Public Audience Debate: Why Has Islam Become Synonymous with Terrorism (in the Western Mind)?

On 15th September 2016 in Cheltenham, UK, MDI’s Abdullah al Andalusi engaged in a open public debate with invited audience members on the controversial topic ‘Why Has Islam Become Synonymous with Terrorism [in the Western Mind]?

The video can be viewed below

Abdullah al Andalusi wrote this brief review of the debate:

‘The debate today, was more ‘grill a Muslim’ style, organised by Cheltenham county council, with a mostly non-Muslim audience. Most of the attendees were highly educated individuals on different religions. But, however, there was one individual who was absolutely livid against Islam, he made the most bizarre argument I’ve ever heard to date (consider the gravity of this statement for a moment).

My five/ten minute opening introduction on the topic of ‘Why has Islam become associated with Terrorism in the Western Mind?’, featured me discussing how media and politicians portray the current conflicts in the world – many of which occurred off the back of the American ‘War on Terror’. These portrayals have created the perception that Muslims are violent above and beyond any other group of people. I argued, with history, facts and evidence against this portrayal, and concluded by highlighting that Islam believes in the merciful God and creator of everyone, and that Muslims are commanded to be merciful and show compassion, and not commit injustice.

In my experience of intellectual engagement, I’ve heard a number of different arguments, positions and angles, but once in a while someone appears on the scene and competes for the top spot of ‘most strangest/quirkiest argument’.

After my presentation, one individual was, shaking his heading vigourously. His question to me was two-fold, but the first part argued my belief in the concept of mercy was somehow dangerous, because that word was also used by the Nazis to justify killing the feeble and disabled as a ‘kindness!’. This individual essentially argued ‘you believe in Mercy? You’re a Nazi!’.

I must admit, I was rather nonplussed. And despite my amused response, he was rather adamant on his argument. I don’t think I ever heard someone make such a (il)logical leap before in my life, taking an argument calling for mercy, and twisting it to argue that Mercy supports Nazism!!’

To jump straight to that exchange, click here.

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