On 2nd September 2010, Quilliam Co-Director Maajid Nawaz spoke at the Association of European Journalists. Maajid spoke about his experience of Islamism, and introduced Quilliam to the audience. He said that Quilliam is a think tank, which aims to challenge extremism and the way in which people understand issues pertaining to Islam and to Muslims in the UK. He emphasised that Quilliam supports the participation of British Muslims in politics as civilians, and denies the existence of a single ‘Islamic political point of view’. He also spoke about the difference between legal tolerance and civil tolerance: that organisations should be allowed to exist even if their view are considered to be repellent, but that their views should be challenged.
A question and answer session followed, in which Maajid was asked about Islamism in the UK and overseas, about the relationship between Britain and Britain’s Muslims and Pakistan, about the different counter-terrorism and counter-extremism approaches adopted by European governments, and about the role of Palestine in the radicalisation process. Maajid addressed the issue of the Islamist narrative of ‘the West vs. Islam’, maintaining that such an interpretation of geo-politics is misguided. Indeed, any clash that does exist is between totalitarianism and pluralistic and democratic values, and is not restricted to Muslims. He differentiated between issues of counter-extremism and issues of wider social cohesion.
The event was held at the European Parliament’s office in London.