TV discussion about the Maajid Nawaz cartoon issue
The Maajid Nawaz "Jesus and Mo" cartoon tweet furore raises many questions.
I see it as primarily a free speech issue.
It also raises questions about how political parties engage with Muslim voters.
This panel discussion explores the issues quite well.
Transmitted 28 January 2014.
As explained in my piece "Maajid Nawaz and cartoon politics" the issue of the tweeted Jesus and Mo cartoon has been causing a significant amount of controversy with some British Muslims.
The Islam Channel devoted its entire "Analysis" programme on Tuesday 28 January to a panel discussion of the issue and its implications under the title "Jesus & Mo: Provocation or Freedom of Speech?" It was chaired by Jonathan Steele and the panellists were:
Todd Green, Assistant Professor of Religion, Luther College, Decorah, Iowa, USA appearing by Skype in the second half of the programme only.
Julian Bond, Director of the Christian Muslim Forum, by telephone in the second half of the programme only.
The debate was conducted very politely and with none of the participants taking extreme positions. I will not attempt to summarise the views of the other panellists as I might distort them, but some of the key points I made were:
For me this primarily as a freedom of speech issue.
A few years ago I watched only a few seconds of "Jerry Springer the Opera" by accident while surfing channels, and made a point of not watching the rest of it. Similarly I looked at the Danish Cartoons of 2005 once for research purposes, but then avoided them. That is the correct approach if something offends you.
I deliberately said nothing during the programme about Maajid Nawaz's political suitability as a Liberal Democrat candidate. The reason is that, as a Conservative, it is not for me to comment on other parties' candidates.
In response to someone's comment about lack of diversity at party conferences I pointed out the increasing attendance of minorities at the Conservative Party Conference I have observed since attending annually since 2008. (I do not dispute that there is much further to go.)
You can watch both parts of the programme below.
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