Are all Muslims terrorists?

No.

Are some Muslims terrorists?

Yes.

Is there a connection between Islam and terrorism?

Yes.

I’ve studied the Qu’ran.

And in 2002, I was arrested for being a member of a radical Islamist group and spent 5 years as a political prisoner in Egypt’s notorious Mazra Torah prison; including months in solitary confinement. I’ve met hundreds of radical Muslims in my life, from the most hardened terrorists in prison to confused teenagers in London.

Because of this, I can say without a doubt:
Terrorism has something to do with Islam. Not nothing, not everything… but something.

But that something may not be what you think.

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Hello and welcome,

My name is Maajid Nawaz.

I’m a British Muslim, author of Radical: My Journey Out of Radical Extremism, and founder of the world’s first counter-extremism think-tank.

In 2016, there’s been an Islamist terrorist attack every 144 hours.

That’s every 6 days.

Inevitably another bomb will go off and dozens of Muslims and non-Muslims will die.

And do you know the first thing you’ll see on Facebook, Twitter, and mainstream media after the attack?

Something like this:

I know your friends and family who say these things mean well.

But they’re wrong.

In fact, they’re dangerous.

Is Islam a Religion of Peace?

1,000 years ago, Muslims welcomed Jews and Christians from all over the world to Baghdad to study at the House of Wisdom.

Together, they made advances in mathematics, biology, philosophy, and medicine that the world wouldn’t see the like of again for nearly 500 years. Evidence of their influence remains in the modern English words like algebra (الجبر), algorithm (الخوارزمي), and chemistry (كيمياء), to name a few.

Today, there are Muslims from Istanbul and from New York.

There are Muslims who speak Arabic and French.

Or English, Russian, or Chinese.

There are Muslims who are very religious and those who aren’t. Some Muslims like baseball. Others prefer basketball. And some don’t like sports and just watch cooking shows.

Like any other group, Muslims have a variety of experiences, interests, opinions, languages, and careers.

If there is a “truth about Muslims” it is simply this: Muslims, like any other group of people, are extremely diverse.

But today, Islam has a dark side too: Islamism or Political Islam.

Islamism: a political version of Islam defined as the desire to impose any version of Islam on a society

Islamism is the politicization of Islam. It isn’t representative of all of Islam.

But it is related to Islam.

Think of Islamists like the Christian Fundmentalists in the United States.

Christian Fundementalists want to outlaw gay marriage. They want Creationism taught in schools.

And they want to see their religious law be the law of the country.

Like their Christian counterparts, Islamists are not usually violent.

Instead, they usually choose to advance their goals politically by trying to change the laws of their country.

What do Islamists want?

How many Islamists are there?

15% of Muslims in Turkey support suicide bombings. 16% in Belgium.

36% of young British Muslims believe a Muslim should be killed if he converts to another religion.

52% of British Muslims want homosexuality outlawed in the UK.

26% of young Muslims in America believe suicide bombings are justified.

18% of Muslim students in Britain would not report a fellow Muslim planning a terrorist attack.

In Muslim majority countries, all polls indicate very favourable attitudes towards honor killings, stoning adulters, and strict Islamic Law.

Again I stress this is not all Muslims who think this way. Remember, if 18% of Muslim students in Britain would not report a fellow Muslim planning a terror attack, 82% would report it.

But Islamism’s popularity is beyond question and its danger is real.

So long as Islamism remains popular, some Islamists will become further radicalized to use violence to achieve their goal of imposing Islam.

Many Muslims, like myself, are dedicated to supporting a peaceful and tolerant version of Islam that is respectful of freedom of expression, democracy, and secular values.

But our fight against Islamism has become all but impossible. Why?

Because in the West, Islamism has found a most unlikely ally…

Donald Trump, Lord Voldemort & The Rise of the Regressive Left

When a Christian Fundementalist pastor says gay people are going to hell, Progressive Liberals are disgusted.

Rightly so.

When Donald Trump suggests placing Muslims on a register, the internet nearly breaks from the outrage.

Rightly so.

But when bigots from my own religion want to arrest or execute gay people (which is the law in 43 out of 49 Muslim majority countries), execute apostates, or kill cartoonists…

Silence.

This is the regressive left…

Regressive Left: liberals who criticize bigotry done by white people but excuse bigotry done by non-white people because they don't want to appear racist

At its best, the regressive left is just trying to be polite and inoffensive.

They speak about 1.7 billion Muslims in the world as though 12 are members of ISIS and the rest are just like their socially liberal Muslim neighbor.

This is clearly not the case.

It’s as unhelpful as an anti-Muslim bigot who thinks that, out of 1.7 billion Muslims, 12 are friendly and the rest are members of ISIS.

At its worst, the regressive left silences legitimate criticism of Islamism by smearing anyone who dares to criticize any part of Islam.

For my desire to call out bigots in my own religion, I have been called: “a porch-monkey”, “native informant,” and even an “anti-Muslim extremist”.

This is evidence of what I call: the bigotry of low expectations. “Of course, we can’t expect those brown Muslims to behave like civilized people. Of course, they’re violent”.

“And if one of them wants to behave in a civilized way, he must be shilling.”

But the real problem with the regressive left is the Voldemort Effect (from the Harry Potter books).

In the books, Lord Voldemort is the villain who everyone is terrified of. Because of their fear, they do two things: first, they refuse to name him.

And second, they deny he exists. Thus, he grows stronger. This has two negative consequences.

First, it creates anti-Muslim bigotry because people aren’t educated on the difference between Islam and Islamism.

Second, it prevents Muslims from having debate and discussion about Islamism within their communities.

Unless Islamism is called out, challenged, and criticised, it will continue to grow stronger.

The END of terrorism and the future of islam depends on you

After my release from prison in 2006, I had a new mission: popularize support for a version of Islam that could exist in harmony with a secular world and democratic values.

Using the same skills I had once used to recruit young Muslims into extremism, I sought out the most influential progressive Muslim and non-Muslim voices I could find and brought them together to form Quilliam.

Meet the team

Adam Deen
Managing Director

Usama Hasan
Senior Researcher

Salah Al-Ansari
Senior Researcher

Together, we established Quilliam, the world’s first counter-extremism organisation.

As a secular organisation, we work across multiple platforms, from policy through to the arts, to engender more nuanced positions on the need for greater liberal democratic values among Muslims, while empowering reform Muslim voices to build new leadership. We also challenge Islamism’s twin, the far-right, because the two feed off each other.

But the harsh reality is…

We can’t stop extremism. You can.

Like anti-racism campaigns, the fight against extremism cannot be solved by organisations like Quilliam alone. We rely on civil society as a whole to step up to name the threat of Islamist extremism and discuss it in communities, in order to isolate it and challenge it.

Only by making Islamist and far-right extremism unattractive in communities can we effectively defeat them.

That’s why we created the Quilliam Circle.

The Quilliam Circle teaches our Circle members how they (and you) can better stand up against extremism in your daily life – and teach others how to do the same.

As a Quilliam Circle member you are entitled to monthly coaching sessions from our counter-extremism expert team, so you can become your own counter-extremist.
 
You also get extra rewards like merchandise, priority tickets to events, free access to our research and more!

If you agree with what you’ve read, and you understand the difference between Islam and Islamism
then you are one of the few who can help us in our fight against Islamist and far-right extremism.

Every day that extremism goes unchallenged, is a day that more young Muslims are radicalized,
and more innocent people die.

I’d like to extend to you a personal invitation to join the ranks of Quilliam Circle
and be part of our global movement of Muslims and non-Muslim to challenge Islamism and all forms of extremism.

-Maajid Nawaz, Founder

Join Circle Now