Radical: My Journey from Islamist Extremism to a Democratic Awakening

Random House

Born and raised in Essex, Maajid Nawaz was recruited into politicised Islam as a teenager. Abandoning his love of hip hop music, graffiti and girls, he was recruited into Hizb ut-Tahrir (the Liberation Party) where he played a leading and international role in the shaping and dissemination of an aggressive anti-West narrative. While studying for his Arabic and law degree, he travelled around the UK and to Denmark and Pakistan, setting up new cells.

Arriving in Egypt the day before 9/11 his views soon led to his arrest, imprisonment and mental torture, before being thrown into solitary confinement in a Cairo jail reserved for political prisoners. There, while mixing with everyone from the assassins of Egypt's president to Liberal reformists, he underwent an intellectual transformation and on his release after four years, he publically renounced the Islamist ideology that had defined his life. This move would cost him his marriage, his family and his friends as well as his own personal security.

Six years after his release, Maajid now works all over the world to counter Islamism and to promote democratic ideals through his organisation, The Quilliam Foundation, which he co-founded with former Islamist and bestselling author Ed Husain.

Following in the wake of the extraordinary democratic change in the Arab world, that few would have foretold, Radical is Maajid's intensely personal account of life inside and out of Islamic extremism. It also highlights one man's quest to inspire change and challenge extremism in all its forms.

This is a hard-hitting memoir of one man's journey into and out of Islamic extremism.

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About the author

Maajid Nawaz is the co-founder and executive director of Quilliam and founder of Khudi. He was formerly on the UK national leadership for the global Islamist party Hizb ut-Tahrir and was involved in the organisation for almost 14 years. He served four years in an Egyptian prison as an Amnesty International 'prisoner of conscience', until he became de-radicalised and renounced his extremist views. Maajid now engages in counter-Islamist thought-generating, social-activism, writing, debating and media appearances. He holds a BA (Hons) from SOAS in Arabic and Law and an MSc in Political Theory from London School of Economics. Maajid serves as an ambassador for the global Alliance of Youth Movements, is a member of the Liberal Democrat party, and a proud father to his young son.
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Additional Information

Random House
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Published on
Jul 5, 2012
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Biography & Autobiography / Historical
Biography & Autobiography / Military
Biography & Autobiography / Political
Religion / Fundamentalism
Religion / Religion, Politics & State
Social Science / Islamic Studies
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Content Protection
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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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