Search

Hampstead and Kilburn Lib Dem candidate gets death threats after tweeting cartoon of Prophet Muhammad

18:06 20 January 2014

The Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate for Hampstead and Kilburn has been forced to call in police after receiving multiple death threats when he tweeted a cartoon depicting the Prophet Muhammad.

Maajid Nawaz, a former Islamist who now runs a leading anti-extremist organisation based in the UK, posted the picture on Friday in an attempt to demonstrate that not all Muslims were offended by “bland” depictions of the Prophet.

The image was of two audience members from the LSE Atheism Society who appeared on a BBC show on Sunday last week wearing T-shirts showing two cartoon figures under the title “Jesus and Mo”.

Re-posting the picture, Mr Nawaz wrote: “This is not offensive and I’m sure God is greater than to feel threatened by it.”

The Tweet prompted multiple death threats against the Lib Dem candidate - including threats to have him beheaded - forcing him to contact the police.

Hundreds of messages of support have since been sent by free-speech advocates and anti-extremist campaigners to Mr Nawaz.

But some members of the UK Muslim community have already written to Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg to demand that he be removed from the party.

A petition calling for him to be sacked as the parliamentary candidate for Hampstead and Kilburn - claiming he had been “disrespectful and offensive” to the Muslim community - has so far received more than 2,000 signatures.

George Galloway, MP for Bradford West, also called for him to be sacked, saying: “No Muslim will ever vote for the Liberal Democrats anywhere ever unless they ditch the provocateur Maajid Nawaz.”

Pleading for calm in response to the furore, Mr Nawaz wrote: “I posted that image here to explain how, as a Muslim, I didn’t find this particular image offensive and think God is greater than to find offence at such a bland cartoon.

“If you do think this is offensive, then you can simply not look at my profile.

“I do not find it offensive, so the whole debate should be about the meaning of offence, and not about whether it’s right or wrong to insult prophets, when I don’t think this is insulting.”

Mr Nawaz, a former member of the radical group Hizb ut-Tahrir, who now runs the anti-extremist Quilliam Foundation, added: “Some are angry I didn’t find the cartoon featured on BBC offensive and repeated my view.

“Others are angry I am being silenced. Please let’s all calm down.”

0 comments

Latest News Stories

Yesterday, 17:45
Lynne Featherstone accepts her award from Ben Cohen, chief executive and founder of Pink News.

Hornsey and Wood Green MP Lynne Featherstone has been named the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community’s “ally of the year” by Pink News, the biggest gay news service in Britain.

Yesterday, 15:50
Sheila Gunn

A former Camden councillor who served as press secretary to Sir John Major during a distinguished career in journalism and politics has died.

Yesterday, 14:58
Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis. Picture: PA Archive/Sean Dempsey.

Communities came together for special events to mark the Jewish day of Shabbat as part of a new initiative spearheaded by the UK’s chief rabbi to engage Jews with the traditional holy day.

Yesterday, 14:48
Dame Maggie Smith was filming on location in Primrose Hill for the film adaptation of Alan Bennett's The Lady in the Van. Picture: Alex Flood

Dame Maggie Smith dressed down for the day to reprise her role as a tramp in the film adaptation of Alan Bennett’s autobiographical play and novel, The Lady in the Van, which was filming at a café in Primrose Hill last Thursday.

Most read news

Biffo and Bobo better stay away from the town of Vendargues this Halloween.

As a state of emergency is declared in Burkina Faso, what does the future hold for its president and people?

It might not be moving very fast but it’s still causing problems.

After staging an Ebola-themed night, a nightclub has been forced to make an apology after hundreds complained about the tasteless event.

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Hampstead & Highgate Express e-edition today E-edition