20 December 2015

We need to talk about Islam, says former radical Maajid Nawaz

People in the West are reluctant to discuss Islamism because they are frightened of being portrayed as racist, according to Maajid Nawaz, a British politician and former extremist who spent five years in an Egyptian jail.

Mr Nawaz, 37, whose political journey has seen him move from Hizb ut-Tahrir, an Islamist group linked to violence, to Britain's centrist Liberal Democrat party, compares debate about Islamic State to the reds-under-the-bed panic of the 1960s.

"Fifty years ago, this would have been about communism," he told The Age via telephone from London. "What I would caution is that I would say we were very comfortable being able to discuss communism, partly because communism emerged in a country that was majority white.

"Because of our various colonial hang-ups – many of them justified – we are uncomfortable being able to discuss Islamist extremism for fear of being labelled anti-Muslim, or racist. I think that's unfortunate." [The Age] Read more