Former member of Hizb ut Tahrir and co-founder of Quilliam Foundation, Maajid Nawaz has been selected as the Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate for Hampstead and Kilburn.
Mr Nawaz won a majority of votes among local party members at a hustings held in West Hampstead yesterday night.
Mr Nawaz beat four other candidates who were hoping to be selected as the Lib Dem party candidate, including former Kilburn councillor and Camden Council cabinet member James King, retired GP Catherine Royce, David Bouchier and disability campaigner David Buxton.
Mohammed Latif from Kilburn said to 5 Pillarz: “I don’t think it is good news that Maajid Nawaz will be standing for Lib Dem MP for our constituency.
“He is not exactly very popular among majority of the Muslims in Britain, so I hope for his sake he keeps his strange views on Islam and his new role in British politics separate.”
Mr Nawaz will face Labour’s Tulip Siddiq and Conservative Simon Marcus in the race to become Hampstead and Kilburn’s next MP during the 2015 general election.
He said: “Following my confirmation as the Liberal Democrat candidate for Hampstead and Kilburn, I am looking forward to running for public office. Quilliam will remain a priority for me because its values shape my beliefs and outlook.”
Mr Nawaz, who was a member of Islamic political party Hizb ut-Tahrir was imprisoned in Egypt under Hosni Mubarak for four years and later became the co-founder and chairman of Quilliam Foundation, initially a government funded “counter-extremism” think-tank.
Quilliam Foundation was set-up with Labour party member, Ed Husain, five years ago after publicly renouncing his former “Islamist” ideology following his time in Egyptian prison with two other Britons.
Mr Nawaz has also published a book titled “Radical”, which follows his journey from a religious “extremist” to pro-democracy campaigner.
5 Pillarz followed Mr Nawaz on Twitter to see the reaction from other Muslims, non Muslims, notable politicians and public figures to his appointment as the Lib Dem candidate.
Minister for Faith and Communities, Sayeeda Warsi of the Conservative Party tweeted: “Congratulations but wrong party.”
Huffington Post’s UK editor, Mehdi Hasan tweeted: “Congrats, intriguing” and “Hmm, are you (Sayeeda Warsi) saying Maajid should have joined the Tories? Or did you mean UKIP?”
Mr Nawaz has not spoken to the press to make an official comment in regards to his appointment but tweeted the following: “FYI: I’ve given no interview quote yet, quote was from @QuilliamF press release. See it in context. Thanks”.