Introduction: Intelligence Squared U.S. (02:49)
Robert Rosenkranz frames the proposition, talking about the challenge of generalizing about Islam as a whole.
Moderator Robert Siegel explains the format of the debate and introduces the panelists.
For the Motion: Paul Marshall (07:42)
Paul Marshall of the Hudson Institute says the proposition team does not argue that Islam is inherently radical, only that radicals currently have hegemony in Islam due to strong commitment. Governments of Saudi Arabia and Iran each base themselves on and export versions of radical Islam. Pakistan, Sudan and Nigeria have moved in this direction.
Against the Motion: Reza Aslan (07:21)
Reza Aslan of the USC Center of Public Diplomacy critiques the proposition, arguing that Americans lack the knowledge to make a general judgment about Islam. Polls show only 7% of Muslims worldwide support 9/11. Most Muslims who support violence do so for political reasons, but couch their justifications in religious terms.
For the Motion: Asra Nomani (07:17)
Georgetown journalism professor and Wall Street Journal reporter Asra Nomani, a Muslim, cites her own background to reject the opposition's claim that the proposition lacks knowledge of the Muslim world. She cites trends among Western Muslims and in Muslim countries to argue that radicals dominate Islam institutionally and moderates aren't fighting back.
Against the Motion: Edina Lekovic (07:23)
Edina Lekovic of the Muslim Public Affairs Council argues that most Muslims want freedom and democracy. She says Al Qaeda is losing support. She cites a moderate declaration by a convention of Islamic scholars called by King Abdullah of Jordan.
QA: Why Aren't There More Islamic Revolutions? (03:08)
Moderator Siegel asks if radicals dominate Islam, why they haven't taken over more states. Marshall says most Muslims don't share the radical agenda, but radicals organize well and bring violence even to countries like Indonesia. The panelists debate what it means to dominate Islam.
QA: Disproportionate Influence of Saudi Arabia (01:25)
Moderator Siegel challenges the opposition's argument that we should not focus too much on Saudi Arabia, arguing that Saudi Arabia and Iran have outsize influence within Islam. Lekovic says most Saudis disagree with their government's ideology.
For the Motion: Daveed Gartenstein-Ross (07:01)
Daveed Gartenstein-Ross of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies argues that the opposition has defined radicalism in terms of violence, but the proposition defines it in terms of religious freedom and gender equality in the Muslim world. He says the opposition has defined domination in terms of majorities, but the proposition defines it based on hegemony within institutions. Saudi Arabia, which the opposition concedes is radical, has propagates its ideology powerfully due to oil wealth.
Against the Motion: Richard Bulliet (07:10)
Columbia University history professor Richard Bulliet says proposition evidence does not support its claim of radical dominance. Anti-Americanism in the Muslim results from U.S. backing of autocratic governments, not from religious extremism.
QA: Do Most Muslim Clergy Want Islamic Law? (01:16)
Richard Bulliet says a Jordanian conference of Muslim activists rejected Islamic law. Gartenstein-Ross says the Muslim Brotherhood favors Islamic law; Bulliet dismisses this as something that was true in the 1930s or 50s.
QA: Islam and Free Speech (04:02)
Moderator Siegel challenges Gartenstein-Ross's argument about Muslims' attempts to restrict free speech in Europe, noting current European bans on racist and anti-Semitic literature. The proposition argues that the OIC's attempt to dictate European laws is dangerous. Bulliet says it is wrong for autocratic regimes to repress religious parties.
Islam Is Dominated By Radicals: Pre-Debate Vote Results (00:28)
For: 46% - Against: 32% - Undecided: 22%
QA: Defining Dominance and Hegemony (02:11)
Marshall asks whether radicals have hegemony in Saudi Arabia and Iran. Bulliet says yes, but most Muslim countries have secular governments.
QA: Do Radicals Dominate American Christianity? (02:44)
Aslan cites a poll showing 46% of American Christians favor imposing Christian law and values. Gartenstein-Ross likens the religious right to Turkey's AKP, pushing back against secularism.
QA: Islam as State Religion (02:59)
Nomani says Islam is the state religion in 22 countries. Lekovic says many of these countries have secular governments that don't enforce religious laws on the books, and Sharia takes many forms.
QA: Is Al Qaeda Declining? (01:53)
Marshall says Patraeus's testimony about Al Qaeda's recent decline in Iraq may be correct, but does not make much difference regarding the proposition.
QA: Polling on Religious Violence (04:47)
Gartenstein-Ross argues that 15% of Indonesians supporting violence in the name of religion is a lot. Aslan argues that religion is part of identity- anyone would defend it against attack. They debate what it means for a religion to be under attack, and what Indonesian poll respondents meant.
QA: Oil and Radical Islam (02:33)
Bulliet challenges the link between Saudi oil wealth and radical Islam. Gartenstein-Ross argues Saudi propaganda is influential; Bulliet argues that it is not.
QA: Has Iraq War Strengthened or Weakened Radical Islam? (01:24)
Gartenstein-Ross says the Iraq War is a recruiting tool for radicals. The anti-jihad Sahwa movement has arisen to counter them.
QA: Women in Islam (05:53)
Lekovic says patriarchal practices are more cultural than religious, and result from poverty and lack of education. Nomani says regardless of the reason, patriarchy dominates Islam. They debate whether Judaism and Christianity are equally patriarchal.
QA: Stagnation of Islam (03:23)
Bulliet rejects the narrative of Islam stagnating and being surpassed by European civilization.
QA: Moderate Muslims in U.S. (01:39)
An audience member asks how radicals can dominate Islam if 60% of American Muslims identify as moderate. Nomani defines domination in terms of institutional domination.
Concluding Statement Against: Reza Aslan (02:33)
Aslan says many Muslim countries are democracies, while others are secular countries where religious groups are the only opposition.
Concluding Statement For: Paul Marshall (02:07)
Marshall cites countries with Islamic regimes or powerful radical movements.
Closing Statement Against: Edina Lekovic (02:04)
Post-9/11, moderates have regained ground within Islam.
Closing Statement For: Asra Nomani (02:11)
To evaluate who is dominant, we have to look at who controls institutions, not public opinion.
Closing Statement Against: Richard Bulliet (02:11)
Bulliet argues that most autocracies in the Muslim world do not pursue a reactionary Islamic political order.
Closing Statement For: Daveed Gartenstein-Ross (02:02)
Gartenstein-Ross says Islam is the state religion in most majority-Muslim countries. He argues that hegemony is defined by control of institutions, not majority opinion.
Additional Resources: Intelligence Squared (02:51)
Additional Resources: Intelligence Squared
Islam Is Dominated by Radicals: Results of Final Vote (00:36)
Pre-debate - For: 46% - Against: 32% - Undecided: 22%
Post-debate - For: 73% - Against: 23% - Undecided: 4%
Credits: Islam Is Dominated by Radicals: A Debate (00:57)
Credits: Islam Is Dominated by Radicals: A Debate
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