Maajid Nawaz: how a former Islamist became David Cameron’s anti-extremism adviser

…. For his part, Nawaz sees the blowback as a predictable response to confronting Muslims with uncomfortable facts. When I ask him about Quilliam’s credibility gap, he turns the question around. “What’s my audience? British society. Am I received relatively well? Yes. Is there within that … if you break it down, challenges with Muslim communities? Of course there are. But that’s like saying men weren’t upset when the suffragettes emerged. Of course they were.”

That last flourish is typical of someone whose speech is peppered with references to meetings at Chequers and dialogue with senior ministers. But comparing yourself to one of the great political movements of the 20th century may be a step too far, even for his supporters. “I wouldn’t blow my own trumpet,” he tells me. “But obviously I’m sitting here with you, everything I’ve discovered about the prime minister’s speech is the advice I gave him really. I don’t know if that’s influence. Judge for yourself.” [David Shariatmadari, 1085 comments]

[TOP RATED COMMENT 150 votes] A COMMENT SAID: He has absolutely no credibility within Muslim communities in the uk. …. he’s interested only in what the white liberal elite want to hear…. The man is a joke.

THE TOP RATED COMMENT: ‘White liberal elite’ do you mean the sane people that want everyone to stop bombing and killing each other?

Yeah, I hate those right on pacifist hippies.

This guy has been neck deep in radical ideology and has come out the other side. Give us an alternative to him if you are so vocal? Because from where I sit up in my secular ivory tower I don’t see an army of ex radical willing to stand up and say their piece. I see thousands of Muslims marching for anything anti Israel, but very few marching for anti Isis

[2ND 141] First the Guardian publish a fawning interview of the leader of Hizb ut-Tahrir then they do this hatchet job on a leading secular Muslim. It typifies the extent to which the left has got into bed with extreme Islam.

[3RD 120] Maajid Nawaz is one of the few Muslims in public life who is honest about the issue of apostasy and the issues that Exmuslims face, in the West and around the world.

For this he has been called an apostate and a ‘murtad’ himself, meaning he is fit to be killed.

That’s not the actions of man devoid of goodness. In the absence of other Muslims in public life admitting the problem with apostasy in Islam, its a rare thing indeed.

He was also declared to be ‘wajib-ul-qatl’ (fit to be slaughtered) after he tweeted how a satirical cartoon called ‘Jesus and Mo’ did not offend him. I’d mention who was responsible for doing that, but when he wrote an article here recently and it was pointed out, the comment was deleted.

[4TH 91] A very snidy article criticising someone who is spending his life trying to promote liberal values to very conservative Muslims communities.

Combined with the mouthpiece you gave that hate-preacher from Hizb ut-Tahrir last week & i find the Guardians position here to be very troubling.

Also i frequently hear the accusation that “he has no crediblility in the muslim community” well he wouldn’t would he being a secular liberal who criticises Hamas as well as Israel.

[5TH 82] Here’s the issue. Muslim and western cultures clash over many fundamental things. The most obvious examples are the way women dress, or the attitude to homosexuality. We both think we are right. There seems to have been some idea that muslims coming to the UK would integrate, but does that mean change fundamental beliefs?.

Some have integrated to a degree but many haven’t, they have brought with them their attitudes, to the extent that about 40% want to see sharia law in Britain. Why should we be surprised, it is what they believe in. The two initial posts here indicate that this man has no credibility in the muslim community, because he is seen as abandoning his culture.

In England muslims make up 5% of the population, but they are not evenly spread. They have a higher birthrate than non-muslims and the current migrant crisis involves many muslims. We have muslim MPs and councilors. Muslim school governors attempted to make their schools more islamic why wouldn’t they, that is what they believe is best for children.

As the muslim population grows, as its representation grows are we prepared to have Britain become more islamic? This isn’t a question we can ignore is it? If all British citizens are equal, and if the proportion of muslim citizens is increasing why wouldn’t they expect their views to be represented by people they relate to, not by people like this?

We really need to stop pretending there is no problem and ask ourselves how we will deal with a world, and countries, so divided in their cultures and views. Accepting that we have a major issue and trying to work it out is the only way we will have any sort of peace.

[6TH 76] Hmm. I still don’t understand why he is held in such contempt by so many British Muslims – it certainly sounds like he is trying hard to build bridges and do some good. Surely in the same way that those who have been in jail can have a powerful impact on troubled youth, Maajid Nawaz could speak with conviction to youth at risk of radicalization?

I hope this piece generates comments from Muslim posters and @ExMuslimsForum. I just don’t understand why he doesn’t get more support – and I’ve seen barbs aimed at him by Guardian journalists too, come to think of it. It all seems very bizarre and counterproductive.

[7TH 73] Those who wish to stop radicalization must surely go the whole distance. They must accept that religion is the problem, but they don’t. They explain that certain people do not understand the ‘true’ faith. Mehdi Hassan is an intelligent man but he still believes in a flying horse. Such people, no matter how eloquent they are, are not the answer.

[8TH 67] David Shariatmadari notes that Nawaz’s work ‘is premised on the notion that it’s important to tackle conservative opinion among Muslims.’ The word ‘notion’ implies an idea that is incorrect or fanciful.

Does he think that it doesn’t matter that some Muslims think apostasy and homosexuality should be punishable by death in an ‘ideal state’? Does he really think there is no link between non-violent extremism and jihadism? Being right-wing, clearly, is damning though. [Guardian Cif] Read more

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