Maajid Nawaz Quotes

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Maajid Nawaz

Nawaz at West Hampstead, London hustings 2015
Born Maajid Usman Nawaz
(1977-11-02) November 2, 1977 (age 39)
Southend-on-Sea, Essex, England.[1]
Occupation Author Â· Founder of Quilliam Â· Liberal Democrat Politician
Nationality British
Ethnicity Pakistani
Education Law and Arabic (B.A 2007)
Political Theory (M.Sc. 2008)
Alma mater SOAS, University of London
London School of Economics
Genre Nonfiction
Subject Islamism Â· Liberalism
Notable works Radical
On Blasphemy
Islam and the Future of Tolerance
Spouse Rabia Ahmed (m. 1999–2008)
Rachel Maggart (m. 2014)
Children 1
Website
maajidnawaz.com

The only certainty we have is that those who are certain of a way to arrive at worldly salvation, are committed enough to organize around this, and seek power to enforce it, will invariably descend into a bloody totalitarian fascism.
Maajid Nawaz
I became, suddenly, not just a Muslim in faith. I became a Muslim in politics. Somebody whose politics were pre-defined by one interpretation of Islam.
Maajid Nawaz
My upbringing was completely liberal from the start. In fact, I didn't even have a Muslim identity.
Maajid Nawaz
My feminism, as intended by me, extends to empowering women to make legal choices, not to judge the legal choices they make. My fight is for rights.
Maajid Nawaz
Not all Muslims wish to express themselves in public through a communal religious identity. Identities are multiple, and some may wish to speak instead just as citizens in their professional capacity, through their political party, or their neighborhood body.
Maajid Nawaz
Liberalism will beat totalitarianism by killing it softly, not by mimicking it.
Maajid Nawaz
I can now say that the more I learnt about Islam, the more tolerant I became.
Maajid Nawaz
The conclusion that I have come to is that actually, no religion, whether it's Islam, Christianity or any idea based on scripture or texts, is a religion of 'anything,' really.
Maajid Nawaz
Islamism is not Islam. Islamism is the politicisation of Islam, the desire to impose a version of this ancient faith over society.
Maajid Nawaz
My arrest in Egypt happened in 2002, and I was convicted to five years as a political prisoner.
Maajid Nawaz
I realised that the idea of enforcing sharia is not consistent with Islam as it's been practised from the beginning. In other words, Islam has always been secular, and I had been totally ignorant of the fact.
Maajid Nawaz
Hizb ut-Tahrir spearheaded the radicalization of the 1990s and cultivated an atmosphere of anger.
Maajid Nawaz
Broader social concerns within Muslim communities, such as discrimination, integration or socio-economic disadvantages, should be treated distinctively and not as part of counterterrorism agenda, which has been counter-productive.
Maajid Nawaz
To be forced to defend oneself is an inherently undesirable position to be in. The focus shifts from ideas to the person conveying them.
Maajid Nawaz
Ironically, xenophobic nationalists are utilizing the benefits of globalization.
Maajid Nawaz
Imams must ridicule Caliphate fantasies. Exchange programmes between Muslim-only schools and non-Muslim-majority schools should be initiated. Community-based debates around these themes must no longer be shut down from fear of offence.
Maajid Nawaz
Having our fundamental assumptions about life challenged is never a comfortable thing.
Maajid Nawaz
Traditionally, open-minded secular liberal rationalists have not made a case for tolerance.
Maajid Nawaz
The truth is, 'Charlie Hebdo' is not a racist magazine. Rather, it is a campaigning anti-racist left-wing magazine.
Maajid Nawaz
One of the problems we're facing is, in my view, that there are no globalized, youth-led, grassroots social movements advocating for democratic culture across Muslim-majority societies.
Maajid Nawaz
I was held in the Mazra Tora Prison for my role as leader of the pan-Islamist organisation Hizb ut-Tahrir in Alexandria.
Maajid Nawaz
Chance explorations on search engines do not 'accidentally' lead users to extremist websites.
Maajid Nawaz
Wherever I've been, I've left people who joined Hizb ut-Tahrir. I have to make amends. What I did was damaging to British society and the world at large.
Maajid Nawaz
Yes, women should be free to cover their faces when walking down the street. But in our schools, hospitals, airports, banks and civil institutions, it is not unreasonable – nor contrary to the teachings of Islam – to expect women to show the one thing that allows the rest of us to identify them… namely, their face.
Maajid Nawaz
I am a Muslim. I am born to Muslim parents. I have a Muslim son. I have been imprisoned and witnessed torture for my previous understanding of my religion.
Maajid Nawaz
Non-violent extremism is essentially the increase of intolerant and bigoted demands made by groups seeking to dominate society.
Maajid Nawaz
The way to tackle Muslimphobia is to tackle prejudice against Muslims. What it is not is to pretend that Islamist extremism does not exist.
Maajid Nawaz
During my teenage years as an Islamist recruiter, I moved to live in self-contained communities in the London boroughs of Newham and Tower Hamlets.
Maajid Nawaz
The Islamist ideology took decades to incubate within our communities, and it will take decades to debunk.
Maajid Nawaz
The only way we can challenge Islamism is to engage with one another. We need to make it as abhorrent as racism has become today. Only then will we stem the tide of angry young Muslims who turn to hate.
Maajid Nawaz
'Muslim' is not a political party. 'Muslim' is not a single culture. Muslims go to war with each other. There are more Muslims in India, Russia and China than in most Muslim-majority nations. 'Muslim' is not a homogenous entity.
Maajid Nawaz
By the age of 24, I found myself convicted in prison in Egypt, being blacklisted from three countries in the world for attempting to overthrow their governments, being subjected to torture in Egyptian jails, and sentenced to five years as a prisoner of conscience.
Maajid Nawaz
Back when I was an Islamist, I thought our ideology was like communism – and I still do. That makes me optimistic. Because what happened to communism? It was discredited as an idea. It lost.
Maajid Nawaz
In current times, our moral uproar is best reserved for those who aspire to stone men or women to death, not those who consensually watch women – or men, for that matter – dance.
Maajid Nawaz
The British and French governments have taken a strong stance against 'extremist content' online when addressing their approach to tackling extremism.
Maajid Nawaz
If liberalism is to mean anything at all, it is duty bound to support without hesitation the dissenting individual over the group, the heretic over the orthodox, innovation over stagnation, and free speech over offense.
Maajid Nawaz
Being veterans of the struggle to push back against fundamentalist Christians, American liberals are well acquainted with the pitfalls of the neoconservative flirtation with the religious-right.
Maajid Nawaz
We cannot hope to effectively counter extremism if we just focus on schools, universities and prisons: we need to take this online as well.
Maajid Nawaz
Hip-hop in the '90s began moving towards the Nation of Islam and the 5 Percenters, black nationalist movements; very much so, these movements embraced a form of Islam: Malcom X's form of Islam prior to his change.
Maajid Nawaz
The cheeky ideal I am calling for is that Muslims should be viewed as equal citizens, nothing more and nothing less.
Maajid Nawaz
I was filled with hate and anger. But during my trial, something decisive happened: Amnesty International adopted me as a prisoner of conscience, and it was an unbelievable feeling to know that there is someone fighting for you on the outside. Amnesty's 'soft' approach made me seriously consider alternatives to revenge.
Maajid Nawaz
I worked my way through the education system and was treated as though I had value.
Maajid Nawaz
If our hard-earned liberty, our desire to be irreverent of the old and to question the new, can be reduced to one, basic and indispensable right, it must be the right to free speech.
Maajid Nawaz
The only way that we can win over potential jihadists to liberal democracy is by winning the battle of ideas.
Maajid Nawaz
Dogma not only blinds its protagonist, but it muzzles all other opposition.
Maajid Nawaz
There has been a failure to grasp how competing narratives fight for the attention of angry young Muslims, and we have grossly underestimated the appeal of the jihadist brand.
Maajid Nawaz
The truth is that just as the 'West' is not a homogenous entity with one view on foreign and domestic policy, nor are Muslims.
Maajid Nawaz
The British state already invests in early intervention campaigns in drug abuse and sexual health. Challenging extremism should be no less of a priority.
Maajid Nawaz
To suggest that a Muslim cannot think for himself sounds to me very much like an incident of anti-Muslim bigotry.
Maajid Nawaz
I was imprisoned in the aftermath of the 11 September 2001 attacks, when Egypt's state security was rounding people up in unprecedented numbers.
Maajid Nawaz
I was in prison with the assassins of the former president of Egypt, Anwar Sadat, who was killed in 1981. Those who weren't executed in that case were given life sentences, and two of those were with me in prison.
Maajid Nawaz
Rather than allowing jihadists to shut down debate, it must proliferate so much that they simply cannot kill us all.
Maajid Nawaz
A fatwa is a religious edict. Such edicts bind only those who seek to follow the Imam issuing them but can be regarded as an option for others seeking an alternative view.
Maajid Nawaz
After much soul searching I was able to renounce my past Islamist ideology, challenging everything I was once prepared to die for.
Maajid Nawaz
Islamism is an ideology that seeks to impose any version of Islam over society.
Maajid Nawaz
Quilliam will remain a priority for me because its values shape my beliefs and outlook.
Maajid Nawaz
Increased sympathy for an Islamist cause, lack of integration, and the absence of acceptance of Muslims into British society makes it harder for Muslims to challenge Islamism and tough for non-Muslims to understand it.
Maajid Nawaz
I used to MC a bit when I was young - 14 or 15 years old.
I was in prison with pretty much the who's who of the jihadist and Islamist scene of Egypt at the time, and Egypt was the cradle of Islamism for the world – it's where it began and where jihadism began as well.
Maajid Nawaz
I had a mind inquiring enough to question world events, as well as the passion fostered by my background to care, but I lacked the emotional maturity to process these things. That made me ripe for Islamist recruitment. Into this ferment came my recruiter, himself straight out of a London medical college.
Maajid Nawaz
The niqab, for some, has become an antiestablishment symbol around which one can rally and relish in the opportunities for confrontation that it provides.
Maajid Nawaz
I can say with a level of confidence that Islam is not a religion of war, only because the majority of Muslims don't subscribe to that perspective, not because there's something inherent in the text that tells me it's a religion of peace.
Maajid Nawaz
Expressing myself through language was always something that I had had to learn to do more so than others.
Maajid Nawaz
For years, Islamists and other extremists have taken advantage of grievances of Muslims in Britain and have successfully identified ways to integrate them under one 'Islamic' banner.
Maajid Nawaz
There were people who had sampled my voice from speeches when I was an Islamist and made them the chorus of pro-Islamist rap songs who then began talking about me as an apostate.
Maajid Nawaz
What we cannot deny is that there's an association between exclusion, segregation, non-violent extremist thinking, and jihadism.
Maajid Nawaz
Let me make this clear: it is our duty to adopt a policy barring the wearing of niqabs in these public buildings.
Maajid Nawaz
The University of Westminster is well known for being a hotbed of extremist activity.
Maajid Nawaz
Unity in faith is theocracy; unity in politics is fascism.
Muslim communities themselves, as they expect mainstream society to stand down racists, must do more to also stand down the Islamist extremists.
Maajid Nawaz
Islam will be what Muslims make of it. And it is the sum total of the interpretation that Muslims give to it.
Maajid Nawaz
I come from an immigrant family, but I know no other nationality apart from British.
Maajid Nawaz
I can now say that the more I learnt about Islam, the more tolerant I became.
Maajid Nawaz
Satire is, by definition, offensive. It is meant to make us feel uncomfortable. It is meant to make us scratch our heads, think, do a double-take, and then think again.
Maajid Nawaz
De-radicalisation begins by breaking down the logic which once seemed unassailable and rethinking what you are fighting for and why. That is hard to do when Islamists and Islamophobes feed off each other's hateful cliches.
Maajid Nawaz
Before someone can change his ideas, he has to open his heart.
I joined a radical group at the age of 16 because I'm a passionate man; the good news is that I turned myself around since then. But my character is still quite free and passionate.
Maajid Nawaz
I say I haven't lost my religion. I've lost my ideology.
For my own part, once I became a teenager, I experienced severe and violent racism.
Maajid Nawaz
All my friends were non-Muslims. I actually knew very little about Islam – like, very little.
Maajid Nawaz
As people's opportunities to succumb to confirmation bias increases online – only seeking out information that confirms their prejudices – ignorance, extremism and close-mindedness have continued to rise unabated.
Maajid Nawaz
There are no globalized, youth-led, grassroots social movements advocating for democratic culture across Muslim-majority societies. There is no equivalent of Al-Qaeda without the terrorism.
Maajid Nawaz
I was born and raised in Essex, just outside London, to a financially comfortable, well-educated Pakistani family.
Maajid Nawaz
I really didn't grow up religious, and I didn't grow up acknowledging my Muslim identity. For me, I was a British Pakistani.
Maajid Nawaz
The positive is I'm delighted at the way the Liberal Democrats as a party have supported me and the way in which the work I'm doing, through the Liberal Democrats, has abled to broaden some of the work I work on.
Maajid Nawaz
I have founded Khudi, in Pakistan, a youth movement which tries to counter extremist ideology through healthy discussion and debate.
Maajid Nawaz
The fact is that there is a serious problem of extremism with minority groups within Muslim communities.
Maajid Nawaz
My identity comprises of more than just my faith. I am a proud Muslim, but I am also a liberal, a Briton, a Pakistani, a Londoner, a father, a product of the globalised world who speaks English, Arabic and Urdu.
Maajid Nawaz
Neoconservatism had the philosophy that you go in with a supply-led approach to impose democratic values from the top down. Whereas Islamists and far-right organizations, for decades, have been building demand for their ideology on the grassroots.
Maajid Nawaz
The rise of ISIS in Iraq is a wider threat to the stability of the Middle East and the West than many realise.
Maajid Nawaz
Academic institutions in Britain have been infiltrated for years by dangerous theocratic fantasists. I should know: I was one of them.
Maajid Nawaz
Preying on the grievances of disaffected young men is the bedrock of Islamism.
Maajid Nawaz
Language that is designed to dehumanize has consequences.
The best revolutions are unplanned, and the most democratic are leaderless.
Maajid Nawaz
As I went between the Islamic Society in my college and university, the mosque, the halal takeaway, and visited the homes of my male Muslim friends, it was entirely possible for me to get through my day without interacting in any meaningful way with a single non-Muslim.
Maajid Nawaz
Poking fun at other people's beliefs, while it may seem frivolous and offensive, is a non-negotiable right. It is a principle that underpins free speech, the basis for progress.
Maajid Nawaz
In the United Kingdom, we need to promote an inclusive British identity that involves and empowers people from all ethnic and faith backgrounds.
Maajid Nawaz
Satire has been a sanctuary historically monopolized by progressives, originally used as a discreet tool against Western religious fundamentalism.
Maajid Nawaz
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.
Maajid Nawaz
In an open society, no idea can be above scrutiny, just as no people should be beneath dignity.
Maajid Nawaz
America did not invade Iraq because Iraqis are Muslims. Oil, money, economic interests. Who knows? But it was not because Iraqis are Muslims.
Maajid Nawaz
I think I would encourage leaders to start working with communities in order to inoculate angry, young teenagers.
Maajid Nawaz
I was, by the way – I'm an Essex lad, born and raised in Essex in the U.K.
Maajid Nawaz
There are members – very, very close and dear members – of my family – I'm talking immediate family – who simply don't speak to me anymore and haven't done so for years. My marriage fell apart.
Maajid Nawaz
Any item of clothing that covers the face and makes it impossible to identify individuals is open to abuse.
Maajid Nawaz
In Bosnia, the case was there were white, blond-haired, blue-eyed Muslims who were being slaughtered and identified as Muslims. That really touched me.
Maajid Nawaz
In today's Britain, the weakest among us are often assumed to be minority communities. In fact, the weakest are those minorities-within-minorities for whom the legal right to exit from their communities' constraints amounts to nothing before the enforcement of cultural and religious shaming.
Maajid Nawaz
I care not to debate which came first, Islamism or anti-Muslim bigotry; suffice to say that both feed into each other symbiotically.
Maajid Nawaz
Societies should be judged by how they treat the weakest among them.
The first point of contact for radicalisation is almost always a personal one. Prisons and universities, for example, tend to be easily and regularly infiltrated by radical groups, who use them as forums to propagate their ideas.
Maajid Nawaz