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Militant Islam Monitor > Articles > Why Is Anyone Listening to Maajid Nawaz? Ex - Terrorist trades violent for stealth jihad

Why Is Anyone Listening to Maajid Nawaz? Ex - Terrorist trades violent for stealth jihad

August 20, 2008

Why Is Anyone Listening To Maajid Nawaz?

Another former terrorist hits the anti-jihad rubber chicken circuit

August 20, 2008 - San Francisco, CA - PipeLineNews.org - Maajid Nawaz has recently been making the rounds on Capitol Hill, testifying before the Senate on matters concerning terrorism. He has been feted, in some circles; an iconic poster boy, this week's iteration of the "moderate" Muslim.

Born in the UK in 1978, Nawaz' credibility as terror authority seems natural, having joined the international terrorist group Hizb ut-Tahrir [which has headquarters in London] at the age of 16, only "rejecting" it in 2007, returning to the UK after a four year stay [2002-2006] in an Egyptian prison, charged alongside 15 others of trying to overthrow the government.

Hizb ut-Tahrir was created in 1952 by Sheikh Taqiuddin an-Nabhani al Falastini, also a member of the Egyptian terrorist group the Muslim Brotherhood.

The group is active in 40 countries and seeks to impose a worldwide Islamic theocracy, a caliphate. As the Heritage Foundation notes about the group:

"Hizb ut-Tahrir al-Islami is an emerging threat to American interests and the countries in which it operates. It has 5,000-10,000 hard-core members, and many more supporters in former Soviet Central Asia (e.g., Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan), and is expanding its operations to oil-rich Kazakhstan. Over 10,000 members are active in Pakistan, Syria, Turkey, and Indonesia.2 At least 500 are already behind bars in Uzbekistan alone, and hundreds are in custody in the Middle East.3 By breeding violent anti-American attitudes, attempting to overthrow existing regimes, and preparing cadres for more radical Islamist organizations, Hizb poses a threat to U.S. interests in Central Asia and elsewhere in the Islamic world where moderate regimes are found." [source, http://www.heritage.org/Research/RussiaandEurasia/BG1656.cfm

Given the nature of Hizb ut-Tahrir and mindful of just how recent was Nawaz' supposed "conversion," it seems reasonable to question his sincerity. The following, published first in the June 2008 issue of Crescent International's magazine [reprinted here, http://prisonerofjoy.blogspot.com/2008/06/he-who-pays-piper-calls-tune-official.html] quotes from a speech that Nawaz made in October 2006, at the yearly anti-Israel Islamist celebration "al-Quds day."

"We want to replace the state of Israel. We want to change the status quo, we want to bring in a solution which is universal, which accepts the right of man to live like human beings. And this state has been tried and tested in history, we have seen historically that Muslims, Jews and Christians have lived side by side in the middle-east in a state which recognised their rights to be who they are, it did not call for their elimination or annihilation but recognised who they were. This state that existed in history, it brought a golden era to Spain, it brought a golden era to Baghdad. This is the Islamic State!"

In an interview with the UK Guardian [see, http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article2459969.ece] Nawaz states, "It slowly dawned on me that what I had been propagating was far from true Islam. I began to realise that what I had subscribed to was actually Islamism sold to me in the name of Islam. And it is with this realisation that I can now say that the more I learnt about Islam, the more tolerant I became..." yet he continued to be very active in Hizb ut-Tahrir in the UK after his return from Egypt.

In an expose on the group written by Dutch terror authority Emerson Vermaat, he stated:

"Although spokesmen for Hizb ut-Tahrir in Europe emphasize today that their movement espouses a strategy of non-violence, Hizb ut-Tahrir founder Al-Nabhani urged his followers to fight against the unbelievers under the Caliph's banner (=jihad) and to actively propagate the movements' ideas by construing a popular support base.[13] The movement's role in several failed coup attempts shows that we are dealing here with a fanatical but well organized and extremely dangerous group which seeks to penetrate the government and the army." [vermaat http://www.pipelinenews.org/index.cfm?page=vermaat2.19.08.htm]

Realistically, given the resistance that installing a world-wide caliphate [one of Hizb ut-Tahrir's main goals] will undoubtedly face, resorting to violence to further that end seems a necessary component.

Nawaz' attempt to claw himself to the top of the counter-terrorism food chain mirrors the efforts of some fellow travelers, all of whom reside within a very specialized niche; terrorists and radical Islamists who have - for profit - left their former ways. These "quick-change" converts deserve to have their motives questioned because of the obvious monetary gain inherent in their transformation, below a few examples of this phenomenon.

Walid Shoebat was born in Bethlehem. As a member of the PLO he committed numerous acts of terrorism and was imprisoned in Israel. Upon his release Shoebat in his own biography claims he, "continued his life of violence and rioting in Bethlehem and the Temple Mount. (He also almost beat and IDF soldier to death) After entering the U.S, he worked as a counselor for the Arab Student Organization at Loop College in Chicago and continued his anti-Israel activities." Shoebat [an assumed name] is also part of the travelling anti-jihad dog and pony show, earning speaking fees along the way.

Dr. Tawfik Hamid, though raised in a secular Muslim family in Egypt, joined the Islamic terrorist group Jamma'a Islameia, while attending medical school. At the time one of his "colleagues" was Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri - now bin-Laden's second in command - with whom he used to pray. Hamid now travels throughout the West preaching the evils of Islamism.

Nonie Darwish was also born in Egypt but was raised in the Gaza Strip. Darwish's father, Lt. Col. Mustafa Hafaz, ran the fedayeen terrorist organization [he was later assassinated by the IDF], which existed for the sole purpose of destroying Israel. Darwish characterized her upbringing as, "I learned that hate, vengeance and retaliation are important values to protect Islam and Arab honor..." Though she gained her "terrorist" perspective in a second-hand manner, Darwish now makes a living peddling the anti-Islamist line.

Kamal Saleem an ex-PLO/PFLP terrorist [now a member of Shoebat's 501c3] and Zak Anani, a former Lebanese radical, have also exploited their former careers in a similar manner.

Maajid Nawaz has latched on to this program for "financial independence," forming with Ed Hussein the Quilliam Foundation, founded in April of this year. The organization is funded primarily by a shadowy group of Kuwaiti businessmen. [source, http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/apr/21/allmodcons]

Aside from the funding angle, one of Qulliam's obvious deficiencies is its citation of Sheikh Ali Gomaa, Egypt's Grand Mufti, as a "scholastic giant."

As we revealed in an April 25 piece, State Department Funding ISNA's Propagation Of Islam Ali Goma [also Gomaa] far from being a scholastic giant, is an anti-Semitic, defender of suicide bombing.

Regarding suicide bombings, the supposedly moderate Ali Goma was quoted in a 2003 interview in Egypt's "Al-haqiqa" newspaper as defending this terror practice on religious grounds:

"...he is a Shahid [martyr], because Palestine is a special case and not the ordinary case existing in the world...This is because in Palestine there is an enemy that rules the land. This rule is considered a crime by international conventions and resolutions. The world has let the Jews spread corruption throughout the land and they have succeeded in obtaining international legitimacy to territories that were conquered after 1967, Israel is a special case that does not exist [anywhere else] on the face of the earth. We are facing a criminal occupation that is the source of terror...The one who carries out Fedaii [martyrdom] operations against the Zionists and blows himself up is, without a doubt, a Shahid [martyr] because he is defending his homeland against the occupying enemy who is supported by superpowers such as the U.S. and Britain."

Additionally, Nawaz' Quilliam Foundation seems to have established a cordial relationship with the stealth jihadists at the Council on American Islamic Relations [CAIR, named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the United States' largest and ongoing, Hamas terror funding prosecution, U.S. vs Holy Land Foundation] having invited Arsalan Iftikhar, CAIR's National Legal Director, as a guest speaker at the organizations' coming-out party held at the British Museum.

Quilliam's website also links [source, http://www.quilliamfoundation.org/links.html] to such Islamist groups as the Radical Middle Way [see, http://www.radicalmiddleway.co.uk/], City Circle [see, http://www.thecitycircle.com/] as well that of leftist financier George Soros' Open Society Institute along with the socialist Fabian Society [see, http://fabians.org.uk/].

The baseline questions regarding these modern day terrorism "relapsis" are complex, touching on sincerity, motivation and above all propriety. There is an old saying in legal circles, "a witness once impeached is forever suspect," that has application when looking at the opportunistic antics of Maajid Nawaz.

At their worst, people of this ilk are members of the stealth jihad, further insinuating themselves into the governance of societies they seek to destroy; at best they are parasites, living off a curriculm vitae consisting of a murderous or hate-filled past, committed in service to Muslim fundamentalism.

These folks criss-cross the Western world proclaiming loudly - and for a price - that Islamic terrorism is not a desirable commodity. Why such a message is considered especially revelatory and hence worthy of compensation or reward, remains a mystery to many. Regardless, this occupation's bottom line is starkly evident; what these people do is preach - to the converted - certainly a less perilous way of earning a living than engaging the in acts of religious warfare. http://www.pipelinenews.org/index.cfm?page=nawazid=8.20.08%2Ehtm


MIM Note : According to a report from July 17th Maajid Nawaz "gave a briefing at the Guardian and stated that the foundation is now taking government funding." http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/jul/17/islam.race?commentid=734d2976-3ff0-4cf1-bc22-fcfbb142ab8d


MIM: CAIR legal Director Arsalan Iftikhar was among the speakers at the Quilliam Foundation Launch. Many of the speakers also serve as advisors to the Foundation.

Quilliam Foundation Launch: 'Reviving Western Islam & Uniting Against Extremism'
British Museum, London 22nd April 2008

Speakers included Dr Ghayasudin Siddiqui, Dr Usama Hassan, Lord Paddy Ashdown, Sheikh Abdel Aziz al-Bukhari, Professor Timothy Garton Ash, Rachel North, Dr Musharraf Hussain, Jemima Khan, Shekh Dr Ali al-Saleh al-Najafi, Arsalan Iftikhar, Mohammed Hee.

Delegates came from Austria, Denmark, Holland, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Egypt, Jerusalem, & USA.

The Chair's Introduction & Letter from Imam Pallavicini of Rome, Italy
Maajid Nawaz
The Need to Rid Ourselves of Islamism
Dr. Ghayasuddin Siddiqui
The Challenge of Western Islam & Secularism Towards creating Harmony
Dr Usama Hasan
European Islam
Lord Paddy Ashdown
Message from Jerusalem
Shaykh Abdel Aziz Bukhari
Standing Together Against Extremism
Timothy Garton Ash
Why Islam is Needed to Defeat Terrorism
Rachel North
Terrorism: a Misreading of Scripture
Dr Musharraf Hussain
Why The Quilliam Foundation
Jemima Khan
Islam & Human rights
Dr Ali al-Saleh
Living Western Islam: An American Experience
Arsalan Iftikhar
From Islamism to Islam
Mohammed Ali Hee
Question and Answer Session
Ed Husain and Maajid Nawaz
Chaired by Angus Walker


MIM: Maajid Nawaz' biography on the Quilliam Foundation website.

From violent jihadist to stealth jihadist. Nawaz "recanted" Islamism in 2007. Within a year he morphed into a "counter terrorism expert" who was brought to the United States to testify in Senate hearings on Capitol Hill.

Maajid Nawaz – Director

Maajid's experience in the field of Islamism stretches back to being 16-years-old, when he was recruited to Hizb ut-Tahrir (The Liberation Party). Maajid very quickly became a national speaker and an international recruiter for the Party, traveling first to Pakistan and then to Denmark to export the Party's ideology and set up cells from London. He was also in Egypt, where in 2002 he was detained, subjected to witnessing of torture, and then convicted to five years imprisonment for belonging to Hizb ut-Tahrir. After Amnesty International's adoption as a prisoner of conscience and a global campaign for his release, Maajid returned to the UK in March 2006 to join Hizb ut-Tahrir's national leadership committee. Maajid became one of only two members who joined Hizb ut-Tahrir's external Executive Committee and its then secret internal leadership, known as the Wilayah committee. In May 2007 Maajid unilaterally resigned his membership from the Party and in September 2007 he recanted Islamism on BBC's flagship current affairs programme, Newsnight.

Maajid's grasp and insight into Islamist thought is unique, due to years spent debating the intricacies of Islamist ideology with fellow prisoners at Mazra Tora, Cairo — the same prison complex as Sayyid Qutb. It was there that he met with leading and founding members of Egypt's most violent groups, including the surviving assassins of the late Egyptian President Anwar al-Sadaat. During his time in the same prison he spoke at length with the Muslim Brotherhood leadership such as Mohammed al-Badee' - who in his youth personally smuggled Qutb's Milestones out from prison - and their spokesman Dr Essam el-Erian. Maajid also befriended Dr Sa'ad al-Din Ibrahim and the imprisoned runner-up to Egypt's 2006 presidential elections, the liberal head of the Tomorrow Party, Ayman Nur. Throughout this time, Maajid continued his studies, sitting with graduates of Cairo's al-Azhar University and Dar al-'Ulum. He specialised in the Arabic language whilst studying historical Muslim scholastics, sources of Islamic jurisprudence, Hadith historiography, the art of Qur'an recitation and committing half of the Qur'an to memory.

As a result of time spent in the Middle East, and sustained discussions with a wide range of personalities, Maajid has gained rare political insight into the complexities of Middle-East politics, religion, and the contemporary Muslim political mindset.

Maajid has featured heavily, both before and after leaving Hizb ut-Tahrir, on the British and global media. He has appeared, for example, on BBC's Hardtalk with Sarah Montague and BBC's Newsnight with Jeremy Paxman, Channel 4 news, BBC World, Danish television and in Arabic on al-Jazeera among others.

Maajid regularly presents seminars and lectures on Islamism and Muslim political thought both in the UK and abroad. Upon leaving Hizb ut-Tahrir, he authored a booklet, Towards Political Engagement, detailing his ideological objections to Hizb ut-Tahrir in particular, and Islamism in general. He has also written for national newspapers, including The Times, and The Independent. He was cited by the Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, in parliament when being asked about government policy towards dealing with extreme Islamist groups.

Maajid was born and raised in Essex, England. He is a graduate of Law and Arabic from the prestigious School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. He also pursued post-graduate studies at the London School of Economics (LSE) in Political Theory, with modules in, ‘Conflict, Violence and Terrorism', ‘Religion and Politics', and ‘Multiculturalism, Citizenship and Identity'



MIM: Among the publications offered by the Quilliam Foundation are texts by radical Imam Zaid Shakir who is referred to as a "Muslim scholar".

By Muslim scholars
Jihad, apostasy, and women's rights by Shaikh Abdal-Hakim Murad
'Recapturing Islam from the Terrorists' by Shaikh Abdal-Hakim Murad

'Islam: Religion or Ideology' By Imam Zaid Shakir on 26 July 2006


MIM: Shakir has produced a CD titled "Jihad or Terrorism?" in which he justifies violent jihad blaming "the enemies of Islam" for equating the two. The CD is described below.

Approximate Running Time: 1 Hour

"The enemies of Islam have linked [Jihad and Terrorism] together as far as we Muslims are concerned, by trying to make one synonymous with the other. They say that Jihad is irresponsible, random, senseless, violence, and terrorism is Jihad... The two are not synonymous; they can't be synonymous." -- Imam Zaid Shakir

This CD covers the following subjects:

-If the enemies of Islam attack Muslim civilians, can we attack non-Muslim civilians?
-What is the role of Muslims living amongst non-Muslims in the West?
-Jihad and terrorism, objective or subjective?
-What is the meaning of the word Jihad?
-Are we obliged to stay in the West?
-Who sanctions Jihad?
-World Trade Center Bombing!
-Hijacking Airplanes!
-Should we vote?
-Hijra or Jihad?



MIM: Shakir dismisses the threat of Islamic terrorism as "a myth".To Shakir, America is the real source of terrorism.

"At a Muslim Students Association convention in Chicago, Ill., in September 2005, Shakir denied altogether any threat from Islamic terrorists, claiming, "…there's a whole myth that, you know, global Islamic terrorism is a threat to our civilization. That's garbage… a handful of irresponsible terrorists aren't going to threaten anybody."

At the 2005 Reviving the Islamic Spirit convention in Canada, which had stoked controversy the previous year for inviting a noted neo-Nazi to speak (who had also incidentally spoken at several CAIR-sponsored events), Shakir said of America:

And the finger of blame will be pointed at all of those real or imagined terrorists scattered all over the world, and no mirror will be held up to see the terrorism that is being inflicted and has been inflicted on the people of the world because of the policies of the United States of America."


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