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Liberals must rally round Maajid Nawaz

22 January 2014

Interesting, isn’t it, this rather worrying statement from the Muslim body, MQI UK on the Mohammed cartoon affair. That, you recall, began when a member of a BBC TV audience showed  a cartoon image from a series called Jesus and Mo on his T-shirt depicting, er, Mohammed and Jesus. Nothing remotely offensive but a full-face depiction of Mohammed nonetheless. The image was duly tweeted by a participant on the programme,  Maajid Nawaz, former Islamist, one of the founders of the Quilliam Foundation and now a LibDem candidate for Kilburn, just to show why it was he wasn’t offended by it and to stimulate debate about what is and isn’t acceptable to Muslims.

The statement from MQI UK goes as follows:

‘Minhaj-ul-Quran International (MQI)  has noted the controversy surrounding the tweeting of a cartoon portraying Jesus and Muhammad (peace be upon them both) by Maajid Nawaz of the Quilliam Foundation, and the condemnations from various quarters. MQI wishes to make it clear that pictorial representations of any prophets of God (including Moses, Jesus and Muhammad) are prohibited by Islam, according to the majority scholarly opinion, as they detract from the sacred standing and highest esteem the Prophets hold within the religion, and they consequently cause deep offence to Muslims.

The founder of MQI, His Eminence Shaykh-ul-Islam Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri, has always emphasised maintaining an appropriate balance between freedom of speech and the freedom to take religious offence.

A Minhaj-ul-Quran UK spokesman said “We call on Maajid Nawaz to apologise for his mistake of tweeting the cartoon. We urge people of whatever opinion, creed or religion they hold, to respect the boundaries of civil and respectful dialogue, and we condemn the death threats against Mr Nawaz. The strength of feeling demonstrated so far is in danger of polarising the community, which can only be detrimental to societal cohesion.”‘

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Now MQI UK is a professedly moderate body – you’ll note that it draws the line at death threats – but it takes issue with the pictorial representation of the prophet of Islam on principle and is calling on Mr Nawaz to apologise for the tweet. If moderate Muslim groups are condemning his dissemination of the image, even in order to demonstrate its innocuousness, then you have to reconsider just how liberal is liberal Islam.

The tweet made the point that the image is not calculatedly offensive, unless you consider any pictorial representation of Mohammed to be offensive. (And one thing the Danish cartoon controversy made clear is that there’s more than one view about this in the Muslim tradition.) So, however you feel about this particular Lib Dem, I’d say that it’s incumbent on the rest of us to rally round Mr Nawaz, beset as he is by genuine extremists, plus George Galloway, and unsupported by the kind of professedly moderate Muslim organisations which should have rallied round him. One hopes his party – though members’ minds are possibly elsewhere right now – will have the gumption to do the same.

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Show comments
  • saint_91

    Terrible article. We don’t need to demand that Muslims not find cartoon depictions of Muhammad offensive. We simply need them to be non-violent and accept that people can draw Muhammad in a liberal society. People should be entirely free to express their offence as part of their exercise of free speech. People should be free to offend AND be free to be offended in a free society.

  • Pashtun Pashtun

    After reading the comments below, I can assert that most on this site are morons and child like minded when it comes to politics. I oppose Islam just as much, but some of you hold the very same ignorant values the Islamists have, such as one commenter who wrote they should “falafel” back to their own ancestral lands? that is pure and simple racial profiling and stereotyping and I know for a fact some White moron would write something like that, hows about you return to your ancestral home lands or the brothel your grandmothers born you into. Islam is a cancer but it suits western interests…keep the muslims ignorant and angry…so they never rise up and progress….West backs Islamists in other parts of the world then fights them in other parts….

  • S1999

    Why doesn’t Maajid Nawaz simply become an apostate? He rightly has doubts about Islam, so why bother to reform the irredeemable? The best example he can give to other Muslims is basically to declare: “I can’t deal with this s**t because it is morally vacuous and without any hope.”

  • JoBennets

    So you’ll be supporting the only group with the courage to take to the streets and protest about this ideology that is taking over our culture?

  • Bonkim

    Muslims in Britain should grow up and ignore this type of situation – heightened sensitivity to religion – not British. Best solution – more people engaging in ridiculing extremist religions. More provocation, more immune the sensitive-skinned will be.

    • Eddie

      Yes, but it’s the mostly white middle class bureaucrats (teachers, politicians, councils) who kowtow and defer to the demands and threats of religious and racial minorities that is the real betrayal here. These are the real traitors to our values – which are frankly superior to 12th century superstition based on hero-worship of a 7th century slave-owning child-marrying murderous warlord.

      The Muslims should have been told to shut up and integrate (ie accept our values of freedom of speech) or leave this country decades ago – yet still, the cowards who rule us pander to their every whim. It is a betrayal of the people of this country and our ancestors – and Enlightenment values – and it reminds me of those who betrayed their countries, then brothers, then friends to fascism in the 30s and 40s. For SHAME!

      I know some academics and just how universities turn a blind eye to extremism if it comes from a racial and religious minority. If the same views came from white men they’d be called dinosaurs at best, or fascists and hatemongers at worst. But because brown Mo-worshippers believe stuff, the gatekeepers of political correctness’ must always defend them!

      • Bonkim

        Eradicate the term ‘multi-cultural’ from the English language, it is a meaningless term – no one can be multi-cultural.

        Political correctness comes out of ignorance – solution for the lazy of mind.

        • global city

          I’m afraid that you are wrong on both counts. It is much more sinister than stupid notions of ‘people getting along’.

          Multiculturalism is nothing to do with appreciating and adopting elements of each others’ cultures (the melting pot) but a dogma of parallel communities in order to sow strife….separate and competing. The idea is to eliminate any ‘dominant culture’ in each western country.

          of course it is of the New Left, and PC is merely one tactic within multiculturalism.

          • Bonkim

            Not sure if any western country apart from Britain has adopted multi-culturalism. Integration is faster when the dominant culture absorbs the rest. Don’t see ant sinister plot to undermine the West – it is for the British people to learn and propagate what is best in Britain’s history and culture – not narrow minded sectarian or popular prejudices against others.

            Britain has a great history, heritage, language, and traditions but the present generation does not appear to appreciate that, instead whittling away time and energy on useless pursuits – football, TV or idle banter.

            One might say culture is maintained and expanded by the educated elite – elitism and excellence is shunned by the vast majority in Britain – example – low quality of comments and discussion in these columns – at best venting popular prejudice against Islam or others – simply focusing on difference. Earlier era British had more exposure to the world and understood its mechanics. Civilizations decline due to creeping ignorance and incompetence.

            Bringing religion in politics is demise of reason.

            • pp22pp

              “Earlier era British had more exposure to the world and understood its mechanics. Civilizations decline due to creeping ignorance and incompetence.”

              How could we possible have had more exposure to foreigners than we’re having now? The lowest quality comments on this stream come from you.

              Civilizations can die for many reasons. One of the most common is allowing themselves to be overrun by aliens.

              • Bonkim

                Check up on British history – You have no clue.

                Civilizations rise and fall due to internal factors – lose vigour, spirit of adventure, get soft, lose drive. Overrun by aliens – that is a state of mind – if you allow yourself to be overrun in your mind and give up thinking.

            • global city

              That is all just so wrong, especially with regards to the points I was actually raising.

              • Bonkim

                Don’t forget multiculturalism started by do-gooding social workers, it is another generation. It has lost its meaning and with time perspectives change in society.

                Political correctness not just about religion, and race but in all walks of life – once again originating in the liberal 60s and spreading far and wide. in some way it has been a good influencing equality of all sections in Britain – disabled, women, minorities, etc, etc, you would not categorize or discriminate anyone based on any number of differences – I would suggest it strengthens the dominant culture rather than diminishing it. Britain ought to be proud of that compared with say Russia or African and Islamic countries hounding Gays, women, minorities, etc. Think about that.

  • Chris

    If the liberals don’t then he should join UKIP. We will.

  • andy_gill

    I wouldn’t expect too much from the Lib Dems. They are after all the party of Jenny Tonge and David Ward, and firmly in thrall to the Muslim lobby..

  • Bob-B

    There is no right not to be offended. People say things about Margaret Thatcher which are offensive to the average Tory, things about communism which are offensive to communists, things about cricket which are offensive to cricket fans, and so on. All these people have to put up with others saying things they find offensive, and the situation should be no different for religious people, no matter how ‘deeply held’ there beliefs may be.

  • Fasdunkle

    al Qadri claims he helped to write pakistan’s appalling blasphemy laws and that blasphemers should be “killed like a dog”

    His views on this should be disregarded

  • robheggie1

    “an appropriate balance between freedom of speech and the freedom to take religious offence.”

    ….what are you talking about? your religion is an embarrassing joke, deal with it.

  • MikeF

    In retransmitting this image this man committed an act that he knew many of his fellow Muslims would find offensive. His justification for doing so is a matter for his own conscience – his motivation is irrelevant. But any reaction from other Muslims that involves the threat of or fact of violence is a matter for the law. That is all there is to it.

    • Trofim

      . . . this man committed an act that he knew many of his fellow Muslims would find offensive”.
      Bear in mind that many if not most Muslims could be offended by the image without even seeing it. After all, tens of millions of Muslims were deeply offended by the The Satanic Verses without having read a paragraph of it. Indeed, I would venture to suggest that a majority of those offended were unable to read at all.

      • MikeF

        I’m not actually criticising him for what he did. I agree that Muslims living in the West should accomodate themselves to the way that secular and religious attitudes have generally managed to find ways to coexist peaceably here since the Enlightenment and not the other way round. If his motivation was to try to nudge Islam along that path then fine I applaud him for it.
        I am just pointing out the inevitable consequences of what he did given the way that secular, supposedly ‘liberal’ sensibilities have developed here over the last couple of decades. The ‘cultural sensitivity’ on which so many liberals pride themselves has led to the creation of regressive ethnic and religious ghettos. In order to ‘rally round’ this man a lot of ‘liberals’ are going to have to admit that their actions and attitudes over the recent past have been utterly and disastrously misplaced. It is not something liberals like to do.

    • Fasdunkle

      They only found it offensive once the campaign against him got under way and thus attracted a lot of publicity. Normally very few people would have seen it.

      Anyway, no islamic prophets are depicted in the cartoon

  • Eddie

    It’s funny coz it’s true:

  • James Strong

    This comment is for Melanie McDonagh far more than to the commenters, most of whom seem to understand the realities.
    ‘ you have to reconsider just how liberal is liberal Islam’

    At last you are beginning to see how things really are. Now, please continue to inform yourself about Islam, bearing in mind that mohammedans themselves are allowed and encouraged to lie to you if that furthers the cause of their religion. There are plenty of resources available to you in the public domain.
    Then, when you have reconsidered just how liberal is liberal Islam please tell all your colleagues, friends and family what you discover to be the truth. And write about it, too.
    It is essential that the truth is spread and the lies are countered, there is no liberal Islam. All mohammedans want the same, the ‘liberals’ are just those who stay quiet about it and let others do the fighting and shouting for them.

  • chrisphillips

    One small point of order – George Galloway IS a genuine extremist and as his conversion to Islam has been widely reported, an Islamic extremist at that. His name required no mention of its own. He could have been lumped in with the rest of them.

    And by the way Spectator – publish the damned cartoon.

  • Blazeaway

    Mr Nawaz is brave. He will have known the dangers of ‘hate speech’ and has done a brave thing by ignoring them.
    We must all support his cause. Everyone has the right to take part in debate and no-one should have the right to silence anyone whose views they dislike.

  • Craig

    Yet another example of the fundamental disconnect between Islam and the West. Both societies hold fundamentally different assumptions over what is and isn’t acceptable, and they can’t be reconciled with multicultural platitudes. We can have one or the other, but not both.

    • FrenchNewsonlin

      We’ve already opted for our assumptions, it is the alien obscurantist ideologues who seek to impose theirs … and that by guerrilla infiltration. Where is our Charles Martel?

  • Tom M

    If Islam prohibits images of their prophet how do we know any cartoon is a realistic representation of him? Do they have a group of imams studying the finer points of the Q’ran or Hadith to verify the accuracy of cartoons or potraits purporting to represent the prophet.
    Personally I would like some guidance on this if I were a Muslim before I went off on some jihad or other. After all it could just be one big hoax.

    • Andy

      A very good point !
      Personally I liked the one of Mohammed with a bomb in his turban.

    • Denis_Cooper

      Same for images of Moses and Jesus, which also get them in a tizzy.

  • Daniel Maris

    I am afraid that if you go on the Quilliam Foundation website you will find that it is, according to them, perfectly acceptable to be a conservative Muslim and work for the imposition Sharia in the UK , as long as you do so peacefully. Imposing a system that makes non-Muslims and women second class citizens is not my idea of moderation.

    Of course he should be protected from death threats etc but we don’t need to go out of our waty to support someone who sees nothing wrong with the imposition of Sharia in the UK.

  • Trapnel

    Intolerant, violent and discriminatory aspects of Islam plain for all to see.

  • Joshua Lord

    Maajid Nawaz is, as far as I can tell, the only truly moderate, liberal muslim in the public sphere and hence one of the only salient examples that Islam – albeit watered-down by “interpretations” of scripture that try to keep pace with modern secular values – isn’t *necessarily* inimical to western civilisation–though in practise, presently, and overwhelmingly, I think that it is. Considering this, one might expect liberals, without exception, to rally to his side, emboldened by the hope that if this man’s brand of Islam were to become the norm they might no longer have to renege on pretty much every one of their professed core principles in a perennial capitulation to Islamic “offense”; something a discouragingly large proportion currently seem only too willing to do.

    Basically, either Islam adapts to better match the apparently genuinely moderate brand held by adherents such as Maajid Nawaz, or we face the prospect of extremely socially conservative policies (criminalisation of homosexuality, anyone?) gaining increasing political support as the ratio of Muslims to non-Muslims in the UK – and to a larger extent, across Europe – becomes less and less skewed towards the latter due to significantly higher Muslim birth rates. Maajid Nawaz represents a glimmer of hope that Islam and the west aren’t destined for a zero-sum conflict. Accordingly, we must support and defend him emphatically; liberals most of all!

    • doc

      LOL not another”The Moooslims are takng over” comment! Your style of argument against a minority is reminiscent of a certain fellow in the 30’s who said the same thing about another minority.
      Right, let’s all support Maajid Nawaz because if we don’t, the Mosslims will take over and ban homosexuality! Sounds like the EDL’s ‘creeping shariah’ argument to me! and you’re a lib dem member?!

      • James Strong

        Do you know how mohammedans view an ideal society?
        Non-members of the religion do not have the same rights as members.

        Within the religion women do not have the same rights as men.
        Many norms of behaviour that are widespread in the West are crimes in a mohammedan society.
        The punishement for some crimes is death, for some others it is maiming.
        Now, don’t necessarily take my word for it; go and find out for yourself.
        Then explain how you can fail to be opposed to the growth of mohammedanism in the UK.

        • Daniel Maris

          He knows all right.

      • Trapnel

        Jesus: “Oh and a Muslim tweeted a picture of you and said he did not find it offensive”

        Mo: “In the name of Allah, why doesn’t somebody do something?”

        Funnier than you, Doc.

      • Joshua Lord

        It is a fact that the birth rates among UK Muslims is higher than it is for non-muslims. Feel free to check. And although the birth rates of UK Muslims have been slowly decreasing and are projected to go down still further, it is likely to be many decades before it matches that of the non-muslim population. Ergo, the Muslim population is almost certainly going to form an increasingly large portion of the overall UK population as the years pass. I’d have thought this relatively uncontroversial. Only the rate at which this will occur and at what point the trend might eventually dissipate remain unclear.

        There is survey data to suggest that UK Muslims have something of a “zero-tolerance” attitude toward homosexuality. And please don’t accuse me of unfairly “generalising” – in 2009 a Gallop poll ( asked 500 UK Muslims questions about their views on a range of (putatively) moral issues. How many UK Muslims thought homosexual acts are morally permissible? Not a single one out of 500. Granted, I cannot conclude from this finding that 100% of UK Muslims consider homosexuality a moral aberration, but I think that I *can* reasonably conclude that the *vast* majority do. Perhaps you are more sanguine than me about whether these moral convictions would translate to support for consonant legislative measures, but I think we have every reasonable to believe that they would.

        Indeed, the widespread endorsement of exceptionally (by western standards) conservative cultural attitudes by UK Muslims doesn’t stop at homophobia. I’d strongly urge you to read the following report on the cultural attitudes of UK Muslims: It found that across a range of social issues, including whether Muslim woman should be able to marry without the permission of their guardian and whether apostasy should be punishable by death, Muslim respondents between the ages of 16-24 consistently gave the more conservative response than did their older counter-parts. The trend is unmistakably linear and reliable across all the survey questions. UK Muslims are more socially conservative the younger they are.

        In sum, I feel quite confident that the central claims of my initial comment are well-supported by the available evidence. My position can be summarised as thus:

        1) Islam, as currently practised by most, promotes a broad range of extremely socially conservative attitudes incompatible with modern secular values.

        2) The proportion of individuals in the UK who follow Islam and hence are predisposed to forming the conservative attitudes it perpetuates, is set to rise over the next few decades at least.

        3) These two propositions combined, if true (and I believe that the evidence suggests that they are), indicate that political support for extremely socially conservative policies in the UK are likely to rise.

        4) This (IMO undesirable) state of affairs could be mitigated by Muslims adopting a less literalist form of Islam, such as that practised by Maajid Nawaz, which allows for greater compatibility between Islamic and western values.

        Exactly which aspect of my position, and on what grounds, do you take issue?

      • Daniel Maris

        Taqiyya, taqiyya, taqiyya,

      • johnslattery

        Muslims comprise less than 20% of the population of the Philippines but the rebellion they launched on the southern island of Mindanao has cost over 30,000 lives and continues to destablize the whole country to this day. Islamists do not need to ‘take over’ a country to wreck havoc. Ask the Nigerians. Ask the Thais. Ask the Russians. Ask the Chinese. Ask the Indians. All have long-term Islamic insurrections. Ask yourself, doc: why should anybody in their right minds want this cult on their soil? And please spare us the Hitler rubbish. You just make yourself look like Adrian Mole.

    • FrenchNewsonlin

      There are no “brands of Islam”, there is only Islam and far from being moderate, it is a militant, crusading, intolerant ideology sometimes found in highly deceptive packaging.

    • global city

      What happened to all those ‘muscular secularists’ of the Left? They were out in force demonising and pillorying Christianity and Christians. Is this because they know it is not really the evil they portray and so nobody will kill them?

  • doc

    I believe there are some points missing:

    1. There have been 4-5 death threats to Maajid on twitter, which relatively speaking, seems comfortingly low compared to the number of twitter death threats to Stan Collymore, and a few months ago to the Jane Austen campaigners. It seems to be part of the territory on twitter, every remotely controversial statement suffers such a backlash. Tommy Robinson get’s them every day, but we don’t knee jerk defend his right to free speech do we, although he is Maajid’s new best friend? So to extrapolate that Maajid is suffering something unique to “White-liberal rubber stamped approved Muslim moderates” from a horde of illiberal non-compliant extremist Muslims is wrong.

    2. 99.99% of Muslims have responded in the democratic way via a (poorly written but point made) petition to the party. What do you want them to do to express their offense? Get on the streets? How many of you have actually read their petition, I mean properly with an open liberal mind? not skim reading to pick holes? We should be celebrating that we are not seeing Muslims on the streets burning things etc.

    3. Nobody is campaigning or trying to ban the Jesus & Mo cartoon itself, it’s been around for years and is deliberately offensive (showing Muhammad asking Jesus to sexually experiment with him) but was and will be ignored by Muslims (I pray). It is infantile to claim this is about free speech, this is about standards of behaviour appropriate for a parliamentary candidate who is supposed to be sensitive to his constituents and respectful of REAL red lines of all major communities (not fabricated offense to make a point against the offended people). If he had tweeted the image of Anne Frank in bed with Hitler would this discussion be different? If he wasn’t a PPC I doubt we would be talking about it, the petition makes that clear, nothing to do with free speech. Can a doctor and nurse swear in front of their patients? Can a GP in his surgery fart and then tell his obese heart diseased client that he is a fat ugly git? Every job comes with responsibility of speech, not freedom. Public office is a great responsibility.

    4) If people are really concerned about freedom of speech under attack for a political opinion and not concerned about consequences on community relations, where are you WRT David Ward MP?

    • Daniel Maris

      Stan Collymore? Could it be this Stan Collymore you are referring to?:

      “Collymore had a relationship with Ulrika Jonsson which ended after he punched her in a Parisian bar in 1998. He later married Estelle Williams. The couple divorced in 2007 and Collymore was arrested after
      allegedly threatening to kill her and burn down her parents’ house in 2007. Charges were later dropped after Collymore agreed to be bound over to keep the peace.” (Wikipedia)

      • doc

        Yes, nasty person but ironically he didn’t get death threats for that (maybe you believe he should?). He got deatn theats this week for suggesting that a football player faked a foul and fell down.

        • Daniel Maris

          Me? No – I definitely oppose anyone threatening anyone with death. Football fans however seem to delight in threatening each other with death and visits to hospitals. In fact Stan must surely have heard such chants from his own fans when he was playing football, but presumably was somehow able to square that with his conscience.

    • Rainsboro

      “We should be celebrating that we are not seeing Muslims on the streets burning things etc”
      Wow, that’s really big of them. Perhaps we should celebrate the moderation of the7/7 attacks, they were restrained enough not to use chemical weapons. Try Comment is Free, your line of reasoning is right up their street

  • anyfool

    A moderate Muslim is compared to any other religion is an oxymoron, a moderate as compared to extremist Muslim, the moderate will apologise as he cuts your head off.

  • Dougie

    Funny, I don’t recall MQI, or anyone else, objecting to pictorial representations of Jesus. The National Gallery had better be on guard!

  • Bonzodog

    And anyway it is not Mohammed but a body double …..

  • Denis_Cooper

    Melanie, you seem to have missed a crucial point here, as have most of those commenting – read what this outfit says more carefully:

    “MQI wishes to make it clear that pictorial representations of any prophets of God (including Moses, Jesus and Muhammad) are prohibited by Islam … and they consequently cause deep offence to Muslims.”

    It’s not just “the pictorial representation of THE prophet of Islam”, as you say in the next paragraph, it’s the pictorial representation of ANY of those considered to be prophets of God.

    So what do we do?

    Not just avoid making images of Mohammed, but also search out anything with an image of Jesus or even of Moses, and destroy it so we don’t “cause deep offence to Muslims”?

    • Andy

      It might not be an Islamic tradition, but images of Christ are common in Christian culture. I’m sat looking at a number of Greek Orthodox Icons one of which depicts Christ. It is not for a heretic Muslim to say what is or is not acceptable.

      • FrenchNewsonlin

        “It is not for a heretic Muslim to say what is or is not acceptable.” Not yet, but they’re working diligently on it.

    • Ron Todd

      Is it not for every person to decide for them self what offends them or not.

      • Denis_Cooper

        It is, and I am deeply offended by the attitudes being expressed by MQI and other such groups. If they want to live in a country where an image of Jesus or even Moses is commonly regarded as something very offensive then they have a fairly wide choice available.

        • Carolina Morgan

          But that’s the point isn’t it? They don’t want to live in those countries – they very explicitly want to live in YOUR country, and other Western countries, so they can slowly spread Islam, with all it’s laws and tenets, all over the globe.

  • HookesLaw

    I agree that Nawaz has done nothing wrong and should be supported. But this MQI statement seems couched in moderate language. They hardly seem to be attacking him. The do not want to see opinion polarised. That too is worthy of support.

  • Colin Morrison

    ”genuine extremists, plus George Galloway” should be “genuine extremists, including George Galloway”.

    • Ali

      You beat me to it… was about to post that I agree with every word except “plus”.

  • Jez

    I fear that this liberal Muslim (probably a good guy) is the desperate last refuge of the liberal intelligentsia’s prayers for some utopian magic solution to an ever divided UK society. This with an ever more matter of fact normal Islamic culture controlling major parts of the UK’s inner cities.

    It could conclude with one day with the liberals, yet again pleading for a more tolerant, inclusive & politically correct version of Islam as they would want it, then being told simply that they are not in charge anymore. At all.

    Population numbers, economic clout and especially geographical positioning mean that there’s some new kids on the block. And they probably know it.

    Does this get the above story into some kind of perspective?

  • zanzamander

  • ReefKnot

    How do people know this is an image of the prophet Mohammed if his image is forbidden ? It could just as well be an image of any Arab.

  • zanzamander

    Why did Mr Nawaz choose the LibDems? Could it have anything to do with the fact that this party is the most vociferous campaigner against the Jewish state of Israel and many of its members unabashed supporters of the antisemitic terror group Hamas? Just asking.

    • Pashtun Pashtun

      One side you oppose Islamic states but other side you support a Jewish state that is no different, just as vile, hateful and religious bigoted as Islam, the same Jewish state who only allows Jews to marry Jews, a state that only gives citizenship to Jews and a state that refuses to consider itself anything else than a Jewish state, a state that expelled non Jews and forced themselves on others blood soil….oh what a great logic you have…you do know Hamas was once backed, armed and supported by your Jewish state against Yasser Arafat Fatah?

  • zanzamander

    There are over 500 Islam promoting organisations in UK alone. Their sole purpose is to further the cause of Islam in this country. Quilliam Foundation, named after a British convert to Islam who founded England’s first mosque, is no different.

    Let me introduce you to a little known concept of “Stealth Jihad”, idea being to further the cause of Islam, not by violence but by using peaceful means and democracy itself as a tool.

    Now if you believe that Islam is not in any way shape or form, despite the spin by our media, politicians, academia and Islamic organisations like the Quilliam Foundation, compatible with liberty, equality, tolerance and fairness, then you must reject everything they do and say.

    On that score, I look at this dispute rather differently. I see it as an attempt by QT to gull us into believing Islam is what in reality it demonstrably isn’t. Instead, I would applaud MQI UK (at least in this case) for not making any bones about what Islam is. Mr Navaz is just spinning and you along with the likes of Tommy Robinson (not a supporter of him) and Douglas Murray (rather disappointed in him) have spun.

    This cartoon is just a side show.

  • In2minds

    ” to stimulate debate about what is and isn’t acceptable to Muslims” –

    And that’s all that counts yeah? The rest of us can go hang!

  • Eddie

    I have all the Jesus and Mo books – they are GREAT! So funny. Sign up and get regular posts and access to archives. Just Google Jesus and Mo – or buy the books at I think I shall be buying some T-shirts and gifting them to all the Uni Atheist/Humanist/Rationalist societies within travelling distance of where I live too.

    Yet again, Muslims (even those called moderate) are showing themselves to be backwards, oppressive, un-integrated and their demands for censorship go against our values. I would encourage Muslims who cannot deal with pictorial representations of Jesus, Mohammed or Rolf Harris to falafel off back to their ancestors homelands, where they can stare at blank cave walls and their four weeping wives all day long and for the rest of their humourless miserable 12th century lives.

  • darwins beard

    Maajid has highlighted the nuances in the Islamic community, he represents those who believe an all powerful all knowing entity wouldn’t be offended by a cartoon, and does not need its followers to “defend” on its behalf, more power to him, just a shame he’s a Lib Dem.

    • Daniel Maris

      So you and he know more about Islam than all the great Islamic scholars of the contemporary era and before? Amazing!

      • darwins beard

        No, I’m saying they are wrong

  • crosscop

    And if they do carry out the death threats and actually murder Mr Nawaz, David Cameron and Nick Clegg will be immediately on the News telling us it had nothing to do with Islam.

    • Eddie

      It’s funny coz it’s true!

  • black11hawk

    I’d vote for him if he was standing in my constituency.

  • William Haworth

    “…how liberal is liberal Islam”?

    The penny may not have dropped, but it’s certainly teetering towards the edge of the table.

  • CharlietheChump

    LibDems, gumption??? Good luck with that. (I wonder what their marvellous, fit for purpose rule book says about this)

  • Stephen Tall

    Melanie will find plenty of support among Lib Dems for Maajid Nawaz over at Lib Dem Voice:

  • LadyDingDong

    Put the Spectator’s reputation behind your words then – publish the cartoon. But you won’t will you? We are all running scared of our so called moderate Islamist friends. This is how our leaders have debased our society by making us bend a knee to a barbaric 7th century creed.

    • Andy

      Totally agree. We should publish the cartoons, just as the Danish cartoons which caused a lot of aggro should have been published in every single newspaper and magazine possible.

      • Eddie

        I SO agree with that. The BBC and Channel 4 not showing the cartoons was an insult to MY culture and that of MY country. It was not only cowardice made them deliberately shrink from showing the cartoons (though they are cowards who fear Islamobombers); nope – it was the deformed ideology of diversity and multiculturalism which makes these people traitors to us all.

        An image or word can only be offensive in context; if it is being discussed in a court of law, on a TV show, in a newspaper, then it is a neutral artefact, and the intention is not to provoke and incite hatred, and therefore it is not only legal but to be recommended in a free and open society.

        However, the poltroon platitude-pukers who rule us – and who run TV, the media, all government, the education system etc – believe that if someone offends anyone with a dark skin and a religion, then it must be banned, as we must defer to the demands of any swarthy god-bothering minority group, even if their values are views are quintessentially fascistic – which they are.

        In such a way do they betray the British people and the values our ancestors fought and died for over centuries. Moreover, it is this kowtowing to Islamic extremism that encourages it – hence those who bow down to the demands from these Islamic bullies create and encourage homegrown terrorists to be spawned in our cities. The blood is on their hands.


      • Daniel Maris

        Yep, that was the moment for the West to stand firm, as a cultural unit. The Spectator failed miserably, not printing the cartoons.

        • Andy

          Everyone should have published them. It was cowardice and craven appeasement. No good has come of it.

    • monty61

      Couldn’t agree more.

    • telemachus

      I am shocked


      Under no circumsances should Speccie seek to repeat the offence caused to Muslims by Maajid Nawaz


      In case folk think I am simply Islamophile I thought Scorsese’s Last temptation of christ shold have been banned

      • WatTylersGhost

        I find much of what you write here offensive and infuriating. Should you remove yourself for the sake of many of us here who are repulsed by your nonsense? I say no. But if you live by your own standards, you should remain quiet.

        • Colonel Mustard

          Hear hear.

        • telemachus

          You sir have no point
          We should not give offence to Muslims or Christians
          I hope you run into the Mayor of London

          • Ricky Strong

            We should not go out of our way to deliberately offend, but we should not be concerned that our own thoughts and beliefs may cause offence.

          • JoshuaCzajkowski

            “We should not give offence to Muslims or Christians”

            People have the right to be offended, they do not have the right to shut someone up because they are offended by what they say. I am offended by the barbaric bile i hear Muslims and extremist Christians say all the time; “Kill the gays, slaughter non-believers, stone women to death…”, it does not mean i have the right to shut them up.


          • norfolk101

            I find your comments offensive. Would you please now go away and kill yourself.

        • Nicholas chuzzlewit

          Absolutely top comment Wat have an up tick on me!

      • Colonel Mustard

        No, we just think you like to censor and ban things – a common trait in a party that is against freedom of expression and liberty in general.

        • Andy

          I keeps telling you all he is a Fascist.

      • anotherjoeblogs

        Christ is recognised as a holy prophet in islam. No way does your desire to get it banned negates your possible islamophilia

        • Daniel Maris

          Not Christ – only Jesus. They would never apply the word Christ.

          • Andy

            Mohammed is an anti-Christ. Islam is heretical.

            • telemachus

              Be very afraid

              • James Strong

                Afraid of what?
                Are you acknowledging that there is a propensity to violence in the Religion of Peace?

                • Andy

                  Ignore him.
                  He is afraid – we have an appointment for him with the Hangman. We might have a raffle to pay for the rope.

                • telemachus

                  If Andy goes on like that Fraser will proscribe him
                  With my blessing

                • Nicholas chuzzlewit

                  We’ll as he hasn’t removed you and your constant dissembling he is hardly going to proscribe anybody else. Labour the party of lies, lying and liars.

              • Nicholas chuzzlewit

                You are not allowed to make threats on this site although I accept that is typical of Labour the party of lies, lying and liars.

      • Hexhamgeezer


      • monty61

        Ignorant bigots need to be brought to heel or shown the door. Banning a drawing of a face is an outrage go this country’s liberal values and heritage.

        As a self-professed supporter of the left you ought to be ashamed of yourself, your forebears fought over centuries for the vote, and for freedom of assembly and expression, against often extremely reactionary opposition, to give us the free and relatively egalitarian country we now occupy.

        Supporting dark age superstition should have no place in progressive politics. It’s perfectly possible for those of us on the right to respect the position of people on the left and acknowledge their integrity, even if one disagrees with them. But this sort of pro-censorship, pro Islamofascist opinion leaves you with no credibility and, dare I say it, no respect.

        • Colonel Mustard

          “It’s perfectly possible for those of us on the right to respect the position of people on the left and acknowledge their integrity”

          Possible but not easy, especially to ‘acknowledge their integrity’. I can think of only two left wing commentators here whose comments have suggested a level of integrity and unfortunately they post only rarely. The rest are in the propaganda and any amount of lies needed to win the argument game.

      • AndrewMelville

        Well that’s just silly on both counts. Scorsese’s film and the novel before it were deeply religious, which just just shows how touchy (& theological ignorant) religious bigots are. Regardless however the absolute right to free speech should not be impaired by Mohammedan bullies.

        Where can one purchase this T shirt?

      • Ron Todd

        And when they decide that it is offensive to have any woman out in public not wearing a shroud or that it is offensive foe any shop or restaurant to serve any food that is not halal or that it is offence to live under our laws not sharia, what do we all do then to avoid giving offence.

    • Ron Todd

      Easy to say as an anonymous contributor, harder if you are putting your name on the front of a magazine

      • johnslattery

        If you a professional journalist, you make this decision early on in your career. You accept that sooner or later you are going to upset somebody seriously, and they will know your name. It’s part of the turf. The commentator consensus here is right. This is cowardice, though it is the norm throughout the UK legacy media now.

        • Ron Todd

          People might sign up as a professional journalist expecting an irked politician to threaten a libel action, or a member of hacked of complaining on the telly if some unsavory aspect of his private life is revealed. Not having a bunch of bearded numpties trying to kill him or his family.

          • Druth

            What you say is right Ron. But surely the point here is that the it’s the same media paid trolls who repeatedly tell us that Islam represents no threat.

  • RavenRandom

    Once more the nutjobbery of primitive religion strikes.

  • Andy

    ‘Liberal Islam’ ??? That is surely an oxymoron.

    • RobertC

      LibDem = Liberal and Democratic, supposedly!

      A Liberal and Democratic primitive religion: a double oxymoron?

      The trouble with liberals is that if they don’t ban it, they make it compulsory.

  • swatnan

    He certainly has my support, insignifuicant as it is. Its about time we broke this taboo on depicting the Prophet, and published, and be damned if necessary. If the whole Media took that brave decision to publish the Cartoons, on a certainn day at a certain time, there’s b****r all that the islamofacists could do about it. And it might be the wake up call for Islam to Reform. or Die, as I see more and more Muslims leaving that intolerant religion.

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