Malia Bouattia – A rebel with a damaging cause.

  On the 14th November I was due to debate the controversial NUS president, Malia Bouattia on the government’s Prevent strategy. However, as I found out at the very last minute, she had decided to cancel due to health reasons. Though it is only fair to give her the benefit of the doubt, it would appear that this is not the first time Malia has opted out of a potentially challenging situation at the last minute. Moreover, her lack of correspondence with organisers to reschedule the debate casts doubt on her excuse of being unwell. To say that Malia’s stance on certain political issues has been problematic would be an understatement. For example, at the 11th Annual Bindmans and UCL Debate on Prevent, when she was asked about the reasons she believed caused extremist attitudes to flourish, Malia pointed a finger at “mass unemployment” and “privatised education.” She said the “political climate which we’re in” is causing people to take “certain actions and joining these groups and wanting to inflict violence.” She went on to say: “We have to look at the state’s hand and the political events related to that.” In another interview, she claimed, “every service available to support young people to allow space for critical thought and development has been shut down by the state.” Her eagerness

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My interview with Michael McKay – World Radio Switzerland

Reform: struggle between dogma and reason, a struggle between paranoia and reality.

Renewal and reform are important dimensions of the Islamic world’s history. Within this historical experience, we can see a lengthy tradition of reform, which takes the form of a special focus on the purification and revival of the fundamentals of the Islamic faith. Despite this reality, the discussion of Islamic reform has under gone a process of over politicization limiting the discourse to two polarizing positions. Clearly identifiable camps have been drawn playing upon the Muslim/Orient and non-Muslim/Western divide. Because of this divide, we witness a peculiar reaction to current calls for reform. Neither its hostility nor its resistance defines its peculiarity. Since this would be expected by definition, reform is to challenge the status quo; otherwise reform would be redundant. What is problematic of this current aversion to reform is that it is rooted in suspicion and fear of an external threat. With this view, reform is perceived as nothing more than Western interference attempting to covertly ‘de-Islamise’ Muslims. Regarding those Muslims who advocate reform, they are perceived as pawns located within an ‘Islamophobe’ camp doing their bidding. Indeed, reform can be spelled out in different ways, not all calls for reform are equal. Some have ulterior motives, and some simply lack internal rigour. However, to claim that all calls for reform are of this sort would simply be

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Adam Deen on a panel discussion: ‘Is Islam compatible with British justice system?’

Extreme Dialogue – In and Out of Extremism.

Watch me speaking at the Zurich Salon – ‘Why are so many Westerners joining terrorist groups?’

Muhammad Ali: A journey out of extremism.

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Iconic boxer Muhammad Ali has died at the age of 74 after more than three decades of living with Parkinsons disease. His death has sent shock-waves throughout the world, and people are mourning not just the loss of one of the greatest boxers in the sport, but that of a revolutionary human being and a rare role model for young Muslims around the world. Though the man is gone, his legacy remains, and in it there are many lessons to be learnt from his prolific life both inside and outside of the ring. Notorious for his brutish taunts and staggering confidence, Ali was never one to conform with the crowd. His spirituality was no different. Ali caused a stir in 1964 when he announced his alignment with the Nation of Islam, an African-American black nationalist sect, described by critics as black supremacist and anti-Semitic. As the news broke out this morning on social media, many jumped onto the scene to sharing old videos of Ali, some of which displayed his exclusivist and hostile attitude. In a subtle way served as a form of vindication for anti British views of those sharing. During Ali’s time with the Nation of Islam, his controversial speeches consisted of disturbing anti-White rhetoric. In one of his press conferences, Ali is seen discussing his refusal to

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My thoughts on yesterday’s #bbctbq ‘Is countering extremism compatible with freedom of religion?’

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Many of Quilliam’s critics appear to fail to address the issues at hand and instead focus on making accusations and making guilt by association arguments. In so doing, there is a failure to engage with the matters under discussion. I appeared on The Big Questions yesterday to debate the topic: Is counter extremism compatible with religious freedom? I shared a platform with Dr Ridwaan Sabir who argued: Quilliam is an echo chamber for the government and supported the new counter extremism Bill which introduced banning orders and disruption orders. He argued this despite the fact that only last week Quilliam had openly criticized the government’s Bill for being counterproductive and anti-liberal. Even a cursory of a glance at Quilliam’s social media activity would have made this point obvious. In addition, I had spent a good few minutes criticizing the government regarding the Bill before Dr Sabir’s comments but I was still made out to be a supporter. I wondered whether this was due to a failure to listen in the heat of debate. Though possible it seems unlikely. There seems to be almost a deliberate failure to engage and listen to opposition arguments and a failure to use objectivity when debating and even basic research of the facts. I had a similar experience with Roshan Salih from 5 Pillars earlier

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The Big Questions 22/5/16 ‘Is countering extremism compatible with freedom of religion?’ #bbctbq

#TRTWorld Debate Is the UK’s counter-extremism strategy helpful or harmful?