TEDxBarcelonaSalon features Karima’s talk

TEDxBarcelonaSalon features Karima’s talk

Every month, TEDxBarcelona hold a salon event, in which they screen a TED or TEDx talk, share questions and opinions in discussion, and continue the conversation over tapas. In February this year, TEDxBarcelonaSalon featured Karima Bennoune’s talk from TEDxExeter 2014. José Cruset from TEDxBarcelona kindly passed on some insights from the discussion.


We wanted to discuss about fundamentalism because it is a hot topic right now. And from the talks I found about islam, fundamentalism, terrorism, arabic countries, etc., this one was (to my mind) the best. It was personal, very positive and inspiring, and it was very TED (especially the usage of the watch and the time the watch stopped, at 5:17). Great talk, unforgettable.

The discussion was very good because we had some people with knowledge about islam within our group. I was a bit afraid before the event about the outcome. But afterwards I was very relieved.

When people signed up we asked them beforehand to send us questions they would like to discuss. These questions helped to structure the discussion. The first and most important question was: What is the reason for islamic fundamentalism? The main answers were: education and poverty. Some people reminded us that fundamentalism is not tied to any religion. We even talked about nationalism and related terrorism (like we had in Spain with ETA).

One of our volunteers gave me this summary [which I translated from the Spanish and Oriana corrected]:

The lack of education is not necessarily the reason for the rise of fundamentalism. 

  • Include Religious studies and Information and communications technology in schools as a preventive measure, and create opportunities for reflection for young people.

Hypocrisy and double standards in the West: what do we do / what can we do as citizens?

Religion is not the cause of fundamentalism, but becomes a tool that is easy to use to cultivate it.

  • The hatred of the unknown is a way to plant the seed of fundamentalism.
  • Religion is a tool which was originally intended to help, but historically has been used to repress the people; anything can be used as an excuse.
  • The prophet never politicized Islam. But historically there have been groups who over time have used it to their advantage.

Immigrants in Western countries: integration into the system or thriving in the system?
We are all responsible: some by omission and others by commission.
The language rivalries (eg in the Basque Country) must be overcome.


We are thrilled that Karima’s talk has prompted such discussion and reflection, and that it continues to be watched on TED.com, now passing 1.25 million views.