British Muslims have been urged to “stop pretending” violence and terrorism are completely alien to Islam. The call was made by Maajid Nawaz, a former leader of the UK branch of the hardline Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir (HuT).
Mr. Nawaz, a broadcaster and author, was speaking on London’s LBC radio in the wake of Saturday night’s terrorist atrocity in the British capital, in which seven people were killed and more than 50 injured. In response to a caller questioning whether Islam had anything to do with acts of terrorist violence, he had this to say:
“When the prophet Mohammed said: ‘I have been ordered to fight the people until they declare there is no god but God and Muhammad is his messenger’, That’s clearly got something to do with violence doesn’t it?” Maajid suggested.
The caller Muhammad said he would need to know the context of the sentence before he could fully agree.
“Ok, So let’s agree that context is important,” Maajid said. “Interpretation is important, but let’s not pretend it’s got nothing to do with violence because making the argument that we need context acknowledges that we’re having a discussion about violence and placing violence in its context within Islam. That’s different to saying violence has got nothing to do with Islam.”
Mr. Nawaz explained why the link must be first acknowledged and then understood:
“Why this is so important is because when listeners hear Muslims like yourself say it’s got nothing to do with it, they think that you’re trying to shirk responsibility and sidestep the very important task that faces all of us to challenge extremism within our mosques and our communities.
“Of course, that may not be what you intended, but it sounds like that to listeners who are not Muslims, it sounds like you’re making excuses so as to not go about doing the work that all of us have to do, which is to challenge extremism.”
Mr. Nawaz has previously taken issue with Muslims who try to decouple their faith from random acts of Islamist terrorist violence.
As Breitbart News reported, in 2016 he stated that the “Islamist ideology” needs to be named and challenged, and under then U.S. President Barack Obama “that’s simply just not happening.”