Alan Craig v Anjem Choudhry?

Well, this looks like fun!

A couple of months ago posters sprouted across Newham – including on my street – and elsewhere, advertising a ‘March 4 Sharia’ from Westminster to Trafalgar Square. Organised by Choudary’s group, it was cancelled at the last minute citing ‘security concerns’ – to the delight both of secular Muslims and of non-Muslims. “Lack of support more like,” muttered pundits and bloggers. Maybe.

Undaunted the irrepressible Choudary has now issued his challenge to Christian leaders to publicly debate Jesus with him a week before Christmas. Like the angry Green Street demonstrators and despite the fact that Islam first appeared 600 years after Christ, Choudary argues that the Founder of Christianity was in fact a Muslim – a view universally affirmed by mainstream Islam. “If Jesus were alive today he would… wholeheartedly embrace the Sharia law of… Muhammad,” Choudary says provocatively.

“Don’t touch this debate,” emailed a friend. But in the NS article Bartley points out that the different Christian and Muslim understandings of Jesus are ‘deal-breakers’ between the faiths. And it is better the differences should be debated rather than fought over, as happened on Green Street in July.

So I’ve contacted Choudary and, together with Christian friend and Islam expert Jay Smith, we’ve taken up the challenge.

Let’s see if Choudary accepts.

One difficulty is that Alan Craig firmly believes – on religious and political grounds – in the equality between men and women. I can’t believe that he will agree to debate in front of a sex-segregated audience.

Similarly, I would be surprised if Anjem will debate in front of a mixed one.