FULLY BOOKED First Wednesday: Defending Islam and free speech

Talk October 3, 2012 7:00 PM

Freedom of expression or provocation? The appearance on YouTube of an anti-Islam film produced in the US and the subsequent publication of cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad in France have sparked protests in Muslim communities.

Embassies, cinemas and even popular western fast-food branches have been targeted by protestors. Join us as we examine the root causes of this wave of protest and violent attacks that have spread across the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

In the same month that Salman Rushdie’s memoir documenting his life following the publication of The Satanic Verses is published, these recent events again open the debate on freedom of expression and freedom of religion. We will be looking at how this plays out in a world more connected than ever before, where an individuals freedom to express themselves can reach millions.

Chaired by Paddy O’Connell of BBC Radio 4’s Broadcasting House.


Maajid Nawaz, co-Founder and executive director of Quilliam, founder of Khudi and author of Radical: My Journey from Islamist Extremism to a Democratic Awakening. He was formerly on the UK national leadership for the global Islamist party Hizb ut-Tahrir (HT). Twitter: @MaajidNawaz

David Aaronovitch, writer, broadcaster, commentator and regular columnist for The Times. He is author of Voodoo Histories: The role of Conspiracy Theory in Modern History and Paddling to Jerusalem: An Aquatic Tour of Our Small Country. Twitter: @DAaronovitch

Myriam Francois-Cerrah, writer and journalist. She is currently a post-graduate researcher (DPhil) at Oxford University, focusing on Islamic movements in Morocco, and teaches Middle East politics. She writes for the Guardian, the New Statesman, The London Paper, Index on Censorship, The Cherwell, The F-word and others. Twitter: @MFrancoisCerrah

Kirsty Hughes, the Chief Executive of Index on Censorship – an international freedom of expression non-governmental organisation. Previously she has worked at Chatham House, IPPR, the European Commission and most recently she was head of Global Public Policy and Advocacy at Oxfam and Senior Associate Fellow at the Centre for International Studies, University of Oxford. Twitter: @IndexCensorship

Tom Holland, an award winning and bestselling author of Rubicon, Persian Fire and Millennium. His most recent book In the Shadow of the Sword was accompanied by the Channel 4 documentary Islam: The Untold Story. Twitter: @holland_tom