyone else other than the Judeo-Christian peoples of Europe.
In fact Daniel David Levering the author of the Pulitzer prize winning historian and author of the Golden Prism of Winter, that there would be no Renaissance in Europe, there would be no reaffirmation in Europe without the role played by Ibn e Sina, Ibn e Rushd, some of the great Muslim theologian, philosopher, scientist in bringing this knowledge to Europe.
As for this being our university I will leave that to the imagination as to who is our new is that our study here too.
Astonishing, astonishing set of speeches so for making this case tonight and mixture of just cherry picked quotes facts and figures self-serving selective a far goers, distortions misrepresentations, misinterpretations, miss quotations, … Daniel talked about my article in the state from which will be a lot of flak great talked about the anti-Semitism that is prevalent in some parts of the Muslim community, which indeed it is. Of course I didn’t say in that piece, that was imposed by the religion of Islam in fact more than anti Semitism in the middle east was imported from finish the sentence…. Christian Judeo-Christian Europe where I believe some certainly bad things happen to the Jewish people. In fact tom Friedman Jewish-American Columnist New York Times told me in the French chamber in the last week, where he believed Muslims have mostly been running Europe in the nineteen forties. Six million extra Jews would still be alive today from the political lessons an anti Semitism from someone who’s here to defend the Judeo-Christian values on the continent of murder six million Jews.
Moving swiftly on, moving swiftly on yes exactly that’s what the point, I agree with you one hundred ten percent that is my point. I don’t think Europe is evil or bad, I am a very proud European. I don’t want to judge over this, but if we’re goanna play this dealt a game well we pull out the Bali bombing and we pull out examples of anti Semitism Simon let’s go to come back and say will hold on, I mean look let’s be very clear Daniel here was a last minute replaced with the Douglas Murray who have to pull out and Douglas and I have a well-documented difference is that the defense Douglas as to be sent and Marie, Peter atheist. All religions as evil, violent, threatening.
What the problem I have with Daniel speech is a Daniel comes here to Robust defense of Christianity forgetting his fellow Christians people who said they were acting the name of Jesus, gave us the crusades, the Spanish inquisition, the anti Jewish pogrom, European colonialism in Africa and Asia, The Lord’s resistance army in Uganda, not to mention countless arson and the bomb attacks on abortion clinics in the United States of America to this very day. I would like a little bit of humility from Daniel first before you begin lecturing other communities of how the faith on violence terror and intolerance.
But I would say yes to address the gentleman’s very valid point here I’m not gonna play that game. I don’t actually believe that Christianity is a religion of violence and hate because of what the NRA doesn’t Uganda all what MBA what crusaders did to Jews and Muslims in Jerusalem in the tip of the city in the form from Thirteenth one of the century was. I believe the Christianity like Islam like pretty much every mainstream religion is based on love and compassion and faith. I do follow a religion in which hundreds thirteen out of a hundred and fourteen chapters of the Quran begins by introduced in the god of Islam as a god of mercy and compassion. I would not have the any other way. I don’t follow a religion which introduces my God to me as a god of war, a some kind of Greek god of wrath, as a god of hate, and injustice, not at all.
As Adam pointed out that you go through the Quran, you see the mercy, love and the justice and yes you have the verses of, to refer warfare and violence of course it does. This is non motion about passivism; I’m not here to argue that Islam is a pacifistic faith. It is not. Islam allows military action, violence in certain limited context and yes the minority of Muslims do take it out of that context, but is it religious?
We talked about which Daniel in Ann Maria suggested that is definitely religion that’s behind all of this well actually. What I find so amusing tonight in the debate on Islam and the opposition tonight have come forward we have a graduate and Law graduate, in modern history graduate, in chemistry. Do you know and my role of the intellect in their abilities but we don’t have anyone is actually an expert on Islam, a scholar of Islamic historian of Islam, a speaker of the Arabic even a terrorism expert, security expert or a pollster let alone to talk about what Muslims believe all think instead we have people coming here putting forward these sweeping opinions listen to professor Robert pape, professor at the university of Chicago one of America’s leading terrorism experts go on like our esteemed opposition tonight study every single case of suicide terrorism between nineteen eighty in two thousand five. Three hundred and fifteen cases in total and he concluded and I quote,
“there is little connection between suicide terrorism in Islamic fundamentalism or any of the world’s religions, rather nearly all suicide terrorist attacks have in common is a specific secular and strategic goal to compel modern democracies to withdraw military forces from territory but the terrorist consider to be their homeland,” and the irony is when we talk about terrorism, the irony is that the opposition and the Muslim terrorist al-Qaeda types actually have one thing in common because they both believe that Islam is a war-like violent religion, but I will not they have everything in common. Osma Bin Laden will be …….. along He agrees with them. The Problems is that mainstream Muslims don’t, the majority of the Muslims around the world don’t, and in fact the gentleman quoted the poll Gallup carried out the biggest poll of Muslims around the world. Fifty thousand Muslims in thirty five countries ninety three percent of Muslims rejected nine eleven in suicide attacks and the seven percent who didn’t that they all went polled and focus groups sited political reasons for their support for violence not religious reasons. And as for Islamic scholars mostly say, well Daniel talks about our university of oxford will go down to Oxford centre for Islamic Studies.
Get hold of a man Sheikh Afify Al-Akiti who is massively well credentials and most respected Islamic scholar who studied across the world, who in the days after seven seven published the fatwa denouncing terrorism in the name of Islam, calling for the protection of all non-combatants at all times and describing suicide bombings as an innovation with no basis in Islamic law. Go and listen to Sheikh Tahirul Qadri, one of Pakistan’s most famous Islamic scholars who published a six hundred page fatwa condemning the killing of all innocent and all suicide bombing unconditionally without any ifs and buts. There’s nothing new here this is mainstream Islam, mainstream scholarship, which is said this for years and you don’t go on kill people willingly in the high street or anywhere else on a bus or a mall based on verses of the Quran, you cherry pick without any context, any understanding any interpretation or any commentary.
I didn’t say it doesn’t happen at all … I don’t …….I don’t blame this on Islam, that’s a very good point and a lot of us a lot of us campaign against it, campaigning against in the name of Islam, campaigning against various interpretation of Islam. Armory came with the scales of the talk of Sharia law. I would like to see the book of Sharia law. It doesn’t exist; people argue what Shria law is? And you empower the extremists by saying that there is only one version.
Here we are dealing with a fourteen hundred year old global religion followed by one point six billion people in every corner of the world a quarter of humanity of all backgrounds cultures ethnicities and yet the opposition wants to generalized, stereotype, smear in order to desperately win this debate and here’s my question for the generalized and smear, if ok people say yesterday’s bomber that we’ve to be careful, the trial going on well yesterday attacker a sorry motivated by Islam, big debate, I do not believe that, let say they were, let’s say Faisal Shahzad the times square bomber was motivated by Islam, let’s assume for the sake of arguments… that Richard Reeves the shoe bomber. Is Islam is responsible for this. Is Islam is motivating these people, and therefore Islam is not a religion of peace but of a war, and then ask yourself this question, what rest of us is doing? Why it is such a tiny minority of Muslims are interpreting their religion in the way that the opposition claim they are.
Let’s assume they’re sixteen thousand of suicide bombers in the world, they are not? Let’s assume there are for the sake of argument that zero point zero one percent of the Muslims population globally, what about the other ninety-nine point nine percent of Muslims who the opposition tonight ignore or smear.
The reality is that rest of us are blowing ourselves up tonight, the reality is that the opposition came into not worried about the fact that mean, pull out the jacket and blow up us, because who have followed the warlike Moria religion which wants to take over Europe and Daniel’s university, the issue is this, unless the opposition can tells us tonight and Peter is here, one of our great atheist intellectuals can tell us tonight that why don’t the vast majority of Muslims around the world behave as violent in aggressively in a tiny minority for politically motivated extremist than they might, as well get up and stop pretending that anything relevant to Islam and Muslim as a whole.
Ladies and gentleman, let me just say this to you, think about what the opposite of the motion is, if you vote tonight opposition’s motion, Islamism is the religion of peace, is religion of war, of violence, of terror, of aggression but the people who follow Islam me, my wife, my retired parents, my six-year-old child but one point eight million of your fellow British residents and citizens of one point two billion people across the world, your fellow human beings, are all followers, promoters, believers in the religion of violence? Do you really think that? Do you really believe that to be the case, they say that in the Oxford union the most famous debate was in nineteen thirty three when Adolf Hitler lookout for the results of the King country motion, where they voted against fighting for the King country and Hitler was listening out for the result, well tonight’s eighty years on, there are two groups of people around the world, who I would argue waiting for the result of tonight’s vote, there the millions of peaceful non-violent law-abiding Muslims UK, Europe, Asia, Africa and beyond who see Islam as the source of their identity as a source of spiritual fulfillment of hope, solace and there are the fobs, the hates, the bigots out there, who wants to push the clash of civilizations, who want to divide all of us into them and us and ours and theirs.
Ladies and gentleman I urge you all not to fuel the arguments of the fobs and bigots, don’t legitimate their divisions that legitimized their hates, trust those Muslims who you know, who you’ve met, who you here, who don’t believe in violence, who do want to hear the peaceful message of Quran, as I believe it to be taught to the majority of Muslims, Islam of peace and compassion and mercy, Islam of Quran, not of al-Qaeda.
Ladies and gentleman I beg to propose a motion to the house. I urge you to vote tonight. Thank you very much for your time.