Search

Lib Dem candidate Maajid Nawaz tells Hampstead audience: ‘Muslims tend to find liberalism reprehensible’

15:49 14 March 2014

Maajid Nawaz at Waterstones in Hampstead. Picture: Nigel Sutton.

Maajid Nawaz at Waterstones in Hampstead. Picture: Nigel Sutton.

© Nigel Sutton email pictures@nigelsuttonphotography.com

Maajid Nawaz sparked heated exchanges with audience members at his first public appearance as Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate for Hampstead and Kilburn.

The 36-year-old, who will battle against Labour’s Tulip Siddiq and Conservative Simon Marcus to become Hampstead and Kilburn MP at next year’s general election, appeared at Hampstead Waterstones to speak about his book Radical on Tuesday.

Mr Nawaz spoke to journalist and commentator David Goodhart in front of a packed audience about the memoir exploring his journey from Islamic extremist to co-founder of counter-extremism think tank, Quilliam.

Audience members were able to put questions to Mr Nawaz who was confronted early on by a Muslim man who accused him of “going from one extreme to another”.

The parliamentary hopeful, who spent five years in an Egyptian prison after being arrested in 2001 as a member of Islamist revolutionary group Hizb ut-Tahrir, responded by thanking the man for attending the meeting.

He explained: “It’s a sad indictment of where we are today that the sentence, ‘You’ve gone from one extreme to the other’, can be said without anyone really realising how strange that is.

“It tells us where the Muslim debate is. For the Muslim debate, the other extreme is liberalism.

“When actually the truth is, the other extreme is actually anti-Muslim, fascist violence – Combat 18 or formerly the EDL, which I happened to have a hand in dismantling in this country by convincing their two leaders and two co-founders to leave that organisation.

“Liberalism is respect and tolerance for everyone. The reason why Muslims tend to assume that liberalism is the other extreme is because for them they find it reprehensible that somebody can be liberal and that’s the problem.”

Responding to the man, he added: “Liberalism attempts to bring everyone together on a table and discuss and respect each other.”

Mr Nawaz was then criticised by a female audience member for accusing people on the “far-left”, such as Respect Party founder George Galloway, of refusing to acknowledge the problem of Islamism.

He said he did not agree with Mr Galloway’s stance on the Irael-Palestine conflict and believed in a “two-state solution”.

“I don’t think ‘the other side’ are terrorists,” said Mr Nawaz. “I think that also disempowers the other side which is the genuine Palestinian democrats.

“Having been and spoken to Fatah, also having known the Muslim Brotherhood and lived within a prison for five years with al-Qaeda members, I know all the sides.

“I think Fatah would take particular offence at Hamas being described as ‘the other side’. Palestinians are not a homogenous entity.

“There is no reason for us to choose a terrorist organisation among Palestinians as the representatives of the Palestinians.”

In January, Mr Galloway denounced Mr Nawaz as “rancid” and pledged to put up a Respect Party candidate to contest the election in Hampstead and Kilburn.

Mr Galloway said at the time: “No Muslim will ever vote for the Liberal Democrats anywhere ever unless they ditch the provocateur Maajid Nawaz.”

0 comments

Latest Hampstead & Highgate News Stories

59 minutes ago
Mansfield Bowling club is run-down but beloved by residents in Dartmouth Park. Photo: Polly Hancock

Residents are urged to opposed an appeal from developers to build a “luxury” housing developent on the 100-year-old Mansfield Bowling Club, after their plans were rejected

Yesterday, 17:03
Hungry: Liam Gallagher (Picture: Adam Butler/PA)

Former Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher has revealed he once pelted former Hampstead neighbour Jamie Oliver’s windows with stones and demanded a bacon roll.

Yesterday, 12:06
Kemi Adeyoola

A “cold-blooded killer” who murdered an elderly Golders Green woman should not be freed anytime soon, a top judge has ruled.

Yesterday, 11:14
The dog was photographed attacking a swan    picture: Ron Vester

Photographer Ron Vester captures the dramatic moment when a female swan fights off a dog on Hampstead No 2 pond and amazingly escapes with no physical injuries

Yesterday, 11:13
Councillor Hayward with members of the LaSWAP sixth form consortium

Camden council leader Sarah Hayward was full of praise for A-level students across the borough following the publication of their results last week.

Mon, 18:35
Homes for Haringey has come under fire after the letting agency it set up and funded rented out just two homes in ten months

Haringey Council has come under fire after it was revealed a letting agency it set up and funded at a cost of over £400,000 has rented out just two homes in the last ten months.

Mon, 17:49
Almost half of Camden households are set to receive fortnightly waste collections from next April

Camden Council is set to press ahead with introducing fortnightly waste collections for around half the borough after a rebellion against a new £200 million contract with existing provider Veolia was derailed.

Mon, 17:25
Gabriella playing dressing up games

The husband of jailed West Hampstead mum Nazanin Zaghari Ratcliffe, who is on trial in Iran, has revealed how his two-year-old daughter was forced to wear a sack over her head when she visited her mother in prison.

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Most read Hampstead & Highgate news

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Property Newsletter Sign-up

Get the latest North London property news and features straight to your inbox with our regular newsletter

I am also happy to receive other emails...
Fields marked with a * are mandatory
Email Marketing by e-shot

Competitions

You could win £15,000 to spend on either their mortgage or a deposit towards the home of their dreams

Wouldn’t it be lovely to have a period of time when you simply don’t have to worry about finding the money each month to pay your mortgage? When you don’t have to put money aside from your monthly income, or worry about having to afford other essential outgoings?

Which book character do you share cleaning habits with?

Whether you have more in common with put-upon Cinderella, emotionally turbulent Jane Eyre, or easily distracted Mole, you’re sure to appreciate that one lucky winner will receive four sessions of free cleaning. Enter our quiz for your chance to win. All runners up will get £10 off their first clean when making a repeat booking.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now