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WATCH: Moazzam Begg and Andrew Gilligan clash in MEE radicalisation debate

A novelist, a journalist, a columnist, a counter-terrorism expert and a former Guantanamo detainee debate the causes of and solutions to radicalisation in the West
Speakers in Middle East Eye's live video debate: Andrew Gilligan, Will Self, Moazzam Begg, Nesrine Malik and Rashad Ali


The debate about Britons joining the ranks of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria has swept whole up communities and religions in its wake.

This debate is not about one man, Mohammed Emwazi, or about the horrific filmed executions of journalists, aid workers and Ethiopians Christians on a beach in Libya or in Raqqa, Iraq. It's as much about what happens in Britain as it is about what happens there. Is it fair that a debate about "Jihadi John" becomes a debate about Islam? Are the commanding heights of that community occupied by radicals? Who are we defending from whom and which values are we attempting to defend?


The Middle East Eye assembled a star cast to discuss these issues. Each had sharply defined positions, and were not shy of confronting each other. 

During the at times very lively discussion, Gilligan and Begg accused one another of having contributed to the problem of alienation among sections of Britain's Muslim communities.

The sparks flew.

Will Self, one of the UK's most successful novelists whose books have been translated into 22 languages and whose novel Umbrella was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, is Professor of Contemporary Thought at Brunel University:

Moazzam Begg spent three years in Guantanamo Bay before being released without charge, and was recently arrested again on his return from Syria and spent months in Belmarsh, before being released again without charge. He co-authored his memoir Enemy Combatant and is outreach director at CAGE, an advocacy organisation: 

Andrew Gilligan, London Editor of the Telegraph, was Journalist of the Year in 2008 for his investigative reporting on Ken Livingstone:

Nesrine Malik, a journalist who writes for The Guardian, Independent, New Statesman on multiculturalism, and Islam:

Rashad Ali, a former member of Hizb ut-Tahrir, who is director of the counter-extremism consultancy Centri: