On the weekend of 20th – 21st September 2008, Quilliam Directors Maajid Nawaz and Ed Husain attended the Weinburg Founders Conference in Lansdown, Virginia, which was hosted by the Washington Institute of Near East Policy (WINEP). Maajid Nawaz spoke on a panel of a breakout session alongside Farah Pandith of the US State Department and Colin Mellis, a policy adviser to the City of Amsterdam, Holland.
The panel focused on Europe’s experience with radicalization, and the relevance of this for the USA. Collin Mellis began by outlining the City of Amsterdam’s strategy in dealing with domestic radicalization, and the work being carried out in close cooperation with Muslim communities to avert the threat. Maajid Nawaz addressed the difference between Islam and Islamism, and the strategy and work of The Quilliam Foundation in dealing with Islamism. Farah Pandith spoke of her networking across more than 50 European cities to empower mainstream, civil society voices against radicalization.
The panel then accepted a host of questions. Many in attendance expressed scepticism that Islam could ever be an antidote to Islamism, as they were of the view that Islam may be intrinsically violent. Such questions were robustly answered by all panelists, and the event ended with an optimistic assessment of Islam’s capacity to respond to radicalization.