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I must state from the outset that I read Maajid Nawaz's (director of the Quilliam Foundation) piece in the Wall Street Journal on the differences between Islam and Islamism with approval.  His exposé on how the intellectual gap is widening over issues like the ‘Ground-Zero Mosque' is reminiscent of many of the conversations I have had regarding political Islam and its disparity with individual Muslims. 

I am reminded specifically of an occasion — ironically at a pub in Washington D.C. during the Conservative Political Action Conference in February 2010 — when I had to distinguish in child-like terms the difference between Islam and Islamism.  After a good half an hour, many of the 10-strong audience still hadn't grasped that there was a difference, let alone acknowledged any of the subtleties I was trying to explicate.

The problem I have with Maajid's piece, however, is the counterproductive conclusion — and I say this with as much respect as possible for a man whose organisation I have worked with closely over the past twelve months.  The Quilliam Foundation does fantastic work on radicalisation and Islamism, but I fear that simply claiming that ‘Islamists do not speak on behalf Islam' ignores the element of tribalism that plagues communities, especially the Muslim community and especially in the United Kingdom.

Maajid and I part ways where the argument turns black and white for him.  Unfortunately, he claims that the West has not heard the message sent by Muslim-dominated countries when they refuse to elect Islamists. 

But the problem does not simply concern the advent of the ‘Islamist State' with its Shariah doctrine and relentless oppression.   This is a matter of micro and macro, and presently the microcosms of Islamism —those spheres of Islamist influence that exist within the state — are causing a greater problem than I foresee an Islamist-led state would.  States can be subject to various pressures which smaller groups or actors are not troubled by. It is far easier to hold a wayward state to account than it is a mercurial non-state actor, and the former is doubly constrained by the fact that it has to concern itself with the business of actually governing, whereas the latter can direct all of its resources toward its destructive objectives.    

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April 16th, 2016
12:04 AM
Islam has a propensity for good bullcrap al taqiyya

November 18th, 2010
5:11 PM
Haven't got a clue what this article is about. Doesn't say anything.

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