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Posted in: Culture Wars & Censorship

Published on Oct 11, 2007 by Phyllis Chesler

Written for Pajamas Media

Ibn Warraq Slays Tariq Ramadan in the Battle of Ideas


On October 9th, in London, Ibn Warraq debated Tariq Ramadan and he won the high-profile debate hands-down. The debate, known as Intelligence Squared, and sponsored by the Spectator, demands that the audience vote before the debate and again at its conclusion.

The subject was: ‘We Should Not Be Reluctant to Assert the Superiority of Western Values’. Ibn Warraq was joined by Douglas Murray and David Aaronovitch. Opposing them were Tariq Ramadan, William Dalrymple, and Charles Glass. At the end of the dramatic two-hour debate, the 700 audience members cast their votes.

The result was a stunning victory for those who believe that Western values are worth defending: 465 votes were cast in favor of the resolution; only 264 people voted against this. Apparently, the audience was persuaded by the debate to change their votes.

Ibn Warraq called me the moment his plane touched down to verify this. As the author of many books, including the forthcoming “Defending the West: A Critique of Edward Said’s Orientalism,” Ibn Warraq (a pseudonym) was well prepared.

Before he left, I told him that he was my–our–Knight going into battle and that he must slay this overly glamorized dragon on the field of Ideas. And so he did.

Stay tuned for my interview with Ibn Warraq in November and my review of his new book. I am trying to find a link to a recording of this debate but have so far failed. If anyone out of there can do so, please post it as a comment on the blog.


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