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Radical: My Journey from Islamist Extremism to a Democratic Awakening [Kindle Edition]

Maajid Nawaz
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (110 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Born and raised in Essex, Maajid Nawaz was recruited into politicised Islam as a teenager. Abandoning his love of hip hop music, graffiti and girls, he was recruited into Hizb ut-Tahrir (the Liberation Party) where he played a leading and international role in the shaping and dissemination of an aggressive anti-West narrative. While studying for his Arabic and law degree, he travelled around the UK and to Denmark and Pakistan, setting up new cells.

Arriving in Egypt the day before 9/11 his views soon led to his arrest, imprisonment and mental torture, before being thrown into solitary confinement in a Cairo jail reserved for political prisoners. There, while mixing with everyone from the assassins of Egypt's president to Liberal reformists, he underwent an intellectual transformation and on his release after four years, he publically renounced the Islamist ideology that had defined his life. This move would cost him his marriage, his family and his friends as well as his own personal security.

Six years after his release, Maajid now works all over the world to counter Islamism and to promote democratic ideals through his organisation, The Quilliam Foundation, which he co-founded with former Islamist and bestselling author Ed Husain.

Following in the wake of the extraordinary democratic change in the Arab world, that few would have foretold, Radical is Maajid's intensely personal account of life inside and out of Islamic extremism. It also highlights one man's quest to inspire change and challenge extremism in all its forms.

This is a hard-hitting memoir of one man's journey into and out of Islamic extremism.

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"This is a book for our times. It should be read by anyone who wants to understand how the extremism that stalks our world is created and how it can be overcome. It could only be written by someone who has lived this story. And Maajid has" (Tony Blair)

"This book is more powerful than America's drone attacks because it helps kill the ideas that inspire terrorists. Ultimately, it is by defeating the extremists' worldview that we will make our world safer. Maajid's compelling story from hatred to hope shows us how this can be done" (Ed Husain, author of The Islamist)

"Maajid Nawaz was thirty years my junior when I first encountered him in the Torah Prison. His story saddened but inspired me. His innocence and idealism sharply contrasted with the corruption and despotism of his captors. Through Maajid my faith was renewed that a spring of freedom was bound to happen eventually, and so it did" (Dr Saad El-Dine Ibrahim, Egyptian liberal reform pioneer and former political prisoner)

"This book is the account of a redemptive journey – through innocence, bigotry, hardline radicalism and beyond – to a passionate advocacy of human rights and all that this can mean ... I was moved beyond measure" (Kate Allen, Director, Amnesty International UK)

"Imagine Homeland crossed with Skins, and you will get some idea of what a gripping, revelatory book this is. Unputdownable" (Tom Holland)

Book Description

An insider’s story of radical Islamism in Britain

Product details

More About the Author

Maajid Nawaz is Co-Founder and Chairman of Quilliam - a globally active counter-extremism organisation focusing on matters of Integration, Citizenship & Identity, Religious Freedom, Extremism and Immigration - and Founder of Khudi, a Pakistan based social movement campaigning to entrench democratic culture among the nation's youth.

Human Rights and a respect for individual liberty are matters close to Maajid's heart. His work is informed by years spent in his youth as a leadership member of a global Islamist group, and his gradual transformation towards liberal democratic values. Having served four years as an Amnesty International adopted 'prisoner of conscience' in Egypt, Maajid is now a leading critic of his former Islamist ideological dogma, while remaining a Muslim. He now encourages inclusive citizenship-based participation of Muslims in the West, while seeking to synergize a respect for human rights with the civic liberal imperative to defend those in danger of being stigmatized by extremists of all stripes due to their personal choices. Maajid has become a prominent counter-extremism consultant and a regular writer, debater and public commentator. In this regard, he has been called upon by heads of state, statesmen and international bodies for his professional opinion.

Maajid has spoken from various platforms internationally, ranging from universities across Pakistan to addressing the US Senate in Washington DC. He has been profiled by CBS 60 minutes, Larry King Live, BBC Newsnight, has spoken at the TED conference, and is regularly interviewed by prominent journalists across the world. His work is published by The London Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Financial Times, India Times, Dawn Pakistan, The Independent, The Telegraph, The Guardian, and The New Statesman among many others.

As a British-Pakistani born in Essex, Maajid speaks English, Arabic and Urdu, and holds a BA (Hons) from SOAS in Arabic and Law and an MSc in Political Theory from the London School of Economics (LSE). He is personally interested in Arabic grammar & morphology, Muslim Medieval jurisprudence, scholastics and poetry, and emerging modern political trends. Maajid is a proud father to his young son.

Maajid Nawaz's autobiographical account of his life story is due out on July 5th 2012. He can be followed and contacted on Twitter: @maajidnawaz

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A must-read for anyone wanting to understand the rise of Islamist extremism, the soil from which violent jihadism can grow. A compelling memoir by an insider with the honesty to confess the calculating energy with which he spread Islamism ( partly inspired by Omar Bakri and even at one point legally supported by the now reviled Anjem Choudary), and the courage to turn his back on and challenge that very ideology. Nawaz admits he was ‘never one to do anything by halves.’ ‘Radical’ is therefore the perfect title for a story that gets to the root of how he became an extremist, and later began to discover a more authentic, intellectually and morally honest set of values to live by.

I was chilled by his account of how he worked with almost military precision to radicalise university students, laughing behind the backs of liberal authorities that stood by passively, thinking they were only encouraging multiculturalism. In the very pacy narrative of this middle section, Nawaz captures the thrill of power and self-importance he felt at so energetically spreading his poisonous HT ideology. I felt sickened to discover that his messianic fervour had propelled him as far as Pakistan, where he tried to persuade the Taliban that his country of origin (and mine) was ‘kufr’, or unislamic –but was so extreme even the Taliban ‘politely refused to co-operate with HT’. Some reviewers have said that Nawaz puts himself at the centre of events and takes too much ‘credit’ for the success of HT. Well, that’s natural in a personal memoir; to me that part felt more like a man magnifying his guilt and wanting desperately to atone for the damage he had done.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent 9 Oct. 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I could not put the book down once I started reading. Just had to know what would happen to him next. Here was a young angry unhappy lad, who found he could find release with `hip hop' music & be tough. One has to read the book to see how it all escalates into him joining an extreme Islamist group which finally leads him ending up five years in a brutal Egyptian jail. It is the most dangerous time especially for school kids & students to be brainwashed with all the wrong information so I admire Maajid for seeking to now rectify all this.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is a formidable book, commanding deep respect. It tells the autobiographical story of the author, once a member of the extremist Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir (HT) who has turned his entire life around and is now an advocate for democracy and human rights around the world. If that, in itself, doesn't make you want to read it (which it should), the book is also very well written, with the pace of a thriller. Be in no doubt, this is not an easy read in places. Maajid Nawaz spares nothing in his description of what it was like being tortured in an Egyptian prison; even the horrors closer to home as he relates his early teenage years make for a harrowing read. But what marks this book out is its pervading sense of optimism. Maajid demonstrates that it is possible to change, that even someone who has been radicalised can come back. And Maajid doesn't just come back, he has since co-founded the Quilliam Foundation (the world's first counter-extremism group) whose work focuses on helping to de-radicalise Islamists in the UK and beyond. He was also responsible for helping Tommy Robinson leave the English Defence League (EDL) and he continues to this day in championing freedom, democracy and human rights. A truly inspirational figure, this book leaves you with a sense of hope; that in spite of all that is wrong in the world, change is possible.

(As a side note, you may notice that the book has received several very negative reviews on Amazon. These reviews were part of a concerted effort by his former colleagues in HT to discredit Maajid. Ignore them: this book is phenomenal and deserves your attention.)
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ignore the fake reviews 26 July 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Don't pay any attention to the number of fake reviews written about this item.

The topic is controversial in some communities and Mr Nawaz's stance has made him the enemy of people who fail to see reason and are blinded by their prejudices. They have taken to criticising a book which they have clearly not read because they wrongly believe that anything who offers a balanced critique of extremism is an attack on their religion.

This is a fantastic book that tells it how it is. A must read for all.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The world needs more people like Maajid 8 Nov. 2014
By Lou16
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is a great book. As an atheist, I am opposed to all organised religion which dictates to others what they should or should not do, however it is clear that religion won't simply disappear and for that reason a man like Maajid, who can counter Islamist teaching with a sound, informed alternative is essential. This is a great read, written by an intelligent and honest man who should be applauded for the vital work he is doing which will ultimately make the world a safer place. And a happier one.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars British Islamism exposed 27 Mar. 2015
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I had a quick look at the reviews for this book and can see there have been some spiteful and suspicious negative reviews clearly written by persons who dislike the exposure of Islamism in Britain as an amateurish but nonetheless dangerous farce.
This is an utterly brilliant book.
It exposes Islamism in Britain to the extent that radical preachers may as well just give up, because the cat is now well and truly out the bag. Maajid explains how Hizb al-Tahrir penetrated Newham College unchallenged, exploiting to the full the British sense of fair play saying: '...because of the religious element in our message, and the desire of the authorities not to offend our religious sensitivities, we were left alone.' He admits had it been an equivalent British group promoting extreme ideology such as the far right BNP they wouldn't have been allowed to continue. To this he
says : 'We were left laughing at people's ignorance'. He says of the man in charge of student affairs at the college: ' as you can imagine we ran circles around that man.' He goes on: ' It is no wonder then that the authorities were unprepared to deal with politicised religion as ideological agitation, and felt racist if they tried to stop us.' So they were allowed to spread hatred and misogyny as no one else would be allowed to do. He also states when groups of them threw themselves to the ground simultaneously : 'For us, prayer had become a propaganda tool and a means of intimidation, not the calming spiritual experience it was meant to be.'
It seems at one point they were doing too well, and they even upset their political masters, the qiyadah, Hizb al-Tahrir's global leadership, by exposing the nastiness of their activities too much, and drawing unwanted attention to themselves.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Best non-fiction book I've read all year
Best non-fiction book I've read all year. I cannot honestly understand why it would be reviewed so badly, perhaps they're trolls??? Read more
Published 15 days ago by MR B.
5.0 out of 5 stars Good read
An interesting read that I found difficult to put down. It left me feeling some sympathy for those who have been radicalised and frustration at it being allowed to happen in this... Read more
Published 19 days ago by Dabbling Dave
5.0 out of 5 stars clear, informative
Great book, succinctly written
Published 26 days ago by Pip
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
I was recommended this by a friend in the defence industry. I wanted a look at Islamism, radicalism and the place of the UK in this. Read more
Published 29 days ago by J Maso
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspirational and Informative
Aside from being a detailed account of a remarkable life, this book is extremely relevant to anyone wishing to gain an insight into the radicalisation process. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Mike Roper
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspirational
A truly fantastic read, Maajid is an inspirational man and it is a massive shame his presence will not be in Parliament
Published 2 months ago by Callum Gurr
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
interesting - but.......
Published 2 months ago by Stephen Daniel Wood
5.0 out of 5 stars An Incredible Auto-Biography.
Appears to be polarizing judging by the reviews on here. Would suggest that's the result of personal views of the author, rather than the book, as this is an exceptional read. Read more
Published 2 months ago by John B
5.0 out of 5 stars A Story for Britain Today
Honest and readable account of one man’s journey from angry target of racial abuse in boyhood through recruiter for Islamist ideology and victim of torture in Egyptian jails to... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Alison M
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent account of a man's move from Islamism to Liberalism &...
An inspiring account of someone who has applied critical thinking to leave behind radical Islam. This has greatly helped me in my own personal journey and search for balance of my... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Salim
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