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Thursday 16 December 2010

Sarah McDermott | 12:10 UK time, Thursday, 16 December 2010

In 1993, Harvard political scientist Samuel Huntington published his famous Clash of Civilizations thesis of a post-Cold War new world order.

In it he argued that the dominating source of conflict in this new world would be primarily ideological or economic, but cultural, that "new patterns of conflict will occur along the boundaries of different cultures and patterns of cohesion will be found within the cultural boundaries".

Tonight, we dedicate much of the programme to asking whether this hypothesis was correct.

Do recent controversies such as the row over a proposed Islamic centre near Ground Zero, the burka ban in France and the eviction of American missionaries from Morocco indicate that Islam and the West are caught in an inevitable clash of civilizations?

We will discuss the issues with a panel including the Bishop of Rochester Dr Michael Nazir-Ali, Shaykh Ibrahim Mogra, chair of the Interfaith Relations Committee of the Muslim Council of Britain, and Stephen Green, national director of Christian pressure group Christian Voice.

Plus, we have reports from Egypt on the fate of Coptic Christians there and from Switzerland on how Muslims are faring in the wake of last year's minaret building ban.

Join Kirsty at 10.30pm on BBC Two.


  • Comment number 1.

    the Swiss violent? Are you sure...all those cookoo clocks...sent them all round the bend....PS What do Sam Allardyce and Ashley Peacock have in common? They both won't be going to the Rovers Xmas party....

  • Comment number 2.

    in this country we make progress at a snail's pace...the appeal for bail for a Wikileak Australian that makes amockery of Magna Carta just because he has pissed off the Yanks and the war industry, not to trash the BBC's excellent output but they would be better served if they put a few more John Pilger documentaries on and a little less of Andrew Neil as the BBC moto is 'Nation shall speak peace unto Nation' or am I missing something...

  • Comment number 3.


    Religion has long been known as a drug - it alters the mind of the 'taker'. As I have posted on the Wednesday thread: 'until we understand why man is driven to alter his state-of-mind, we cannot approach the drug problem, and 'users' should declare their use.

    Well: a large number of politicians use the drug of religion (do they inhale?) not forgetting establishment church of Britain. Are we in any position to deal with the world? Mote and Beam anyone?

    I have long held the view that the universal experiences of the neonate, lay the foundation of religious faith, and belief in a 'higher power'. Just do the thought experiment and you will find god. HE IS EVEN MADE IN OUR IMAGE!

  • Comment number 4.

    there should be discrimination and intolerance of bad philosophy. Ah but if you believe there is no such thing as the good but are a moral relativist then you want to 'do' something about people who see rubbish as rubbish?

    so what are you going to do about the moral relativist extremism? its not neutral. it says there is no such thing as the good and will attack anyone who says there is. Even to enshrine moral relativist extremism in laws. Its a pig philosophy that demands human sacrifice.

  • Comment number 5.

    wall st selling speculation as investment? is that what they have always done? Or do they not know the difference between investment and speculation?

  • Comment number 6.


    The Cuckoo Clock is a Black Forest confection stevie. The ancient dark has covered all trace of that violent event. The Swiss also invented the Big Lie - repeated often enough . . . (:o)

  • Comment number 7.

    an example of the pig philosophy at work

  • Comment number 8.

    I think there is quite a lot of difference between the Swizz democratically quietly voting to ban building more minorets, than violent demonstrations, because the Coptics are not given permission to build a church.

    If we were allowed to vote openly on these decisions, I wonder what the outcome would be, banning or welcoming?

  • Comment number 9.

    #7 Yup and definitely no good either JC.

    There will be more problems without a doubt, as a British person your human rights have no importance.

  • Comment number 10.


    the criminal has already received mercy in the sense of not being handed over to the victims family.

    the duty of care to the victim's human rights is totally absent in the 'justice' system.

    what about the right to be punished?

    suppose someone did what he did to his daughter?

  • Comment number 11.

    # ecolizziy

    Thanks for posting this link, you beat me to it

    How many low income families are going to freeze and starve to death due to this which as it turns out is just another investment scam for the benefit of the stock market parasites.

    I watched Huhne deliver his statement and as probably expected the still Corporate Nazi leaning Labour party offered no opposition whatsoever. In fact not once squeak of opposition from anyone except for the usual suspects squealing about nuclear being included in the plan for a guaranteed higher price for UK energy producers irrespective of world markets. In fairness the former energy minister Malcolm Wickes he did half point out the adverse effects on low income households but that was batted away with all the usual crap about home insulation and alleged energy efficiency.

    Given that over 1000 top international scientists now dispute any significant global warming due to CO2 it would appear that anyone who still supports the current Climate Change Scam is either evil or completely stupid. Perhaps the only crumb of comfort that can be taken from today's statement was the fact that the chamber was almost empty, there could have been no more than a total of about 30 MP's of all sides in attendance.

  • Comment number 12.

    #6 and #8

    Interesting comments especially when considered together.

    'Switzerland's voting system is unique among modern democratic nations in that Switzerland practices direct democracy (also called half-direct democracy), in which any citizen may challenge any law at any time. In addition, in most cantons all votes are cast using paper ballots that are manually counted.
    Approximately four times a year, voting occurs over various issues; these include both Referendums, where policies are directly voted on by people, and elections, where the populace votes for officials. These votes take place during the weekend. Federal, cantonal and municipal issues are polled simultaneously, and the majority of people cast their votes by mail.'

    Not only do the Swiss keep their banks to heel and hold every despot's secret money, they also seem to have real democracy.

    I wonder how they achieved that?

  • Comment number 13.


    Since coalition became a stay out of jail card for ConDems, we seem to hear a lot more of 'collective responsibility' of Cabinet Ministers. As I understand it: no matter how violently a Minister disagrees with a Cabinet decision (or PM diktat) they can only vote in support, or must resign. APPARENTLY IT IS THEN A RIGHT AND HONOURABLE THING TO DO, TO PUBLICLY SUPPORT IT!

    Is it me?

  • Comment number 14.

    Apparently, the meeja cannot work out who was opposing Assange's bail; was it UK or was it Sweden? Both countries' legal eagles pointing the finger at each other, while US looks innocently at the ceiling and whistles.

    And the FSA cannot legally publish their full report into RBS without the majority state owned bank's directors giving their approval; as shareholders we should demand this, and no filleted report either. Still, there's always Julian.

    And finally, this one completely bamboozles me. The Scottish Executive will decide to maintain no fees charge for students in Scotland and will comply with EU rules by offering fees free education for students from France, Germany, Holland.. etc. yet are able to increase charges for tuition fees for students from England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Is Scotland in the EU and the other three "home" countries not? How do they get away with this? I really would like to understand this.


  • Comment number 15.

    No religion has intolerance at its core; over the centuries, since Constantine adopted Christianity, religion has been used as a political weapon; that does not make religion inherently extreme or intolerant; the use of religion for power and control is inherently extreme and intolerant.

    Being used as a tool to de-humanise the "Other", religion ranks with tribal and ethnic differences to be exploited by unscrupulous power seekers.

    This ancient tactic has innumerable examples over the ages, but is well portayed in the reductio ad absurdum of Dean Swift's tale of the ancient feuds between the "big end'uns" and the "little end'uns", differentiated only by which end they started to peel a boiled egg.

    Healthy scepticism needs to be deployed also when listening to those who proclaim religion to be the cause of all things bad. Yet again, looking for a convenient label to de-humanise the "other".

  • Comment number 16.

    Religion equates blind obedience with faith so has always been used as a political battering ram or conversely a moneymaking scheme where the fault of the product not working lies not with the producer but the consumer.
    Being brought up in Northern Ireland there was a saying ...."there is so much religion God cant get a look in" so I have an intrinsic mistrust of the zealot and the firebrand . I view it as the most corrosive thread in the world today . Religious intolerance is actually an oxymoron ,the equivalent of tough love or fighting for peace , but the repetition of these warped statements lend them an underserved credability.
    The fear based belief systems that hide behind a scripture and a flag merely conceal a deep terror of progress and dare I say it democracy....

  • Comment number 17.


    Surely you know about the 'blue eyes v brown eyes' experiment - or Stanford 'Prison'?

    Will the Newsnight 'discussion' be one of philosophical/psychological gravitas - or just the usual crass? From the cast-list, it looks like the latter. Award winning stuff.

  • Comment number 18.


    Not with you Kashi. We are attracted to sameness (look at the marriage photos in your local paper). It follows we are averse to difference. Nature, it seems, has a penchant for incest (or a damned close run thing) and I would wager that JJ can tell us why. (I can only make an uneducated guess.)

    The Ape Confused by Language just does not mature to a level where gut prejudice can be overridden. So we should never have mixed different cultures, beliefs, ethnic types or ANYTHING.

    Don't believe me? When unemployment REALLY bites, watch out for Balkan style identity-group warfare.

  • Comment number 19.

    What's wrong with minarets? The Great Mosque in Damascus has its Jesus Minaret, where He is to appear at the Second Coming.

    Aesthetically, some modern minarets are extremely ugly, and these I would ban, but purely on aesthetic grounds.

    In addition, I would ban all calls to prayer except those performed "live" by the muezzin, and only after he has passed a voice training course.

  • Comment number 20.


    I would be SO FAR BEYOND need or desire for any and all forms of worship, THEY WOULD BE AS ONE and equal nothing. As the song might have said: "From a distance, the Earth's of no account, and its life-forms have no rights."

    The worse case scenario is that we are made in God's image, and being so annoying, HE IS ABOUT TO BLOW! That might explain a lot.

  • Comment number 21.

    minarets are not essential to islam. they are an arab invention. The call to prayer should be heard as long as i can play my heavy metal at the same volume 5 times a day at times i choose. or maybe we all keep the peace?

  • Comment number 22.

    Wackyleaks - a comment. Not much about Israel is there?
    Another comment: What do Tariq Ali and Ken Loach have in common (clue, their hero wasn't very popular in Russia in the late 20s and he was booted out, or was he cleverly sent to assimilate aka foment entryism?) that about Jemima Khan (nee Goldsmith) and Jon Pilger - how are they like Noam Chomsky? Answer, they are all anti-establishment freedom-fighters (Pakistan had a military dictatorship recall). Geeky students and ageing hippies will just love these Assange supporting celebs, sign p and make a donation to Julian's cause now, don't delay, but you must pay cash!.
    My advice: don't be misled with who and what they appear to be challenging (or promoting) - and whilst we are on the subject, where did all those bankster stories go?
    The ultimate target of wackyleaks is regulation if you look carefully, and, odd as it may at first seem, that's also the target which the US military and CIA goes for in a big way. Now, who are those regulators? Why, lo and behold, it's Big Governments....Teaparty astroturfing had little credibility, so let's them with Wackyleaks? This is being most cleverly, and most egregiously done. It recruits the naive as usual, but especially the naive who think that they are educated. Chomsky is a shill for the free market types if you follow the logic of unintended (but planned) consequences. Assange is a new one. A darling of the clueless Internet age....

  • Comment number 23.

    @ Jaunty 21 - There's nothing wrong with heavy metal!

  • Comment number 24.


    Now that no one is who or what they are thought to be - or even think they are, and are motivated otherwise than they assume, rational thought will not suffice. And if MORE THAN ONE 'latex mask' is being worn, but we have no way of detecting - let alone counting - them, all discourse and deduction is futile. Indeed, some dupes might be subject to such a chain of manipulation that they end up working towards their original, intended goal - by chance! A double agent, I would guess, can keep track of intent, but add too many agencies, and it must be possible to lose track, just as I have lost the thread of this post . . .

  • Comment number 25.

    "Tonight, we dedicate much of the programme to asking whether this hypothesis was correct."
    is it a shortened programme then?

    "In 1993, Harvard political scientist Samuel Huntington published his famous Clash of Civilizations thesis of a post-Cold War new world order."
    the thesis has been pretty much demolished by the likes of the late edward said et al, so the question is why is the bbc seeking to bring life back into this lost and discredited debate which today is largely propagated solely by neo conservatives who have been at the forefront of invoking the wars in the mid east.

    could one have justified the persecution of jews in the last century as a clash of cultures , certainly not - yet attempts are made to offer that justification for our brutality and illegal wars against muslims and islam.

    the muslim world is not of one culture or one identity , there is a gradation of islam/muslim practices and beliefs not only across continents but inside nations. muslims have lived for centuries in the west peacefully without this justification to demonise them through the falsehood of clash of civilisations.

    there is no clash of civilisations, there is however a clash of politics / ideas and a demand for power by the western nations as the sun sets on their economies, do we now have to claim ( as some have in the uk and usa) that all of those who do not accept the vision of the neo conservatives (since huntington was a neo con and orientalist) are at the coalface of the clash of civilisations.

    demonising islam was and is useful as the means to justify our barbarity in our new crusade and empire building.

    the real question is why is the bbc still propagating this idea that our illegal wars have anything to do with islam or muslims?

  • Comment number 26.


    Jesus' poorly disguised INTENT to be killed, deserves further scrutiny. Was he working for the Devil? His death certainly diverted attention away from God's message of peace and love, focusing our attention on a brutal death and 'Crosstianity' - a factional dead end.

    Tony was not the man he seemed.

    Is there ANYONE we can trust?

  • Comment number 27.

    "they also seem to have real democracy"
    populism is not democracy. you should understand the difference.

    anyway speaking of democracy and freedoms latest wikileaks see that the uk govt (and usa) is seeking ways to ban presstv from operating in the uk and hope to achieve it through sanctions via unsc .

    this would then explain why the uk news media as a whole has been targeting presstv and its presenters, and seeking to dismiss their reporting (have witnessed it on news24 a few times).

  • Comment number 28.

    #21; nor are cathedrals essential to Christianity, temples to Buddhists, synagogues to jews, but at various periods in human history, all have been banned by some "other" rabble rouser.

    I suggest Istanbul or Damascus at 12 noon on a Friday and I think even cocky bike person would lay down his electric guitar for five minutes to appreciate the beauty of the call to prayer from hundreds of minarets - not all architectural masterpieces, though.


  • Comment number 29.

    #16; religion equates blind obedience with faith;

    I don't think so; those who use religion for their own political objectives of power and control, however, desperately attempt to do so, every time.

    But in the end, they don't succeed - ever.They may have their moments,cruel,savage and nihilistic they may be, but moments are they all, nevertheless.

    Even the so called atheistic stance of Communism demanded blind obedience, nowhere more so than in China.

    The human condition; love, fear and curiosity.

  • Comment number 30.

    #26 trust is a tricky one; I much prefer; "By your actions shall ye be known."

    wendymann has nailed it down for sure.

  • Comment number 31.

    #24; lost in the matrix...........

  • Comment number 32.

    there was a series on fundamentalism [of all kinds] at Gresham College.

  • Comment number 33.

    The inevitable clash will not be a clash of civilizations as defined above, rather a short termist asset grab, dressed up as bringing democracy to the unfortunate target.

  • Comment number 34.

  • Comment number 35.


    are you jewish? does that explain the hasbara style name calling?

    the right to silence trumps the right to inflict noise on others. the origin of music was a a medicine to restore harmony in the person. In the same way people have abused other medicines so today people self medicate with music and sound. Some not only want to self medicate they wish to medicate others. That is tyranny.

    it is no accident that concerts [mass self medicating] is usually linked to self medicating of other drugs.

    in the modern world Muslims can use twitter to be reminded of prayer rather than inflict their noise on others.

  • Comment number 36.


    I have always defaulted to Daoism. You just can't BE a fundamentalist Daoist.


    But it's not edgy, so I doubt it will feature on Newsnight any time soon.

  • Comment number 37.

  • Comment number 38.

    #36; The way is the way; no doubt.

  • Comment number 39.

    #36; the way is the way; no doubt.

  • Comment number 40.

    Clash of Civilisation, Religions or Values??

    The panel members chosen to debate the issue assumes that any clash may be on grounds of religion. #7 link shows a clash of civilisation and values of more significance to our society than that of religion.

    Societies that have widely different values about the sanctity of life, and the rights of the individual versus that of a society.

    One society tramples on the victim whilst another beheads the criminal. Debate that.

  • Comment number 41.

    the second lecture on fundamentalism at Gresham brings up where the modern word of fundamentalism came from. From protestants and anglicans who wrote a book called Fundamentals. [That Mayflower legacy?]


    dao is mentioned in this talk. misusing the concept of 'the way' is an important tool in determining who is 'with you' and who is against you.

    Allowing religious plurality is seen as idolatry in the bible. the bible appeared [discovered] at the the time of josiah who went around destroying anything that was not in accordance with 'the book' then ended it with 'passover'. Josiah is seen as the first fundamentalist.

    fundamentalism is born from the 'lying pen of the scribes'. The speaker mentions that recent israeli rabbi 'hate/kill the gentiles' book as in

    the talk is here

  • Comment number 42.

    what is the difference between the kings torah and mien kampf? are they both not warning signs? a declaration of intent of racial violence? is it available in the uk? Can these people fund raise? move freely? give speeches?

  • Comment number 43.

    shockingly bad interview by kirsty tonite with assange. i thought bbc was meant to be impartial?

  • Comment number 44.

    kirsty its not mooselums .. its mus-lim .. short u as in must and a soft s fgs!

  • Comment number 45.

    of course newsnight could have gone to northern ireland and discussed the clash of civilisations between protestants and catholics ..

  • Comment number 46.

    oh my God, Kirsty Walk asks Julian Assange whether he wants to apologise to the women accusing him of rape and also whether sexual misconduct may damage Wikileaks - she is reading from a prepared script, shame on you Kirsty, you are the kind of journalist that sells out big time - how can you ask a man those questions when he is not even on trial - those are questions deliberately phrased to frame him - one cannot trust the BBC for impartial journalism anymore, it is controlled by the state totally, I am disgusted by your questions, I'm not surprised if the BBC might like to buy his ticket back to Sweden for furhter questioning - what in the hell are you doing Newsnight? Do you think the public are stupid?

  • Comment number 47.

    Before everybody jumps around with joy about Assange being freed.

    Just spare a thought for the poor sod that actually released the great Wikilieaks material i.e. one Bradley Manning (allegedly).

    This person (who has yet to be convicted) is now wasting away in a US jail in a regime that has been described as INTENSIVE SOLITARY CONFINEMENT.

    This involves the detainee being in SC for 23 hours out of 24. He is not allowed to participate in physical exercise whilst in SC. If he attempts PE he made to stop. He is not even allowed a pillow for sleep.

    Now I just wonder if China's Liu Xiaobo is allowed a pillow for sleep whilst in carceration?

  • Comment number 48.

    egypt - surely its an issue of education rather than religion.

    so switzerland has racism/bigotry .. why should that be a surprise?

    again its an issue of education rather than religion.

    so what is the bbc agenda .. ? ahh multiculturalism ? ok .. so thats what its about .. through multiculturalism target islam ..

  • Comment number 49.

    wendymann i totally agree with you - my comment about this interview has been blocked by the bbc, so far, it may appear later - what is going on?

  • Comment number 50.

    Funny how the lady that represents the 'secularists' has ended up sounding the most ignorant....I love Newsnight...keep up the good work....

  • Comment number 51.

    Another entertaining set with 2 Muslims taking the Michael out of the Kufirs - again.

    You guys could try reading the constitution of the Maldives, in particular page 17.

  • Comment number 52.

    My last 2 post were pulled so I can't be bothered. Pity that, because you finally questioned Islam.

  • Comment number 53.


    Did I really hear Ms Wark (I am never sure) 'invite' Assange to apologise to 'the two women'.

    What effrontery, what gall, what impropriety, what Newsnight, what BBC!


    Nuff sed.

  • Comment number 54.

    Interesting debate on Christianity v Islam tonight.
    According to Wikipedia, Bishop Nazir-Ali's father converted from Islam to Christianity
    If he had been unfortunate enough to have been born in Egypt, he would never have been allowed to do so :o(

    As for his and the guy from the Muslim Council's remarks on India being a secular mess, they should be reminded that India has a CONSTITUTION which defines it as being "sovereign, socialist, secular and a democratic republic."

  • Comment number 55.

    Listening to Kirsty Wark this evening I couldn't believe the level of doublespeak.

    Firstly, the aggressive interviewing style was wholly uncalled for, and demonstrated no evidence that Ms Wark was interested in getting at the truth - rather she seemed more interested in airing as much gossip, slight and slander as though each new slur were a slam-dunk indisputable fact that proved Mr Assange is a dishonourable man of poor character - truly a textbook piece of tabloid character assassination.

    Why was there no discussion of the capricious nature of the Swedish authorities' stance when the allegations against Mr Assange were initially made, and then withdrawn for lack of evidence? Why was there no follow up on the role of the Swedish politician who took it upon himself to find a magistrate to re-activate the allegations against Mr Assange? Political interference in judicial matters would not be tolerated in the UK, so why did Ms Wark ignore this fact during her interview?

    Why did Ms Wark seek to get Mr Assange to apologise to the alleged victims for his inappropriate sexual behaviour when no details of any allegations have been provided to Mr Assange's legal team. What exactly was she expecting him to apologise for? The inevitable conclusion of this line of questionning was that Ms Wark clearly believed Mr Assange was culpable for the offences the Swedish authorities now wish to put to Mr Assange - whatever they may be? Why is that?

    Mr Assange voluntarily sought permission, after the initial investigation was terminated, to leave Sweden - even though he was under no obligation to do so. Consequently, Ms Wark's question on the likelihood of Mr Assange absconding bail is grossly impertinent at the very least. What was the basis for her question? Does Ms Wark, or any of the Newsnight journalists, have any basis for alleging Mr Assange might be a flight risk? Further, why did Ms Wark fail to acknowledge Mr Assange's allegations that the Swedish authorities have failed to follow their own crimanal procedures with respect to the disclosure of allegations and supporting evidence to back up their extradition request?

    All in all, this was an atrocious piece of non-journalism - judgemental, yet credulous of the role of the various governemntal agencies involved in pursuing Mr Assange.

    Just how beholden to Mr Cameron is the BBC?

  • Comment number 56.


    If religions were truly enlightened vehicles of love and humanity, their leaders would LONG AGO have united churches into one entity, IN THE INTEREST OF CESSATION OF STRIFE BETWEEN MISGUIDED LAITY.

    Wisdom is absent in religion. Individuals who 'see the light' either leave or (more often) bury their awareness and 'play the game'. In that, they are much like our politicians, and therein lies the clue to what religions really are.

    One thing is sure: God, by any name, would abhor them - if they were not so insignificant.

  • Comment number 57.

    Unbelievable that you could have a discussion on this subject without even mentioning that all four major orthodox schools of Islamic jurisprudence (Hanbali, Shafi'i, Maliki, Hanifi) state, clearly, that a male apostate from Islam must be put to death.
    Hadith references that call for the death of apostates: Bukhari vol 9 #17, vol 9 #57, vol 9, #58, vol 4 #656; Muslim Book 1 #0029, Book 16 #4152; Muwatta of Imam Malik #1410
    It also states in the Qur'an, Chapter 9, verse 5:
    "But when the forbidden months are past, then fight and slay the unbelievers wherever ye find them, and seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem of war; but if they repent, and establish regular prayers and practice regular charity, then open the way for them: for God is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful."
    Do not apostates from Islam become unbelievers? If so, their fate is clear according to Qur'an 9:5.
    Therefore, to claim that this treatment of those who wish to leave Islam is somehow "un-Islamic", as your Muslims commentators did, is nothing but a pack of lies designed to mislead your Western audience.

  • Comment number 58.

    Sad to see Muslim apologists once again deceiving naive westerners, cherry picking and boldly claiming "this is not Islam or Islam means peace or Islam respects other faiths". Read the Koran and Hadiths, open your history books or turn on the TV, mmmm...I think someone is telling porky pies.

  • Comment number 59.

    The Swiss have decided to nip the problem of islam in the bud. Who can blame them, they want us to understand them yet we cannot expect them to understand us. The koran demands that the whole world should submit to Sharia law, it is the fundamental part of islam. Building mosques, is just the start of the way islam begins it,s domination of other societys. They are told to deceive non-muslims to achive their objectives.
    Also Kirsty described Aasia Bili asa women who spoke out against islam! this is not true, Aasia faces the death penelty because she would not be converted to islam. She was put into a no win situation by a co-worker who insisted on questioning Aasia untill she said something that could be contorted to sound as though she had insulted mohhamad. She was accused of blasphemy by her co-worker, and with the help of a local iman a charge of blasphemy was leveled against her. The penalty...death. And this is not the only case, it is quite common.

  • Comment number 60.

    Last night's debate has kept we awake. I'd like to pose a few questions.
    1. Why only one woman invited to the debate?
    2. Why was the man from the muslin council of the UK allowed to talk over this woman when everyone gave him the respect of listening to what he had to say?
    3. Why were only educated moderate muslims invited to partake?
    4. Can you have another debate where there are equal numbers of women to men, where culture is discussed alongside religion, where the rights, or lack of rights of women are highlighted, and where the debate is chaired so that everyone gets a chance to finish the point they are making?

  • Comment number 61.

    '9. At 11:23pm on 16 Dec 2010, lalalee wrote:
    - my comment about this interview has been blocked by the bbc, so far, it may appear later - what is going on?'

    Maybe it's the pre Ch.. Winterval rush? Lots of new folk not happy (if maybe a tad irony deprived that it is only now they feel aggrieved...)

    Luckily the plug got pulled. Either too many off topic or the discussion was becoming old.

    As some can testify, it happens a lot, and has for a while.

    '...the dominating source of conflict in this new world would be primarily ideological or economic, but cultural...' Guessing there's a 'not' missing in there. Perhaps more than one? Culture is an odd thing. One wonders to what extent it may be a hereditary trait?

    Of course, some things cannot evolve when the brakes are applied. Such as cultures... and blog debates.

  • Comment number 62.

    @ rhd75 #57 - Good Point!

  • Comment number 63.

    #60 I'd like to second that cryingoutloud, what is the matter with Kirsty. That woman hardly managed to speak before the muslim cleric talked over her, very rude indeed. I felt it was a group of non english men putting an english woman in her place, it almost felt racist as well as religionist.

    I also felt the interview with Assange was very poor, he appeared not to be able to hear her questions. Although he did sound like a typical politician getting his own point across, and ignoring the questions.

  • Comment number 64.

  • Comment number 65.


    Newsnight - like Big Brother and a host of other such programmes, is dedicated to the new, and the 'irritant'. Cultural torpor, it seems, is to be countered by media aggravation, going forward. But just as laxatives irritate a dull gut, until all sensation is lost, and the 'owner' bungs up with tish, this nation is suffering a similar fate.

    Unless and until the BBC rethinks its crucial value to Britain, it is taking us down.

  • Comment number 66.

    The Egyptian government appears to be afraid to deal with injustices against the Copts including being able to practise religious freedom including the granting of permission to build a churches, discrimination in jobs in the private and public sector, murder of innocent Copts in Naja Hammidi and other places, forced conversion to Islam. Copts are regarded as children of a lesser god by many muslin extremists. There are strong elements within the ruling party that seem to block any progress of effective laws to give justice and true equality to the Copts.
    For many years slogans are banded about by the government about equality and citizenship rights but these are just empty slogans that never the light of day

    The Copts are often accused of treason when they complain and speak out against such injustices or raise their concerns to the US and Europe .The Islamists appear to have succeeded in their claims that the government is too soft on the Copts .Pressure is being put on the Coptic religious leader Pope Shenouda for seeking the minimum of fairness and rejection of violence against the Copts. Two leading government newspapers have recently included false and hurting accusations against the Pope claiming he is the cause of trouble.

    It seems to me a real tragedy that the Copts are being used by the government to show to the Islamists that it is a tough government on both the Copts and the Islamic brotherhood and worse than this it seems to be soft on crimes against the Copts which take forever to have a hearing or fair judgement. Egypt needs to have the courage and the vision to do what is right and what is fair for all citizens of Egypt. True equality and true freedom is good for everyone not just the Copts.

  • Comment number 67.


    impartial? bbc is the conduit of the official 'narrative'?

  • Comment number 68.

    Fundamentalists use religion for power and control; it is interesting to note that those who are anti-religions are quite fundamentalist themselves; quoting holy texts to prove your point has always been a fundamentalist tactic, whether for or against religion.

    True religious people do not take sacred texts as the direct messages from God; how many interpretations have there been of the Old Testament, the Gospels, the Tao, Q'uran, the Jewish texts and all others?

    Those who take these texts at face value, without study or critique, without seeing the writings in their historical contexts are indeed fundamentalists and always have an agenda of power and control, whether they speak as religious fundamentalists or atheistic zealots.

  • Comment number 69.

    #64; our culture understood; a pantomime replete with bad jokes for which we blame everyone who is not "one of us".

  • Comment number 70.


    I wonder if Panto is edgy enough for the 'now space', going forward?
    Panto is extreme culture, but culture is almost eradicated in New Britain.

    My guess is that neither the incomers nor the indigenes 'get it'.

  • Comment number 71.


    NN doesn't ask open and fair questions leaving the space for that answer and letting the public give the final vote. They ask loaded 'when will you stop beating your wife' type questions which generates more heat than light. Its the interrogation methods that is used in torture.

    the focus on 'wimmin's' angles is because the sisterhood are dominant in NN? which is why the men on NN have been feminised?

  • Comment number 72.

  • Comment number 73.

    anyone who seriously challenges the inherited interests will be attacked. if you are not being attacked by extremists then you are not challenging them. the Bishop is right about secularism [the pig philosophy] not being neutral and its poison of multiculturalism that has led to less integration.

  • Comment number 74.


    Ms Wark's 'suggestion' to Assange that he should apologise to 'the two women' would have got her fired, had it been a male suggestion to a woman, of a similar level of crass inappropriateness!

    Where the madness becomes extreme is in the drink/rape debate. The biased nonsense, mixed with 'innocent alcohol', leaves me astonished. And then its: off we go to bomb this wisdom into Johnnie Muslim. (He tries to keep his women away from men, and his men off the booze - the barbarian.)

    Weep - if your religion allows use of salt, when there’s an R in the month.

  • Comment number 75.

    My comments re Wark's interview with Assange are still not posted - and I would like to know why? I made a very strong complaint to Newsnight about the fact that Wark interviewed Assange with a premeditated list of questions obviously supplied to her as she was reading from a script - these questions were very weird - asking him if he would like to apologise to the females in Sweden who accuse him of rape; that kind of wording implies that Newsnight assumes he is guilty without any proof. She also asked him if sexual misconduct would potenially damage Wikileaks which is again a very tricky way of implying his guilt. Newsnight must be aware of this and I am very perplexed as to why they are not remaining impartial. If I was a journalist of any standing I would refuse to ask such questions which obviously have a hidden agenda. Now I have put my comments in a less emotional way - let's see if they get posted.

  • Comment number 76.

    Here's another angle on Wakyleaks which might we worth a thought or two in the context of the supporters of Assange and his most odd treatment, guaranteed to attract publicity. -sky-tv/

  • Comment number 77.

    "Do recent controversies such as the row over a proposed Islamic centre near Ground Zero, the burka ban in France and the eviction of American missionaries from Morocco indicate that Islam and the West are caught in an inevitable clash of civilizations?"
    What a silly question - It's the same continuing war with a makeover. Islam forbids lending at interest between brothers as it is usury. All Muslims are deemed 'brothers' (comrades). This is why Islam and its growth is threat to Western banksters and their /economies. This is the ld Judeo-Islam war with dopey Christians as foot-soldiers as usual. The former assimilate into Western culture which is another term for ntryism. It is done in order to secure foot-soldiers and clients. The ussians and Chinese know this, as does the Muslim world. They all keep elling us, as we keep stuffing our ears because we want to keep stuffing ur stomachs.....

  • Comment number 78.

    "Do recent controversies such as the row over a proposed Islamic centre near Ground Zero, the burka ban in France and the eviction of American missionaries from Morocco indicate that Islam and the West are caught in an inevitable clash of civilizations?"
    What a silly question - It's the same continuing war with a makeover. Islam forbids lending at interest between brothers as it is usury. All Muslims are deemed 'brothers' (comrades). This is why Islam and its growth is threat to Western banksters and their /economies. This is the old Judeo-Islam war with dopey Christians as foot-soldiers as usual. The former assimilate into Western culture which is another term for entryism. It is done in order to secure foot-soldiers and clients. The ussians and Chinese know this, as does the Muslim world.
    They all keep telling us, as we keep stuffing our ears because we want to keep stuffing our stomachs.....

  • Comment number 79.

    There was a time, when Britain was Britain, the USA was the USA, France was France, Egypt, Egypt etc, when kids would go to school in uniform, people would wear uniforms to work (e.g. a suit - see hospitals for why this is important ). Women would have to leave work once married (to have kids and not go back). There was a time when the rules which dictated practices at school determined the local culture, a time when the workplace was one's specific culture, and when not in school, or work, one stepped out of role. And lo, it was good, it provided a social structure where others could see who the criminals were too (they don't conform)..
    Now we have 'multikulti' anarchism aka freedom aka chaos aka individualism. This is guaranteed, by design (Human Rights), to make an organised society unworkable. It is a strategy to erode regulation, and all to it make profiting from consumers much easier. This is the true Clash of Civilizations. What we have seen since 1989 is capitalism ripping under the mistaken belief that there is now no credible threat to it, when all that is really happening is that it's being allowed to implode under its own anarchism. See Golitsyn for a warning. Whether
    what he said is true, i.e a long term strategy doesn't matter, as it's happening. Debate on Newsnight? You've got to be joking! What is put on is a muddled mess of squabbling. Serious people would not participate,
    especially with Kirsty Wark in the chair - she behaves like an inquisitor, as others have noted. The programme needs new blood. Preferably British, not 'assimilationists'.

  • Comment number 80.

    ecolizzy (63) "I also felt the interview with Assange was very poor, he appeared not to be able to hear her questions. Although he did sound like a typical politician getting his own point across, and ignoring the questions."
    All a bit polished didn't you think? It was enough to make one question what this is really all about...
    Another video interview:
    Meanwhile, nobody is talking about the economy anymore, or the dismal PISA results, or the failure of Sure Start, or the Middle East Peace Talks..

  • Comment number 81.

    "In 1993, Harvard political scientist Samuel Huntington published his famous Clash of Civilizations thesis of a post-Cold War new world order."
    What was the late Mr Huntington's New York heritage? He was a Neoconservative to start with wasn't he? No doubt Fukiyama was chosen as a front man to deflect criticism?
    Last night we were once again entreated to yet more Islam bashing, even the Swiss bit was really a case of 'look, they're doing it too'.
    Who in the world benefits most from such vilification? Don't think too hard about this as you may end up feeling bad. Who has a running land and propaganda battle with the Muslims? Again, don't think about it too much as it will make you feel bad. Who seeks to recruit allies in their battles, constantly talking about *us* whilst not really respecting or liking most of *us* except to the extent we're a source of revenue and canon fodder to serve their ends? How is this done? Using what media? atch out, as someone may abuse you or accuse you of being a "conspiracy theorist". Next you'll be ignored, punished or otherwise pressured into this age old firing of another people's bullets, which has always ended n tears in the past. It's a woman's strategy. Men are there to serve their interests. To protect their interests. To fight for them....

  • Comment number 82.


    Yuletide Greetings Cotedebeaune. Same place next year?



  • Comment number 83.

    Newsnight producers could have made more efforts to make the discussion richer in representation and substance. The panel which appeared on the programme reflected much diversity but little depth.

    Peter Marshall could have also explore the opposition to ban minarets coming from civil society in the form of demonstrations, as well as a few individual acts, such as that of Guillaume Morand, the owner of a shoe company, who defied the referendum by extending the chimney on the top of his warehouse near Lausanne to give it the shape of a minaret.

    Marshall could also have mentioned an alternate competition - to design an Islamic Centre organized by Foreign Architects Switzerland (FAS)a platform for alternative ideas, projects, and people; responsible for the post-minaret-ban ideas competition for an Islamic Centre in Zurich.


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