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Qatar Debate

IPSA participates in the Arabic debating championship in Qatar.

Students from the International Peace College South Africa (IPSA) participated in the 4th International Universities Arabic Debating Championship – Qatar Debate (IUADC). IPSA’s students Arham Rahimin Nasution, Ameer Harneker, Suhail Dalvie and M Zaid Cassiem was led by Shaykh Omar Chariff, one of IPSA’s Arabic lecturers. IPSA’s flag flew high as they won 4 of 5 preliminary debating rounds. They were defeated in the opening round by Poland and won the rest of their qualifying rounds against Sri Lanka, Portugal, Pakistan and their fellow South Africans from the University of the Western Cape (UWC) respectively. The students were well composed and regrouped after losing their first match and began to display positive dispositions as they battled well-contested rounds.

IPSA’s debating team left the shores of South Africa from Cape Town International airport on Thursday, 6th April 2017 where they were bid farewell by their family and friends. This was the first time that IPSA participated in a debating championship in Arabic. Considered as “underdogs” in the competition, the students had mixed feelings as they left for Qatar but highly optimistic. Student Arham Rahimin Nasution from Malaysia who is studying at IPSA was confident and positive and believed that IPSA will proceed far in the competition.

The students landed in Qatar during the early hours of Friday morning where they were welcomed by Qatar’s debate volunteers and transported to the Marriot Marquis City Centre Hotel in Doha. Day one of the debating championship kicked off at 9 am at the Qatar National Convention Centre on Saturday, 8th April. Each debating round commenced with an introduction to the debating topic and a brief introduction to opponents the students were up against. They were then informed whether they were for (muwālāt) or against (mu’āradah) the topic and were then given 20 minutes to prepare.

Although IPSA won four of the five debating rounds, they were unable to proceed to the knockout rounds as only two non-Arabic speaking countries were allowed to continue to the next stage of the debating competition. IPSA was prevented from continuing to the next stage of the competition as their accumulated score at the end of the five rounds were beaten by the likes of Malaysia and France. IPSA’s journey came to a sad end and Shaykh Omar Chariff felt that the students should have been granted the opportunity to proceed further in the competition as they won four of their five rounds.

IPSA’s Arabic debating team returned home on Thursday, 13 April 2017 to a warm welcome by family and friends. They had an enriching experience and a wonderful time after meeting diverse students from different universities across the world. Suhail Dalvie stated that “the IUADC has taught us not only how to disagree respectfully with the arguments of others but also how to think on a progressive level. This assists us in our role as future leaders.” M Zaid Cassiem added that “with the world finding itself at crossroads and the problems seem to be exacerbating, I believe that debating can be the tool which solves many of these problems. It is a great initiative. Creating debaters today, whilst moulding the leaders of tomorrow.”

Head of the Arabic Department at IPSA Shaykh Dawood Terblanche congratulated IPSA’s Arabic debating team for their remarkable achievements and accomplishments as this was the first International Arabic debating competition that IPSA participated in. “We are convinced that we will proceed further next time in Qatar’s debating championship as we are better informed of what is expected in the competition” as stated by Shaykh Dawood.

The International Peace College South Africa is the first and only accredited and registered private Muslim tertiary institution in South Africa. It offers a three-year intensive Arabic programme as part of a three-year degree, Bachelor of Arts in Islamic studies. For further enquiries please email

“Studying at IPSA has been a truly enlightening experience. It has enhanced my understanding of the Deen and enriched the way I live and practice Islam. I would recommend IPSA to anyone who wishes to connect with Allah (SWT) with understanding and an increased sense of sincerity to toward Him. IPSA’s ethos cultivates respect, unity within diversity and living Islam according to the middle-way.”

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