On Identity

In this program we untangle the rhetoric of identity politics and search for its usefulness especially when it comes to dissenters.

Programme editor
Programme editor
In cooperation with
Maryam Namazie

Identity politics, the way how parties and politicians target certain people based on shared characteristics in order to win their votes, has always been a strong political instrument. Does it matter who represents a certain group? Or do some individuals have more agency to talk about specific topics than others? How do we represent the oppressed and create spaces for their voices? Author Kenan Malik shares his thoughts.

Identity politics is often seen as a way for minorities, women of colour and queers to emancipate and demand awareness and rights. At the same time contemporary identity politics can be divisive and polarising. We analyze the rhetorics of identity politics and search for its value, especially when it comes to dissenters.

Halima Salat will recite her poetry for us, which is inspired  by various issues including women’s rights, domestic violence, highly sensitive people among other societal ills.


Kenan Malik is writer, lecturer and broadcaster and a presenter of BBC Radio 4’s Analysis. His book From Fatwa to Jihad was shortlisted for the Orwell Prize. As a scientific author, his focus is on the philosophy of biology, and contemporary theories of multiculturalism, pluralism and race.

Halima Salat is an ex-Muslim poet. She defines herself as a free thinker, a rebel and an atheist. She was born Muslim but no longer believes in Islam. She was a closet non-believer for a while until when she came to live in the Netherlands three years ago, where she ‘came out’ because of woman’s individual rights.

Harris Sultan is an Australian ex-Muslim atheist of Pakistani descent. Harris moved to Australia at the age of 19 and was exposed to the big wide world other than his hometown of Lahore, Pakistan which eventually led him away from Islam. His new upcoming book is “The Curse of God.”

Jimmy Bangash grew up in a traditional Pashtun family in London where he struggled with both the homophobia and ardent misogyny within his community. As an LGBT ex-Muslim activist, he is committed to unbridling the reins of patriarchy on gays and women of Muslim heritage.

Rahila Gupta is freelance journalist, writer and member of the Southall Black Sisters, an advocacy and campaigning group for women escaping domestic violence. Her work, about immigration, violence and patriarchy, has appeared in The Guardian among other papers and magazines.

Yasmin Rehman is freelance consultant and doctoral candidate at the School of Oriental and African Studies. Her area of research is polygamy and the law. She has worked for more than 20 years predominantly on violence against women, race, faith and gender, and human rights.


Kenan MalikWriter, lecturer and broadcaster and presenter of BBC Radio 4’s Analysis


Halima SalatPoet
Harris SultanWriter
Jimmy BangashActivist
Rahila GuptaWriter and member of the Southall Black Sisters
Yasmin Rehman