Moral, ideological and political crisis of the West

Moral, ideological and political crisis of the West

- in Lectures

idioligyOpen Discussions/ Gulf Cultural Club

 Moral, ideological and political crisis of the West

Prof Ziauddin Sardar *

Clive Hambidge**

Catherine Shakdam***

Recent developments in the Western hemisphere have raised concerns among thinkers and ideologues about the state of Western world. From the inflated refugee saga to the Trump phenomenon and the rise of the far right, terms like Apocalypse, Armageddon, Third World War and civilisational collapse suddenly resembled reality lowering the threshold of fear among the “wise” men and women. What is adding to the worry is that those phenomena are embraced by large proportions of the Western societies. This is likely to entrench social, cultural and religious polarisation to unprecedented levels. This seminar is an attempt to contribute to the discourse on the looming Western crisis.

Tuesday, 14th March 2017

 Chairman, Moeen Yaseen: Last year Global Vision organised a think tank along the same lines but we did not call it the moral, ideological and political crisis – we called it Global Vision 2000 Conference on Eschatology in the 21st Century: Interfaith and Comparative Perspectives. We were looking at the same issues.


A little background. The last time I chaired a meeting here must have been during the crash. The meeting was held at the Kings Cross venue. Are we heading  for something big again in the West just now – we shall see.


Just a few comments from my side to set the scene. Since WW2, if we were to take that as a kick off point, obviously  in the West we have seen the collapse of communism, the Iron Curtain and  the Cold War which led to a unipolar world. That more or less coincided with Gulf War I or II – it depends on how you classify the Iran-Iraq war and the war with Kuwait. So at that time Fukayama referred to the triumphalism and the end of history. Then you have Professor Huntington’s thesis on the end of history and the clash of civilisations.


It has been almost 25 years since then. Have we come full circle and what is the nature of the current malaise that we are seeing. The flyer states: Recent developments in the Western hemisphere have raised concerns among thinkers and ideologues about the state of Western world. From the inflated refugee saga to the Trump phenomenon and the rise of the far right, terms like Apocalypse, Armageddon, Third World War and civilisational collapse suddenly resembled reality lowering the threshold of fear among the “wise” men and women. What is adding to the worry is that those phenomena are embraced by large proportions of the Western societies. This is likely to entrench social, cultural and religious polarisation to unprecedented levels. This seminar is an attempt to contribute to the discourse on the looming Western crisis.


There is no reference to Islam or Islamophobia which is central to this  crisis to some extent. So this seminar today is another shot to contribute to the discourse on this crisis and its nature. I don’t think we are going to do justice to it but it is timely and relevant.


cathrine-258x300Catherine Shakdam:  If  you look at the constructs Islam has been pitted in terms of  the East versus the West or Islam versus the Judeo Christian world. We have been sold the clash of civilisations. I find this very interesting  because I do not believe we have a clash of civilisations. What we have is Western constructs: this idea that Western culture and civilisation and the way in which the West understands its culture and identity is better than that of others. So what you have is a very bad case of exceptionalism with ethno centrism.


What I find very interesting  is that a lot of the time when we have religious debates Islam somehow sits in a position of vindication  of Western values. What we do quite  get is that the  media and politicians and governments and think tanks and many others have tried  to tell the world   about what they perceive as Islam. But it is not Islam because they do not understand what Islam is. What they are looking at is cultural Islam.


So when they look at the Islamic world they see culture and they see ethnicity. What they are trying to do is a latent form of imperialism and neo colonialism. They try to own a country’s ideology and direct its tradition and make sure that they bow to the Western dogma and try to  abide by Western rules.


It is important we understand this because when they talk about Islamophobia  and Muslim radicalism and how it is endangering  national security they have to fight someone.  What they are really talking about is cultural Marxism. What they are really talking about is assimilation.


The EU has just passed a law demanding that Muslim women be forced to take off the hijab because it goes against secularism. We need to understand that this is not just an attack on Islam and the idea of religion and religious freedom. In fact people now in Western society in this kind of  uber liberalism are not allowed to think for themselves and they have to comply and conform to what the  state dictates. That to me is the very definition of cultural Marxism. People are being asked to negate and to deny who they are and what they believe so that the state can control them and devise a new identity.


So when we talk about the West versus the East or Islam versus the Judeo Christian world this is really what we are talking. We are really talking about the negation of identity and the simple fact that Islam professes freedom and individualism in the sense that people have the right to critical thinking and the right to chose for themselves the right to be who they want to be and those  rights are actually protected.  You absolutely have the right to chose for yourself and in religion there is no compulsion. They are trying to denying us this.


That is the first point I wanted to make. I am tired of people trying to frame this clash of civilisations as  if one civilisation is better than the other  and that is not the case. People are entitled to their faith and their culture and their traditions. We do not have to agree with them but at least accept that they are entitled to them.


When you see for example what is happening in Bahrain, what is happening in Yemen or Iraq and Syria and you see how Wahabism is trying to remap and to redefine what his acceptable culturally this is exactly what the West is doing today. But it is doing it under a different name of national security and counter terrorism. But the nature of this is the same where we have a form of fascism that is very dangerous. How can you deny people their right to their identity and who they are and you are basically calling for the worse kind of enslavement because that  leads to cultural genocide.


We think there is a line between liberalism and Wahabism. We think they are polar opposities but they are actually quite similar in their constructs in that they both  take some form of moral high ground in order to justify a very violent and dogmatic political construct.


So if people talk about clashes let us talk about those clashes because they are against all of us and  they are trying to obliterate all those who stand against them.  I think more than ever today when we have discussions on religious rights and how  people should behave in the public sphere and how they should divorce God from the public sphere we have to realise that whether we are talking about liberalism or Wahabism we are talking about the same phenomenon. We need to be careful and mindful of the fact that religion in not a nationality, it is just a belief system and it is supposed to transcend nationalism and to unite people on a different level or to a different degree and to promote tolerance. A lot of the time now the media and government associates religion with violence and a form of dogmatism and religion is not that unless you  understand Wahabism as a religion but I would reject that.


Another point I want to raise is about the refugee crisis because it has been used to fuel this kind of dichotomy between east versus west and this idea that we have to hate the other, we have to exclude the other and live in a state of exclusion.


I am not sure that you will agree with me but I am still going to say it: the refugee crisis has been used as an asymmetrical weapon of war in that the pain of  the Syrian, Iraqi, Yemini and Bahraini people all those people who ran for their lives because they had no choice and  lost everything – their pain has been used as a political tool to  actually sell racism and xenophobia.


We need to understand the demographics. If you look at Turkey and the refugee crisis you see women and children and you see families. When you look at the arrivals in  Europe you need to see that the demography changes to single men. You have less women and less children. We need to ask ourselves why it is that a certain demographic of refugees has been bottlenecked into Europe  to spread violence. We are talking about crimes. We are talking about rape and murder and of course it is all being linked back to Islam.


People are making the case that Islam is of course a negation of Western values. We need to do something against Islam, we need to reform Islam. We need to do all these things and to make sure that for the love of God Muslims become less Muslim and more cultural Muslim. They should not pray too hard or pray too loud because it bothers people – it bothers the Western liberals because they do not want people to have a strong identity. They do not want people to be independent full stop. They do not want people to be individuals.


What they are trying to do is to push the refugee agenda and play this humanitarian card against people. They are saying we are good in the West, we are welcoming those refugees. By the way the West created those refugees because we need to remember that those bombs they are running away from are actually Western made bombs.


We need to understand that those people are actually being played as a weapon so they could sell Islamophobia to the world. The more refugees come into Europe (why Europe by the way?) the more crimes are being committed and the more the far right is actually gaining ground.


There is a narrative being played around all of us and we are completely oblivious  to it most of the time because we are too busy trying to defend  who we feel are our own people. We have to remember that when a crime is committed, number one,  we should denounce it. I don’t care if people are Muslim, Jewish, Christians whatever. A crime is a crime and the people who commit crimes should go to jail regardless of who they are, and where they come from.  Running away from war and violence does not justify committing another act of violence against other people. That would make us Zionists and I do not believe we want to be that.


We need to be careful when we talk about the refugee crisis because the refugees need to taken care of but we need to make sure they are really being taken care and they are not being played by political powers so that they can score  some points and  justify their fascist ideology.  So far I have seen so many political commentators come out and defend those  Muslim refugees  just because they are Muslim completely forgetting that those people actually have a different type of agenda and they are actually committing crimes, they are actually soiling our names as human beings – never mind Muslims.


We should speak against it and not allow the tragedy that is war to prevent us from seeing the truth and the fact that we are being  played. It is a demographic remapping. They are trying to play demographics and tension will arise because we would have to be stupid to not understand that we can’t justify mass immigration and ask any one country to take millions of people, thousands of people and not expect tension to happen. Of course tension will happen because the state institutions will be stretched. There are only so many resources in one country and it would be ridiculous to argue that the West is richer than other countries so they would have to accept all those people. We do not have to there are alternatives.


And my question is why is that Saudi Arabia is not opening its borders to Syrian refugees. They have a  city of tents they use for hajj but they do not use them for refugees. Why? Because they do not want to. The point is to send them to the West so that they West would learn to hate Muslims and that the West would learn to hate the other and would learn to hate different ethnicities and label them as being negative, fefarious and devilish in essence.


I think we have almost lost the battle there because we have not talked about it enough. There is a  grand debate about the hijab and I am hoping that this grand debate will illustrate the fact that people are trying to outlaw religion per se. It is not just a Muslim problem, it is a religious problem. We can shed a light on this and the rise of the far right can alert people to the fact of the reality that we are living under today.


I would like to just finish on the rise of the far right because it is troubling. It is very troubling that we have the likes of Donald Trump becoming the norm. The things that he says and the fact that no one is actually being outraged enough to rise and resist him is appalling and very worrying. We make fun of him. But is it  not funny. I am not laughing anymore. I thought there was no way  he could make it but he did. He made it because he was elected. That tells me somewhere in America people think it is okay to think like this and to speak like this.  They  want to see the things that he wants to see happen.

He is just a cog in the machine, he is just part of the system and he does not have any real power. But that  tells me that the far right has now become the norm and it is okay to hate the other. We do this a lot. We do this all the time. We live in a negation of other people, in exclusion of other people and comparing what we do by saying it is okay, the others are doing worse.


It is not okay. We have to rise. At some point in time we are going to have to decide that we have to do better not just because  we don’t want revenge but because we want justice and there is a difference between wanting revenge and wanting justice. I think we have passed the point of revenge because revenge has led Bahrain to bleed and Yemen to bleed and Syria to bleed and many other countries to bleed. So I would like to think enough is enough because war is coming here to the West because communities are being pitted against each other and I would just pray that we have enough reason and insight to understand that it can’t happen here because if it happens here we are done for. Who could speak for us?


With regard to the far right I am referring to the relationship with Wahabism because we have failed to understand that the far right and Wahabism and all forms of fascism are the same. They are the same but they are just dressed differently and are giving rise to a different form of hatred.


Liberalism today is the Western expression of Wahabism and if you look at what is happening in Yemen I would beg you to really reconsider. You don’t want this here. You  do not want this to become a form of governance, you do not want this to become a reality. Living in exclusion and being shunned because of who you are and I should  know.


When you are being shunned by a system just because you believe differently in religion it is not fun to be sitting where I am sitting and to be called many names and to be told I don’t have the right to be who I am.  I am told here in the West that I don’t have the right to be who I am because they don’t like Islam and they don’t like the fact that I was born here but I belong to someone else or another faith and that makes me foreign.


I don’t think that religions make you foreign. I don’t even think that ethnicity makes you foreign. What makes you foreign is that people want to live in exclusion of each other.  Geography means nothing. We need to learn to live with each other and we don’t even have to like each other. But what we have to do is recognise that those rights we demand for yourself we  have to give to other people because otherwise we are a hypocrites and we  are opening ourselves  up to fascism.


In conclusion I just hope that this decay which we see in the West is understood in that God has been driven out of the public sphere and I think that is a mistake. If you don’t have a  real anchor then this happens. We talked about religion and how it is very bad and it is better to have ethics and morals but how can you have ethics and morals if you do not have religion? And you don’t even have to believe in God. You have to admit that religion offers an  anchor without which laws and ethics would have no meaning. Thank you very much for listening.


Chairman: That you very much Catherine for kicking off the debate. Your attempted the diagnosis and you indeed offered a solution. Without further ado I am delighted that Ziauddin Sardar is the next speaker.


sardar-1-223x300Ziauddin Sardar:  Salam alekium. Look at these three photographs. (Donald Trump, Geert Wilders, Marine Le Pen).  They tell us something about the West but they also tell us something about ourselves.


Many of the people who voted for Donald Trump actually believe in God. They are devout Christians. In fact without the support of the Christian right he would probably not have won. Many people who support Geert Wilders, who will probably win the election tomorrow in the Netherlands. Many of the people who actually support these guys (thirty percent in France – one third of France) and almost twenty percent in Holland are actually quite liberal. They are not totally mad. They give us serious concerns and it is perhaps these concerns that have elevated these concerns to this level. Their concerns are not all that different from some of the concerns that we have ourselves.


Let’s switch to ISIS. What does ISIS say? Let’s make Islam great again. That is what the Caliphate is all about. Let’s make Islam great again. Why is it that Islam needs be made great again? Because first of all it is not the dominant power. Secondly a great deal of what Muslim societies say and do seems to have no relevance to modern times. They have come out of a long period of colonisation and there is a great deal of uncertainty and insecurity about us.  People who live in Muslim countries have a great deal of insecurity and a lot of their insecurity is blamed on the West.


This was largely because Muslims have no power. This is a product of the fact that power has shifted from where it was conventionally located  over the last thirty, forty or fifty years. And their reaction is not all that different from our reaction. ISIS is a fascist organisation. The spread of Wahabi thought is very much a kind of reaction to uncertainty and insecurity. The number of people who have embraced Wahabi thought shows that the people feel  uncertain and insecure in uncertain times and they want certainty and security. What these guys want  is exactly the same.


The power is shifting from America to China. China is now the leading global power, not America. America is a nuclear power. But essentially China is the leading power, even though America has more weapons than all the empires of history put together. There is also another rising power – Russia. Twenty or thirty years ago  if Russia had moved to the Crimea we would have been on the edge of a nuclear war. But in fact Russia took over Crimea within a week.  Then Russia moved into Syria. Even the military  balance is changing. India is an economic power as well.


So power is shifting And when power shifts from those who have had absolute power then uncertainly and insecurity becomes the norm. And when  uncertainty and insecurity becomes the norm you actually go back and grab what you think is your anchor.


For many that anchor is a nationalist, far right identity. Let us not forget that fascism was a dominant entity in Europe fifty or sixty years ago and France was fascist. So was Spain under Franco and  there were the Greek generals right up until the 1980s. So fascism is not  alien to the West. It is  said that racism is only skin deep in Western civilisations. If you scratch it hard it will come to the surface.  So going back to that kind of racism is a natural tendency in times of uncertainty, and insecurity, in times when contradictions become the dominant theme.


Another thing which is happening now which may look pretty surprising is populism – the populist movement is moving the far right to the forefront. Most of these movements have genuine grievances at their heart. For example inequality.  Systematically inequality has increased over the last twenty to thirty years in every single Western country. Power has not just shifted to other nation states or other super powers if you like (China and Russia) – it has also shifted to other entities that we do not know how to deal with called non-state actors, and I don’t just mean terrorists. I mean multinational corporations who have much more power than nation states.  Google, Microsoft or Apple  have more power than say France or Belgium in certain areas. And they have played a role not only in increasing inequality but also in increasing uncertainty and insecurity in terms of employment and social media etc.


So populism is actually a product of what has happened in the last twenty to thirty years.  Should we be surprised that during the past twenty to thirty years almost every Western university in Europe and the United States has been teaching post modernism which essentially argues that there is no such thing as truth – that all truth is relative. This is a basic theory that most people who study social sciences, education, whatever learn. So you have a whole generation thinking, or being brought up to think, that everything is relative. So why should  we be surprised that they come to the conclusion that there is no truth all. So a great deal of what is happening is hardly surprising and it is a result of a genuine political crisis  and a genuine moral crisis in the West.


It does mean one of two things. First it means that claim of  superiority of Western civilisation just does not hold water anymore.  Europe does not do fascism. That was the post war idea. We do not to authoritarianism, we do not do far right movements. That was where the West could claim some kind or moral superiority but all that has gone now. What we are seeing is the shift in power and the political crisis.


The fact that the moral superiority argument has collapsed produced a moral and ideological crisis. But at the same time we see that this tells us something about the West, it also tells us something about us.  What it tells us is that there is no such thing as an isolated, encapsulated West out there. There is a West out there that we are going to stand up and hate because we are from the East and we are Muslims, that is what we do, we hate them, we hate the United States. That is the mantra.


Everything is changing. There is no east or west either geographically or culturally. Geographically there is more East in London than there is Karachi. There is more East in the suburbs of  Paris then there is in Morocco and Algeria. A great deal of what happens in Morocco and Algeria actually starts in the suburbs of Paris and then goes off to  Morocco and Algeria and Tunisia. So there is no specific kind of location where you can say this location is east or west, this location  is a location of Western culture.


And culturally of course we are all influenced by the West just as much as the West is influenced by us. What the hell are we doing here? We are here because there are certain Western values that have attracted us to this place.


Yes, Saudi Arabia should accept refugees. But how many Syrian refugees want to go to Saudi Arabia. There is a reason for that. There are certain that the West still represents which we have to accept and acknowledged. So what is happening in the West has a direct impact on us because we live in an interrelated and interconnected world. What happens in the United States and Europe has a direct impact on Pakistan, Malaysia, Iran and the Middle East.

We have to stop thinking in terms of  East and West. The political crisis, the moral crisis of the West is as much a political and moral crisis of Muslim societies and in fact Muslim societies went through this crisis first and it has now arrived in the West and it is for us to actively do something about it. Thanks you very much.


Chairman: Thank you Ziauddin. That was very intriguing – a very different approach to the diagnosis about power shifts and also uncertainty.


clive-1-257x300Clive Hambidge: Salam  Aleikum. First of all I would like to thank you for inviting me. When I think of Islam I think of peace, peace, peace. I want to concentrate, even though I am someone who is very aware of the values of sharing and coexistence on the importance of a diverse country where people have the  right (we have here a  partially functioning democracy) to go to the ballot box but our opinions often stop there. We do not go forward  from that.


Tonight I want to focus on America. All we have to do is to have a good look at the three pictures. We see the rise of fascism and the far right. We have to go back to the 1930s and 40s where we saw the rise of the military industrial complex and now the industrial retail complex. We can’t ignore it.  This is the power drive and it is fairly and squarely in the ball park of America and it is about America that I want to talk this evening.


I want to look at America from an almost detached from a rather detached perspective and see the  vicious role it has played in the Middle East and indeed everywhere through the auspices mainly of the CIA.


We owe an enormous debt of gratitude to people like Snowden and all those who take up, like a  hot coal, the cause of freedom from tyranny in the 21st century, the tyranny of neo slavery and misinformation where human beings are seen as disposable products to be used and abused in underground trading – mere commodities. No human being is a commodity. All human beings are valuable and precious in the eyes of God, Allah and that is how  we should treat each other.


Therefore when we see such abuse taking place all over the world then it is up to demonstrate, remonstrate, write do whatever we can to bring this to the attention of the world and those in positions of so called leadership.


The figures are staggering as they are sobering: 27 million men, women and children are held, sold and trafficked. This morning  slavery, this age old evil, persists and it must be addressed. This is  my main point really and obviously then looking at the moral and ethical dimension in looking at our own actions. This must be addressed through volunteerism. The people who act have rid themselves of fear. Fear saps our energy, it takes away the moral compass and stifles our actions and our movements so we allow this rising far right movement which will then enslave us.


In America slavery comes in many forms but it also comes in the form of consumerism. No country in the world is better in enslaving its people into buying things they don’t want than America and so turning their minds away from the  real needs:  the welfare of the perceived other. I do not see the perceived other – I see a brother and a sister.


We are persuaded to buy into this ever pervasive pathology of consumerism to buy what we don’t need, increase the ever rising  scenario of personal debt and the all consuming fear which feeds it  and chains us to a subconscious  consumerist slavery that saps  the energy and the will to help those in forms of deprivation in developing nations and in our own  nation.


What is interesting about this is that Trump is an example of this – we see this ego manic with an ego made out of solid gold who is impervious to any criticism. He has just got rid of 45/ 46 federal judges in America so we have fascism and the vote for Trump shows that fascism is on the rise in America. At the same time we see that the states in America, most of the states in America are looking for autonomy and moving away from this centralised form of government and federalism and to understand the nature of freedom and also to look after people. This is developing in America at this very time.


In America we have 150 new co-operatives. Some of them are in woods in the outback where you find machine guns.  They are forming co-operatives so in co-operation, informing organisations and then co-ordinating with other organisations, particularly NGO’s, then you have a very powerful force for good.


If you think about the right wing you will find it in America. No country is more skilful than America in enslaving its citizens to market forces.  A statement from Norman Chomsky describes corruption and captures the very nature of what I am talking about and what is embodied in people like Trump and the others that we see in the photographs. He says (and this is from this group of business leaders) we have to impose on  people a philosophy of futility and make sure that they focus on the superficial, on superficial things of  fashionable consumption. We have to try to pursue what we call fanciful wants or invented needs. We create the needs and then get them to focus their attention on them, then they don’t bother us, they are out of our hair.


It is a simple fact that we are influencing each other all the time. What about the essence of Islam? My neighbours downstairs are Muslims. When they have a birthday they bring us presents, they bring us the birthday cake. Many years ago my wonderful companion Suriah and the three children would just pop upstairs without asking knock, come in and be very aware that we would help them with their homework. It was just  a natural extension of love and that is the solution to all the problems that we see.


At the present time we are whipped and tossed into a state induced nightmare automated, corralled into small mental places, creating more and more tension. Someone wrote recently even the grass is depressed.


And John Pilger writes in letters from war and death in his new book The New Rules of the World when the American Vice-president Cheney said the war on terrorism will last for 50 years or more it is concocted because of the military-industrial complex. People are making vast profits out of killing people no where else more than in America and also in Britain.


If we look at Syria more than 2.5milllion children – my  God! – are starving essentially and living in tents. And how long are they going to be living in tents for? We see the same thing in Somalia. Thousands  of people are living in tents with just about enough to be able to survive in a world of plenty  which has the means and the organisation to end this terrible, terrible injustice.


We the people must peacefully push, shove, cajole, remonstrate to our presidents  and prime ministers. I put Teresa May in the same bracket. They are all moving to the right wing.  We have to lay aside our apathy and realise our potential, indeed our very self through selfless activism.


In America I often think that the constitution is ignored. The constitution if one reads it, is not just a constitution for America but for all people. We can take parts of it because most of it is for the protection of all people at all times. So I just want to talk a little about the constitution. Measured the constitution remains radical in that it is wise because justice and freedom are always present much as an elder brother  hovering in a moral and ethical dimension looking for signs of maturity sorely lacking in the adolescent  sons and daughters of successive American administrations and their  increasing connivance with accountable private power.


Nevertheless the constitution and its light remains undimmed drawing to it all those who seek a road map towards justice, equality and freedom. The constitution is not meant to reflect oppressive actions. Neither is it meant to protect the minority of the opulent against the majority. We spoke about the dangers of democracy. Democracy is dangerous for the elites because it would inculcate and reflect the movement towards an evolutionary freedom of expression and that expression  would abide by the rule of law and its benefactor love.


The past is never over. If we examine it carefully within our own consciousness the past repeats itself again and again and this we call habituation, we form habits of thinking. They can become hardened, they can become hateful or the very opposite. Loving. So the past is not over as it lies cyclically with its arrogance of power, the power in corporations that seek to eliminate democracy.


This is  a  serious debate in elitist groups where radical takes on the dark stately cloak. Chomsky makes it clear in an interview with John Nicholson entitled radical democracy and he turns to Aristotle and makes  it clear rightly  that we need to eliminate poverty. Chomsky talks about the welfare state not in the real politik propaganda where slackers are lazy and are happy to survive on handouts. This is  nonsense.  Deep concern  is concern for the welfare of the true sovereign nation and  its  beleaguered citizens who should not only move the executive levers but the social mechanisms of governance and execution.


The very heart of American leadership, if they are ever willing to find it, should be beating in rhythmical time with the hearts of those less fortunate and indeed those more able. These two groups coming together one to express their concerns and the other to then offer their help.


The growing demand for social justice and equality rises from the  convulsions of suffering not just in America but also here and particularly in the Middle East. When we think of Palestine, Gaza, Syria, Lebanon wherever we look there is tremendous suffering.  The great exodus from Africa which is only going to increase. We are going to see this through conflict and through political corruption and that is also fuelled by American connivance.


The America people would be clear about what it is that they could do for their country and they would remind themselves of the benevolence of its constitution and the  battle ahead for democracy. They would then find the natural law of justice manifesting.



*Ziauddin Sardar is Chair of the Muslim Institute, a learned, fellowship society that promotes knowledge and debate, and editor of Critical Muslim, an innovative quarterly on contemporary Muslim ideas and
thought. He is also the Director of the Centre of Postnormal Policy and Futures Studies, East West Chicago, and the editor of its journal East West Affairs.

He has been described as a ‘critical
 polymath’ and works across a number of
 disciplines ranging from Islamic studies and futures studies to science policy, literary criticism, information science to cultural
relations, art criticism and critical theory.
 He was born in Pakistan in 1951 and grew up in Hackney, East London.

Ziauddin Sardar has worked as science 
journalist for Nature and New Scientist and
 as a television reporter for London Weekend Television. He was a columnist on the New Statesman for a number of years and has served as a Commissioner for the Equality and
Human Rights Commission and as a member of the Interim National Security Forum.

Ziauddin Sardar has published over 45 books.
The Future of Muslim Civilisation (1979) and
Islamic Futures: The Shape of Ideas to Come
 (1985) are regarded as classic studies on the 
future of Islam. He pioneered the discussion 
on science in Muslim societies, with a series 
of articles in Nature and New Scientist and a number of books, including Science, Technology and Development in the Muslim World (1977), The Touch of Midas: Science,Values and the Environment in Islam and theWest (1982), which is seen as a seminal
work, The Revenge of Athena: Science, Exploitation and the Third World (1988)
acquired a cultish following and Why Do People Hate America? (2002) became an
international bestseller.


  **Clive Hambidge is Human Development Director at facilitate global a human rights NGO. His articles and papers have been published among others in IRIN, Al Haram, The Palestinian Chronicle, Media With Conscience, Dandelion Salad, Sabbah Report, Al-Arabiya and London Progressive Journal. He also had numerous interviews with Press TV. Clive has over 30 years experience working with faith communities which include the Hindu Community in general and in particular with the Head of the London Sevaashram Sangha, Swami Nirliptinanda. He has acted for many years, in an emissary capacity to support the work of the former Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem, his Grace Bishop Riah Abu Al Assal.


***Catherine Shakdam is a political analyst and commentator for the Middle East with a special focus on Yemen and radical movements. She is the Director of Programs for the Shafaqna Institute for Middle Eastern Studies in the UK, and serves as Special Adviser for the Middle East for Prince Ali Seraj of Afghanistan. She also sits as the Executive Director of PASI (Prince Ali Seraj of Afghanistan Institute for Peace and Reconstruction) She is the author of Arabia’s Rising – Under The Banner Of The First Imam. Her writings have appeared on RT, Press TV, Mehr News, The Foreign Policy Journal, The Duran, MintPress, the American Herald Tribune, Open Democracy, the Age of Reflection and many others. She’s the director and founder of Veritas-Consulting.


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