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Radical: My Journey from Islamist Extremism to a Democratic Awakening Paperback – 2 May 2013

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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: WH Allen (2 May 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0753540770
  • ISBN-13: 978-0753540770
  • Product Dimensions: 12.6 x 2.5 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (111 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 7,448 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Maajid Nawaz is an author and Founding Chairman of Quilliam - a globally active think tank focusing on matters of integration, citizenship & identity, religious freedom, extremism and immigration.

He encourages the reform of Islam today, inclusive citizenship-based participation of Muslims in their respective countries, and seeks 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's autobiographical account of his life story 'RADICAL' has been released in the UK and US.

Maajid is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, an Honorary Associate of the National Secular Society and has been listed as one of the most influential people in the UK Debretts 500 index, and the 'Who's Who' index. Maajid is also a Daily Beast columnist, and provides occasional columns for the London Times, New York Times and Wall Street Journal among others. Maajid was the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary candidate for the May 2015 British General Election, and remains the Parliamentary spokesman for Camden Liberal Democrats in London.

A British-Pakistani born in Essex, Maajid speaks English, Arabic and Urdu, 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 and scholastics and emerging modern political thought and trends.

Maajid can be contacted on Twitter: @maajidnawaz
or on: https://www.facebook.com/MaajidNawazFanPage

Product Description

Review

"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

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Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By SF on 5 Oct. 2014
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 By F. L. Burley on 9 Oct. 2014
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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 By Palindrome Mordnilap on 29 Sept. 2014
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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 By Mr. A. Wake on 26 July 2014
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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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jonathan Nicholas - Author on 27 Mar. 2015
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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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