On 25th March 2010, Quilliam co-Director Maajid Nawaz spoke in the Houses of Parliament at an event organized by Article 19 entitled ‘Striking A Balance Between the Right to Free Expression and the Right to Equality’, which was hosted and moderated by Lord Lester of Herne Hill, QC.

 

Maajid spoke alongside Professor Githu Muigai (the UN Special Rapporteur (Racism and Racial Discrimination)), Anastasia Crickley (Chairperson of the European Union Fundamental Rights Agency), and Miklós Haraszti (formerly the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media).

 

Maajid spoke about the need for efforts that challenge extremism to be viewed from a human rights platform, for civil society to be more active in the need to protect the freedom of speech of those countering Islamist extremism, just as they defend the right of Islamists to speak, so that this effort is no longer seen as the bastion of far right activists. Maajid also argued that blasphemy laws were both unIslamic as they hindered any religion’s right to proselytize, and are also inherently impractical.