THIS WEEK'S PANEL
DOUGLAS MURRAY is director of the Centre for Social Cohesion and a bestselling author. He writes for the Spectator and the Daily Telegraph. He is an outspoken critic of the British government’s response to radical Islam preferring pluralism over multi-culturalism. He believes “Islam is screwed” and that the idea of building a mosque near Ground Zero is “stupid and offensive”. He is the co-author of Hate on the State: How British Libraries encourage Islamic Extremism and Victims of Intimidation: Freedom of Speech within Europe's Muslim Communities. He has called for a clampdown on immigration. He is also critical of the counter-extremism think tank the Quilliam Foundation and describes as “scandalous” that the organisation has “done nothing substantial to challenge radicalisation on UK campuses”. He has nominated Labour leadership contender Diane Abbott as possibly the “stupidest woman in Britain”.
Murray was educated at Eton and Oxford.
ALEX VON TUNZELMANN is a historian and writer. Her first book Indian Summer: The Secret History of the End of an Empire - a new account of the end of the British Empire in India and Pakistan was published in 2007 and is currently in development as a feature film. She is currently working on her second book, which is about the Cold War in the Caribbean. She writes a film column for Guardian online taking a look at the truth behind historical movies, travel pieces for Lonely Planet magazine, and contributes opinion pieces to The Daily Beast. Alex began her career as a researcher, working with Jeremy Paxman on his books The Political Animal and On Royalty. Before that, she read Modern History at University College, Oxford. Alex has a passion for Bollywood films, and will be joining the jury for the Indian Film Festival of London at the end of this month.
MAAJID NAWAZ is co-founder and co-director of counter-extremism think tank the Quilliam Foundation. He was formerly a leading light in the global Islamist party Hizb ut-Tahrir and stayed with the party for almost 14 years, founding branches in Denmark and Pakistan. While on a gap year from university in Egypt, he was imprisoned for four years for being a member of Hizb ut-Tahrir which was outlawed there. During his trial, Nawaz was adopted by Amnesty International as a "Prisoner of Conscience". While in prison his view changed and on his release in 2006 he renounced the Islamist ideology for mainstream Islam and set up the Quilliam Foundation to help counter extremism. He holds a BA (Hons) from SOAS in Arabic and Law and an MSc in Political Theory from the London School of Economics.
BARONESS DEECH is one of Britain’s leading family lawyers, chair of the Bar Standards Board, a professor of law at Gresham College, London and a crossbench peer. Ruth Deech was nominated for a peerage in 2005 by the appointments commission, set up by Tony Blair to find non-party political people for the House of Lords. A former governor of the BBC, she was chairman of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority from its establishment in 1994. During her eight years in the role, the HFEA was involved in a number of high-profile legal cases including that of Dianne Blood who eventually won the right to use sperm taken from her dead husband to have a child. In 2007 she published "From IVF to Immortality - Controversy in the era of reproductive technology" (co-authored with Anna Smajdor). She studied law at Oxford and was a Fulbright scholar who went on to study under Lord Scarman. She is a Bencher of the Inner Temple and former Principal of St Anne’s College, Oxford.
Producer: Beverley Purcell
Any Questions is the topical discussion programme chaired by Jonathan Dimbleby in which a panel of…