On 6th May 2010, Quilliam issued the following press release:

 

Quilliam calls for U.S. government to adopt counter-radicalisation strategy

6 May 2010

 

Maajid Nawaz, Quilliam’s director, used an appearance on CNN’s Larry King Live yesterday to call on the US Government to adopt a counter-radicalisation strategy in order to tackle the growing threat of home-grown terrorism in the US.

 

Speaking on the same show as Rudy Giuliani, the former mayor of New York City, and John McCain, the former US presidential candidate, Nawaz told CNN:

 

‘Before somebody becomes a terrorist, they have to be an extremist. An extremist usually operates within the law because it involves extremism in terms of ideas rather than violence … And there is no policy in place at the moment to challenge these extremist ideas.

‘My request, what I’d like to emphasize, is that the U.S. government, U.S. media, U.S. civil society and U.S. communities – and the same for Pakistan – they need to start to devise a counter-radicalisation strategy and not just a counter-terrorism strategy.’

 

Nawaz also highlighted the importance of challenging the flawed Islamist narrative that the West and Islam are at war, pointing to the fact that the Times Square car-bomb was first brought to the police’s attention by a Muslim Senegalese immigrant named Aliou Niasse as something that the media and US law enforcement agencies should have drawn greater attention to.

 

In the last year alone, the US has seen a number of significant Islamist terrorist attacks and alleged plots including the November 2009 Fort Hood shooting, the Najibullah Zazi plot to bomb the New York subway system and the recent Times Square attempted car-bombing. In addition to these, there have been repeated media reports of US Somalis travelling to Somalia to join al-Qaeda affiliated group al-Shabaab, while one of al-Qaeda’s main spokesmen, Adam Gadahn, is a US-born convert to Islam who was brought up in California.

 

A full transcript of Maajid Nawaz’s appearance on Larry King Live is available here.