26 May 2016

Islamophobia is understandable, not a phobia, says former Egyptian extremist

An author and former radical Islamist who turned his back on extremism three decades ago has warned Muslims are not doing enough to counter violent interpretations of their faith, on a visit to Scotland.

He called on first minister Nicola Sturgeon to challenge Islamic leaders to condemn extremism to help protect communities and undermine Islamophobia.

Dr Tawfik Hamid, who is giving lectures in Edinburgh on tackling radicalism, said Imams and scholars should do more to disavow the Islamic texts which support the stoning of women, the taking of sex slaves, the killing of apostates and violent Jihad.

However his views were condemned by the Muslim Council of Scotland, which said he knows nothing of Scotland and called on him to provide evidence for his claims.

Dr Hamid was recruited by the Jamaa Islamiya, as a medical student in Egypt 35 years ago, but claims to have left the group after being ordered to kill an Egyptian police office by burying him alive.

Now living in Washington DC, he is the author of Inside Jihad: Understanding and Confronting Radical Islam. He publishes an online guide to peaceful interpretations of the Koran which has millions of readers. [HeraldScotland] Read more