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Lib Dems reject claim that party has lost faith in Maajid Nawaz after Prophet Muhammad row

Maajid Nawaz. Picture: Nigel Sutton. Maajid Nawaz. Picture: Nigel Sutton.

Thursday, April 3, 2014
9:00 AM

Camden Liberal Democrats have dismissed reports the party is withdrawing support for parliamentary candidate Maajid Nawaz after he published a controversial cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad.

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Last week, The Spectator reported that a “very well-placed senior source” in the Lib Dem Party said Mr Nawaz had “seriously damaged his chances of winning the seat and that ‘chucking the kitchen sink at it might not be worth the effort’”.

It follows Mr Nawaz’s decision in January to post a cartoon of the Islamic prophet on Twitter to demonstrate that not all Muslims were offended by “bland” depictions of Muhammad.

The tweet prompted a petition calling for the Lib Dems to remove Mr Nawaz as parliamentary candidate for Hampstead and Kilburn, which has been signed by more than 22,000 people.

A Lib Dem spokesman described last week’s report in The Spectator as “completely untrue” and said there was “no change in the party’s support for Maajid”.

City banker and Hampstead resident James Newsome, who is working as Mr Nawaz’s press officer and will stand as a Lib Dem councillor for Hampstead in May’s elections, said: “The positions Maajid takes on free speech and his bravery standing up against extremists at great personal risk resonates with voters in Hampstead and Kilburn and around the country.

“Some correspondents with the campaign have even said that they would like to move to north west London just so that they can vote for Maajid.”

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