Friday, July 21

City Circle: Who Should The Government Talk To? Click for more info

Since my guitar classes have finished, I can return to the Friday evening CCs. Today's was regarding the representation of Muslims living in the UK (and at some points of the debate, globally) and accountability of the various existing groups we may have fulfilling that role at the moment.

I had actually attended to see what Martin Bright had to say in person. I heard him on the radio earlier in the week and although some (most?) of his claims seem to have been deliberately made to antagonise, he did manage to face most of the points thrown at him during that time on-air. The added bonus this evening was the appearance of Sir Iqbal Sacranie who was set to defend the MCB (even though I wasn't convinced that Bright had said anything that needed a response by them). The remaining panelists were Madeleine Bunting (formerly of The Guardian) and Yayha Birt (who does lots of various things).

Potentially, this debate was going to be interesting. And some bits were, like the claim that Sufis were being under-represented and that current bodies like the MCB, regardless of whom they represent, may have a bias toward a political Muslim minority. All wild and pretty loaded stuff; the main conclusion was that the MCB was just one of many and should not be used exclusively as a way to access UK Muslims.

However it soon turned into a tit-for-tat and petty argument, which, although entertaining, didn't really accomplish anything. Accusations were being thrown and defended by both Bright and Sacranie to each other, and they were joined at times by the audience. The debate had definitely become specific to the MCB, and possibly even personal between two on the panel. If I didn't know any better I'd even say it had been tabloidified a bit.

All agreed that Bright's recent (and slighty rhetorical) questions have been a good thing by stimulating these kinds of discussions. Despite that, I think I agreed with Birt who, at the end, expressed his disappointment at the lack of abstraction presented by this debate. A bit of a missed opportunity, I reckon.

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