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Packed house hears speakers in fine voice

The ASSEMBLY Rooms in Chichester were full on Friday and Saturday with people gathering for the city’s Speaker Festival 2018.


Among the guests on Saturday, John McHugo made an appearance revealing in this talk how the great divide in Islam occurred.


Charting the story of Islam from the death of the Prophet Muhammad to the present day, he described the conflicts that raged over the succession to the Prophet, how Sunnism and Shi’ism evolved as different sects during the Abbasid caliphate, and how the rivalry between the empires of the Sunni Ottomans and Shi’i Safavids contrived to ensure that the split would continue into modern times.


John McHugo is an international lawyer and Arabic linguist, with over 40 years’ experience of the region.


He has worked as a lawyer in several Arab countries, notably Egypt, Bahrain and Oman, and is a board member of the Council for Arab British Understanding and of the British Egyptian Society.


Following on from John McHugo, guests were fortunate to hear from Damien Lewis.


His book, SAS Ghost Patrol, is the explosive true story of the day in 1942 when the SAS donned Nazi uniforms to perpetrate the most audacious and daring mission of the war which became a foundation stone of Special Forces legend.


Damien Lewis is a former war reporter and one of the nation’s “20 favourite authors” according to World Book Day.


Organiser Marc Rattray said: “The events went really well with perhaps the highlights being Andrew Monaghan’s talk about the power structures in the Kremlin and Simon Heffer’s history of Britain from 1880 until 1914.


“The Chichester Speakers Festival is a growing event in the calendar of Chichester and we much look forward to welcoming customers back to our doors in the autumn of 2018.”

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