On the 23rd May 2013, the Oxford Union held a debate entitled ‘The House Believes Islam is a Religion of Peace’ between three speakers arguing for the motion, and three speakers arguing against the motion. The debate at Oxford Union was similar to a debate held at the Cambridge Union in 2010 where MDI’s Abdullah al Andalusi debated the motion ‘This House Believes Islam is a Threat to the West’ (which resulted in a defeat for the motion – and an Islamophobic speaker to hilariously storm out of the debate during Abdullah’s speech). Further debates engaging Islamophobia, by other MDI members can be found here.
The Oxford Union debate ended with a victory for the motion, and a defeat for the Islamophobic side.
Watching the debate, many found Mehdi Hasan’s performance to be striking and compelling. He lambasts the Islam-critical opposition, and brings some common sense refutations of their misguided argument in his inimitable entertaining style. A good example of a powerful style when engaging with Islamophobic critique and making a palpable case for Islam being a religion of peace. However some raised some legitimate concerns regarding the intellectual position Mehdi Hasan adopted during the debate, as being not representing an authentically Islamic position. We’ve included the video of his part of the debate below (videos of the other speakers can be found on the same channel). Enjoy: