Part II - Why Is Anyone Still Listening to Maajid Nawaz?


June 15, 2015 – San Francisco, CA – – Maajid Nawaz - a British citizen - calls himself a Muslim reformer despite having had a very long history of Islamist activities, some of which were so serious that he was jailed for years in Egypt due to his recruiting efforts for a terrorist group.

A flurry of activity a number of years ago first brought him to our attention. In the following period of time he became less publicly visible. Now, however he’s in the news again, having run [Liberal Democrat party] and lost a campaign for Parliament to represent North London.

His candidacy made him a saleable commodity once more and his recently tweeted comment calling it a “bit insane” to compare ISIS to Israel - though certainly a non-controversial position to take - was nonetheless seized on by the “find moderate Islam at any cost” crowd as evidence of his bona fides as a “reformer.”

We first became aware of Mr. Nawaz and his MO a number of years ago, so let’s turn back the clock a few years.

In a 2008 article Why Is Anyone Listening To Maajid Nawaz?, we characterized him rather harshly as an Islamist pretending to be moderate so he could cash in on the gravy train associated with the halal rubber-chicken lecture circuit which has grown up around the idea of promoting questionably “transformed” radical Muslims as spokesmen on behalf of “a kinder, gentler” Islam.

That such activity also served to further cloak Nawaz’ Islamism wasn’t coincidental.

At the time we observed that:

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 secular, non-political Islam.

Nawaz, a self proclaimed ex-extremist who used to recruit for the terrorist group Hizb ut-Tahrir, found it more lucrative and practical to wage stealth jihad, co-founding a think tank called The Quilliam Foundation [along with other supposedly reformed members of Hizb ut-Tahrir] is partially funded by the UK government and reportedly for a while at least, shadowy ME “businessmen,” though it appears that source was lost over policy dispute. [see, Ex-Islamists start moderate think tank, UK Guardian]

Quilliam claims that its mission is to “prevent radicalization,” a goal fraught with irony given the radical nature of people who have been associated with it.

Nawaz' attempt to claw himself to the top of the counter-terrorism food chain mirrors the efforts of his 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 calculated reinvention.

There is a process going on here that’s really much more complex and insidious than simply, as the iconic writer Hunter Thompson quipped, “when the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.”

Monetary gain is indeed one of the drivers of this phenomenon but lurking behind that is the quest for the type of credibility which allows one access to the corridors of power.

A fat paycheck is certainly desirable, and necessary to keep the sham moving forward, but to these charlatans the real brass ring is to gain the type of stature which will allow them to cloak cultural jihad behind the specious aura of superior wisdom that the West has bestowed upon an idealized “native voice” or “noble savage” when in fact these people, generally, are neither wise nor are they benevolent.

Absent plausibility, the purveyors of Islamism on the sly are defenseless.

For example, in a televised panel discussion which for some reason included Michael Moore, the leftist film maker, he innocently asked Nawaz a very revealing question. Why, if the 911 hijackers were devout Muslims preparing to become shahada [“martyrs”] were they observed frequenting strip clubs, drinking heavily and generally carrying on in a manner incompatible with the Shari’a that they were about to “defend.”

Nawaz replied that they along with the leaders of terror groups are ignorant of the religious principles they profess. This is a kind of declaration of takfir, that those who are steeped in this type of barbarism are simply parsing the Qur’an as a means of self-justification and hence not authentically Islamic.

“No single terrorist organization has at its head someone who studied the religion. None of them are theologians.” He then goes on to make the preposterous statement that Islamic terrorism is a relatively modern phenomenon. [see,]

Mastery of these sleight of hand parlor tricks is typical of dissemblers, as the Qur’an and Hadith are replete with all the justification necessary to sacralize the eternal war against unbelievers. There is no better example than Mohammed himself who led military campaigns against those he considered unbelievers. It doesn’t take a degree in theology from Al-Azhar University to quote scripture and verse defending the practice of fighting to extend the reach of Islam. And, despite Nawaz’ claims to the contrary, every jihadist group – without exception - is led by people who are extremely fluent in the jihadist teaching in the Qur’an and Hadith, the way of the prophet.

From exchanges like those less versed in such matters are prompted to believe that people like Nawaz are keepers of the true faith, the evanescent, if not illusory representation of Islam as the “religion of peace.”

But can Nawaz meet his own lofty criteria; is he a practicing, theologically erudite and faithful Muslim?

If not, then his act becomes an elaborate Kabuki dance, because those who intend to truly intend to fundamentally change Islamic theology must come from its religious soul or they will have no effect. In Islam, a Reformational type change can only happen through a process called ijtihad which lies solely within the jurisdiction of Muslim jurists, who as a group decided – a millennium ago - that “the gates of ijtihad are closed.”

This means that the preponderance of Islamic legal scholars believe that Islam must remain as it is, an unchanging entity. This is understandable in the sense that Muslims consider their religious text to be directly revealed by Allah and who would have the temerity to reinterpret or question the almighty?

But circling back to Mr. Nawaz the question remains, is he authentically Muslim? Does he practice his religion with the necessary fervor to establish moral authority?

The short answer - if we factor in public behavior - is absolutely not. Actually, in many ways Nawaz represents exactly the opposite of what the model Muslim should be.

For example, In April of 2015 Nawaz’ ambitions – not to mention his veracity - ran into a bit of a snag when he was outed in a UK Daily Mail expose, drinking and groping a stripper during two lap dance sessions in a seedy London sex club.

Complicating matters further, all of this took place during Islam’s most sacred month, Ramadan.

These are troubling activities for someone who claims to be a Muslim reformer as hedonism wasn’t very high on Mohammed’s check list of attributes necessary to be considered a legitimate member of his new faith.

Nor does it jibe with Nawaz’ continual boasting that he’s a “feminist,” itself a multi-dimensional oxymoron within an Islamic setting.

In the above referenced Daily Mail piece [see, Lucy Osborne and Paul Bentley, Caught on camera: Married Lib Dem 'feminist' who is running for Parliament is filmed with stripper in drunken night of temptation ] Nawaz’ behavior was extraordinarily out of line with the dictates of the Shari’a.

As the article summarized the “reformers” antics:

“Father-of-one Maajid Nawaz asked for two private sessions at a strip club - Footage shows prospective parliamentary candidate trying to touch her - Staff at the east London club said Nawaz had been pestering girl all night - Nawaz can be seen repeatedly trying to make contact, which is against venue's policy”


“Abdul Malik, the club’s owner, said he wanted the video to be seen by the public because of the way Nawaz portrays himself as a feminist and a family man. ‘He’s always talking about religion on TV and I thought, what a hypocrite.’”

Realizing his caught-on-camera-cavorting placed his career in jeopardy, Nawaz shifted into damage control, publishing a statement on Facebook which only added fuel to the flame, highlighting the degree to which his “Muslim reformer” pose is a sham.

Nawaz’ April 14 Facebook entry reads:

“On being a Muslim, I have lost count of the number of times I have stated that I am a ‘non-devout’ Muslim, including in the Mail newspaper itself.”

In a recent Newsweek article Nawaz had to catch himself while proclaiming the following:

“’I am no longer—I never was—-devout,’ says Nawaz.”

Actually according to a strict interpretation of the Qur’an, his views, behavior and lackadaisical approach to his faith are heretical, verging on apostasy.

Since, by definition, heretics have no credibility within the confines of their religion, on what basis has Nawaz acquired the moral authority from which to lecture truly observant Muslims regarding “reformation?”

It’s a preposterous notion.

Cutting to the chase; Maajid Nawaz game is transparent. We believe that he has never abandoned the jihadist Islam he so fervently practiced in his youth and early manhood. He is simply a typical radical Muslim liar who has proven adept, to a degree, at placing himself in positions of power from which he might push the Islamist point of view, albeit stealthily.

By his actions and statements Nawaz has destroyed his integrity and his clownish explanations only serve to reinforce the mendacious nature of his pose.

That he is still being feted in some faith-sharing circles, unbelievably including soft-headed Jewish groups [see, AJC Global Forum Highlights] is only testament to the gullibility of people who refuse to accept the fact that Islam itself is the problem and that Maajid Nawaz merely a conspicuous symptom.

©2015 William Mayer, LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law.

Beila Rabinowitz, publisher of Militant Islam Monitor, contributed significant research to this piece. She has developed a more detailed exposition of some of the aspects of Maajid Nawaz’ continued campaign of stealth jihad which can be found here- Nawaz