This from a press release sent to me
British Muslims for Secular Democracy (bmsd) and the British Council invite you to: ‘Free Muslims: Autonomy and Creativity‘
SOAS Brunei Gallery, Thornhaugh Street, London
Tuesday 16th February 2010
10am to 2pm
We know that in certain Muslim homes, children are strongly discouraged from partaking in drama, art and music. This message is reverberating in schools across Europe. Fourteen hundred years of Islamic contributions to art, culture, literature, and history have been pushed aside in favour of a hardline interpretation of religion that denies the legitimacy of any form of artistic expression whatsoever.
So far, the debate on extremist ideologies has focused on politics and theology, but the cultural side has been ignored. BMSD are organising a half-day open conversation to explore this in further detail, with support from the British Council. It is hugely stifling to deny so many people â€“ especially children â€“ access to the arts and humanities, and this has serious implications for their personal and social development.
Various artists and cultural commentators will be invited from Britain and other parts of the world. BMSD Chair Yasmin Alibhai-Brown will chair the event, working alongside Catherine Fieschi, Director of Counterpoint at the British Council.
Confirmed speakers include:
Razia Iqbal, special correspondent, BBC News, and former BBC senior arts correspondent
Tahmena Bokhari, professor, social worker and activist who won the Mrs Pakistan World title in 2010
Saira Khan, businesswoman and former Apprentice star
Ayesha Tammy Haq, corporate lawyer and organiser of Pakistan’s Fashion Week
Joan Smith, novelist and human rights activist
Anwar Akhtar, Director of new online culture and politics magazine â€œThe Samosaâ€ and former Director of the Richmix Cultural Centre in East London
Salman Siddiqui, Co-Chair of the Muslim-Jewish theatre company MUJU
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