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Testimony From Maajid, UK

Extremism & Terrorism

I can now say that the more I learnt about Islam, the more tolerant I became

WATCH this testimony (2 mns), from British-born Maajid Nawaz. As a teenager, he was recruited to a global Islamist party, whose goal was to unite all Muslim countries into one caliphate ruled by Islamic law.


After a journey of inner change, his goal today is to help Muslims in the West engage in their current political frameworks, while encouraging non-Western Muslims to work for a democratic culture.

He co-founded Quilliam, a think-tank that engages in “counter-Islamist thought-generating” -- looking for new narratives of citizenship, identity and belonging in a globalized world.

Access the full TED talk here


Testimony from former Islamist Maajid Nawaz - TED
Short 2 mns excerpt

Testimony from former Islamist Maajid Nawaz - TED

Who are terrorists?

Groups such as al-Qaida and Isis attract people from many different backgrounds: the leaders of these movements are often highly intelligent and fanatically religious, in an outward sense, attracted by the intellectual appeal of revolutionary ideology and sacred utopia.


The foot soldiers, on the other hand, are often the opposite, motivated primarily by a love of violence and a sense of anger and revenge against societies in which they were misfits and sometimes exposed to racism. Read  article from Usama Hasan

Examples of signs that should trigger attention
  • Changing style of dress or personal appearance to accord with the group;

  • Loss of interest in other friends and activities not associated with the extremist ideology or group

  • Possession of material or symbols associated with an extremist cause

  • Attempts to recruit others to the group/cause/ideology.

  • Clearly identifying another group and blaming it for all social or political ills;

  • Speaking about the imminence of harm from the other group and the importance of action now;

  • Condoning or supporting violence or harm towards others

  • Having a history of violence;

  • Having technical expertise that can be deployed (e.g. IT skills, knowledge of chemicals, etc.)

The following kinds of support might be considered appropriate

  • Mentoring support contact - work with a suitable adult as a role model

  • Anger management sessions;

  • Cognitive behavioural therapies

  • Activities aimed at supporting family and personal relationships, incl. formal parenting programmes;

  • Health awareness - work aimed at assessing or addressing any physical or mental health issues;

  • Activities addressing living arrangements, accommodation provision or neighbourhood

  • Drugs and alcohol awareness - substance misuse interventions.

The Global Terrorism Database (GTD) has reported over 150 000 terrorism incidents worldwide, which can be attributed to over
2 000 perpetrator organizations
and nearly 700 additional generic groupings.

GTD reports that over half of all terrorist attacks in the GTD are non-lethal, and approximately two percent involve 20 or more fatalities.  70 percent of these groups are active for less than a year and carry out fewer than four total attacks. Learn more with GTD

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