[June 27, 2017] This is my third in a series of posts dealing with new ideas; especially political leadership ideas that are both difficult to hold and to realize. Today, I’m presenting the thinking of Maajid Nawaz, British political activist, author, and statesman. He is also a former member of the Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir and was imprisoned in Egypt for his membership.
When a man plays rugby, he knows that his competition is out to crush him and his teammates. Maajid Nawaz, like Dinesh D’Sousa and Thomas Sowell1 makes a case against political correctness, liberal western ideology, and political appeasement. More than ever, this is difficult and fraught with personal danger. Like a losing rugby team’s coach, Nawaz is trying to reform his team – Islam – to make it better.
As can be read in the pages of theLeaderMaker.com, I’m very interested in men like him; those with moral courage as he has shown when he stands up to argue how Islamic theology needs radical reform from within and how support of Islamism is incompatible in modern civilization. Digging into his style and ideas can be difficult for those of us ignorant of any Muslim society but I will try to present his main philosophies.
Nawaz stands against the diktats of Islamist theocrats; those he associates with violent, intolerant, and despotic people and those who would enslave unwilling participants in the drive to expand the Muslim world. He also defends Muslim communities and argues strongly that Islam needs a liberal reform from within, not from an outside force.
Recently he was accused of being “anti-Muslim” for his challenge to Islamist theocracy. The Southern Poverty Law Center (a contradiction in terminology but that is for another post), as Nawaz notes, is now in the business of issuing fatwas against Muslim reformers. Nawaz and reformers like him sit in a unique position between the bigots that support expelling Islam from the West and Islamic theocrats themselves.2
“Anti-Muslim bigotry and discrimination must be challenged alongside the bigotry peddled by Muslim theocrats.” – Maajid Nawaz
There has been a wide-ranging complaint that moderate Muslims fail to challenge Islamic extremism and yet when they have done so they are being labeled as anti-Muslim. Those who now criticize Nawaz and others like him are the same folks who hold progressive values; feminism, gay rights, and free speech. It is of special interest to Nawaz how progressivism acts in contradiction to its basic philosophical tenets.
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