This House believes that political Islam is a threat to the West
Sunday January 18 2009
MOTION REJECTED by 49% to 51%
Maajid NawazSpeaking for the motion
Maajid Nawaz is a former leader of the UK branch of the Islamist party Hizb ut-Tahrir. He was involved with the group for almost 14 years, helping it to set up offshoots in Denmark and Pakistan. The Egyptian authorities later imprisoned him for four years.
While in detention he changed his political views and eventually renounced Islamist ideology for traditional Islam and inclusive politics.
Mr. Nawaz is now Director of the Quilliam Foundation, a Muslim counter-extremism think tank, created by former activists from radical Islamist organisations.
He writes regularly for UK and international newspapers and speaks at a variety of forums. In July 2008, he addressed a US Senate committee on the subject of Islamist extremism.
Mr. Nawaz holds a B.A. (Hons) from London University's School of Oriental and African Studies and an M.Sc. in political theory from the London School of Economics.
Shadi HamidSpeaking against the motion
Shadi Hamid is Director of Research at the Project on Middle East Democracy and the Hewlett Fellow at the Center for Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law at Stanford University.
His research has focused on Islamic political groups and the extent of their participation in democratic processes.
In 2008, he examined the evolving relationship between the Muslim Brotherhood and Jordan and is completing his doctorate in politics at Oxford University with a dissertation on Islamist political behaviour.
His articles on Middle East politics and US efforts to promote democracy have been published widely in America.
Mr. Hamid received his B.Sc. and M.A. from Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service.
Yahya PallaviciniSpeaking for the motion
Yahya Sergio Yahe Pallavicini is the Imam of the al-Wahid Mosque in Milan and Vice-President of CO.RE.IS - the Islamic Religious Community of Italy.
Since 2000, he has also been a member of the board of governors of the Islamic Cultural Centre of Italy and has represented the community in numerous inter-faith and educational initiatives.
He is also a senior board member at ISESCO - The Islamic Organisation for Education, Science and Culture. This was the first Islamic NGO to be recognised by the European Union.
He is the author of the 2004 book Islam in Europe: The reflections of an Italian imam.
Sarah JosephSpeaking against the motion
Sarah Joseph is the CEO and Editor-in-Chief of the Muslim lifestyle magazine Emel and a prominent advocate of inter-faith dialogue and women’s rights.
Since becoming a Muslim in 1988, Ms. Joseph has lectured widely on Islam, appeared on the BBC, CNN and Al Jazeera and written for several British newspapers.
She has also been a consultant on Islamic Affairs for both state and private companies. After the July 2005 London bombings, she served as a member of the British Home Office Task Force on extremism.
In June 2004 Ms. Joseph was awarded an OBE (Order of the British Empire) for services to inter-faith dialogue and the promotion of women’s rights.
She was listed as one of the UK’s most powerful Muslims in the Muslim Power 100 list compiled by Carter Andersen.