Fearful liberals entrench Islamist blasphemy taboos in the name of diversity

Maajid Nawaz, Quilliam Chairman and author of Radical, stresses the importance of strong liberal leadership in the face of extremist minorities

Britain and other liberal societies reinforce minority religious practices through fear of provoking an unwanted reaction, according to Quilliam Chairman Maajid Nawaz.

In an essay published by CentreForum, Maajid Nawaz says that only liberalism can “shine through the fog” of Islamist extremism and must be actively promoted across communities, cultures and borders.

But it warns that fear of causing offence has too often compelled Western liberals to keep quiet, or self-censor, rather than assert their majority position.

Writing in the wake of the Paris attacks, Maajid Nawaz says that freedom of expression must be celebrated in modern society, and that no idea “however deeply held” should be given special status.

He argues that “if liberty means anything at all, it is the right to express oneself without being killed for it”. Any attempts to curb freedom of speech will only result in the furtherance of regressive ideals, he adds.

The essay titled ‘On Blasphemy’ also warns that ignoring Islamist extremism “in the name of respect for difference” will fuel the victimhood narrative of the British far right.

Maajid says these two extremes are currently “in perfect symbiosis, feeding off each other to justify their respective grievances”.

Maajid Nawaz concludes:

“Only a liberal torch can consistently shine through the fog of Far Right and Islamist extremisms and assert itself with any level of consistency.”

The essay ‘On Blasphemy’ by Maajid Nawaz is available here.

For media enquiries, please contact Charlie Winter at Quilliam on 020 7182 7284 or by emailing [email protected]. Media enquiries for CentreForum can be answered if you contact Tom Frostick ([email protected]) or Nick Tyrone ([email protected]) at CentreForum.

CentreForum is an independent liberal think tank seeking to develop evidence based policy solutions to the challenges facing Britain. For further details, please visit their website www.centreforum.org.