The secular liberal reformer Maajid Nawaz of the controversial think-tank the Quilliam Foundation has said that he feels like a “second class citizen” after the UK government stripped Shamima Begum of her British citizenship.
On Monday 18 February, the much-disliked Nawaz posted a photo on Facebook after he was allegedly attacked by a “racist” who called him a “f*cking P*ki” outside Soho theatre.
In another Facebook post, he thanked the “white non-Muslims” who came to his aid, “consoled him” and provided witness statements to the police.
The alleged racist attack coincided with the UK government’s decision to revoke the British citizenship of Shamima Begum, the east London schoolgirl who went to Syria in 2015 to live under ISIS.
Home secretary Sajid Javid argued that Miss Begum is eligible for Bangladeshi citizenship due to her mother possessing a Bangladeshi passport.
However, Bangladesh’s ministry of foreign affairs said the teenager does not have Bangladeshi citizenship and would not be allowed to enter the country.
Currently, Miss Begum and her newborn baby son are stateless.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that “no-one shall be arbitrarily deprived of their nationality”.
In response to this, Nawaz posted on Facebook that he felt that he had become a “second class citizen”:
“Overnight, I and others like me have become second-class citizens by our Home Secretary‘s decree. This only applies to those whose parents have another heritage, even if they themselves only have British citizenship. This is worse than anything Trump has done. It’s the “dreamers” scandal on crack. Deportations are already being applied for criminal conduct, not just terrorism. Today witnesses a dangerous extension of that power. If citizenship is revocable for people like me, it was never citizenship to begin with. It was nothing but a visa.
“This is *not* about jihadists. It is about the rest of us. I was born and raised in the UK. I carry no other passport. I am not an immigrant. I am nobody’s “guest”. I do not need to be “grateful” for being here. My being here is not a “privilege” that I must thank you for. And nobody gets to patronisingly tell me that I have “nothing to worry about if I behave”. I am your equal. Yet now, I can be punished twice for crimes arbitrarily determined sufficiently serious enough in future. Once by a jail term, and then by deportation. I hope that this disastrous decree is struck down by our courts. This is nothing but a War on Citizenship. And I will resist it with all my might.”
Many Muslims failed to sympathise with Nawaz who is widely seen as an enabler of Islamophobia and anti-Muslim hatred.