Episode 15 The Big Questions

Episode 15

Nicky Campbell presents moral, ethical and religious debates from Manor Church of England Academy in York. Questions include is Islamism the biggest threat to the modern world?

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Today on The Big Questions: The threat from Islamism.


And the fast road to sainthood. APPLAUSE Good morning.


I'm Nicky Campbell, welcome to The Big Questions. Today, we're live


from Manor Church of England Academy, in York. Welcome, everyone,


to The Big Questions. On Wednesday, Tony Blair, the former


Prime Minister, now Middle East peace envoy, and multi-millionaire


consultant, delivered a portentous speech warning that Islamist


ideology poses a real threat which is destabilising communities and


nations, and undermining peaceful co-existence in an era of


globalisation. In the face of this growing threat, which Tony Blair


warned is "spreading across the world", he said: "We seem curiously


reluctant to acknowledge it, and powerless to counter it


effectively." Is he right? Is Islamism the biggest threat to


the modern world? Anne-Marie Waters, is he right?


He is right, but not because he is Tony Blair. It is important we do


not fixate on the messenger. The evidence is there is a global,


Islamist, political movement. It does rule countries and destabilise


countries. As the Arab Spring showed us, it is powerful and organised and


waiting to take over even more countries it is already rolling. Not


only in the Middle East and North Africa, but in Britain, across the


West. We are reluctant to confront it. The fact we are having this


debate shows that. The evidence for it is around us. We have Islamist


Livio Loi in this country openly calling for brutal punishments, they


are running a family court system, calling for Shari -- Sharia.


If I can focus, Tony Blair, cosying up to one of the dictators, in this


speech, lamely decrying the death sentence for 500 members of the


Muslim Brotherhood. Calling for the enemies of Islamism to be bolstered


wherever they are. With Saddam Hussein, at the time of the Koran -a


war. -- Iran-Iraq. Has he not learned any lessons?


It does not detract from the message. Some of it is rich coming


from Tony Blair. The question is, is Islamism a threat to the modern


world? It is. We have two separate that question from Tony Blair and


what he may have done or said. There is a threat, is there?


It is an exaggerated threat. Tony Blair is responsible for this


threat. I will give you examples. He invaded Iraq and gave a safe haven


for Al-Qaeda. He invaded also Afghanistan. He created another


base. They have created a failed state and a vacuum filled by


Islamist extremists. Most of the regime changes took place in secular


Arab countries. Gaddafi, Saddam Hussein, they are not Islamist. Look


at what is happening. I am not defending them. I am just exposing


the contradictions. The worst time -- type of phobia. Now he is siding


with Egypt. There is a campaign now against Islam and the Muslim


Brotherhood. He is trying to be part of this campaign. The Muslim


brotherhood does not exist in Egypt. In Syria, they are struggling. What


about the kidnap of schoolgirls we have heard from extremist groups to


knock 4000 dead over four years. Tony Blair killed 1 million people


in the rock. -- Iraq.


Somehow, everything is the fault of the West, as if countries, people,


cannot act on their own initiative. Let her answer. Someone said the


Americans are responsible for the Taliban. They are not responsible


for what the Taliban does when it is in power. For imprisoning women,


stoning people to death. That is their own fault. They do that of


their own volition. Who brought the Taliban to power?


The Americans. They gave their support. This idea everything is


somehow connected back to the all-powerful West is absurd. People


are responsible for their own actions, and the people responsible


for the Harrah -- the horror of the Taliban, is the Taliban themselves.


Some people said about this speech, he has undermined himself. Did you


not think this is a man who waged what many believe to be an illegal


war, which led to, maybe, 1 million deaths, created, creating many


extremists across the world. And he is lecturing the world about peace.


One can differentiate between Tony Blair the man, and Tony Blair with


his message. I agree with the message. The media has been guilty


of ignoring the central theme of the message, and pointing to suggestions


he wants to keep Assad in power. None of this was said in the speech.


Tony Blair is saying there was a greater evil we should focus on. Of


course there is a campaign against the Muslim Brotherhood. It is a


global organisation seeking to impose an absolute form of Islam.


The former head of MI6 called it, at heart, a terrorist organisation.


Abdel Bari Atwan, you famously said... This is not true. When we


talk about the speech... You need to make that clear it is not true, you


never said that. It was out of context. On a programme, it was a


few seconds from a programme. So is bombing the Arabs? The Israelis. I


will come back to you. Extremism is a threat but certainly not the


biggest threat. Capitalism. Climate change. Religion and politics


without Essex -- ethics. In every region, you have crazy


fundamentalism, right wing Jewish in Israel causing havoc, Hindu


extremists in India causing problems. Buddhist extremists now


causing persecution and genocide in Burma. Religious extremism affects


every religion. This Islamist extremism is a problem. Muslims have


to look in the mirror and address these issues as common human


issues. It is Arabs killing each other, in Syria. Injuries lump,


there is a display cabinet in the mosque showing CS gas canisters


which Israelis fired into the mosque over the last 40 years. Palestinians


say, we are killing each other in Syria, how can we blame the Jews? It


is more complex. I agree that arise -- there is


extremism everywhere. But you can confuse Islam with Islamism. I don't


think they said that. It should never be confused with extremism and


violence, Islam does not subscribe to any of that. The problem is, does


Islam have political framework within it, does it propose an


economic, social and ethical framework. As soon as it proposes a


political framework, it becomes a public one. To save the Muslim


Brotherhood is at its heart a terrorist organisation, that


completely misunderstand the organisation. I have read the


literature. I don't think it is like that. But the current climate in the


world would lead moderate groups like that to become radicalised


because of the lunatic ideas. We have turned a blind eye to the


Middle East. 60% of Egyptians want the Muslim Brotherhood to be in


government. But this democratic movement is being undermined. We


would like the right guy we like to become the president or prime


minister. Tony Blair is one of the private advisers to the dictator of


Kazakhstan. He went running to the South Sudanese government to become


their adviser. He embraced Gaddafi. I can never forget those atrocities


perpetrated by Tony Blair's policies. Simply Tony Blair saying


this is wrong. I saw you wincing, why is that when


he was speaking? Talking about the ideology and belief.


The idea Islamism can be completely separated from Islam is


problematic. Why is that? If an Islamist government takes over a


country... Define that? And installs death by stoning, they can find


justification for that in Scripture. Wait, wait! Let her finish. You have


violence against women justified as it often is by Islamist


governments... I will tell you what we will do. Wait. Usama Hasan is an


imam, maybe you can explain why you believe that not to be the case?


There is a debate going on within Islam. The issue of a politically


interpretation of Islam. Groups do not speak for all Muslims. There are


many of devout Muslims who oppose the hijacking of religion for


political purposes. It is true to say that the Western foreign policy


for the last 60 years has been problematic, supporting dictators


for stability, like a sad, Gaddafi, Saddam Hussein, and others. Hartley


needing to the increase of Islamism. The Muslim Brotherhood has a wide


spectrum. In Tunisia, Islamists have proposed a purely civil


constitution. I want to explore this point. It is key. This whole bit


about the confusion between Islam and Islamism which must not be made.


You say there are cross overs. Tony Blair in his speech and said it is a


warped interpretation of Islam. Others have said it is plausible.


Islamism and the Muslim Brotherhood is a broad spectrum. Everyone has


the right to have politics informed by faith. All kinds of people, all


around the world, leaders and millions of people whose politics is


informed on religious values of truth, honesty, justice and working


for others. Is it a plausible reading of the Koran? Certain forms


of it but there are extremist interpretations which are causing


havoc around the world. This points to a far larger discussion, to which


you are already alluded about fundamentalists, radicalised


religion and moderate progressive religion. In a way, this entire


discussion is a red herring. There are much wider issues to content


with. We have a million Brits needing food bikes. There is


poverty, environmental degradation, slavery in today's world. I do not


see Tony Blair giving a keynote speech about those things. It is


important to draw the discussion back to be human level. As a rabbi,


I am interested in building bridges between faith communities. I work


for the British community. It is important to realise that the large


majority of people want peace, progressive religion can give people


meaning in their lives. I often hear people saying Islam is inherently


evil. Church leaders say it is inherently peaceful. How do you know


what it means? Surely we should deal with realities. Regardless of the


hypocrisies of Tony Blair and his statements, we should deal with


reality. Islamist presents a global threat to many people. This is the


most important point. Let him finish. When people accuse


anti-Islamist 's of being anti-Islam, it is a betrayal of


moderate Muslims everywhere. An unintended consequence? It is about


bigotry. Is Sam killed -- all this killing is supported by the


Americans. How do you say that Islam is a threat? Tell me one example


that Islam is a threat? Do we have bombs like you? Do we have missiles?


I am not saying organisations like Al-Qaeda represent Islam, you are.


Give me one example where the Muslim Brotherhood has invaded a country.


Who used phosphoric bombs in Gaza? In eejit, the Muslim Brotherhood


takes over institutions and murders people. -- Egypt. Anne-Marie said at


the outset, they are here in this country. There are people with some


ghastly and appalling views. Tony Blair called them incompatible with


the modern world. Do you agree? I would include Sam to be an extremist


in his views. He wrote an article calling me an extremist. I have


received death threats for talking against extremism. For him to make


silly statement in an article, there are problems with the definitions.


This is so important. We are talking about laying bombs and killing


fellow citizens on the street. It is wrong in any civilised world. Let's


answer the question we have already asked about Syria. Did the Syrians,


did the ordinary Syrians, aid and the bet and give alms to President


Assad or are we doing that through China and other countries? They want


freedom. The people of Saudi Arabia want freedom. Because we constantly


interfere and supply them with weapons and intelligence, they keep


those people seeking freedom under constant repression. If you allow


Muslims across the globe the freedom to choose, they will choose the


party they feel very happy with. Ultimately, the problem that


Anne-Marie was highlighting is to do with sharia. We chose not to


intervene in Syria. They said, do not come into our country, give us


the arms to top the dictator. Some people dead and some did not. Our


underlining the objective is to deliver justice to the world,


fairness and equality. It is about establishing peace and fairness and


justice. If people cannot find space to express it freely, and they are


being constantly repressed, and the by-product of which we see as


Manufacturing in extremism, we cannot find a point in it. Why do


you think he is an extremist? Iraq are quite a few examples. -- there


are quite a few examples. You have said the Mumbai attacks are the work


of the American intelligence agencies. I never said that. What


are you claiming he said? He claims in a Facebook post but the American


security forces somehow orchestrated the Mumbai attacks. He also claims


shadowy forces were at work in the Westgate shopping massacre. Who is


responsible for? That is the topic you have missed. I did not say


someone was responsible. I was blogging in my page, asking


questions. You have said I support the Muslim Brotherhood. In my entire


life, I have never been supported of those organisations. I am very


British. I even stood in the Parliamentary elections as a Liberal


Democrat. It shows your shallow understanding. Sam, respond. You


also described the Hamas leader as an honest and great man. Sky he is


an honest and great man as opposed to Binyamin Netanyahu, any time.


What would you like to say? How -- Hamas in their charter, they blamed


the Jews for everything going back to the French Revolution. They want


to obliterate Israel. It is uncompromising. It reads like


something which is likely to come out of Nazi Germany. Even Hamas is


not an Islamic ideology. What is it? It is a group that is supporting


their own religion, their own country. This has been going on for


many years. We should not mix this with Islam. I am hearing here, we're


in the United Kingdom, in York, in North Yorkshire, and we are hearing


voices calling Muslims evil. Who said that? He said evil. He cannot


even come up with a definition. It has not been agreed on. Why is it


not agreed upon? The Government labels as anyway they want. They


call us terrorists one day, is limbs -- Islamist 's one-day. In this


country, who is funding you to pay for this? That is simple. Let her


respond. Islamist obeah, what do you make of that? What sort of sharia


are we watching? I disagree with your definition of extremism. You do


not have to plant a bomb to be an extremist. If you want to deny women


any right to get out a violent marriage or child custody, that is


quite extreme. They call it sharia, therefore I am calling it sharia.


What about Islamist phobia? -- Islamophobia? Hamas is the outcome


of decades of Israelis and ethnic cleansing, which started in 1948


when they destroyed 532 villages and towns. We are only 18 days from the


66th anniversary. The world has turned a blind eye to it. Hamas is


an outcome to an action by Israel, supported by the West. It is part of


the policy. You cannot deny that Hamas is a big part of the social


fibre. It is cause and effect? We are talking about aggression and


radicalism. I would add my voice to 22% of the British public who last


year, in 2013, according to the Daily Express survey, want Tony


Blair to be tried for war crimes committed against their people. I


would add my voice to the rising voice of those. Some Israeli leaders


have asked for this, for him to be charged with war crimes against the


Palestinians. We need to get a response to that. The killing of


farmers and fishermen. Can I get a response? Do not talk to me about


radicalism... It is Zionism. It is big powers... You have made your


point very, very strongly and we need to get a response. Who wants to


respond to it? I have not mentioned any of that. I need a response. You


will get a response but let's get a response from the other side. I


think the rabbi wants to respond. There were a lot of accusations


about Israel. Do you want to counter that? Sign he cannot deny it. If he


denies it and he will be lying through his teeth. Sam Westrop...


Can you let him respond, please? Can you let him respond? 150,000 killed


in Syria, wasting time talking that the only free democracy in the


Middle East. A smoke screen to hide from the real facts. In terms of


casualties number since the Second World War, the Arab -Israeli


conflict is the 50th most deadly. It is something to be horribly


concerned about. What about the illegal settlements? And 150,000


killed in Syria. This is precisely what Tony Blair was talking about.


There are many other issues that need discussion will stop peace


processes need resolving and complex that need stuffing. There is terror


abroad and extremism in the UK. I will attempt to come back to you


later on. Anyone in the audience want to make a point? Good morning.


A quick point. We have got to go back to basics. Islam or Islamist,


as I understand it, seeks to impose where it can, imposing Islam all


over the world. Letting Alaa -- Allah rule the world. There are


people who do not believe in Allah. I come from Nigeria. There is Boca


around there. Politicians use them... It is politically motivated.


They have said they want to impose jihad. Sorry, I mean, sharia, all


over Nigeria. This is a key point. Is it about religion or is it about


people using religion as a tool for power?


This was an extremist idea in early Islam. A small group wanting to


impose its thoughts on everybody. Aspects of the Muslim Brotherhood


fall into that wrong thinking and it has to be challenged. Muslims are


fed up of the politicisation and enforcing narrow and violent


interpretations. In the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it


feeds so much hatred and division around the world and radicalism. I


have spent years as a committed Muslim. I know about these topics.


We need a proper peace process. The Israelis are far stronger. It is


unequalled. We need the international community to do far


more. Tony Blair, the peace convoy, these two do far more to seek a just


and lasting peace. We need to build. We need to build bridges. I


am a patron and trustee of three different trusts -- charities


building bridges. When you have decades of conflict and murder on


both sides, hatred and grievances, it takes... Who is being the


victim? I am not here to score points. But


for the truth. Rabbi, you have been waiting very patiently and I know


you have something to say. We want to hear.


I think we always have to be careful to take it back to the individual


human level. That is my interest as a rabbi, as someone who serves God


and serves people and tries to hold God and people in the same thought.


Every religion struggles with its interpretive tradition, has shadow


sides and light sides, that is an interpretive process communities had


to engage in. The more you create hostility, the harder this


interpretive tradition will be. Everyone has a narrative, a story of


pain, grief, anger. Of being evicted. I am not here today to cast


judgement -- of being a victim. I stand here as a woman of progressive


faith to demonstrate religion can be a force for good in the world. The


louder the extremists shout, the more our voices are drowned out. It


is time for people of peace and tolerance to stand up and raise


their voice. Wait, wait. You talk about people in the shadows who are


extremists, you don't want to be judgemental. Shouldn't you be


judgemental about those people who are hijacking your religion,


Christianity, Islam? Fundamentalist religions... I prefer to live by


example. What is the point of shouting when you can build bridges.


I work with Muslims, Christians, Jews, in real conversation, real


social action. How do you stop them killing? At my level, by building a


stronger civil society in which we can talk to each other and learn a


civil discourse. It is all very nice what you're saying but the problem


is the other people had to agree with you. You can't sit down and


talk to people if they want to kill you, no matter what. They have to


feel the same wafer that dialogue to work and some people do not want


dialogue, want force. There are violent people who do want


dialogue. You cannot ignore the violence. I am not ignoring it.


There is a question of proportionality and what I can


actually do. I am a rabbi, I worked with people of good faith, to


alleviate real, pressuring issues in England -- pressing. What other


struggles here in England, and in the world? Terroir 150 million


children in child labour in the world. One last word?


I am all in favour of dialogue. Are you? Not with that language.


I can use whatever language I like. By the way, I am merely quoting


other... Let her speak. She has spoken for a long time. We have to


acknowledge. This is going to be a quick, last word, as I strive for


balance. It is quick, last word, as I strive for


impossible on this one. You are worried people call it, you say it


is inevitably political, Islam. When you look at another illusion,


evangelical Christianity, for example, elements within the


Republican party, which has influence on foreign policy. Are you


not as uncomfortable about that as others are about politicisation of


Islam? Whether they are Muslim, Christian,


Hindu, it makes no difference. No religion would want you to preach


hatred or practice in justice, no religion would want you to kill one


another. If anybody says they are, they have misunderstood God. I want


that to be separated. Religion is a great framework to creating a good


society. Individuals who go wrong, we need to stop them with dialogue.


Thank you, all. Can I add to that?


We are out of time. We have to talk about the Saints,


Saints preserve us. You can have your say about all this


morning's debates, by logging on to bbc.co.uk/thebigquestions, and


following the link to the online discussion. Or you can tweet using


the hashtag #bbctbq. Tell us what you think about our last Big


Question too. Does Pope John Paul II deserve


sainthood? And, if you would like to be in the


audience at a future show, you can email [email protected]


Next Sunday's show is a special on atheism, recorded here in York. But


we are recruiting audiences for London on May 11th, Walsall on May


25th, and Brighton on June 15th. This morning, millions of Catholics


have watched on television and in cinemas around the world as Pope


Francis canonised two of his predecessors, the liberal Pope John


XXIII, and the more conservative Pope John Paul II. According to


protocol, the usually lengthy process of beatification and


canonisation should not start until five years after a candidate for


sainthood's death. But, in John Paul's case, his great friend and


successor, Pope Benedict, set the ball rolling within a month. This


haste, together with the huge concern there has been across the


world over the Church's handling of the child abuse scandal during John


Paul II's papacy, have led many prominent and devout Catholics to


question its wisdom. Does Pope John Paul II deserve sainthood?


Sarah, I think you are going to say, yes, he does. What does it


mean, becoming a saint? Is it an executive Clubcard! You cannot make


a saint but you can declare a saint. The church recognises someone is a


saint and the people of God are part of that. Said Anthony was made a


saint within a year because it was so wouldn't he was a person who was


extremely holy -- so evident. You are right, Pope Benedict did waive


the five years. The Pope, it is said, only effected by miracle, when


he placed a photo on the stomach of a woman and cured her illness.


Before the 13th century, people were declared saint straightaway. They


have put processes in place. That is useful. The important thing is, for


instance, listening to this fascinating discussion about Islam,


what did John Paul II do about this great tension between the religions?


He called together in RCC -- Assissi...


But bringing together people for discussion, that includes Russell


Brand! To be a saint, you have to be dead.


And a Catholic. God bless Russell Brand, he is still with us. You have


to be a Catholic, in full communion of the church, to live a holy life


as recognised by the church. There are many Saints, many we do not


declare. Lots of people are in heaven interceding with us and


praying for us. The church will name a saint because they have said


something within the church which is important which we need to hear, and


they are an antidote to the problems. John Paul II called people


together of all religions to pray together, in Assissi. That was


meaningful. We must ask this question. Why should someone who, in


the words of the late Christopher Hitchens, consigned millions to die


needlessly from AIDS. And believed, sexuality was intrinsically


disordered and an ideology of evil. Why should someone like that deserve


sainthood? John Paul II did not consign people


to die of aids, even secular observers of serve where abstinence


is preached, that is where AIDS goes down. Secular observers with


excellent statistics observed it is not condom is that prevent AIDS. He


preached people are infinitely loved by God and each individual is


infinitely valuable. That idea went across his entire Pontificate. He


welcomed Christ into economic structures, every area of life,


because he had to show us that every single person, whether you disagree


or not, is infinitely loved by God. That is a radical always. So,


objectively disordered. , sexuality was seen to leading to an intrinsic,


moral evil. --, sexuality -- homosexuality.


It set back progress before Pope John Paul II. The truth is, it has


made a negative impact on many Catholics, gay Catholics, their


friends and families, if you look at questionnaires from the Synod of


Bishops, most Catholics in Europe deplore that language and the


message that sends out. Funny, as a Catholic, who happens to be gay,


detracts from the Christian message of love and compassion -- For me.


John Paul II reflected Internet love and tenderness in his teachings. I


do not sexual ethics can be laid at the door of his teaching. There are


other people want to bring in. He to respond?


The issue of sexual ethics, the fact is many gay people felt they were


being singled out. No one will tell a married Catholic using


contraception that you will go to hell. But I have said -- I have had


that said to me. The tone Pope John Paul II used, gave gay people


grounds for discrimination. Some people interpreted it that way. That


came from the Pope. We want to see him leading by example.


There is the issue of children who were raped and tortured. Is there a


stain on his reputation? There certainly is. To claim John Paul a


saint less than two years after he died, is a scandal. He was in charge


of an institution that covered it up, that failed to confront it and


is still doing so. It still has two big dragged out of them. He was an


extraordinary man, a great evangelist. He revolutionised the


office of Pope. I wrote a book about him because he is an interesting


man. In terms of his management of the Vatican, and particularly the


child abuse scandal, I think it is unseemly, to put it mildly, he has


been made a sensor quickly. Father... The first and last words


out of any Catholic priest 's mouth about the child abuse scandal is, I


am sorry and I am ashamed. Pretty much that is all I can say, apart


from, I am not like that. However fast we, the higher article


institution of the Church, acts, I do not think it will ever be enough.


Is it a slur on his record? I would hope he has been made a saint today


because of the man and not the office. I hope I do not create a


false distinction when I talk about something which is really important.


The key thing that, apart from having to be dead to be a saint, the


key thing that most saints are is really flawed characters. Right from


Saint Peter. I do not think there a single saint who was not a flawed


character. You said earlier on that you think your granny is a saint. I


am sure she is. I learned at school a saint was an ordinary person who


did extraordinary things extraordinarily well. My grounded


back. She is a saint for me. As Lord as she was, she pointed me in the


right direction. I would like to think, she is dead and in heaven and


I have a friend. I think that is what we get from all the saints. It


is certainly true that all saint of flawed. Most of them had humility in


common as virtue. The problem with John Paul was that when he felt


strongly about something, which was most of the time, he was very


uninterested in these views. He was quite an autocratic Pope. With the


AIDS and condom issue in the developing world in the 1980s, he


was not interested in the opposing arguments. Likewise, when the issue


of women priests came up after the Anglican church voted in favour, not


only did he disagreed but he stamped it out. He threatened many


theologians with excommunication. He was autocratic. I have been thinking


long and hard about what it means. We concentrate on John Paul II today


because we remember him. He remembered the Iron Curtain coming


down. Here is the thing. I have been trying to work out, one of the


things they did in the church, at the same time, both people moved the


Church into a position where it engaged with the world at large


rather than stood against it. John Paul II started the second Vatican


Council. They thought it would buy loot the power. When one of his


staff asked him what he hoped to achieve, he said, maybe we will let


a little fresh air in. I do believe that is what happened with the


second Vatican Council. With John Paul II, he made the worldwide


Church a small place. He went all over the place. I do think that


means, and this is not to exonerate him, I do think that means, at the


end of his papacy, the curious certainly ruled the roost. Sign a


crowed the point about being made a saint, he has done good, a lot of


good, but he has also done things which are not good. Child abuse. You


can never get rid of child abuse but you can investigate it, once it


comes about. The other point is, to me, the person who I feel should be


a saint is to create lasting peace in the world. Who is that going to


be? Do you want to say something? There is a lot of evidence to


suggest the fact he has been made a saint is a disgrace. A disgrace? The


sexual abuse scandal, which was in the paper for 27 years and the


evidence would mount up over the years. He wilfully ignored such


evidence, as well as lack of contraception in Africa. Do you


think people died as a result of the papacy? Definitely as a result of


his policy in Africa. Sign up 1.76 billion people have died abortion.


-- 1.76 billion people have died from abortion. We cannot use people


for economic reasons or sexual reasons. We have to appreciate that


every person is important. It is about respecting people. Do you want


to respond to the figures on abortion? The concept of dying from


abortion. I thought you might want to respond to that. Generally about


the sainthood, it is alien for Muslims. Do you respect John Paul II


as a religious bigot? For what he has done, I have to object. If there


are problems with what he has done, I have a problem with sainthood as a


whole. There is no hierarchy. The moment you create summary as a saint


can you create someone as hierarchical. To find God, do we


need different tiers within our lifestyle? Should we not all have


direct access to God? I am thinking, it does not sit very well with me.


In heaven, is he at the top table? Definitely not the hierarchy. No


backstage pass and all of that. I hope not. My Gran is at the


communion of the saints. It will not do anyone else any good but I know.


It is a level playing field. We are the way that somebody lived their


lives. What we want from all people of faith, ultimately, is that their


life somehow points towards God. Not in a perfect way. That guy or that


lady, they pointed me towards God in some way? We want a quick way of


understanding. Imagine your favourite film star and you are


invited to a party and you get to meet them. You are a bit nervous and


he had been a fan of those ages and you are going to meet them. They


will be late in the party. At the party, there are lots of other film


stars that you know you think, that actor was in that film and that


actress. You up the courage and to find out... The point is, they tell


you a story. With the Prophet Mohammed V made a saint? You have to


be a Catholic, says Sarah. I will be with you in a minute. What do you


make of this as a Muslim theologian? There is a phrase, the friends of


God, and they are basically people who do good. An early theological


text said all believers are Friends of God. I would include that to


people of all religions and faiths who are good. Also, to humanists and


others, who do not have a formal faith if you like but too good. Only


God knows in the end who does good. The second issue about all of this


is the issue of miracles. That is very interesting. The Catholic


Church insists the three miracles or something. Our miracles within the


laws of nature or do they break the laws of nature? Does God break the


laws of nature? That is an interesting question. I do not want


to be relativist. It is only Catholics who can become saints.


There are lots of other people in heaven. We do believe that. That is


a two tiered heaven, isn't it? Within the communion of saints,


there are people... We are talking about saints and miracles. We honour


our saints. It is part of our tradition, part of our faith. What


is really interesting, when Pope Francis Kane, sorry, when Pope


Benedict came in 2010, he spoke to the young people in this country and


said, God wants you all to be saints. Hopefully I am speaking to


some saints now. You have lots to say in the last debate. The missing


picture from the legacy of John Paul is the political stance. That is


something that was very unpopular with people over the world. He sided


with the Reagan administration for a long period. That reflected in the


negative policies in Latin America and the Middle East. That picture


must be mentioned when talking about him. He sided with the Reagan


administration. It was at the time of the Cold War. If you listen to


the speech is by John Paul, he saw the horrors that were going on. When


he spoke to them, he shook them up. He said, you the powerful, you allow


these wicked conditions to carry on. It is not just, it is not human. He


was no great fan of the liberation theology is. Many were radical. He


empathised with the suffering. He went to 104 countries to be close to


the suffering. Although he sided with the Reagan administration,


particularly with the fall of communism, he condemned the first


Iraq War and was generally quite anti-war. He was not really corkage


on the Middle East. He was in the war against communism, which he


helped with. He did very little for the Middle East and Latin America.


He took sides. I do not think it is fair to say that about Reagan. In


the Jewish tradition, we teach that anyone who is a good person, whether


Jewish or not Jewish, can get to heaven, and we are judged by our


deeds. The important part of this discussion, I'm not going to go into


the details of religious policy, but the important aspect of this


discussion is, what is the role of religion in a modern world?


Progressive Jews read our texts, our biblical texts, in such a way as


they should be liberating. That includes taking a public stance


towards gender equality. The Scriptures and the Bible, it says


very clearly, not by mites, not by power but through my spirit. That


could be a continual impulse of religion. We only have maybe 20


seconds. What would you like to say on this auspicious day? He gave us


hope. He said everyone is valuable. He said two women, your hour has


come. You are called to humanise the world as women. Not by being men but


women because you are absolutely special. Priests had a spiritual


fatherhood and each of you is a spiritual mother, whether you are


single or married. He said that God is alive in all of us. God is alive


in all of us. She is more bored than you. The debate will continue


online. We'll be back from York next week. Thank you for watching.


Nicky Campbell presents moral, ethical and religious debates live from Manor Church of England Academy in York. Questions include is Islamism the biggest threat to the modern world and does Pope John Paul II deserve sainthood?

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