Friday, 21 September 2007

Comment: My Appearance on Newsnight

In answer to questions raised about my Newsnight appearance:
Since my appearance on Newsnight some have been concerned that I shouldn't have provided the media with yet another reason to attack Muslims. However, I believe that this view is subscribed to by people who can only see the world from within the 'clash of civilisations' mindset. If one is looking at the problem as one of Islam vs. the West then of course it would seem as if by attacking HT I am attacking Islamic interests and furthering western ones.

However, I believe that the situation and problem is slightly more complex. Neo-Conservative led foreign policy is actually about curtailing real political powers that threaten American interests now, including Russia and especially China. The “Islamic threat” card is only used as a pretext to enter into lands to control oil reserves and resources against these two powers. Hence, it suits governments involved in foreign exploits to feed into the clash of civilisations agenda for their own foreign policy, and it suits Islamists to feed into it for their own recruitment. Both sides are polarising the world and want to polarise it for their ideological ends.
As a result a situation is rapidly developing whereby some Muslims are growing increasingly hostile to non-Muslims, and some non-Muslims are growing increasingly hostile to Islam and Muslims. Sadly, Islam is being blamed for the ills and excesses of Islamists, including the fact that it us who gave rise to Jihadism, which arose from the merging of Wahhabism and Islamism combined with Western sponsored oppression in the Arab world.

Therefore, in an attempt to help save my religion from being irrevocably tarnished by the political excesses of Islamists and Neo-Conservatives, and to allow non-Muslims to see that Islam is a religion independent from the political aims ascribed to it by Islamism, I am embarking on my campaign to distinguish Islamist politics from the religion. This does not mean that I will ignore foreign or domestic policy excesses undertaken in our name by our government here. Rather, it means that in the long term, I aim to present a balanced argument about the excesses of both sides and try to demonstrate that Islam is not the cause.

How will this help?

By doing this I hope to aid the cause of internalising Muslims to this society, so that Muslims are no longer perceived as angry and foreign outsiders, but rather as a British phenomenon with British politics as the mechanism to redress any grievances. Realising such an aim becomes difficult so long as the Islamist agenda of focusing all political energies to foreign conflicts, and declaring participation in British institutions as Haram (religiously proscribed) prevails. My stance essentially renders Islam as a spiritual and social force, devoid of any pre-defined Islamist politics surrounding it, though ordinary Muslims should engage in politics like any other citizen. Any politically active Muslims will therefore be Muslims engaged in politics as citizens of the UK, adopting the interests of society at large, and not as Muslims engaged in Islamist politics.

I believe that this way is the way of our Prophet (upon him be peace), and when he would call individuals to Islam he would call them to the creed, and not confuse them with political stances that change based upon the interests of Muslims (and are not inherent to the creed of Muslims). The Prophets message in Mecca was a call to the creed, and the Hadith of Muadh ibn Jabal going to Yemen demonstrates this too. Here the Prophet told Muadh to call them to Islam, and if they accept to the prayer, and if they accept to the Zakah. This highlights that for Muslims, the call was to the belief first and foremost.

The view that a Muslim must not criticise other Muslims in public:

This is interesting coming from those who attack our Ulema (theologians) in the media. The last time they did this they named specific Ulema individually and called them government agents.
I, on the other hand, criticised the ideas of a group, without slandering individuals, to defend Islam from being perceived as a political ideology (which means nothing except that which those interpreting it want it to mean based upon their political considerations at the time). They have attacked other Muslim Ulema by name to further their political ambitions of establishing an Islamist state on the ashes of regimes in the Muslim world.

Hence, my criticism of them was an invitation to non-Muslims to fully appreciate Islam. Their attack is an invitation to internal Fitna (civil strife and sedition) in Muslim lands. If non-Muslims liked my film and Islamists hated it, then that for me is a type of success, not failure. Because that is exactly what I want to achieve, I want non-Muslims to be speaking of Islam in a good way, which is what they are starting to do. A new trend is developing whereby it is being accepted that Islam is not the problem, but rather it is interpreted in a bad way by Islamists. Surely if this further increases peoples love for Islam that is a good thing?

The context of the quotes about killing millions:

The quotes I used in my Newsnight interview were extracted from the book “How the Khilafah was destroyed” by the groups second global leader, Abdul Qadeem Zalloom (listed on the official HT site as an adopted book, but it doesn't matter even if it is not because no book issued by the party can contradict adoption)

HT's Islamist Caliphate has a domestic policy aimed at forcibly annexing all Muslim countries as one (not agreed upon by Ulema and something that will only cause Fitna, or sedition, civil war and death en-masse). It also professes a foreign policy based around forcibly spreading Islam through their idea of “Jihad” (again, not agreed upon by the Ulema and actually very much misunderstood, if this misunderstanding is not corrected I believe that it will irrevocably damage the image of Islam).

Domestic Policy:

The quotes about killing millions that I mentioned were concerning HT's domestic policy:
“Hence it is imperative to restore this issue to its rightful place and to consider it as a vital issue, thus preventing the dismemberment of any country from the body of the Khilafah, even if this led to several years of fighting and even if it led to the killing of millions of Muslims” (p.197)
The defence against my quoting these words to date has been to insist that this quote concerns a civil war scenario when the Caliphate has a right to protect the territorial integrity of its borders as occurred in the US civil war.

This defence is deceptive. HT does not recognise borders between Muslim nations. What they mean by territorial integrity is the whole Muslim world, whether they are sovereign nations or not, because they do not recognise the right of Muslim nations to be sovereign. Thus forcibly annexing sovereign nations (expansionism) is deemed by them to be an internal civil war scenario. It is clear how their US civil war analogy breaks down.

“All countries in the Islamic world are considered as if they are one...Therefore the relationship with them is not considered within foreign relations with states, nor a part of the foreign policy, rather it should be part of a home policy. Therefore the Islamic state does not enter into any diplomatic relations or any treaties with them. It is necessary to work to unite them into one state, the state of the Khilafah.” (Hizb ut-Tahrir by Hizb ut-Tahrir p. 72)

Such a policy contradicts the Ijtihad of Imam al-Juwayni on what to do when there is no Khaleefah. And merely by declaring oneself the Khaleefah to enact the hadiths of killing the second Khaleefah is disingenuous. Because all the “Khaleefah” means is leader, as Nabhani (rh) says in Nitham al-Hukm, he can even be called President. Thus to overthrow a government and to claim that one is the Khaleefah and all others are second Khaleefahs that must be killed is factually wrong if there is no Kufr in other countries. Rather, one would simply become the 53rd leader of another legitimate country. Imam al-Juwayni says that the rulers must decide amongst themselves who the one Imam will be. Ultimately it is a policy issue, but it definitely is not in the interests of Islam to suddenly not recognise any surrounding Muslim nation and to forcibly embark upon annexing them...imagine how Iran would react, or Turkey!

It is also claimed that such was the policy of Abu Bakr (ra), the first of the four righteous Caliphs. This argument, however, assumes that such a consensus was arrived at by the Companions of the Prophet (saw) as a legal and not a political decision suited to a world of expansionist empires. This matter is subject to much debate, and so it suffices to say that mirroring such a policy today would not be conducive to the good name of Islam.

On the issue of opposing dictatorships:

HT has Turkey as its Majal (area where they are directly active in trying to penetrate the military to overthrow the government). Turkey is ruled by a popularly elected government. HT are not just opposed to dictatorships, but all Muslim countries today because they do not rule by their Islamist interpretation of Shariah law, thus they rule by “Kufr”. This includes Iran which is considered by HT to be Dar al-Kufr, and whose government and state are illegitimate, and ruling by Kufr, though Iranians directly elect their government and Iranian Shia Ulema claim in earnest that theirs is not a Kufr regime.

What will HT's policy be towards these Muslim states ruling by "Kufr"?

“Thus the rule by a Kufr system would be prevented even if this led to several years of fighting and even if it led to the killing of millions of Muslims and to the martyrdom of millions of believers”. (How the Khilafah was destroyed p.199)

And to justify such "Kufr" as Islamic with full knowledge, would mean believing in "Kufr", any Muslim believing in Kufr is an apostate. HT policy towards apostates is then clear:

“Hence, it is imperative to to put back this issue in its rightful place and consider it to be a vital issue, by killing every apostate even if they numbered millions”. (How the Khilafah was destroyed p.193)

This policy is not agreed upon by our Ulema, and propagating it will only damage Islam (if you caught the Dispatches programme aired on Monday night you would see my point).
A number of Islamic scholars from past centuries, such as the two Tabi'in (followers of the companions) Ibrahim al-Naka’i and Sufyan al-Thawri and also Abul Walid al-Baji are all reported to have held that apostasy is a serious sin, but not one that requires the death penalty. It is narrated by Sufyan al-Thawri that Ibrahim al-Nakhai'i was of the view that the apostate is not killed, rather his repentance is continuously sought. Sufyan al-Thawri then said, “This is the view that we take” (al-San'ani, abd al-Raziq, 'al-Mussannaf' vol. 10, page 166).
Ibn Hazm relates evidences in his Muhalla for this camp by saying:
As for he who says his repentance is permanently sought without recourse to killing him:
This is due to the narration of...Anas ibn Malik who said that Abu Musa al-Ash'ari killed Juhayna The Liar and his companions. Anas then said, “So I approached Umar ibn al-Khattab who said, 'what did Juhayna and his companions do?'” I said, “Amir al-Mu'minin, was there a way other than killing them?, Umar said, 'If I came across them I would have offered them Islam, and if they didn't repent I would have imprisoned them.'” and (due to what) ...Ibn Thawr said to Umar, “there was a man who apostatised so we killed him”. Umar said, “Woe be to you, if only you had left an opening for him, fed him every day with some bread and provided him with a cup of water for three days, then if only you had asked him to accept Islam on the third, for perhaps he could have returned. O Allah I wasn't present, I didn't order it and I didn't know”....
(Ibn Hazm, al-Muhalla, [Maktabat al-Turath] issue: 2195 'The Rule Regarding Apostates', vol. 11, p. 243)
In modern times, Mahmud Shaltut, Sheikh of al-Azhar, held the same view. The best thing to do politically is to leave apostates alone...Islam is not weak and never will be weak.

Foreign Policy:

To spread Islam to the world through “Jihad”:

“All other countries in the world, in the East or the West, are considered Dar al-Kufr and potentially Dar al-Harb (land of war), and the relationship with them is part of the foreign policy, and this relationship is defined by the demands of Jihad and the interests of Muslims and the Khilafah state according to the divine law” (Hizb ut-Tahrir by Hizb ut-Tahrir p.72)

“The meaning that Jihad is Fard Kifayah (a collective duty) originally is that we begin fighting the enemy even if he did not start fighting us. If no one from the Muslims begins fighting in any period of time, all Muslims then would have committed a sin by leaving Jihad. And therefore jihad is not a defensive war; it is in fact a war to raise the word of Allah (swt), and it is compulsory originally in order to spread Islam and to carry its message even if the disbelievers did not attack us.” (Hizb ut-Tahrir by Hizb ut-Tahrir p. 71)

Such an expansionist policy of offensive wars fails to consider the legitimate line of arguing that once a land allows the free practice of Islamic rituals it is considered Dar al-Islam (by some) or Dar al-Da'wah (land of invitation to Islam), and there is no Jihad in Dar al-Islam or Dar al-Da'wah, rather there is only Daw'ah (invitation to Islam). This is because if the Sabab (legal cause) of Jihad is the presence of obstacles to the Da'wah, and the purpose of Jihad is to remove those obstacles so that such Da'wah can take place, then where those obstacles no longer exist, due to the rituals of Islam and it's preaching being permitted by the state, then the Sabab for Jihad no longer exist in that land. This is a perfectly legitimate line of arguing backed by Prophetic tradition such as that narrated by Anas who said: “Wherever the Prophet, upon him be peace, raided some people he would not raid except in the morning. If he heard the call to prayer (Azan) he would refrain [from raiding], if he did not he would invade after dawn.” Moreover, al-Muzny reported that the Prophet, upon him be peace, said “If you have seen a mosque or heard a call to prayer, then don't kill anybody”. If the order in one Hadith was given to refrain from invading altogether, and in the other to refrain from killing anyone, then it would be fair to conclude that no violent war was sanctioned against a nation if the insignia (Sha'a'ir) of Islam were allowed to be freely practised therein. Therefore, according to this view, Jihad would only apply where Musilms (or anyone) are being oppressed and brutalised for practising their religion.

It is my view that HT's expansionist policy to rule the world is impractical, counter-productive and dangerous. It matters not that HT can educe a valid theological reasoning for this policy, since I am entitled to criticise weak opinions if they are counter-productive to the interests of Islam and humanity, and this one clearly is.
Islamist Denials over my role in the Newham college affair:

Some Islamists are intent on making the claim that the murder in East Ham college did not happen in the way that eye-witnesses such as myself have narrated. They have erroneously alleged that it was solely a drugs related murder. This is factually wrong by police records, court records, and by eye witness testimony (I was one of the many eye witnesses interviewed by the police). Islamist proponents of such a claim have failed to substantiate this by any evidence, and instead continue to insist that the murderer had no link whatsoever to HT. I was the HT representative and President of the Students' Union on site. The man convicted for the murder came on campus as my “friend” and "Party contact" about whom I used to report back to my local Party leadership, his name was Saeed Nur. Saeed's only link to that college was through us HT activists. He was not a student and the first time he came to campus he was asking to meet the “HT brothers”. Subsequently he would enter the college as our guest. The murder occurred due to Muslims of all ethnicities bonding on a "Musilm idenitity" to challenge an opposing gang of Nigerians, thus it was a gang murder, in which HT played no direct part. However, it was primarily us HT activists that provided that gang culture with a "Muslim" identity, and it was our guest and “HT contact” that was convicted for the murder. I am not absolving the Nigerian students of all blame. In fact, as I stated to the police at the time, it was the Nigerian student that took the first swipe at Saeed with his knife. My point has been about the atmosphere created that led to a constant environment of violent feuds between Muslim and non-Muslim students. Such an atmosphere was undoubtedly created by us HT activists.
I was the Students' Union President and HT activist that directly created this damaging atmosphere. I would like to remind readers that non-eye witness, secondary, non-student accounts posted on internet chat forums by Islamist supporters, claiming that the murder was solely drugs related are not credible sources. On one occasion a non-eye witness source who wasn't even a student on campus has relied on, and cited, their closeness to me personally to lend authority to their claim made on a chat forum that it was solely gang related. However, if they derive authority for their point from their association to me, yet I (an eye witness and the HT activist that invited Saeed Nur on campus) am saying differently, where does that leave such claims?

One final issue is about letting HT follow their Ijtihad:

This is a really strange argument! HT are the ones that don't let the governments and our Ulema who do not consider these governments as having to be religiously overthrown, follow their Ijtihad. HT are the ones who insist that they are on Kufr. I am merely saying that you cannot call a legitimate opinion Kufr.

As for all other matters of Ikhtilaf such as killing apostates, forcibly uniting lands etc...then these are matters of differing opinions. I have never said that one cannot speak out against a weaker opinion. All I have said is that HT must not call a weaker opinion Kufr, and thus cannot rebel against it. But to criticise weaker opinions is the right of every Muslim, and to account to the rulers comes under this right too.

Thus, I criticise and speak out against the very weak and legal extrapolations of the Jihadi's but I don't call them Kufr. Likewise, I have criticised HT's dogmatic view on the expansion of the Khillafah, but I do not call it Kufr. My criticism is that adopting and propagating such opinions in the world today is not in the interests of Islam, and since they are not Qati'i, the interests of Islam should come first.

Thus, HT has the right to criticise existing governments but also, cannot say that they are on Kufr if they are on legitimate opinions. Therefore, it has become abundantly clear that I do not have to stop criticising their Ijtihads, rather they have to stop calling other Ijtihads Kufr.


Anonymous said...

whats your relationship with eddy hussain? are you ashamed of being associated with him? is that why you refrain from discussing your relationship with him? eddy seems to mention you in almost all his articles, and describes you as a great friend. please answer my questions, as this has been bugging me for a while.


Ash said...

I really enjoyed reading this article; the arguments are sound and impeccably researched. Moreover, for me, this article ultimately prescribes the message of peace, tolerance and compassion - surely the Lord demands nothing more from us?

Wali-ullah Gharib Nawaz Khwaja Mo'in-uddin Chisti, Shaykh al-Hind (RA)lived and died by the maxim;

"Love towards all,
Malice towards none,
Love and Peace,
To ALL mankind".

I believe we need to hate a little less and love a little more.

Anonymous said...

Maajid,when I heard that you had changed, at first I did not believe it.
I met you first, as a beautiful baby, aged 1 week old.
I watched you change into a scarey unsmiling "mullah"type, who was to be avoided, in case he gaves a lecture!
I myself was at the receiving end of your criticism - even though I had carried you as a baby. Where was the adab?
When I heard that you truly had changed your views,it moved me to tears.
I myself been traumatised by my own experience of extremism. It is sad not to now feel at home, after leaving one's own umma for 37 years.
With my dua and respect.
I cling to Allah swt alone and trust in His Mercy.
Revert sr

Twilight Zone.... said...

So to sum up your viewpoint: We should not implement Islamic laws, such as the ruling of apostasy - which is Ijmaa' As-Sahaba (agreed upon) - because it will make us look bad. We should not unify the Muslim lands, which we are commanded by the Qur'an to do, because it is detrimental to our image and well-being with the West. We should ignore the fact that Egype, Turkey and all the governments of the Muslim world openly implement laws from other than the Qur'an, and implement virtually nothing from Islam, because someone somewhere said that they are legitimate.

You are defending governments that take millions of dollars from the West...the West that has slaughtered millions of Muslims...governments that have done nothing to protect our Ummah, who have done nothing but protect the interests of the West. You speak of the elections in Turkey or wherever else as if they are if they are fair.

Wow...I guess the rest of the Muslim tyrants need to go to Egyptian jails and learn their strategies. Talk about a success story.

Maajid Nawaz said...

Dear Twilight Zone:

You have made many emotional claims. I can understand that you would be upset, but please try and look at the issues and it may help you to make more precise comments:

1) What exactly is the Ijma al-Sahabah on killing the apostate that you refer to and where is it to be found? Is it agreed upon in its meaning? If not there is room for debate no?

A number of Islamic scholars from past ceturies, Ibrahim al-Naka’i, Sufyan al-Thawri, Abul Walid al-Baji are all reported to have held that apostasy is a serious sin, but not one that requires the death penalty.

Two Tabi'in (followers of the companions) held this view. It is narrated by Sufyan al-Thawri that Ibrahim al-Nakhai'i was of the view that the apostate is not killed, rather his repentance is continuously sought. Sufyan al-Thawri then said, “This is the view that we take” (al-San'ani, abd al-Raziq, 'al-Mussannaf' vol. 10, page 166).

Ibn Hazm relates evidences in his Muhalla for this camp by saying:

As for he who says his repentance is permanently sought without recourse to killing him:
This is due to the narration of...Anas ibn Malik who said that Abu Musa al-Ash'ari killed Juhayna The Liar and his companions. Anas then said, “So I approached Umar ibn al-Khattab who said, 'what did Juhayna and his companions do?'” I said, “Amir al-Mu'minin, was there a way other than killing them?, Umar said, 'If I came across them I would have offered them Islam, and if they didn't repent I would have imprisoned them.'” and (due to what) ...Ibn Thawr said to Umar, “there was a man who apostatised so we killed him”. Umar said, “Woe be to you, if only you had left an opening for him, fed him every day with some bread and provided him with a cup of water for three days, then if only you had asked him to accept Islam on the third, for perhaps he could have returned. O Allah I wasn't present, I didn't order it and I didn't know”....(Ibn Hazm, al-Muhalla, [Maktabat al-Turath] issue: 2195 'The Rule Regarding Apostates', vol. 11, p. 243)

In modern times, Mahmud Shaltut, Sheikh of al-Azhar, held the same view.

Now I do concede that the majority of classical scholars did not hold such a view, but that is not my point.

My point is that it is not agreed upon, and therefore the ruler has the right to adopt what is in the best interests of his people, and what would best create unity and stablity (as per the principle elucidated in Nizam al-Hukm by Sh. Nabhani).

It is my belief that adopting an opinion that is clearly not in the interests of the image of Islam is only counter-productive. Islam is not in need of the one or two individuals that leave its fold, it is much stronger than that.

2) I do not oppose unity, if you read again you will find that what I oppose is mass bloodshed to achieve "unity" at all costs.

I like unity, as does anyone. What HT are calling for is a mass civil war, not unity, but disunity.

3) I do not call for ignoring the tyrannical practices of any regime, and do not defend Arab regimes or Western governments' aggression. They must all be held to account.

However, your assupmtion that Muslim regimes rule by Kufr is exacly that, an assumption. I hope to address it in my next article.

4) The point about elections is this:

HT do not call for an end to dictatorships. They call for an end to "Kufr". Their problem with Arab dictators is not that they are dictators, rather that they are ruling by "Kufr".

HT believe in replacing these dictators with their Caliph who will be elected once in his life and then will remain the ruler till he dies, or rules by "Kufr" (in which case he is constitutionally dismissed).

Moreoever, no matter how oppresive this HT Caliph becomes, and no matter how tyrannical he is, he cannot be removed until, and unless, he rules with "Kufr" as defined by a judge that he appoints.

Fact: That is HT adoption.

This shows that their real issue is not one of dictatorships but one of "Kufr" rules.

Hence, it is disengenous for them, and you, to make their call one of removing tyranny and dictators, when actually its about removing those who disagree with HT's Islamist interpretation of Islam.

Finally, I again advise you on your last point to refrain from such emotional rhetoric.



Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Maajid Nawaz said...

Comment on the Dangers of Adversarial Polemics

Assalaamu alaykum:

It has been brought to my attention that some, in their understandable eagerness to defend Islamism, are rushing to respond to me without a proper and thought-out reading of what I have written.

In this article, I have claimed that the matter of death for apostasy is differed over amongst jurists.

This is a fact, as it is reported in our books of Turath (heritage).

This fact has (understandably) perturbed some who have taken it upon themselves to defend Islamism (and in their view Islam).

It disturbed me greatly too when I learnt of flaws in Islamism, and so I hold no grudges.

One particular brother, who appears so overly confident in his being correct that he implies my having Jahal Murakkab (constructed ignorance) and yet it seems he didn't take the time to even read properly what I wrote.

He accuses me of misquoting. Misquoting, my dear brother, is when one misrepresents a certain quote, not when one doesn't mention another quote, in another book, by another author, referring to a second narration about the same person. That is not misquoting, it is called a second narration (Riwayah) and is common in the books of our heritage. That is why I wrote "it has been narrated", and didn't write, "so and so said....", this is perfectly consisitent with the principles of narration as elucidated in the science of Hadith('Ilm al-Hadith), and is the style utilised by our Ulema when they accept that their narration is questioned by others (the style used is known as Sighat al-Da'af in 'ilm al-Hadith). I do apologise, though, if utilising such a style caused confusion.

My point, however, was not contingent upon this quote, but on the fact that there is a scholarly difference on the matter of apostasy. That this is reported is a fact. It has been narrated by ibn Hazm and is clear for all to see in his book "al-Muhalla".

Please my brother, I can only advise that you address the issues with more rigour and be not so adversarial in your eagerness to respond.

Secondly, he claims that I have quoted ibn Hazm as having a stance that differs with the majority view of death for apostasy.

"I promise you he (ibn Hazm) does not hold the position that Majid claims he does"

If he read my article here properly however, he would have seen that I didn't quote ibn Hazm as having that stance at all.

Rather, i quoted ibn Hazm as having narrated the difference of opinion over death for the apostate in his book (though ibn Hazm himself does take the view that death is the punishment).

Therefore, what I did is prove that ibn Hazm considers that a camp of scholars held the view that the apostate is not killed, and that ibn Hazm then narrates the evidences used by this camp, including the fact that he ascribes this to Umar bin al-Khattab (r.a.) and states that the narration (from his own hadith chain [Sanad]) is authentic (Sahih) to Umar (r.a.).

Ibn Hazm then goes on to state why he disagrees with this view, which does not, in any way, take away from the fact that it was the view of that camp. Please dear brother. check this reference (provided in my article) and you will see for yourself that ibn Hazm narrates that there is a camp that subscribe to this view.

I can only humbly advise this dear brother of mine to read properly what I have written before responding, and that one shouldn't be so confident and adversarial in ones view that it leads to one rushing to write something without even reading what the other has written.

I advise myself before him, and ask that Allah (swt) forgives my shortcomings.

Please brother, rush to meet me again, and I will try my best to remove any ill feeling in your heart.


Anonymous said...

Assalamualeikum Majid,

I met you first in Southend many years ago. You couldn't have been more than 17 or 18 at the time.

I'd just like to put the HT or HT supporters backlash in context. Most are suggesting that your motives are insincere. I don't question your sincerity for one moment because unlike others I don't claim to have the inside scoop on what's going on inside your heart.

I think one dangerous part of HT "culture" and by this I don't mean the written word, is this tendency to label opponents as agents. I think this has a lot do where and when HT were established. You can't deny that subversive methods used by imperialists at the turn of the last century did lead to a culture of fear and suspicion of even closest neighbours among the Arabs. Coupled with this is the phenomena of these repressive regimes infiltrating dissident groups through secret police. I've met Arabs who used to joke about how they recognised the infamous Mukhabarat. Alexei Sayle was even "chaperoned" by a member of the Syrian Mukhabarat whilst filming a travel documentary. The phenomena is very much alive nowadays!

To further illustrate this, I'll quote a incident which apparently happened when Omar Bakri had newly opened the London Shariah School in Tottenham. He invited the Syrian author of the PhD. dissertation (Dr. Khayr Hykal? I think it was Jihad wal-Qital...), who was a senior HT member, to come to London and to teach alongside him. Omar Bakri was driving and the learned Dr. was his passenger. Some sort of driving incident happened, which led to an angry Englishman ahead coming out of the car in front, absolutely furious. The Dr. was completely panic-striken and accused Omar Bakri of bringing the Mukhabarat on to him!

Well, I'd say your detractors are victims of this paranoid "culture" and become fans of conspiracy theories just like the Arab man-on-the-street. So, please don't take it personally. They are victims of "selective information" just as we all were.

Finally, I'd like to offer some advice. Associating with the likes of Ed. may have seemed like a good idea at the time, but a lot of us are seeing his outbursts as "throwing the baby out with the bathwater". Maybe you can shed some light on what exactly you have in common with Ed. A lot of us take issue with HT ideology, but we don't want to see them banned. They are obviously not Jihadists, bent on killing innocents. Their existence here is useful. Human beings know things through their opposites. How do we appreciate "moderate" Islam if we can't compare it to a real/alive "extreme" interpretation of it?

Maajid Nawaz said...

Concerning Ed Hussain:

I have already answered that question in the comments section of my first article.

I am not here to defend him. I disagree with some of what he says and agree with other things. I have known him from Newham college days and, unlike others, I refuse to dissaccotiate from someone just because I may disagree with some of what they say or do. At the very least that is bad manners.

This is my stance towards most people I know. This is the same stance that all people I know take with others too.

I find it strange that who I know is being scrutinised primarily (though you are obviously an exception) by radical Islamists who have no objection corresponding with/meeting with all and sundry including MP's, Lords and ministers. They do this as and when they think it suits their political objectives, yet am I to be deprived of that same right for merely knowing a Muslim brother?

I honestly don't see what the fuss is all about with regards to this man. He has views, and others don't agree with him. Let that be debated out. It is perfectly natural and healthy to disagree.

My stance is that I will co-operate on the good with whoever I think I should, wherever I think I should....and that is not too different to all human beings. I will obviously try to heed the advice of friends whilst doing so as that is always helpful.

Thank you for your advice.

RMN said...


I just wanted to say Alhamdullilah a very clear article and I wish people would read it thoroughly before criticising it if they want to do so.

I think many people who had some sort of association with hizb ut thrir and left it for non personal reasons had much the same thoughts if not the evidences, that ikthilaf in the method to establish and maintain a kihlafah was out there and is going to get even bigger as it is our problem more so than the muslims of the past.

Anonymous said...

Salamu alaikum,

I hope that you are successful in clearing Islam of the malignant cancer that is Hizb uttahrir.

They have really made Islam look really bad; as they are really bad. Allah help you in doing the tabligh of His Deen.

Z Khan

Maajid Nawaz said...

I have had some requests to get in contact. Could all who send such requests please leave your email, because if you post anonymously I am not able to get back to you.