Radical: My Journey out of Islamist Extremism

Overview

Maajid Nawaz spent his teenage years listening to American hip-hop and learning about the radical Islamist movement spreading throughout Europe and Asia in the 1980s and 90s. At 16, he was already a ranking member in Hizb ut-Tahrir, a London-based Islamist group. He quickly rose through the ranks to become a top recruiter, a charismatic spokesman for the cause of uniting Islam?s political power across the world. Nawaz was setting up satellite groups in Pakistan, Denmark, and Egypt when he was rounded up in the ...

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Radical: My Journey out of Islamist Extremism

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Overview

Maajid Nawaz spent his teenage years listening to American hip-hop and learning about the radical Islamist movement spreading throughout Europe and Asia in the 1980s and 90s. At 16, he was already a ranking member in Hizb ut-Tahrir, a London-based Islamist group. He quickly rose through the ranks to become a top recruiter, a charismatic spokesman for the cause of uniting Islam’s political power across the world. Nawaz was setting up satellite groups in Pakistan, Denmark, and Egypt when he was rounded up in the aftermath of 9/11 along with many other radical Muslims.
 
He was sent to an Egyptian prison where he was, fortuitously, jailed along with the assassins of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat. The 20 years in prison had changed the assassins’ views on Islam and violence; Maajid went into prison preaching to them about the Islamist cause, but the lessons ended up going the other way. He came out of prison four years later completely changed, convinced that his entire belief system had been wrong, and determined to do something about it.

He met with activists and heads of state, built a network, and started a foundation, Quilliam, funded by the British government, to combat the rising Islamist tide in Europe and elsewhere, using his intimate knowledge of recruitment tactics in order to reverse extremism and persuade Muslims that the ‘narrative’ used to recruit them (that the West is evil and the cause of all of Muslim suffering), is false. Radical, first published in the UK, is a fascinating and important look into one man's journey out of extremism and into something else entirely.

This U.S. edition contains a "Preface for US readers" and a new, updated epilogue.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Riveting" - Christian Science Monitor

“Maajid Nawaz’s Radical is fascinating, and essential if you want to understand in a visceral way why some young Muslims embrace extremist ideology. Nawaz went from being a hip-hop loving youngster to a radical Islamist before finally renouncing extremism. He now works to prevent others from choosing such a dangerous path and his is a voice I urge you to hear.” -  Anderson Cooper

"A British Muslim reveals a harrowing tale of violence, imprisonment and torture...A lively and convincing antidote to hatred." - Kirkus Reviews

“This is a book for our times. It should be read by anyone who wants to understand how the extremism that stalks our world  is created and how it can be overcome. It could only be written by someone who has lived this story. And Maajid has.”  Former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair

"Maajid Nawaz has an extraordinary personal story about his journey out of Islamist extremism which reads like a novel. It's a coming of age story for our post-9/11 world that is pacy, well written and thoughtful." - Peter Bergen, author of Manhunt: The Ten-Year Search for bin Laden from 9/11 to Abbottabad

"[Maajid] brings the insight of an insider to Radical – an absorbing story of the making and unmaking of a young, radicalized Muslim. The book is candid, dynamic, important…and brave." - Lesley Stahl, 60 Minutes

"One of the essential books to understanding the path to radicalism...[it] will fill one with hope that others can find their way back as Maajid Nawaz relates so movingly." - Tina Brown, editor-in-chief of Newsweek and The Daily Beast

Everyone should read it”   - Nicola Jeal, Saturday editor, The Times of London

"This book is more powerful than America's drone attacks because it helps kill the ideas that inspire terrorists. Ultimately, it is by defeating the extremists' worldview that we will make our world safer. Maajid's compelling story from hatred to hope shows us how this can be done' --Ed Husain, author of The Islamist

"This book is the account of a redemptive journey through innocence, bigotry, hardline radicalism and beyond to a passionate advocacy of human rights and all that this can mean ... I was moved beyond measure.' --Kate Allen, Director, Amnesty International UK

"Imagine Homeland crossed with Skins, and you will get some idea of what a gripping, revelatory book this is. Unputdownable."  - Tom Holland, author of In the Shadow of the Sword

“One of the most compelling descriptions of radical and political immersion of recent times” - Mail on Sunday (UK)

 

 

 

Kirkus Reviews
2013-09-01
A British Muslim reveals a harrowing tale of violence, imprisonment and torture. Meeting racism head-on as a teenager in Southend in Essex, Southeast England, in the early 1990s meant that Nawaz, whose family was from Pakistan, had to fight off British thugs and began to identify with the shock value of American hip-hop music. Radicalized by the events in Bosnia and Palestine, Nawaz and his brother, Osman, were steered by a British Bangladeshi Muslim named Nasim Ghani toward the revolutionary Islamist group Hizb al-Tahrir, which aimed to unify all Muslim countries under an Islamic state. From attending meetings, which indoctrinated the young men into a fervently anti-Western, anti-Israel militancy and appealed to their anger and resentment, Nawaz grew more provocative in his overt, aggressive Islamist views; he was expelled from Newham College, alarming his parents. While studying Arabic at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, he became a leader of HT, volunteering to go to Pakistan and help with recruitment, among other places, and to Egypt, where he was tasked with secretly reviving the HT organization that had been banned by the autocratic Egyptian regime. In the aftermath of 9/11, this was perilous work: The noose was soon tightened around Nawaz and his colleagues, who were rounded up and thrown into Cairo's notorious Mazra Tora prison at a time when "such niceties as the Geneva Convention" didn't matter. Enduring years as a political prisoner challenged his righteous views, and bit-by-bit, he recognized the errors of his ways, supported in his legal battles by Amnesty International. Nawaz became a celebrity and a darling of the media circuit, galvanizing a new movement of Muslim tolerance and moderation. A lively and convincing antidote to hatred.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781493000616
  • Publisher: Lyons Press, The
  • Publication date: 10/7/2014
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 296

Meet the Author


Maajid Nawaz is the co-founder of Quilliam. He holds a BA in Arabic and Law and an MSc in Political Theory. Maajid has addressed the U.S. Senate, been interviewed by 60 Minutes and the New York Times, and has written for The London Times, The Wall Street Journal, and others.
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