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

CCTV footage shows the two suspects leaving with the steam cleaner

Police have today released CCTV footage of a £750 steam cleaner being stolen in Park Royal in an appeal to find the thieves.

8 minutes ago
Michael Purcell has been jailed for life

A Cricklewood steelworker who murdered his lesbian flatmate showed his hatred of her sexuality by mutilating her genitals it has been revealed today.

Broken pavements in Birchen Close, Kingsbury (Pic credit: Twitter@misterscoop)

Some damaged pavements in Brent will be replaced with tarmac under plans announced by Brent Council today.

Chris and Miranda Mason are holding their 10th annual Open Garden event at their home in Willesden Green

A Willesden Green couple are raising money for charity by opening their garden for an event this Sunday.

06:45
Cricklewood Town team outside the station

Cricklewood train station has been given a blooming marvellous makeover by its ‘adopted family’ thanks to a new scheme.

Yesterday, 16:42
Armed police will patrol Brent

Armed police will be patrolling the streets of Brent following an increase in shootings in the borough.

Yesterday, 15:37
Naima Abdiaziz went missing in Harlesden

A 14-year-old schoolgirl has gone missing in Brent- the second time she has disappeared in the last week.

Yesterday, 11:50
Former Kingsbury High students: George Michael, Courtney Pine, Mutya Buena and Keisha Buchanan (Pic: PA)

Former pupils of a secondary school in Kingsbury are being called up to inspire the current generation of pupils.

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

Win a BMW 1 series

There are fewer cars currently on the market more stylish and exciting than the BMW. Known all over the world as one of the best car manufacturers, the BMW is renowned for sleek designs and fantastic high quality workmanship.

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!

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Brent & Kilburn Times
e-edition today

Subscribe