The Freedom of Speech Debate – King’s College London, UK

The interesting debate video for the Freedom of Speech Debate in light of the recent Islamophobic “Innocence of Muslims” film, that took place in King’s College London on 25th October 2012 – is now up, enjoy the debate – with good quality sound!

12 replies »

  1. Mr Andalusi, You and your two pals discused freedom of speech as like a rash from Western culture. As you three were doing the rash! (Double standard) there. Have a discussion on stage of freedom of speech in a Muslim or Arab counrty and we all would listen and see you three disappear. The middle eastern countries have by far lots more issues of their behavoirs. People who don’t like open societies have choice of moving? Weatern cultures are not so cramping.

    • If Western culture is so ‘open’, then it can also tolerate people staying in the country and criticising the absurdities and double standards within it. In fact, it should welcome such constructive criticism.

    • Historical, Islam did tolerate this, and there are many debates occuring between Muslims and non-Muslims in the Muslim world. No one ‘disappears’ – that a statement from ignorance or prejudice, or just blatantly a lie. I could say that anyone who debates the existence of the holocaust, or whether we should support the Taleban against Western occupation – will also ‘disappear’ in the west (to Jail).

      • Great history lesson. Let’s all hold our breath until the real Islam returns and the entire Muslim majority world allows the same levels of free speech as the West does.

  2. Why should speech be restricted to that which is deemed to be utilitarian? Who decides what constitutes “constructive” and what doesn’t?

    • Why should there be freedom of speech at all? Pick a Western philosophical justification for your position – anyone you want, I dare you; and I’ll use it to still refute your argument that ‘Insult’ should be allowed against minorities and communties, and their identities.

      • I don’t believe that God has spoken through any philosophy so I wouldn’t attempt to defend my position using it. As far as I know in the OT there are only two instances of verbal offense that fall in to the category of a criminal offence: cursing your parents or blasphemy. There is no justification in the law of Moses for responding to a verbal insult with any form of violence. This would be a criminal act in itself.

        Those who are insulted have the right to defend themselves with speech and to insult in return. Jesus insulted the Pharisees and the Pharisees insulted Jesus, for example. Islam makes full use of it’s right of verbal sef-defence as anyone can testify who has read comments that Muslims post on blogs. There are plenty of insults to other religions and non-believers on display in Islamic literature and preaching.

  3. Mr Andalusi,

    It seems bizarre that members of the so-called Muslim DEBATE Initiative would simultaneously recommend NOT debating with Ahmadi Muslims, rejecting invites and suggesting boycotts of their events. (

    Your website states however,

    “The members of MDI believe that debates, discussions, and dialogs are the best way forward in dealing with the intellectual discourse concerning the critical analysis regarding Islam and Muslims. MDI aims to support and promote such discussions that contrast the arguments and positions of each side for the pursuit of truth, all in the spirit of intellectual scrutiny with respect to the other”.

    I agree that Islam is tolerant and a “broad church”, but your organisation, or at least parts of it seem to publicly contradict that.

    I also agree that we should be able to discuss things in a civil manner and tone, but again your organisation seems unwilling to do this.

    Would be grateful for you thoughts…

    • I know wich article you are referring to. Imam Sheharyar is currently a external invidividual to MDI, and does not represent us. However, please represent his article correctly, here is what he said:

      ‘The overall best policy for the Muslims is to not deal with them at all, unless strictly for da’wah conducted by those who are acquainted with this cult’s vile agenda. It neither is, nor ever will be inshaAllah a serious threat to the global Muslim community. Our organization [North American Muslim Foundation] was approached many times to hold debates with them, and let it be known that we are always ready to hold a debate so long as it is public.

      The article does not advocate boycotting debates with Ahmadis, in fact, it would welcome them! Unfortunately it has been our experience that Ahmadis are notoriously difficult to appear on a public debate platform (as far as our UK experience is concerned).

      Although MDI is a non-sectarian organisation, we do not represent break-away sects of Islam, that had revised core Islamic doctrine, and blatantly contradict it (see section of ‘Our beliefs’ on MDI ‘About’ Page). The Ahmadiyyah do not believe that Muhammed (saaw) is the last Prophet, and neither do the Baha’is. However, the Baha’is do not claim to be Muslims as a result; and we hope the Ahmadiyyah would at least one day make this clear as well.

      I hope this has clarified the matter for you.

      • Thank you for your response.

        His opening comments are thus:

        ” I do not believe that one should boycott anyone from holding a dialogue. One always learns something from an exchange, no matter how abhorrent or deviant their beliefs may be from one’s vantage point. One of the few exceptions I make is in the case of the lay Muslim’s engagement with the Ahmedi (Qadiani) missionaries and proselytizers.”

        May suggest, that the qualifiers for having a debate with Ahmadi’s seems to be quite high.

        – Not with their “missionaries and proselytizers” (how do we know who they are?)
        – Not to engage if you are a “lay Muslim” (whatever that means)
        – Only if you are “acquainted with this cult’s vile agenda” (who decides this?)

        I wonder what his conditions are for “public”!

        Does it not seem mildly contradictory to state Ahmadi’s do not engage in “public debate” yet have such a high and largely subjective threshold to engage with them in the first place?

        Incidentally, Ahmadi’s have appeared on mainstream Muslim channels with very interesting outcomes, however, you failed to clarify this matter,

        I look forward to your reply.


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