Maajid Nawaz, a moderate Muslim, has been vilified by both Muslims and leftists for his efforts to harmonize Islam and Western values, and especially for engaging in both written and spoken dialogue with Sam Harris. For these acts, as I noted a while back, Nawaz has been called a “lapdog,” a “porch monkey,” and a “native informant.” All these are simply updated synonyms for “Uncle Tom.” Yet Nawaz was once a militant Islamist, jailed in Egypt for five years for organizing radical movements. Since then he’s become de-radicalized and has founded Quilliam, a think tank devoted to reinforcing moderate brands of Islam and to opposing religious extremism. And by his own account he’s still a believer.
Many of us believe that if Islam is to truly reform, purging itself of its violent and extremist elements, that change will have to come from inside—from Islamic moderates. In other words, from people like Nawaz.
But I’m beginning to wonder…
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