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Fmr Islamic Extremist: Saying Extremism Has Nothing To Do With Islam, ‘Ignorant,’ ‘As Unhelpful’ As Saying ‘That Is Islam’

On Saturday’s broadcast of the Fox News Channel’s “Fox & Friends,” Maajid Nawaz argued that saying violent extremist Islamism has nothing do with Islamism is “ignorant” and “as unhelpful” “as saying that that is Islam.”

Nawaz said that “in many of my fellow liberal circles, across Europe, and in Britain.” There’s an attitude that noting the religious impulses behind Islamic extremism is Islamophobic. He continued, “I think there’s a double standard at play here, and that double standard is borne unfortunately, of what I call a bigotry of low expectations. Muslims, brown-skinned people generally, people of color, are being judged by a lesser standard, an illiberal standard, as if there’s an expectation that we can’t possibly be secular democrats. And I think that’s a form of bigotry, and I challenge it. and it’s incredibly unfortunate, because it leads to the discrimination and disempowerment of the very communities these — my fellow liberals are purporting to want to support.”

He added that “to call this Islamist — the Islamist ideology, and in it’s violent manifestation, jihadist terrorism, what it does, is it allows reforming Muslims within the Muslim community, it provides them with a lexicon, it allows them to engage in that conversation, to address these very uncomfortable issues that are all real and present within our communities. there are serious challenges around equality, gender rights, sexuality rights. … [I]t’s ignorant to say this has nothing to do with Islam. That’s as unhelpful, frankly, Anna, as saying that that is Islam. I think the truth is in the middle. Of course, the blindingly obvious is to recognize that this has something to do with Islam, not nothing, and not everything. And if we were to be consistent, and apply the same standard we apply to historical Christianity. Just imagine how absurd it would sound for somebody to argue that the Inquisition — the Spanish Inquisition had nothing to do with Christianity or Catholicism, or that the Crusades had nothing to do with Pope Urban II and Catholicism and Christianity. It would sound absurd, and these same liberals are the first to jump on Christian fundamentalists when anti-abortion clinics are blown up. Yet, somehow that standard is abandoned when it comes to my fellow Muslims and my community. And I think that that, the bigotry of low expectation can only lead, as I said, to the disempowerment of those beleaguered reformist, Muslim voices. There are many who exist, many pay for it with their lives, they need our support. If liberals — my fellow liberals are concerned about minority communities, they should be first and foremost concerned about those women, those gay Muslims, those secular Muslims, who are struggling within their own community for their rights.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett

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