MAASTRICHT. At the age of sixteen, the British-Pakistani Maajid Nawaz joined Hizb ut Tahrir, a world-wide Islamist organisation that aims at establishing a caliphate. Nawaz becomes a leader, but eventually ends up in an Egyptian jail. After spending four years in prison, he changes course, distances himself from Hizb ut Tahrir, and turns against Islamism.
Nawaz has now become one of the most important voices in the current debate on radicalisation. Next Monday, the political activist, invited by Studium Generale, will give the Tans lecture Islam and the future of tolerance. This is also the name of the book that Nawaz wrote in 2015, together with the American philosopher Sam Harris. It consists of a dialogue in which the liberal Muslim crosses swords with the provocative American atheist. Nawaz wrote the book Radical (2012) about his life.
In 2008, Nawaz founded Quilliam, an anti-extremist organisation that focuses on religious freedom, human rights and democracy. Quilliam advises on all levels about radicalisation, from youths at risk to heads of state.
The Tans lecture – in English - is on Monday, 29 October (20:00hrs) in the Franz Palm Lecture hall, Tongersestraat 53