By Stephen Pollard
November 16, 2010
The Coexistence Trust have (politely) taken umbrage at my blog below.
Having read the transcript of the interview with Rokhsana Fiaz, the co-director, it's clear to me that they are right to be annoyed - she didn't say what I thought I heard her say. So first of all, I apologise (they haven't asked for an apology - this isn't some legal thing; I simply owe it to them and her).
Here is what she said:
As you’ve mentioned the viral videos are addressing three substantive topics
that ordinarily initiate quite interesting debates both within the respective
Muslim and Jewish communities but also outside in terms of non-Muslim and
non-Jewish people’s perceptions about issues around male circumcision, issues
around the role of women from both faith traditions, and issues around
observance, or religious observance, with regards to food. Certainly in the
context of Kosher food, there is some interesting discussions and debates and
controversies going around.
We’ve ensured that the participants of the
videos are Muslim and Jewish students themselves. We’ve put forward a series of
propositions relating to those subjects, which we’re arguing that both Muslim
and Jewish students, or indeed anyone, from those respective faith communities
that watches those videos, will come on either one side of the fence, as it
were, with regards to the topic in question. So what we’re asking is for Muslim
and Jewish students to agree or disagree with the propositions being put
The end game is a destination point where both Muslim and
Jewish students recognize that as much as there might be some quite deep-rooted
differences on issues of politics, and I am specifically referring to the
politics of the Middle East, what we, the Coexistence Trust, are keen to do is
to foster an understanding, that you can hold both positions of commonality and
positions of difference, but that shouldn’t impede or undermine an ability to
engage with each other in a respectful manner.
I think it’s important
for listeners to recognize that the Coexistence Trust we don’t address issues
around violent extremism. Specifically for us, we’re more concerned about
ensuring and fostering and building bridges of trust between Muslim and Jewish
students. That said, I recognize that there’s a lot of material out there on the
internet ether that certainly needs to be challenged and needs to be addressed,
and I’m sure that this viral campaign is something that will help efforts
Her words are perfectly proper - admirable, even. So much as I stand by my remarks over their particpation on the demonstration, and their taking a lead from FOSIS, I'd like to withdraw my earlier remarks.