27 August 2015

Maajid Nawaz: ‘Treat Islamist extremists like the BNP — like racists’

.... The founder of the counterterrorism think tank Quilliam occupies a strange space in the endless debates around Islamist extremism. He has recanted the poisonous politics that landed him in an Egyptian prison cell for four years and reinvented himself as a lone, liberal Muslim voice; the smooth wonk in the expensive suit.

Right now he is much angrier at the “racism” of “privately educated, silver-spooned, champagne-socialist Guardian journalists” than he is at the Daily Mail for publishing pictures of him straddled by a stripper on his stag do before his second marriage. It was a minor scandal in the life of the 36-year-old former firebrand, who went from scrapping with skinheads in Southend as a teenager to joining the radical group Hizb ut-Tahrir and its campaign to create a worldwide caliphate as a student. He now advises the prime minister on how to root out the homegrown extremists.

.... Nawaz wants to see Islamist extremists treated like the BNP or English Defence League. Don’t ban them, he says, just shrink their platform by ostracising their affiliates. “Treat them like racists. Why is it you can’t be a member of BNP and be a police officer, but you can still be a schoolteacher if you’re a member of the Muslim Brotherhood?” [The Times (£)] Read more