On 10th September 2009, Maajid Nawaz led an open event at the Middle East Institute in Washington D.C. to launch Quilliam’s latest publication Pakistan: Identity, Ideology and Beyond. The event, which was entitled ‘How to counter radical Islam in Pakistan’, was hosted by the President of the Institute, Wendy Chamberlin, who has previously served as US Ambassador to Pakistan in 2001.
Maajid gave a presentation on the main themes and recommendations included within the report. In particular, he spoke of the need to undertake a ‘paradigm shift’ in tackling Islamist extremism in Pakistan, with greater focus on an intellectual rebuttal of Islamist ideology. He also highlighted the issues that have arisen due to Pakistan’s inability to forge a coherent national identity for its diverse populace, which has allowed Islamism a chance to gain ground within the country. The presentation concluded with new ideas and spaces that can be used to counter extremism in Pakistan, including a vibrant media, a robust civil society and an emerging consensus between citizens, government and the military to tackle the Islamist threat.
The event was well-attended and included researchers and policy specialists who displayed a keen interest in Quilliam’s work, particularly the proposed ‘paradigm shift’ detailed above.