The May 30th edition of ‘Hardtalk‘ featured an interview with Ed Husain.
“Zeinab Badawi speaks to the British writer and commentator Ed Husain, who believes the gulf between Islam and the West is widening and that westerners see the religion as something to be feared rather than understood. He spent several years as a radical Islamist and then turned his back on jihadism and has written about his own personal journey as well as trying to explain why people join extremist groups. Now he is calling on moderate Muslims to reclaim their religion from the extremists. But is he oversimplifying a complex issue and playing into the hands of Islamaphobes?”
No less interesting than some of the views put forward by the programme’s guest were those promoted by its host Zeinab Badawi.
For example, following a question from Badawi as to whether he had contemplated violent acts himself during his jihadist years, Husain answered:
02:32 Husain: “Personally I didn’t walk the violent pathway but I remember raising funds for extremist organisations, for terrorists. Today I look back and I wonder why was I in – for example – the East London Mosque raising funds for Hamas because we saw that as the right thing to do. Now millions of…”
Badawi immediately interrupted him:
Badawi: “Hamas isn’t quite equated though with the so-called Islamic State, is it?”
Husain: “I accept that it’s not the Islamic State but it is an extremist group with a terrorist agenda and it does want to bring an end to Israel’s existence and we were supporting its martyrs who were in fact murderers and it was that, that area that was blurred from any of us and it shouldn’t be. So my concern is that many, many young Muslims are today exposed to those kinds of extremist interpretations of Islam that are taking them away from leading a peaceful, normal, coexistence-based live-and-let-live life.”
Badawi: “Yeah. We won’t talk about Hamas but of course there are many Palestinians who support it because they see it as a legitimate voice in their struggle for…erm…you know, reclaiming their territory.”
Hamas of course makes no secret of its intention to take over the whole of Israel and destroy the Jewish state. One must therefore assume that the BBC is at ease with the presentation of that as “reclaiming their territory”.
Throughout the rest of the interview audiences heard some equally notable statements and opinions from Badawi and some interesting replies from Husain – not least in response to her portrayal of the Muslim Council of Britain.