A packed hall of Muslims and non-Muslims attended the public dialogue titled ‘Islam and Europe – Identity and Anxiety’ took place last night (12 February 2010) between a respected Swiss academic Dr Jean-Francois Mayer of the Religioscope Institute and Jamal Harwood from Hizb ut-Tahrir.
The event was organised following the Swiss Minaret ban and examined the fears non-Muslims have about Islam, the Islamic identity in Europe, the causes of the anti-Muslim climate in Europe, and addressed some of the myths about Islam.
The audience took part in a lively questions and answer session where questions were raised about secular Europe’s increasingly apparent inability to accommodate minorities, especially Muslims, despite the much vaunted talk of ‘pluralism and religious freedom’. In contrast, examples were given of Islam’s accommodation of minorities including Christians and Jews under the Khilafah (caliphate) state. Many reasons were raised regarding why many non-Muslims were increasingly fearful of Islam. Both panellists stressed the need for Muslims to engage in the ongoing debate about Islam in Europe to ensure that their views are heard and that myths are challenged as opposed to simply hiding and hoping the current debate and tensions will somehow go away.
Introduction and opening speeches