On Monday 11th July we hosted an event with guest speaker Manwar Ali from the organisation Jimas in Ipswich.  Manwar works with the Government to combat radicalisation and extremism and he is a well-known speaker who is also a Chaplain at Suffolk New College in Ipswich.   We invited some students from Manningtree High School who are also studying GCSE RE to join us for the morning

We had two sessions of question and answer where the students asked Manwar a range of questions about his beliefs, Islam in general and his opinion on a variety of ethical topics.

Skye Lintott asked an excellent question about what Manwar saw as the purpose of the Muslim life.  Amy Watts asked whether he would accept it if his children decided to be part of a religion other than Islam.  Susie Murray asked many interesting questions for example about the disadvantages and advantages of being a Muslim in Britain, and Simon got back to basics with a 'Why do you believe in God'.  

Manwar was also asked about why Muslims don't eat pork or drink wine and their attitudes to homosexuality, abortion and genetic engineering.

Overall the strong impression was that Manwar believed it was important to think about his beliefs, to be rational and look at evidence and the contribution of scholars rather than simply believing something because you have been told about it. He presented a very balanced view and clearly promotes an Islam that believes in peace and equality.

We enjoyed being the host to a visiting school and look forward to working with them again next year.

Some comments from our students:

"He was very moderate and seemed to address all of the stereotypes which was an eye opener."

Simon Capp

"He seemed to answer all the questions asked and I found out information that I didn't know before."

Bradley Bennett

"It was nice to meet him and it was very interesting hearing his different opinions.  I would be happy to do it again."

Susie Murray

"It was really good and nice to have another school there too."

Eve Barnett

"It was fantastic - I really enjoyed it".

Amy Watts

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