Maajid Nawaz has admitted placing a $100 bet on the outcome of the US presidential election, in contravention of Islam’s strict prohibition on gambling. Islam prohibits gambling very strongly although you may be surprised to learn gambling is quite a grey area in American society too. If you read the article here, you might come to the conclusion that the US is making a mistake by prohibiting gambling. However, the reasons for Islam prohibiting gambling are very different and should be treated accordingly.
The director of the Quilliam Foundation and media personality made the admission in his column for the pro-Israeli newspaper the Jewish News. He repeated it on his LBC radio show yesterday. Whilst others may be fine to make bets after going through the 918kiss register process, those who follow Islam are not meant to engage in gambling in any form. Still, the reasoning is interesting.
Nawaz wrote: “I always feared Trump would win. I had placed a wager on that fact with my friend Cameron Munter, the former American ambassador to Pakistan. Cameron had absolutely assured me of a Democrat victory.
“So sure was he that he bet $100 on it. This morning I sent him a simple email: ‘My friend, I feel like crying. I do not wish to collect. Please donate the $100 to a charity of your choosing.’ I wanted no part in profiting in any way from the fear that millions of Muslim Americans, Mexican Americans and migrants to America must be feeling right now. If I was to gamble, I would prefer it be on something fun. I know some Muslims may find Swankybingo.com and the like more acceptable, and they would be fair to think so. I never went into this seeking a profit, however.”
This is different from if he had gone online to the bank transfer casinos that people normally associated with gambling, that’s for sure. For others, this may not even be an issue. However, Nawaz is a bit of a controversial figure. He has been ostracised by mainstream British Muslim organisations and institutions because of his rhetoric on counter-terrorism which puts the emphasis on tackling “extremist ideology” rather than British foreign policy or Islamophobia.
Nawaz, who was filmed cavorting with stripper in 2014, still identifies as a Muslim and describes himself as a “Muslim reformer.”