Islam is Incompatible with Democracy:
Amir Taheri, an accomplished journalist born in Iran and educated in Tehran, London, and Paris; Raphael Israeli, Professor of Islamic, Middle Eastern, and Chinese history at Hebrew University in Jerusalem; and David Pryce-Jones, the Senior Editor of the National Review, spoke for the motion.
Andrew Wheatcroft, a historian and the Director of the Centre for Publishing Studies at the University of Stirling in Scotland; John Esposito, Professor of Religion and International Affairs and of Islamic Studies at Georgetown University; and Sarah Joseph, editor of EMEL magazine, a lifestyle magazine with a Muslim focus, spoke against the motion.
The debate, held on May 18, 2004, was chaired by Anne McElvoy, Executive Editor and political columnist of the Evening Standard newspaper.
Intelligence Squared is London's leading forum for live debate, holding regular debates on the crucial issues of the day and inviting the leading intellectual and political lights on the given subject to participate in them. The format of the debates is modeled on the one employed at the Oxford and Cambridge university Unions: a challenging, sharply defined motion; a team of speakers to propose the motion and a like number to oppose it; and a moderator to keep the speakers and the audience in order and force everyone to stick to the issues. After the main speeches and before summation, contributions are asked from the floor: audience participation is a key feature of the occasion, providing a rare opportunity for the public to voice their opinions and to challenge those of the speakers. A vote is taken before the debate begins and then again at the end so as to give a measure, often a very dramatic one, of the extent to which the audience has been swayed by the oratory and arguments of the speakers in the course of the evening.