I am no fan of Maajid Nawaz. He rejects jihad terror but arouses mistrust with his use of the propaganda smear term “Islamophobia” as if it were a serious and genuine phenomenon. In reality, Abdur-Rahman Muhammad, a former member of the Muslim Brotherhood-linked International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT), explains that “this loathsome term is nothing more than a thought-terminating cliche conceived in the bowels of Muslim think tanks for the purpose of beating down critics.” Beating down critics of what? Of jihad terror and Islamic supremacism, so that the jihad can advance unopposed and unimpeded. Any sincere, thoughtful and informed opponent of jihad terror and Islamic supremacism can see how this term is used to demonize and rule out of acceptable bounds anyone and everyone who says the slightest negative word about jihad or Sharia, and thus Nawaz’s gratuitous and unprovoked attack on Pamela Geller and me as “Islamophobes” at his victory conference announcing the destruction of the English Defence League (which he crowed that he had “decapitated”) aroused suspicion about where he really stands, and whether he really opposes the jihad agenda that the charge of “Islamophobia” has done so much to advance.
Moreover, like so many Islamic jihadists and supremacists with whom I have engaged, he is arrogant, supercilious, abusive, insulting, and contemptuous on a personal level, while refusing to engage any of his opponent’s arguments on an intellectual level. And so destructive is his practice of denouncing and defaming people who would have been his allies in order to score points with those who would never have stood with him in the first place that I included him in a recent rogue’s gallery of people who are responsible for Britain’s rapidly approaching catastrophe, along with other professed foes of jihad terror who are more interested in smearing real foes of jihad terror than in actually opposing jihad terror.
All that said, however, Maajid Nawaz in this Facebook post (thanks to PK) calls for exactly what is needed, and what I have been saying is needed for many years now: a rejection of Qur’anic literalism, and a reinterpretation of its problematic passages so as to remove their capacity to incite believers to hatred and violence. For the most part, self-professed “moderate” Muslims (such as the Ahmadi leader Qasim Rashid, who belies his pacifistic pretensions by being even more personally vicious and hateful than Maajid Nawaz) deny that there is any problem with the Qur’an at all, and publish elaborately deceitful pieces asserting that the Qur’an when properly understood doesn’t contain any nasty bits at all — while glossing over or neglecting to mention altogether passages that disconfirm their arguments. It is hard to escape the impression that such pieces are written to lull the Infidels into complacency and inaction, rather than to convince jihadis that they’re misunderstanding Islam and should lay down their arms.
Here, however, Nawaz puts it exactly right: Qur’anic literalism “must be abandoned. It is bankrupt,” and justifies “slavery, beheading, lashing, amputation & other medieval practices.” It will be interesting to see if Nawaz’s Muslim allies, like Rashid, rush to condemn him for acknowledging that such practices are indeed justified by the Qur’an — a fact they have worked so hard to obscure. It will also be interesting to see if Nawaz follows up on this statement by rejecting the smear term “Islamophobia” and ending his vilification of people who have for years been fighting jihad terror and calling for exactly what he calls for here. I won’t be holding my breath. But nonetheless, this is good to see, and while this endeavor faces prohibitive odds in gaining any traction within Muslim communities, I wish it all success.