On 9th October 2014, I was invited to attend the National University of Ireland, Galway to debate ‘Is Islam a Religion of Peace?’. The event was hosted by the National University of Ireland, Galway ‘Literary & Debate Society’. The official motion ‘This House believes that Islam is a religion of peace’ was passed by the vast majority of the audience who voted immediately after all the speakers had finished their presentations and final summations (the result was also posted upon on the Literary & Debate Society’s twitter account).
The event allowed members of the audience to contribute after the first presentations, then the speakers finished with their final summations. Funnily, one of the opposition speakers, Ian O’Docherty (Journalist for the Irish Independent Newspaper) got angry during his final summation speech and shouted at the audience, pointing his finger at them accusing them of ‘sleep walking into their own destruction’ (by tolerating Islam and not viewing it as a threat) because presumably he felt they had applauded loudly at the speeches for the proposing side. After the debate, he continued to insult the audience on his blog, saying ‘It should be noted that the audience was almost entirely hostile. It was composed mostly of Islamists and their left-wing fellow travellers’. Reminded me of the similar way Islamophobe Stephen Gash acted in my last panel debate on the same subject held at Cambridge University (2011).
The audience were mostly Irish and some international students, and clapped for the good points made by all the speakers. Pictures of the audience and the event are here.
The Debate event proceeded as follows: ‘This House believes Islam is a religion of Peace’:
1st Presentation for Proposing side: Dr Oliver Scharbrodt, Professor of Islamic Studies at the University of Chester
1st Presentation for Opposition side: Mr Ian O’Doherty, journalist at the Irish Independent
2nd Presentation for the Proposing side: Shaykh Dr Umar al-Qadri of the Al-Mustafa Islamic Cultural Centre
2nd Presentation for the Opposition side: Dr Mark Humphrys, lecturer at Dublin College University (DCU) and writer on religion and politics
3rd Presentation for the Proposing side: Abdullah al Andalusi. co-founder of the Muslim Debate Initiative
3rd Presentation for the Opposition side: Mr Michael Nugent, Chairman of Atheist Ireland
The audience then presented comments for and against the motion [this was not captured in the video below]
Each speaker was then given the chance to present their 2 minute final summations (the order of speaking was reversed).
The video of the speaker’s presentations of the debate can be found here: