This House believes that Muslims are failing to combat extremism
Monday March 03 2008
MOTION PASSED by 70% to 30%
Ed HusainSpeaking for the motion
Born and raised in London, Ed Husain became what he called an "Islamic fundamentalist" at the age of 16 and remained active in a number of Islamist organisations until he was 21.
In the early 1990's when the groups were first emerging, Mr. Husain was a strategist and campus recruiter who helped create the ideological basis for much of contemporary Islamism's manifestations in Britain. Some of his recruits remain senior activists to this day.
His book The Islamist was published in 2007. In it he says Muslims have a responsibility to stand up and reclaim their faith from extremists, adding that "the radicalisation of yet another generation of young Muslims continues unabated".
He is currently the deputy director of the Muslim counter-extremism think tank, The Quilliam Foundation, which was created by former activists from radical Islamist organisations.
Mr. Husain is a regular commentator on Muslims, multi-culturalism, identity, liberty, extremism and terrorism.
He has travelled widely across the Middle East. After studying history at university, he went to the University of Damascus to learn Arabic from 2003-2005 before moving to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. He returned to the UK in 2006.
Mr. Husain holds an MA in Middle East studies from SOAS, University of London. He is now pursuing doctoral studies in Arab experiences of post-colonial secularism.
Daisy KhanSpeaking against the motion
In 2005 Daisy Khan decided to dedicate herself fully to her community through the American Society for Muslim Advancement (ASMA). This is a non-profit organisation aimed at developing an American Muslim identity and maintaining dialogue between Muslims and the wider public.
Two years ago Ms. Khan launched two intra-faith programmes for youth and women: MLT - Muslim Leaders of Tomorrow and WISE - Women's Islamic Initiative in Spirituality and Equity, which seek to build and empower networks in their target groups.
As wife of New York's Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, Ms. Khan mentors young Muslims on questions of assimilation, tradition and modernity, and intergenerational challenges. In the aftermath of 9/11 she focused on creating interfaith programs aimed at seeking commonalities among the Abrahamic faith traditions, such as a theatre production 'Same Difference' and 'The Cordoba Bread Fest' interfaith banquet.
Ms. Khan frequently lectures in the United States and internationally and has appeared on numerous media outlets including PBS, BBC World, CNN, National Geographic and Al Jazeera. She is the recipient of numerous awards including the Interfaith Center Award for Promoting Peace and Interfaith Understanding, the Auburn Seminary's Lives of Commitment Award, the Annual Faith Leaders Award and 21 leaders for the 21st century.
Arsalan IftikharSpeaking for the motion
Arsalan Iftikhar is a contributing editor for Islamica Magazine, an international publication aimed at broadening perspectives on Islam. It provides a voice for Muslims to articulate their concerns while establishing cross-cultural relationships.
Mr. Iftikhar is also a prominent media commentator and his interviews have appeared in most major media outlets including CNN, BBC World, Al-Jazeera and TIME Magazine. He was also a contributing author to 'Taking Back Islam' (Rodale Press), winner of the 2003 Wilbur Communications Award for Religion Book of the Year.
An international human rights lawyer, Mr. Iftikhar served as the first national legal director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations - the largest American Muslim civil rights organisation in the United States - until 2007.
He graduated from Washington University in St. Louis in 1999 and received his law doctorate from Washington University School of Law in 2003. In 2006 he was selected by the French Ambassador to the United States and the French Foreign Ministry for the 'Personalities of the Future World Leader' programme.
Moez MasoudSpeaking against the motion
Millions of viewers in the Arab world tuned in to watch Egyptian Moez Masoud host his first Arabic show 'Al-Tareeq Al-Sah' (The Right Way) in late 2007. The 20-part series, filmed in Cairo, Jeddah, Istanbul, London and Medina, tackled youth-related issues including drugs, alcohol and gender relations. It also dealt with sensitive issues like homosexuality and the roots of terrorism.
His earlier television programmes in English 'Parables in the Qur'an' and 'Stairway to Paradise' were aimed at Muslims living in the West. They invited them to live a successful contemporary life while embodying the central teachings of their religion.
While a student at the American University in Cairo, Mr. Masoud was deeply affected by the death of several close friends and his own near-death experiences. As a result he changed his lifestyle, devoting himself to the study of Islam and spending more than five years being tutored by leading traditional scholars.
Mr. Masoud now runs an advertising agency and a media production company. He also writes music and his most recent song 'Will You Marry Me?' was released on Valentine's Day 2008. He regularly lectures and conducts workshops. His travels have taken him to the United States, the United Kingdom, Malaysia and Australia.