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

Yesterday, 16:19
Mia Jimenez is missing from Willesden

Concerns are growing for the welfare of a 14-year-old schoolgirl from Willesden who went missing yesterday evening.

Yesterday, 15:53
Cllr Muhammed Butt is the leader of Brent Council

The leader of Brent Council is the latest Labour politician to become embroiled in a row over Israel after he shared a Facebook post that called the country a terrorist state.

Yesterday, 14:58
These deadly weapons have been seized in Brent over the last 24 hours (Pic: Twitter@MPSBrent)

It might look like a harmless torch but this is actually a disguised Taser which has been seized by Brent Police.

Yesterday, 13:46
The site of Wembley Youth Centre will be used for housing Pic credit: Adam Thomas

Brent Council allowed a community charity to submit a takeover bid to save a youth centre from closing despite already earmarking the site for housing, it has been claimed.

Yesterday, 11:26
The Betsy Smith is in Kilburn High Road

A gastropub in Kilburn has been banned from serving drinks in glasses at the weekend following claims that revellers used them as weapons during violent fights.

Thu, 17:34
Dawn Butler MP for Brent Central with Matt Cole from npower and Michele Lawrence, Brent Foodbank manager at the launch of the npower Fuel Bank

One of the first fuel banks in the country has opened in Willesden to help residents struggling with paying their energy bills by prepayment meter.

Thu, 14:49
Ken Livingstone has been suspended from the Labour Party  (Picture: PA)

Cricklewood activist Ken Livingstone has been suspended by Labour for “bringing the party into disrepute” in the wake of the anti-Semitism row, it has been announced.

Thu, 12:45
Haile Langa was satbbed to death in November last year

An alleged drug dealer accused of stabbing to death a man in Kilburn claimed the victim was holding a knife to his throat.

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

Kindle 7 inch tablet

Are you looking for a brand new gadget to help you stay connected on the go and make that long journey home a bit more entertaining? Look no further. MyOffers is giving you the chance to win 1 of 50 Kindle Fire 7” Display Tablets! That’s 50 times more chances to win, so hurry up and enter our competition today and you could be one of our lucky winners!

Yummy traditional afternoon teas for two

MyOffers is giving you the chance to win 1 of 50 Traditional Afternoon Teas for two at a location of your choice! That’s 50 times more chances to win, so hurry up and enter our competition today and you could be one of our lucky winners!

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Brent & Kilburn Times
e-edition today

Subscribe