Search

Lib Dem parliamentary candidate for Hampstead and Kilburn Maajid Nawaz calls for calm over Prophet Muhammad tweet

11:29 23 January 2014

Maajid Nawaz is co-founder of Quilliam and Lib Dem candidate for Hampstead and Kilburn

Maajid Nawaz is co-founder of Quilliam and Lib Dem candidate for Hampstead and Kilburn

Archant

The Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate for Hampstead and Kilburn has called for calm as more than 15,000 people (and counting) signed a petition calling for him to be sacked from his party.

Maajid Nawaz, a former Islamist who now runs a leading anti-extremist organisation, caused outrage among some sectors of the Muslim community after publishing online a cartoon depicting the Prophet Muhammad.

The image – posted on his Twitter account – originated from two audience members from the LSE Atheism Society who recently appeared on a BBC show wearing T-shirts showing two cartoon figures under the title “Jesus and Mo”.

In an attempt to demonstrate that not all Muslims were offended by “bland” depictions of the Prophet Muhammad, Mr Nawaz re-posted the picture alongside the message: “This is not offensive and I’m sure God is greater than to feel threatened by it.”

In a furore that has led to multiple death threats and has forced him to contact the police, Mr Nawaz has found himself at the centre of a battleground between free speech advocates and those calling for respect of religious values.

A petition claiming he had been “disrespectful” and demanding he be sacked from his party has so far received more than 15,000 signatures.

George Galloway, MP for Bradford West, was among those condemning him, saying: “No Muslim will ever vote for the Liberal Democrats anywhere ever unless they ditch the provocateur Maajid Nawaz.”

The uproar has also prompted thousands of free-speech advocates, anti-extremist campaigners and fellow Muslims from across the world to come out in support of Mr Nawaz, a former member of the Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir who now runs the anti-extremist Quilliam Foundation.

Supporters include prominent atheist and scientist Prof Richard Dawkins and human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell.

Prof Dawkins tweeted: “We’ve reached a new low when you can get threats for not being offended by something.”

He added: “There really are people so in love with offence, they’re offended that you’re not offended.”

Pleading for calm on both sides, Mr Nawaz said: “I do not find it [the cartoon] offensive, so the whole debate should be about the meaning of offence, and not about whether it’s right or wrong to insult prophets, when I don’t think this is insulting.

“Some are angry that I didn’t find the cartoon featured on BBC offensive and repeated my view.

“Others are angry I am being silenced. Please let’s all calm down.”

A spokesman for the Liberal Democrats defended Mr Nawaz’s “right to express his views”.

But he urged all candidates “to be sensitive to cultural and religious feelings and to conduct debate without causing gratuitous or unnecessary offence”.

0 comments

Latest Kilburn & Brent News Stories

Resident in Brent could lose up to £200 a month in benefits

Brent residents in receipt of welfare benefits may see their money slashed by up to £200 a month as changes come in from the government.

Yesterday, 08:00
Mayor of Brent Cllr Parvez Ahmed held his first fundraising event attended by more than 300 people

The Mayor of Brent has raised more than £2,350 for his three chosen charities at his first fundraising event.

Fri, 17:46
Two women and a girl, 15, have been charged

Two women have been charged after a 15-year-old girl was knifed in the head during a water fight in Harlesden.

Fri, 16:47
Jess Baldwin, TC and Rita Ogole who are all involved with the South Kilburn Family Festival   Pic credit: Jonathan Goldberg

South Kilburn’s diverse community is ready to celebrate its “best festival yet” as it returns for a day of pure family fun tomorrow (Saturday).

Fri, 15:34
The mini Olympics was a roaring success

Children from a temple in Neasden were amongst hundreds of young people who took part in a mini-Olympics event in Birmingham.

Fri, 12:51
Father David Ackerman at St John The Evangelist, Kensal Green with a bag of dog poo that he collects on the grounds on a daily basis  Pic credit: Polly Hancock

A vicar in Kensal Green has hit out at dog owners who allow their dogs to leave an unholy mess on his church lawn.

Fri, 12:14
Sudbury Primary school. Photo by Adam Tiernan Thomas

A troubled primary academy in Sudbury says it is now on the right path after bringing in plans to partner with an outstanding secondary school as well as a new headteacher.

Fri, 11:17
The speical proms raised more £13,000 (Pic: St Lukes)

Two community events have raised more than £25,000 for St Luke’s Hospice in Kenton.

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now

Newsletter Sign Up

Most Read Kilburn News

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Competitions

Which book character do you share cleaning habits with?

Whether you have more in common with put-upon Cinderella, emotionally turbulent Jane Eyre, or easily distracted Mole, you’re sure to appreciate four sessions of free cleaning. Enter our quiz for your chance to win. All entrants can get £10 off their first clean when making a repeat booking.

£15k prize bundle

Imagine having the opportunity to win an incredible £15,000 bundle of some of the most amazing prizes available. Well, for one lucky contest entrant that dream could soon become a reality because we at MyOffers are offering an incredible free prize bundle that will make even the most hardened person wild with excitement.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Brent & Kilburn Times
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now