How far do you go before you draw the line? This was the question posed by documentarist, Kenan Malik, and his panel following an earlier performance of dance theatre by DV8. The DV8 show, ‘Can We Talk About This?’, dealt with the rise of fanatical Islam; arguments of cultural relativism; and the state of multiculturalism. An example of all three in this powerful exploration was the German judge who refused to convict a man for beating his wife, as under Sharia law this can be condoned and therefore she, the judge, didn’t want to encroach on ‘cultural’ mores. For activist, author and broadcaster, Maryam Namazie, by far the most persuasive and vocal of the panel, this type of decision was an example of moral bankruptcy. For her and the organisation she represents, One Law For All Campaign Against Sharia Law In Britain, the offending of religious zealots is valid as necessary criticism is often effective when it comes through ridicule. For the other panellists – DV8 choreographer and director Lloyd Newson, Professor Jeremy Waldron, professor of law and philosophy at the New York University, Rabbi Elli Sarah, of Brighton & Hove Progressive Synagogue, and social activist, Tahmina Saleem – similar strands of liberal tolerance were promulgated with varied degrees of commitment. And as for us, the audience, we had a part to play with electronic votes on such thorny issues, as should the state have a say on individual sensibilities? It was certainly instructive that by the end of the afternoon the majority had grown in favour of free speech.
Pavilion Theatre, Brighton Dome, May 26 2012