Maajid Nawaz believes in the right to offend. Well so do I, writes Roshan Muhammed Salih. And that’s why today I’m calling him a donkey (apologies in advance to all donkeys).
Following his tweeting of caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad (saw) and Prophet Isa (as) and the massive reaction to it, Nawaz wrote a ludicrous article in the Guardian claiming that he was trying to save Islam from being hijacked by extremists. In the risible piece which should be recycled as toilet paper, he was obviously trying to portray himself as some kind of “free speech martyr.”
But it is simply grotesque to compare Maajid Nawaz to any martyr who has ever lived, and far more accurate to liken him to an annoying horse-like creature which makes irritating noises.
Let’s get a few things straight.
Firstly, there is a broad cross-section of opinion within the Muslim community against Maajid Donkey Nawaz. In fact the only thing which brings us Muslims together like Mr Donkey is Israel.
He gets up the noses of Sufis, Shias, Salafis, “Islamists” and “non-Islamists” alike. This is because we can all see him for what he is – a vain attention-seeker whose voice has been artificially amplified by government finances, the BBC and the right-wing media.
Down the years Nawaz has served the establishment’s agenda faithfully – that of diverting attention away from Britain’s murderous foreign policy and putting the onus on the Muslim community to “clean its own house up.”
He has done what all minority communities find despicable – he has sided with the rich and powerful against the weak and downtrodden. He is a brown face doing the white man’s bidding. If anyone ever merited the epithets “sell-out” and “coconut” it is him.
Nawaz’s message of “Islamic extremism” and “Islamic reform” has gone down really well with all the Islamophobes in this country. The EDL love him, the Daily Mail and The Sun love him, the Conservative Party loves him, liberal hawks love him. Everybody who has ever had an axe to grind against Muslims love him.
And in his crusade to combat “Islamic extremism” all he’s really achieved is to make non-Muslims hate Muslims even more and to solidify the government narrative that British foreign policy is not the main motivating factor behind domestic radicalization.
Of course – like all effective propagandists – Maajid Nawaz deals in half-truths and not outright lies. There is indeed a problem with radicalisation within the Muslim community and there are indeed a minority of demented individuals who are perverting our religion.
But quite frankly, the only reason they exist is because the British state and the British media give them fuel to exist – although Maajid Donkey Nawaz doesn’t like to focus on that. And even if what he says has a little bit of merit, he has no right to make that point given his establishment backers.
The truth is that for Muslims the petition campaign against Maajid Nawaz (which has garnered around 22,000 signatures) is not just about the cartoons he tweeted. Although most Muslims will definitely find the cartoons offensive the anger directed against him cannot be explained with reference to them alone.
Rather, we see it as an opportunity to demonstrate to the world how much all sections of the community revile this guy – and not just crazy, demented “Islamists” who want to behead all kufaar.
For us this is visceral and this is personal. It’s payback for six years of seeing him given a platform he doesn’t deserve to attack a community which is itself under attack.
Frankly, I don’t care if this campaign fails to achieve its stated goal – none of us should expect the Lib Dems to de-select him as a parliamentary candidate because they are part of the same establishment that has spewed him forth.
Rather, this campaign is an opportunity for all sections of the Muslim community to come together and tell the British media and establishment that this guy is persona non grata as far as we are concerned.
We are sick and tired of seeing him presented as a “Muslim commentator,” as the “voice of moderate Islam” or the voice of reason against hordes of fanatics. We are sick of seeing his sharp suits, perfect grooming and smarmy grin. We are fed up of seeing his know-it-all stare invading our personal space.
If the media or event organisers decide to invite him as a guest then no Muslim should agree to share the same platform as him. If we do this they will soon get the message that they cannot mount a show or an event if he is present. And they will simply stop inviting him.
Finally, doubtless some people will say that I am giving Nawaz what he craves – the oxygen of publicity. I am sympathetic to this argument but think it is trumped by the need for the Muslim community to finally make its stance clear about Nawaz.
And after we have done that we should just ignore him and refuse to even acknowledge him. He will be nothing to us. Not even a donkey.