Episode 3 The Big Questions

Episode 3

Nicky Campbell presents live debates, including the demonisation of the poor, if it should it be illegal to reveal the sex of an unborn child and is there any evidence for Satan?

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Today an The Big Questions, Benefits Street, sex selection and Satan.


Good morning, I am Nicky Campbell, welcome to The Big Questions. We are


live from the Oasis Academy at MediaCityUK in Salford, welcome to


The Big Questions! Since Channel 4 launched the series Benefits Street


two weeks ago, the unemployed residents of James Turner Street in


Birmingham have been abused online, in the papers and outside their


front doors. Iain Duncan Smith said the show had shocked people and was


helping to make his case for further benefit cuts. So are the poor being


demonised in this show and elsewhere? Steve Chalke, you are


here in behalf of the residence of Benefits Street. Has this show,


James Turner Street, I do beg your pardon! Has this showed demonised


those people all humanised them? A couple of things, the very fact that


you got it muddled up, when you said Benefits Street, that says it all.


Your introduction says it all, because you say these people have


been abused on their front doorsteps. I am actually here, in a


sense on their behalf, but they must be allowed to speak for themselves


without being put in some kind of circus where they are then belittled


by kind of phoney intellectuals on one side or the other. I am here not


to... I know there is a huge debate around benefits and dependency, and


we must have it. And we will. I am not here for that reason. I spoke to


some of the leaders yesterday, and there are many residents I do not


know, but I do know them, and as we run this school, so it happens, a


few days after Christmas into the New Year, we took responsibility for


the small primary school on James Turner Street, and it happens to be


the school with the street name outside it. There are children who


have not come to school because you have got tourists up and down the


streets chanting and calling abuse, children we are having to collect,


children who are worried about going out into the playground at lunch or


at break time. And from the senior school, we run the junior school,


kids are getting bullied on the buses et cetera. I am just... It is


true, after this programme, I am going to send this letter to Eddie


Richards, a copy yet, it is going to be delivered this morning. Who is


he? He is the chief executive of Ofcom, they police television, and I


have copied it to Michael Gove, the Secretary of State for education,


and also Maria Miller, Secretary of State responsible for media. The


point is, we can have a debate about benefits, but I am saying that the


price of one child being scared to go to school is too high a price to


pay for any nation. I need to say one more thing. This is a formal


complaint from me as the founder of Oasis Community Learning, and the


last thing I want to say is that the community leaders there believe that


tomorrow night's episode contains a safeguarding issue about one of the


pupils from our school, and I am saying to the Secretary of State and


do the boss of Ofcom this morning, unless they have watched that


programme, Ofcom have watched it and know that there and no legal issues,


I do not think it should go ahead. I will hold them to account. You are


taking away from the fact that 5% of them people go to work, the fact


what is being shown on the telly, and if it is a deterrent to stop


claiming benefits, the programme should be highlighted. But the


people... Let me say, the people who wrote this with me and wrote to the


Times on Friday, these are not illiterate people, they are very


smart. They are good, clear thinking. Most of the street are in


work, lots of people... Excuse me, 5%! I know the people! OK, Steve,


let's hear them out. What point are you making? It's like saying we


don't show drinking and driving ads. If it highlights the problem we have


out there... Wait! You should not be rude. 200 billion we are spending on


welfare and benefits, and we continue like that, the country will


continue to go bust. We have to debate that. We need to use that


money in the workplace to generate more work and to help youngsters. We


need to debate that! But not at the expense of one street. I know you


want to come in as well, Angela, you say 200 million... 200 billion! But


only 3% of that goes to people who are unemployed. It is 200 billion


into the welfare system. Including pensioners. The country generate 600


billion, a third of it is going to benefits and welfare. If we continue


to carry on like that, our children will go bust. It ain't right, Steve,


it don't matter what you say. I want to bring in Angela. Before it moves


on, I am happy for it to move on, you have to know that this programme


has not represented the working people of that community. It is not


representative, and they need a right of reply. Steve Chalke, I will


come back to you later! OK... Angela Epstein, you were saying earlier, as


we were having a copy, you think there is a whisper of truth in this


programme. We have to have a clear line of demarcation between what


they call observational reality television, poverty porn is the new


buzzword for this kind of freak show, that it has been labelled as.


It is a bit like Charles Dickens, he tried to put a microscope on the


poor, and in the process did that by creating these huge stereotypical,


larger than life characters in order to raise social issues. If we sweep


to one side there is nothing there that connotes with reality, fine,


most of it is there for the benefit of great television, and Channel 4


have managed to clock up fabulous ratings as a consequence, and people


seem to be happy to watch that. But the issue is we have to break the


cycle of welfare dependency. There are lots of people there who want to


go to work, what self-respecting self-esteem, they want to be able to


get out of bed and say, I am this person, I can beat this person who


owns an honest living. At the moment, the benefits system is what


has betrayed the people who live in places like so-called Benefits


Street. If the system didn't exist whereby it was more profitable, if


you like, to stay in bed or stay at home and go to work because he was


so demoralised by what you earn, then the system is betraying a whole


generation of people. We have people who leave school at 16, go on the


dole, get a flat, whatever, no apprenticeships or possibility of


work placement. This is where the system needs to look, and Channel 4


is just... Did you feel uncomfortable watching the


programme? Kate Green MP, did you feel uncomfortable? I feel angry on


behalf of those people. We do not know more than a little slice of


their lives we were shown, we do not know the back story, all the


circumstances. We don't know what it might be that is preventing them


from being in work and having to claim benefits. Just a minute...


Just a minute, Charlie! Let's hear from an elected representative. I


don't think it attractive to live on benefits and be demonised and


humiliated in front of millions of viewers. Nobody would be choosing


that experience, people may be on benefits because of health problems,


it may be that they have issues about literacy, qualifications. It


could be that they are unwell, but it is a hidden illness that we


cannot see. It could be there are no jobs in that community. Some people


are saying there is a great issue of community and humanity coming


through that programme. One of the things that concerns me about


Channel 4's intentions on this programme, other than good ratings,


if it was to divide communities and society, I find that very offensive.


Any of us could need to claim benefits, any of us could have a


disaster, become sick or lose a job. I would want that system to be


there for me, and we should all want it to be there for all of us.


Charlie, make a response. 95% of them people are not going to work.


Obviously, there are genuine cases that cannot go to work and we should


help them, but a lot of people... The problem you have got is... That


is what the figures say... It is wrong, I know this people. Let me


just tell you something. Why are we making benefits so attractive, more


attractive than going to work? What do you mean? It is not attractive!


Rachel. I looked like the very acme of middle-class respectability, but


for over two years of my life, as a result of ill-health, I was unable


to work, and I know from the inside... Let me ask you a question,


do you think that stigma was informed by what people were reading


in the newspapers and what people saw on television? Was that skewing


their attitudes towards you? I want to clarify, I think we were living


in a slightly more compassionate society at the time, there was less


of this click based television going on, but it was the case that I


recognised I was living on a very challenging the state, an amazing


estate in Salford, and that many of us felt very much pushed to the


outside, and you know what happens, Nicky, with stigma? It becomes


internalised, and it can be very, very hard to step outside of that.


And the kind of people, like this gentleman here, who clearly over


prioritised and individualistic conception of society, you do, you


simply do not... Let me finish, please... Lady... You do not have an


understanding of a community of character, the kind of community I


suspect we all want to be in. Charlie, before we go any further, I


will come to you, put your hands up, because we will have a galop around


the audience in a second. An interesting statistic which you may


or may not be aware of, people's perceptions, according to a fairly


recent poll, 20% of social security payments are lost to fraud, 27%. The


actual figure is... What do you think? Beutel me. No, you tell us,


Charlie! Have a guess. I don't know. 0.7%. 40,000 children we pay for


live abroad and claim on benefits, is that right? It is a small slice


of the benefits payments, a very small size. Right, I will tell you


what, wait, wait, wait! We are going to go over Sheila, who has been


waiting to come in, Northwest region co-ordinated of Unite,


interestingly, you did a protest outside the production company


officers, didn't you? Yes, that is right, and my colleague in the South


was involved in that, and the people who are protesting there are people


at the cutting edge, and it makes me so angry listening to you, because


you buy into the myth, you know, I wouldn't be surprised if you read


the Sun, to be honest with you! Are people demonised through this


programme? Yes, not only demonised but people are increasingly


criminalised through the cuts. Through the bedroom tax cuts,


through a variety of sanctions. The bailiffs, evictions. Working class


people who want to work, those who are able, are increasingly demonised


and criminalised. Programmes like this served to mobilise communities,


because I will not be negative about it. What I will say, in line with


what other people are saying, what I see are people on the cutting edge,


people who cannot work because of illness. I see the cuts impacting on


their physical and mental health, the deterioration in those people, I


have seen it over the past year, but what I see is a great generosity of


spirit and humanity, where people are coming together, and it is that


people with the least, who have the least, they are coming together to


organise resources for their own communities. A lot of people are


saying this, that is a consequence, perhaps an unintended consequence,


who knows, but a consequence of this programme. One person comes across


as a most extraordinary, warm and wonderful person, I watched two


episodes... People should not have to. The idea of food banks in the


21st century, to lay the ills of these country on the most


vulnerable, not... I am not talking about the vulnerable! You are! You


are buying into the lies and the myth... If it sends out a message to


youngsters... Wait! Shh! That is nice, isn't it?! Charlie, what kind


of message do you want this to send? If the programme sends out a


message, a deterrent to youngsters to going onto benefits, then it is


doing the right job. Where the jobs for the young people? Use the


benefit money. What benefits manager Mike last year we scrutinised MPs


and public officials for their expenses, and people were arguing


that because money was being spent, we had a right to know what it is


being spent on. I feel that the vulnerable in society should


definitely get the money they need, and they should be respected for


that, because if you are unable to work, there is no reason why you


should not be paid from the public offers and respected for that. But


those who are able to work, there is no reason we should not be able to


scrutinise their lives, we are paying for their lifestyle, and just


like we can scrutinise MPs... What lifestyle is that to me if they have


got a big fat TV, there is no reason we should not be able to scrutinise


that. There are two things I want to say. Benefits go back into the


economy when you get them. The second thing is, I have forgotten.


It happens to me all the time. Thank you. I would like to say as a member


of the Muslim community and GP, the welfare rights system is an act of


piety by the nation. Every single member of this audience, we are


actually helping the needy. We are getting distracted by this


television show and the principle behind it which is helping the


needy. There is an issue behind the equitable redistribution of wealth


in their society. There is a small proportion of very wealthy people


who called the wealth and we are not distributing it equally. The


benefits cuts will lead to social disharmony eventually. This is an


Islamic principle which is obligatory almsgiving. If we start


to be tough on the poor, we will see problems in the future. We need to


think about our vision for the future here. I do not think it is


about being tough on the poor, it is about doing the right thing. If


people are sponging off the system, they need to be addressed. How many


do that? It does not matter how many are doing it, all people are saying


is those are the people that need to be addressed. We are not saying do


bad things to the poor in general. If people are sponging off the


system, that needs to be sorted out. Steve Davis, where is Capital Gains


Street? What about people at the other end of society who are


sponging? The London standard had a headline saying that the rise in


house prices for many people in London was more than they actually


happened. That shows one of the big problems behind all of this. One of


the difficulties that people on that street face is the cripplingly high


cost of housing. That is why housing benefit is the biggest single part


for pensioners. We have a situation where we are not supplying enough


houses. That is one of the biggest things we can do to make the lives


of people on low incomes and benefit a lot easier. You believe there is a


certain sense of entitlement and hopelessness. I think that programme


was exploitative and intended to push peoples buttons to get them


agitated and angry. On the one hand, there was an angry sense of


entitlement on the part of the people who are living on benefits


but, also, a sense of hopelessness and despair. They were trapped. We


are spending an enormous amount of money and not getting the results.


Some people want to better themselves but because of the


incentives the system set up, they are facing a marginal tax rate of


80% -- effectively. It is not illegal to be unemployed. There are


thousands of very successful people in our society who are where they


are because when things get tough, they do not fall through the cracks.


There are two issues which need to be addressed. If benefit fraud what


is driving the financial crisis in this country? The size of benefit


fraud is completely dwarfed by the size of tax fraud and tax evasion.


Secondly, the issue we need to address, are we making work


unattractive? There are a small slice of people for whom work can be


less attractive than benefits. The reason for that what we need to do


to solve it is to raise the minimum wage so that work actually pays. The


Chancellor has suggested that everything will happen. We are


raising the minimum wage to make it more of a living wage. We need to


take the money from the cuts in the benefit and get it into the


workplace. What about tax fraud and tax evasion and putting that money


in? You would invest that into youngsters and apprenticeships. That


will put something back into the pot. You will have to make sure... I


agree that we should be trying to get the benefits bill down and


supporting people in good jobs or you cannot do is take the rug away


beforehand. Why not take it away from the tax evaders? Go to the


other end of the spectrum. Evaders and avoiders - both. This is about


what kind of community do we want. Do we want a community that


prioritises the weakest and the most honourable or are we a society that


seeks to stigmatise and stereotype the most vulnerable? I am going to


give the last word on this debate, I said I would come back to you.


Channel 4 plans a debate on this, which will be lively and interesting


and no doubt get a big rating. Are the residents going to turn up, do


you believe? I asked for a right to reply for the residents. The bosses


of Channel 4 said they set up this debate like this. I have talked to


some of the residents. I do not represent all the residents. It is a


diverse community and I am working with some of the leaders. They feel


what will happen is they will step into a goldfish bowl and tried to


put their point of view and endless people will put them down again. My


advice to them, and I agree with them, what they are asking for is


just the opportunity to tell a truer and bigger and there are story about


who they are. The last word from me is simply this. We talked about


stigmatisation. The problem is that unless this is true story is told


about this street, is one that has got out there, this. Which demonises


so many people and has made us believe they are all not working for


some reason, this will not exist and that will be a shadow over the lives


of these young people as they grow. It will become a self-fulfilling


prophecy. Let the people on the street speak for themselves in a


different context to this Channel 4 piece of entertainment. If you have


something to say about that debate, please log on to


bbc.co.uk/thebigquestions, and follow the link to where you can


join in the discussion online. Or contribute on Twitter. We're also


debating live this morning from Salford, should it be illegal to


reveal the sex of an unborn child? And, is there any evidence for


Satan? So, get tweeting or e-mailing on those topics now or send us any


other ideas or thoughts you may have about the show. This week, The


Independent newspaper exposed a shocking set of statistics. In some


British South Asian communities, women carrying girl babies are more


likely to terminate their pregnancies if they already have a


daughter. In England and Wales, up to 4,700 females were lost in this


way. Such is the pressure to deliver sons that these women preferred to


have an abortion than face the consequence of disappointing their


husband and his family. Of course, no woman deserves this


blame because it is the man's sperm that actually determines the gender


of a child. Should it be illegal to reveal the sex of an unborn child?


Shocking statistics, Rahila Gupta. It is interesting, the Nobel


laureate was speaking 25 years ago. His quote is, he was talking about


the tens of millions of missing women because of the selective


abortion of female foetuses. Now of course this problem it would seem


has reached our shores. What should be done? I should say that if the


independent figures are correct, because they are extremely shocking


figures, anecdotally we were aware of the fact, through my own personal


experience. Asian women are under incredible pressure to give birth to


a baby boy. By the way, I must say it actually extends to other


communities as well. It is not just India and China but also European


countries, most Soviet countries like Georgia, Azerbaijan, they have


worse ratios than India itself. To come back to the question of the


Asian community in Britain, anecdotally, we were aware of the


fact there were women who are flying off to India, those who could afford


it, to carry out the scans and the abortions. This figure is actually


very shocking. What I would say is that regardless of the statistics we


have, in any case, some hospitals are informally or formerly having a


policy of not disclosing the sex of a child to all parents. To all


parents? There is no profiling. There is no way of looking at the


women and telling whether she would be in favour of having a girl or a


boy child whether she is under pressure or not. No profiling


whatsoever. Is that your experience? Profiling is happening.


In 1985I gave birth to a little girl. Six months pregnant and I


asked what the sex of the child was. The midwife said, we do not


tell Asian women. Really? In places like Rotherham, they will not tell


Asian women the sex of a child. They have said this to me on a daily


basis. The midwives, the people who do the scans, they know this is a


significant problem within South Asian communities. They are tackling


it within their way. -- in their own way. There is no guidance saying we


need to be putting this in place. These women are being forced to


abort or kill unborn children if it is a girl. Is it not better to


educate and inform, and to make sure that new attitudes devolve, rather


than withhold information? Absolutely. That is what activists,


all sorts of Muslim people have been doing all this time. These are


deep, structural inequalities. It is about the value attached to a woman


's life. Also deep-seated cultural reasons. The issue about it our way


is a cultural one. If all of these things are done side by side, that


is the most important thing to do. Meanwhile, we are losing girls. We


have lost 60 million. Also figures are being bandied about because we


do not know the true figure. Across the world, 100 million women have


not been born as a result of this. It is a terrible situation for us to


be in and we need to take some action. I would say we should


certainly ban disclosure and criminalise it across the board in


Britain so no hospitals, private clinics, would be able to tell the


sex of a child. What about after the legal term of abortion? After 24


weeks, exactly. I have come to this conclusion because I feel I was


trying to find a way of saying, how do we balance? As a feminist, I


believe in a woman's right to choose to have an abortion. How do we


balance this against the issue of so many women and girls disappearing? I


wanted to restrict. I felt the only way to do that would be to restrict


the information you give to a person. You can still exercise your


right to choose. Kate, does the right to choose extend to this? Let


me say one thing. The statistics published in the Independent do not


show this is going on in the UK. I am speaking not as the women's


rights activist but as someone with a maths degree. The study was done


by in period College London. Let me explain what exactly it shows. They


say there is an alternative explanation. They have looked at


women with two children and the first one is a girl and with a


second child more have boys. The other possibility is that people


with two girls keep trying and have a third baby and then would be


counted out of the statistics. We all know people who have had that


policy. We have had one of age and we will stop all we have to the same


and we will keep going. Statisticians say it is the only


readily available data. There is another explanation for that. I


know, as a forced marriage survivor, We have had examples of women who


have had to abort their child because they know it is a girl. This


particular girl was thrown down the stairs as a means to try to abort a


child. We have examples of new wives being brought in because they have


given birth to three daughters. So the point I am making is, what the


Independent has done is start a devout about a real issue, and we


need to follow it through. -- start a debate. And if she did not know


the gender of the child, she could not do that? Yes. Let me jump in, we


are saying... I must say, the pregnancy advisory service says this


does not happen. Let's supposed there is a young woman and her


family find out she is carrying a girl, and they will be violence to


her and views, don't you think that woman, what she does deserve this to


have more information to be held from her? What she needs is a safe


place to get to and away from a family who might be violence to


her? I absolutely agree with that, but something like this would


empower the woman against her family, because if something is


illegal, it is sort of outside... Sorry, if I can just give an example


from the banning of the hijab in France. Not that I supported, but


there are women who have said, who have reported, the fact that it was


bound as given them a tool to argue against the family that you cannot


insist on me wearing a hijab, because it is illegal, and in that


way sometimes when the state intervenes, it is actually a form of


protection. So it sends a powerful message. Let me bring Craig in, let


me get the name of your... You are the editor of DNA Testing Choice,


that says it all! Could a law like this work? Practically? I am here as


an advocate of DNA testing, and recently you could not know the sex


of a child until 13 weeks, determined by ultrasound. Now you


can find out at seven weeks with a blood test or urine sample, which


can be ordered on the internet and taken at home, which could really


exacerbate this issue. Coming to the legality of it, there are certain


genetic conditions called ex-linked recessive conditions, where if there


is a boy baby, a male foetus... Could a doctor not reveal that? The


parent would probably know that one of them was a carrier of the genetic


disease, and the male baby has a 50% chance of having a condition like


haemophilia. This is a different issue, really, because we are


talking about gender selection. I will come back to Craig. We are


talking about women being empowered, and I say this as a woman who has


had three boys and a girl, that was the random lottery and how it played


out for me, thank God they were all healthy as well. Scanning is


essentially a diagnostic tool, there to offer clinical support for the


health of the baby and the unborn child. It was not developed for us


to know what the sex of the unborn child would be. However, as a


by-product of that, if you happen to be able to see clearly and a


sonographer cannot always tell, they told my husband that it was a boy


because I did not want to know, and she's very much a girl, so they


don't always get it right. If that information is there, as a woman,


you are entitled to ask the question. It is not fair for the


state to police what is essentially your baby. What has to happen,


though, when it comes to abortion, women aborting their babies, aside


from the horrific stories you were telling about women being thrown the


stairs, it is not an arbitrary thing that happens. You have to go to


unofficial clinic or the National Health Service provider. The 1967


abortion act says, correct me if I am wrong, requires two doctors to


sign off that you are an appropriate candidate for abortion, and research


has shown that a certain percentage of women, doctors have not even seen


the women whose abortions they are authorising. We have to shift the


responsibility... The point is, as we heard earlier, this would send


out a very powerful message... You cannot police women's bodies. It is


not about policing women's bodies. It is about victims not having the


courage, fearing for their life, there are unborn child's life, and


not being able to speak out. Does that mean everybody is not allowed?


Not being allowed to speak out? So this would be empowering? What you


have to remember is that the people doing this to them are their nearest


and dearest, and it is a number of multiple perpetrators, this is one


isolated individual, and they need support to the empowered. So we all


have got to...? Society has a role to play in protecting the most


vulnerable. You did not mind what sexual child was... I wanted a


little girl. I don't mind saying that. I felt that I wanted that sort


of innate mother-daughter relationship, but I didn't choose to


find out the sex of my child, simply because I did not want to have the


arrogance of potential disappointment, because all you


really want is a healthy baby. God forbid that should happen to


somebody. I wanted to know it was a healthy baby. Reverend Steve Chalke,


please, please, please! Sorry! It is all right! Is this a significant


problem, and statistics suggest it is, it is illegal in India and


China, so if not here, and how would you do it? I simply think that what


we have got to do is listen to these ladies, because they understand the


culture this is happening in and they struggle themselves. Thank you.


It is rather ironic that, any name of liberty and freedom, we come to


take away freedom. That is an extraordinary thing. Let him finish!


Surely, if we believe in the sanctity of every human life, which


is what I do, we have to listen hard to this. It has got to be worked


through, and there are technicalities... How would you do


it? Steve Chalke, would you withhold information from every woman, no


matter what ethnicity, no matter where she came from? I think we... I


do not have an easy answer, we need to have a debate, but we have to


note these girls' lives are being lost. I think we have to find a way


of withholding this information. From everyone? From everyone? I


think that we have heard that you cannot tell by a woman... From


everyone? I think we have to withhold this from everyone in order


to protect people, it is an issue of human rights. All or nothing? It


seems to me that we keep arguing about protecting these women so they


find out the gender of their child when it is born, not beforehand, and


then they will be at risk after it is born. You have the freedom to


say, I do not want that information, I want that information, and more


information is good, and we cannot take that away. If we believe in a


woman's right to choose, we have to believe in her right to choose even


when we do not agree with the reason. It is her choice. She may


have no choice after she has had the baby. Reverend Rachel. Speaking as


someone who writes as a feminist theologian, I am very conscious of


how, in debate I have been involved in over many years, that there is


often power held by white middle-class women like myself, and


that has often stifled voices from other communities. So why are you


talking?! It is precisely... I just want to say, I want to listen to my


sisters... Can I just...? OK, yes, wait, wait, wait! I would like to


come back on the notion of choice. I think that the word choice is used


in a very simplistic fashion, and it is thrown around randomly. I think


context is all important to the idea of choice, and when my choice


disadvantages or entrenches disadvantage or inequality for other


women, you know, whether it is about race class, what kind of feminist


and I? It is a collective project. We cannot look at individual


choices. How are we depriving women if we don't tell them the sex of


their child? Other women who may not be, you know... What if they want to


know for innocent reasons to me they are so trivial and frivolous, when


in fact what you are doing is saving the lives of women. Last word,


because you have campaigned so hard on this issue. It is not just about


protecting the lives of women, it isn't about not killing young


children that have not yet been born, girls. We must leave it there.


You can join in all the debates by logging onto the BBC website and


following the link to the online discussion, or you can tweet using


the hashtag #bbctbq. And tell us what you think about our last


question, is there any evidence about Satan? If you would like to be


on the show, e-mail the address on screen.


Well, the good news for those of you who are about to become godparents,


you will know alone to have to pronounce the devil and all his


works, so it is carry on, Satan, in the Church of England. But in Rome,


they are training more exorcisms, so clearly the Catholic Church is still


on guard against manifestations of the evil one. Is there any evidence


for Satan? Imam Hassan, nice to see you again, good morning. Muslims


believe God created the devil. What does the devil do? We believe that


Satan exists and God created the devil, and in the Koran it is


mentioned that the devil whispers into the ears of humankind to


influence them, not control them, control the actions, but influence


decisions they make. Examples Juma sinning against God, doing bad deeds


towards other human beings. Is this not shifting the blame? Not


necessarily. As I said, the devil cannot control human beings. The


human beings control their own actions, but the devil whispers into


the ears of human beings. Similarly, other human beings whisper into the


ears of human beings, they influence them with words, with their


behaviour and actions. Why did God create the devil? Primarily to test


human beings, to test if they stick to the right path. And there are


enough tests without the devil? Of course, but this is one of the tests


that God created. What are djinn? Emissary is of the devil? You could


put it like that, the dude be handy work of the devil. We believe there


are some djinn who are believers of God. That is a spirit? Yes, they


live in another dimension to us. We believe that there are believers


amongst the djinn, they do good works, but we believe that there are


certain s djinnwho carry out the works of the devil. Have you ever


seen anyone possessed by the devil or anything like that? As an imam, I


received a lot of calls, and people come to me and say, my child or this


person has been possessed by the djinn or by the devil. And what I


say to them is, look, why do you say that? I ask certain questions. The


first question I would ask, have you been to a GP, have you been to a


professional? May be that person is depressed. Have you ever come to the


conclusion that somebody was possessed by the devil or by djinn?


I have seen people personally, they have been influenced by the whispers


of the devil, and we believe that this is something... What were they


doing? They were behaving in an abnormal manner. They were not


behaving in a normal fashion, and what I would tell them is to recite


the holy Koran, we believe this is a miracle. It might be a mental health


issue. That is what I said. When people come, I say, have you been to


a professional? Do you know of people who have been possessed by


the devil? In the field of mental health, it is recognised now that


spirituality can be a force route to understanding mental health. What


does that mean? The first one is biology and psychology. Do you think


a mental health condition can be because of the work of the devil?


Precisely. That is what they recognised now. Who recognises


that? It is written. It is in the book. There is a section where it


says, for those who are not materialist, we should give room of


consideration of the spiritual dimensional of their mental health.


Have you never heard the example of a child possessed by the devil? Have


you heard of this? I have heard of it. There are testimonies of


children who have been delivered, set free. The testimony of what the


devil has done with them. What the devil has done with them! They are


children. We cannot prove scientifically that Satan exists. We


are not going to leave the debate here. We are going to hear from


other people. Richard Hoskins, you have worked and lived in Africa, how


dangerous can this be? Just the last point about children being


possessed. Believe in evil powers exists in pretty much every


religion. It has done since the dawn of civilisation. I was not picking


on Africa but you live there. I have been in Bible camps where pastels


have tried to exercise demons. There is a problem in Africa in


Pentecostal churches where children are being accused of being possessed


by the devil. It is not about drawing from sacred texts, it is


about children being accused of being witches. It is chilling. I


have been involved in some of the toughest cases this country has ever


seen. I was in the Old Bailey where two people were on trial for the


brutal slaughter of a boy who was branded as a witch. The Bible is


very clear. You will know the truth and the truth will set you free. You


need to teach the person per word of God. You mentioned they are evil and


people are being persecuted. Across Western Europe for hundreds of


years, tens of thousands of women were murdered because they were


being seen as the daughters of the devil. If you know the truth, Jesus


was the first person to deal with demons and set free people. He spoke


the word. Reverend Rachel Mann the devil is in the Bible like Baltimore


is in Harry Potter. We are talking about


interpretation. The Bible makes reference to Satan in a number of


passages. It is about interpretation. In the book of Job,


I think that Satan is a joke figure. In the book of Revelation,


it is not clear that we are talking about some kinds of personified


evil. I simply cannot bring myself to believe in a Satan, who is an


embodied angel who has been thrown out of heaven. I am a trained


philosopher, who has been very influenced by Saint Augustine who


sees evil as the absence of good. That kind of God I believe in simply


has no is based on some sort of tent who is there. Let's come back to


Kate. When you have been on programmes with these debates,


you're always very measured. Let me ask another question. People find


this very interesting. Do you believe that the devil can appear


incorporeal, bodily, form? Do you think that ever happens? It is not


mentioned whether the devil appears in a physical or spiritual form.


From the testimonies of people who are involved with the world of


darkness, they are saying that the devil can come to them as a human


being. Really? There are many testimonies of alien abduction as


well. That are testimonies of people involved. Whenever I am on the show,


someone on the Internet always tells me I am the devil. Well... Let me


say this, it is terrifying to hear these kinds of things about children


who are possessed. It implies that good and evil are these two distinct


full since that operate against each other. The reality is that when


Vladimir Putin said gay people are welcome at the Olympics but they


should stay away from children, he felt he was doing good in protecting


children. Others feel he is doing something very bad in stigmatising


gay people. It is not as simple as good versus bad. Life is much more


nuanced than that. I might go one step further and say, what surprises


me is that here we are in the 21st-century, I have a device in my


pocket which enables me to have a face-to-face conversation with


somebody who lives in Australia. In this day and age, there are still


people who believe in the devil and who believe in God. It is ludicrous.


Tell me about the evil eye. It is the concept that evil comes


either... This is the Jewish interpretation. It is the oldest


religion. No, it is not. Everything that God creates will have to


conceive the idea that it comes from love. Everything that God creates


comes from love, the good. If there is a concept of evil it is to


standardise us and make us believe we have to do better. The concept of


the evil eye, people have evil inclinations from within. In the


process, it can generate bad things towards other people. We can feel so


malevolently disposed toward somebody that that is why we should


not be arrogant and Parade GCSE results on the Internet. People have


bad feeling and jealousy. There is the acknowledgement there are


malevolent forces around that can stay as towards things that we do


not want to do and we have to fight against it. Just a quick word


because there are hands in the audience up. I think children, if


they are under the influence of an evil spirit, I do not think they


should be abused. They deserve compassion. I have heard every


single pastor say the same thing. By telling children they can be


possessed, you are abusing them. Child abuse. Sign it is child abuse.


-- it is child abuse. With regard to the comments from the reverend, I


find it convenient you can pick and choose parts of the Bible you


believe. The way it is used and practised in forces a form of child


abuse. That is how the reality -- that is the reality of how the text


is interpreted. You said about interpreting the Bible correctly.


The problem is, you have different groups interpreting the Bible in


different ways. The argument about who is right has resulted in some of


those groups... It has resulted in some of our best debates. Debate is


part of human nature. The doctor has a very quick point to make. You talk


about the structural apparatus of the psyche and the mind can you talk


about our drive for power, money and greed. As a Muslim, I see that as


the self that incites to evil. What we say is this is something which is


innate within everyone. It is bad people doing bad things. Conscience


or super ego is what moralisers the negative aspect within every single


person. -- moralising is. There are particular religions which believe


in God will stop by Des bad stuff happen? -- which believe in God. Why


does bad stuff happen? We invented the concept of the devil in order to


try and answer the question. The problem is, it has very dangerous


results, as we have heard. Whether or not you believed in a


personalised devil or the concept, what we have witnessed here today,


we have listened to these ladies talking about women being thrown


downstairs, that is an evil act. We have seen Channel 4 abusing a


community, that is an evil act. The forces of evil are always present


and we must never caved in to them. The Bible teaches about eight God of


love who calls us... What is the devil? Is it a metaphor? I believe


the Bible teaches the forces of evil are always present and we are called


to get involved for good. That is why the Church of England chose the


wording. They say people are possessed. Communities are using


that as an excuse to deal with discipline issues. Homosexuality is


a prime example of a young man calling the helpline. A Muslim man,


who is homosexual. He was told he was possessed by the devil and


whipped frequently to get rid of this devil out of his body. And that


was guidance from people within his community. People are using this as


an excuse to discipline and punish people and that is the problem. How


widespread is this? It is a widespread issue and a hidden issue


and we need to root it out. In this country, we are against the death


penalty. Why do you want to apply the death penalty to our children in


a mother 's womb? As always, debates continue on Twitter. Next week we


are back. We will see you soon.


Nicky Campbell presents live debates from Oasis Academy MediaCityUK in Salford, including:

Are the poor being demonised?

Should it be illegal to reveal the sex of an unborn child?

Is there any evidence for Satan?

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