Maajid Nawaz: A global culture to fight extremism

Have you ever wondered why extremism seems to have been on the rise in Muslim-majority countries over the course of the last decade? Have you ever wondered how such a situation can be turned around? Have you ever looked at the Arab uprisings and thought, “How could we have predicted that?” or “How could we have better prepared for that?” Well my personal story, my personal journey, what brings me to the TED stage here today, is a demonstration of exactly what’s been happening in Muslim-majority countries over the course of the last decades, at least, and beyond. I want to share some of that story with you, but also some of my ideas around change and the role of social movements in creating change in Muslim-majority societies. So let me begin by first of all giving a very, very brief history of time, if I may indulge. In medieval societies there were defined allegiances. An identity was defined primarily by religion. And then we moved on into an era in the 19th century with the rise of a European nation-state where identities and allegiances were defined by ethnicity. So identity was primarily defined by ethnicity, and the nation-state reflected that. In the age of globalization, we moved on. I call it the era of citizenship — where people could be from multi-racial, multi-ethnic backgrounds, but all be equal as citizens in a state. You could be American-Italian; you could be American-Irish; you could be British-Pakistani. But I believe now that we’re moving into a new age, and that age The New York Times dubbed recently as “the age of behavior.” How I define the age of behavior is a period of transnational allegiances, where identity is defined more so by ideas and narratives. And these ideas and narratives that bump people across borders are increasingly beginning to affect the way in which people behave. Now this is not all necessarily good news, because it’s also my belief that hatred has gone global just as much as love. But actually it’s my belief that the people who’ve been truly capitalizing on this age of behavior, up until now, up until recent times, up until the last six months, the people who have been capitalizing most on the age of behavior and the transnational allegiances, using digital activism and other sorts of borderless technologies, those who’ve been benefiting from this have been extremists. And that’s something which I’d like to elaborate on. If we look at Islamists, if we look at the phenomenon of far-right fascists, one thing they’ve been very good at, one thing that they’ve actually been exceeding in, is communicating across borders, using technologies to organize themselves, to propagate their message and to create truly global phenomena. Now I should know, because for 13 years of my life, I was involved in an extreme Islamist organization. And I was actually a potent force in spreading ideas across borders, and I witnessed the rise of Islamist extremism as distinct from Islam the faith, and the way in which it influenced my co-religionists across the world. And my story, my personal story, is truly evidence for the age of behavior that I’m attempting to elaborate upon here. I was, by the way — I’m an Essex lad, born and raised in Essex in the U.K. Anyone who’s from England knows the reputation we have from Essex. But having been born in Essex, at the age of 16, I joined an organization. At the age of 17, I was recruiting people from Cambridge University to this organization. At the age of 19, I was on the national leadership of this organization in the U.K. At the age of 21, I was co-founding this organization in Pakistan. At the age of 22, I was co-founding this organization in Denmark. By the age of 24, I found myself convicted in prison in Egypt, being blacklisted from three countries in the world for attempting to overthrow their governments, being subjected to torture in Egyptian jails and sentenced to five years as a prisoner of conscience. Now that journey, and what took me from Essex all the way across the world — by the way, we were laughing at democratic activists. We felt they were from the age of yesteryear. We felt that they were out of date. I learned how to use email from the extremist organization that I used. I learned how to effectively communicate across borders without being detected. Eventually I was detected, of course, in Egypt. But the way in which I learned to use technology to my advantage was because I was within an extremist organization that was forced to think beyond the confines of the nation-state. The age of behavior: where ideas and narratives were increasingly defining behavior and identity and allegiances. So as I said, we looked to the status quo and ridiculed it. And it’s not just Islamist extremists that did this. But even if you look across the mood music in Europe of late, far-right fascism is also on the rise. A form of anti-Islam rhetoric is also on the rise and it’s transnational. And the consequences that this is having is that it’s affecting the political climate across Europe. What’s actually happening is that what were previously localized parochialisms, individual or groupings of extremists who were isolated from one another, have become interconnected in a globalized way and have thus become, or are becoming, mainstream. Because the Internet and connection technologies are connecting them across the world. If you look at the rise of far-right fascism across Europe of late, you will see some things that are happening that are influencing domestic politics, yet the phenomenon is transnational. In certain countries, mosque minarets are being banned. In others, headscarves are being banned. In others, kosher and halal meat are being banned, as we speak. And on the flip side, we have transnational Islamist extremists doing the same thing across their own societies. And so they are pockets of parochialism that are being connected in a way that makes them feel like they are mainstream. Now that never would have been possible before. They would have felt isolated, until these sorts of technologies came around and connected them in a way that made them feel part of a larger phenomenon. Where does that leave democracy aspirants? Well I believe they’re getting left far behind. And I’ll give you an example here at this stage. If any of you remembers the Christmas Day bomb plot: there’s a man called Anwar al-Awlaki. As an American citizen, ethnically a Yemeni, in hiding currently in Yemen, who inspired a Nigerian, son of the head of Nigeria’s national bank. This Nigerian student studied in London, trained in Yemen, boarded a flight in Amsterdam to attack America. In the meanwhile, the Old mentality with a capital O, was represented by his father, the head of the Nigerian bank, warning the CIA that his own son was about to attack, and this warning fell on deaf ears. The Old mentality with a capital O, as represented by the nation-state, not yet fully into the age of behavior, not recognizing the power of transnational social movements, got left behind. And the Christmas Day bomber almost succeeded in attacking the United States of America. Again with the example of the far right: that we find, ironically, xenophobic nationalists are utilizing the benefits of globalization. So why are they succeeding? And why are democracy aspirants falling behind? Well we need to understand the power of the social movements who understand this. And a social movement is comprised, in my view, it’s comprised of four main characteristics. It’s comprised of ideas and narratives and symbols and leaders. I’ll talk you through one example, and that’s the example that everyone here will be aware of, and that’s the example of Al-Qaeda. If I asked you to think of the ideas of Al-Qaeda, that’s something that comes to your mind immediately. If I ask you to think of their narratives — the West being at war with Islam, the need to defend Islam against the West — these narratives, they come to your mind immediately. Incidentally, the difference between ideas and narratives: the idea is the cause that one believes in; and the narrative is the way to sell that cause — the propaganda, if you like, of the cause. So the ideas and the narratives of Al-Qaeda come to your mind immediately. If I ask you to think of their symbols and their leaders, they come to your mind immediately. One of their leaders was killed in Pakistan recently. So these symbols and these leaders come to your mind immediately. And that’s the power of social movements. They’re transnational, and they bond around these ideas and narratives and these symbols and these leaders. However, if I ask your minds to focus currently on Pakistan, and I ask you to think of the symbols and the leaders for democracy in Pakistan today, you’ll be hard pressed to think beyond perhaps the assassination of Benazir Bhutto. Which means, by definition, that particular leader no longer exists. One of the problems we’re facing is, in my view, that there are no globalized, youth-led, grassroots social movements advocating for democratic culture across Muslim-majority societies. There is no equivalent of the Al-Qaeda, without the terrorism, for democracy across Muslim-majority societies. There are no ideas and narratives and leaders and symbols advocating the democratic culture on the ground. So that begs the next question. Why is it that extremist organizations, whether of the far-right or of the Islamist extremism — Islamism meaning those who wish to impose one version of Islam over the rest of society — why is it that they are succeeding in organizing in a globalized way, whereas those who aspire to democratic culture are falling behind? And I believe that’s for four reasons. I believe, number one, it’s complacency. Because those who aspire to democratic culture are in power, or have societies that are leading globalized, powerful societies, powerful countries. And that level of complacency means they don’t feel the need to advocate for that culture. The second, I believe, is political correctness. That we have a hesitation in espousing the universality of democratic culture because we are associating that — we associate believing in the universality of our values — with extremists. Yet actually, whenever we talk about human rights, we do say that human rights are universal. But actually going out to propagate that view is associated with either neoconservativism or with Islamist extremism. To go around saying that I believe democratic culture is the best that we’ve arrived at as a form of political organizing is associated with extremism. And the third, democratic choice in Muslim-majority societies has been relegated to a political choice, meaning political parties in many of these societies ask people to vote for them as the democratic party, but then the other parties ask them to vote for them as the military party — wanting to rule by military dictatorship. And then you have a third party saying, “Vote for us; we’ll establish a theocracy.” So democracy has become merely one political choice among many other forms of political choices available in those societies. And what happens as a result of this is, when those parties are elected, and inevitably they fail, or inevitably they make political mistakes, democracy takes the blame for their political mistakes. And then people say, “We’ve tried democracy. It doesn’t really work. Let’s bring the military back again.” And the fourth reason, I believe, is what I’ve labeled here on the slide as the ideology of resistance. What I mean by that is, if the world superpower today was a communist, it would be much easier for democracy activists to use democracy activism as a form of resistance against colonialism, than it is today with the world superpower being America, occupying certain lands and also espousing democratic ideals. So roughly these four reasons make it a lot more difficult for democratic culture to spread as a civilizational choice, not merely as a political choice. When talking about those reasons, let’s break down certain preconceptions. Is it just about grievances? Is it just about a lack of education? Well statistically, the majority of those who join extremist organizations are highly educated. Statistically, they are educated, on average, above the education levels of Western society. Anecdotally, we can demonstrate that if poverty was the only factor, well Bin Laden is from one of the richest families in Saudi Arabia. His deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, was a pediatrician — not an ill-educated man. International aid and development has been going on for years, but extremism in those societies, in many of those societies, has been on the rise. And what I believe is missing is genuine grassroots activism on the ground, in addition to international aid, in addition to education, in addition to health. Not exclusive to these things, but in addition to them, is propagating a genuine demand for democracy on the ground. And this is where I believe neoconservatism had it upside-down. Neoconservatism had the philosophy that you go in with a supply-led approach to impose democratic values from the top down. Whereas Islamists and far-right organizations, for decades, have been building demand for their ideology on the grassroots. They’ve been building civilizational demand for their values on the grassroots, and we’ve been seeing those societies slowly transition to societies that are increasingly asking for a form of Islamism. Mass movements in Pakistan have been represented after the Arab uprisings mainly by organizations claiming for some form of theocracy, rather than for a democratic uprising. Because since pre-partition, they’ve been building demand for their ideology on the ground. And what’s needed is a genuine transnational youth-led movement that works to actively advocate for the democratic culture — which is necessarily more than just elections. But without freedom of speech, you can’t have free and fair elections. Without human rights, you don’t have the protection granted to you to campaign. Without freedom of belief, you don’t have the right to join organizations. So what’s needed is those organizations on the ground advocating for the democratic culture itself to create the demand on the ground for this culture. What that will do is avoid the problem I was talking about earlier, where currently we have political parties presenting democracy as merely a political choice in those societies alongside other choices such as military rule and theocracy. Whereas if we start building this demand on the ground on a civilizational level, rather than merely on a political level, a level above politics — movements that are not political parties, but are rather creating this civilizational demand for this democratic culture. What we’ll have in the end is this ideal that you see on the slide here — the ideal that people should vote in an existing democracy, not for a democracy. But to get to that stage, where democracy builds the fabric of society and the political choices within that fabric, but are certainly not theocratic and military dictatorship — i.e. you’re voting in a democracy, in an existing democracy, and that democracy is not merely one of the choices at the ballot box. To get to that stage, we genuinely need to start building demand in those societies on the ground. Now to conclude, how does that happen? Well, Egypt is a good starting point. The Arab uprisings have demonstrated that this is already beginning. But what happened in the Arab uprisings and what happened in Egypt was particularly cathartic for me. What happened there was a political coalition gathered together for a political goal, and that was to remove the leader. We need to move one step beyond that now. We need to see how we can help those societies move from political coalitions, loosely based political coalitions, to civilizational coalitions that are working for the ideals and narratives of the democratic culture on the ground. Because it’s not enough to remove a leader or ruler or dictator. That doesn’t guarantee that what comes next will be a society built on democratic values. But generally, the trends that start in Egypt have historically spread across the MENA region, the Middle East and North Africa region. So when Arab socialism started in Egypt, it spread across the region. In the ’80s and ’90s when Islamism started in the region, it spread across the MENA region as a whole. And the aspiration that we have at the moment — as young Arabs are proving today and instantly rebranding themselves as being prepared to die for more than just terrorism — is that there is a chance that democratic culture can start in the region and spread across to the rest of the countries that are surrounding that. But that will require helping these societies transition from having merely political coalitions to building genuinely grassroots-based social movements that advocate for the democratic culture. And we’ve made a start for that in Pakistan with a movement called Khudi, where we are working on the ground to encourage the youth to create genuine buy-in for the democratic culture. And it’s with that thought that I’ll end. And my time is up, and thank you for your time. (Applause)

  1. O great youtube trolls… yeah you should get the fuck out because society finds that you are futile shit bags breathing my oxygen!

  2. end extremism… simple enough. the world seeks solutions, he comes is peace. the only question now is do you trust him? your choice.

  3. @bulldog300 Nothing could be further from the truth than your claim that banks "encourage a free market". Banks encourage monopolies. Banks destroy competative forces. It makes no sense for a central bank to loan money to more than one business of the same kind. Furthermore, banks can not lose, they loan out money they DO NOT HAVE and expect it to be repayed with interest or they get the collateral the borrower used to obtain the loan. It is a win-win for the bank! No risk!……..

  4. @dlucas90 Worst of all, all the money in our money supply comes from the PRINCIPLE of bank loans. Unfortunately, all that money is owed back to the bank plus INTEREST, for which no money exists. In other words, if "x" is the total money supply and "i" is they interest, the bank is always "owed" x+y but the total money supply only consists of "x", so a new bigger loan must always be taken from the bank to pay off yesterdays x+y. That is a mathematically unservicable contract, therefore FRAUD!

  5. @bulldog300
    "The modern banking system manufactures money from nothing. The process is perhaps the most astounding piece of seight of hand that was ever invented.
    Banking was concieved in iniquity and born in sin.
    Bankers own the earth. Take it away from them, but leave them a with the ability to create money, and with the flick of a pen they will create enough money to buy it back agian.
    Take this great power away from them and all great fortunes like mine will disappear, ……..cont'

  6. ………. for then this would be a better and happier world to live in.
    But if you want to continue to be slaves to the banks and pay the cost of your own slavery, then let bankers continue to create money and control credit."

    —— Sir Josiah Stamp
    Director, Bank of England 1928-1941
    (reputed to be the second richest man in England at the time)

  7. @thepumpkin25 at the same time, couldn't the extremist turn around and have the same attitude with you? You say that no one wants to bother with his people and that they should be 'nuked'. What if someone turns around and says you're an intolerant racist and that you should be 'nuked'? You wouldn't be so happy about that, would you?

  8. @achahei Western governments don't need to do that. People just need to actually read the Quran, get educated and they wouldn't have that problem. Note how all the jihadists are rich, secularly-educated guys, not religious scholars. It wouldn't be politically correct to counter their arguments, it would just religiously correct. Suicide is already a sin and so is killing innocent people and forcing people to be one religion or another. Like Nawaz said,it's all about politics and power.

  9. @fsfer all i know.. its newer to late.. to get your head right… if he wass so fucked up still after prison.. i dont think he would last a chance to get a speach like that… there are lots of check points.. before the real thing.. dont you think…

  10. @dlucas90 I hate to break it to you, smashing your conspiracy theory in the process, but again it's governments. The Fereral reserve, mandate on the interest of government bonds and yes, their choice on how much U.S. money circulates the world dictates all of this. Banks just HOLD money, they don't produce it. the US gov produces dollars, the European Union makes Euros and so on. That's how they regulate Macro economics. Not sure who told you that private banks produced money.

  11. @thepumpkin25 you may not be racist, as you claim, but you should really learn proper grammar when participating in any sort of debate. Nobody will take you seriously when you say "burning are flags in there streets". It should be "burning OUR flags in THEIR streets".

  12. @bulldog300 If the govt.s created their own money, they wouldn't owe it to banks. In other words, there would be no "national debt" owed to central banks.
    Watch "Money As Debt" for a good intro on how money comes into existence. Money is not created by our govt., rather, it is created by banks and loaned to the govt.

  13. This is fresh thinking that makes a lot of sense; Thanks for sharing your ideas. Highly recommend this video

  14. @thepumpkin25 LOL my 'non sense'. Aww you're so adorable but maybe you should spend more time worrying about your education and less time worrying about how much of a 'dumb bitch' I am. 🙂 and FYI, the suicide bombings didn't just RANDOMLY occur one day.. Do you honestly think that a group of people randomly decided that they hate America for no reason whatsoever. Be real, love. There is no innocent party anymore.

  15. @geodesicks As is ignorace. Your boardering on taliban level of rational here. Islamic civilisations contributed significantly to humanity. We'd still be using roman numerals if it wasnt for Islamic mathematicians. Go read up on Al-Khawarizmi

  16. look. if scientists vowed to use their knowledge for the good of man, then wars will die out. there will just be no way to fight. Albert Einstein believed in this.(even though what i say may be slightly different.)

  17. @ihallthirteen they can also not believe in God you ass hole, like stalin and mao. They didn't need any God to kill people, did they? Fuck off don't bring God in every bad thing if you don't believe in him.

  18. Banning Halal & Kosher murder methods is not a stance against freedom of religion: it is a stance against torture. All murder, be it of human or non-human animal, should be illegal, & banning throat-slitting of those who are as aware as a young human children is a step in the good direction.

  19. @alihammadshah why did this man in this video not talk about how islam went to war with the world on its start of islam? why did he miss that section of history out and went stright into debate agianst europe lol.

    Its because he knows that the crusades was created to beat the liveing hell out of the muslims that wiped out the hindus and the christians and the buddist in asia, the flood of ottomen came into europe but was smashed back by the british and the french ect…

  20. ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh but this man in the video wont bring that up ohhhhhhhhhh noooooooo heaven forbid lol

    or how about the fact that the oldist mosques in india are made out of hindu temples ohhhhhhhhhhh nooooo heaven forbid to tell anyone about that..

    why dont everyone on youtube right now type up this into the search bar

    "CONVERT BY SWORD OF ISLAM" yeah more dirty secrets hidden away that only historians and eduacted people know about

  21. @courtesyZone Explicit in the transnational democratic movement is that universal human rights are unassailable, and that forms of pluralistic representation are guaranteed within a framework that acknowledges fundamental humanistic ethics, seperation of powers, and the rule of law. The majority cannot, therefore, disenfranchise a minority. Where we give rise to institutions that impinge on these principles, democracy has effectively been relinquished.

  22. @courtesyZone Phrased in that manner, the question is impossible to answer. Obviously it would depend on the society, the system, and etc circumstance. Regardless, it seems somewhat moot in consideration of the caveats aforementioned. The fundamental purpose and first responsibility of any valid constitutional democracy is to guarantee rights. If a such a society fails to protect an individual's rights, and there are no means for redress, then it simply isn't working. All are responsible.

  23. @courtesyZone Well, again I think you're talking about circumstances that are not reflective of the system I've described, and making characterizations based on those. Consider that you may be on the verge of a strawman. As to the 'tragedy of the commons', I'd said that all are responsible in a society that is, or has become, patently undemocratic. So within that context, you may be correct. But a republic could very easily be one of these, and history evinces that it quite often is.

  24. Brilliant message and so applicable not just to extremism in the Middle East but also in corrupt and irresposnible political movements in Africa. I hope people pay heed to your message and use it for growing their Democratic Movements. The reality is that due to apathy, many people sit back and let poor leaders (non leaders) corrupt and mislead the public (esspecially the youth / youth movements) into following really bad ideas. Responsible well meaning democratic leaders should step up.

  25. For this debate, i think we should start by defining democracy. Supposed to be the govenment BY the people, For the people etc… We are governed by financial powers, who are driving us to alienation, unconsciousness and self destruction as a planet! ERROR: CURRENT DEMOCRACY NOT WORKING

  26. @MrBeumel he doesn't need to be voted with pieces of paper to be people's choice (democracy)… And in many ways buddhist religious principles are a much better guide than western hyper-consumption/all for the money maxims. We should open our minds to other ways and create our own or we are being as extremist as terrorists (like US foreign policies).

  27. @MrBeumel he doesn't need to be voted with pieces of paper to be people's choice (democracy)… And in many ways buddhist religious principles are a much better guide than western hyper-consumption/all for the money maxims. We should open our minds to other ways and create our own or we are being as extremist as terrorists (like US foreign policies).

  28. Great, so your point is that there aren't many democratic movements, and certainly none of note, in Islamic countries. Whose fault is that? Maybe it could have something to do with outlaw radicals killing everyone who stands up to them. Middle East=Wild West.

  29. Jainism doesn't eat tomatoes because they're red, the colour of blood.

    This means, no ketchup, no pizza sauce. In my opinion, this travesty is worse than lynching gays.

  30. islam is not the religion but it's just a Devil's cult made by the False Prophet Muhammad. He also created the imaginary creature named 'allah' to justified all of his bad deeds & to made his followers obey to his command. Actually 'allah' was Muhammad himself. He also created the Devil's cult named islam. While the moslems are the first victim of islam

  31. The hatred for Islam in these comments makes me sick. Extremism exists in nearly all major religions and while Islamist extremists have been most effective at taking advantage of communication systems to strike against people they perceive as enemies, it does not make Islam as a religion some sort of cult, virus, or terrorist organization. It shares values with both Christianity and Judaism and there are many peaceful practitioners around the world. An entire group cannot be judged by a few.

  32. Christianity has evolved into a more peaceful religion (not most peaceful). There is a lot of unethical things in the Bible. Likewise, the Qur'an needs to be interpreted to suit this century. For the safety of the nation, a whole group must change if those part of the group are killing thousands of citizens. European colonialism planted hatred. Muslims just went crazy with hatred at one point because nationalism grew through the religion. Colonialism corrupted Islam & many faiths

  33. Ok Majid Nawaz, you need to dumb your language down for all citizens of the world to understand. The extremists are both educated and uneducated. Some are educated but in different languages. So please put your message across with simple short sentences. Thank you.

  34. Indeed, religion is noxious to the mind, Of course, all religions have no choice but to take a back seat to the RAW, unshackled savagery of islamic fascism. Problem is that religion can't just "be removed". Since religion/faith is analogous to illogical, unreasonable thinking, the only way it can be dismantled is through logical, critical thinking. Specifically, teaching this to our children and NOT allowing the exquisitely preposterous notions of god/afterlife to infect and poison their minds.

  35. We Christians have plenty of extremism ourselves. We need to form a movement to outstrip extremism, regardless of our religions.

  36. Only Muslims kill innocent people for a fucking picture of Muhammad
    And hundreds of thousands were those who asked for blood in the streets by the fucking drawing.

  37. The amount of crap that comes out his mouth, all for a fat pay check at the end of the month from the Government. talk about selling out.

  38. Islam (the idea not the people unless their violent) is a virus that has been inflicated on us by a raving warlord who had sex with a 9 year old.

  39. A faith that despises non-believers (what it says in texts not what Western Muslims say), women's rights, and homosexuals. And don't get me started on the part in the Qur'an that supports wife beating (4:34).

  40. I need to learn to get laid. My buddy has started going out with a stunning lady mainly because 8 weeks ago he registered to a website named Master Attraction (Google it if you'd like to learn how.) I'm jealous since I would like to fall in love too. I'm gonna look into this Jake Ayres man's material and find out if it will help a person like me. Funny point is, he used to have no good fortune with girls. How do you change that fast? His girl's a banging model…

  41. i'm an atheist, yet i think Maajid Nawaz has done a brave job in fighting extremism
    I hope more people like him will stand up against the al-Qaeda and the Pakistani, and he will encourage more people to fight religious extremisim particularly islam
    once religious extremisim is gone in islam, it would now be easier for people to drop their religion totally and embrace human values and progress

  42. The idea that democracy needs transcultural advocacy is interesting. None other than Ayaan Hirsi Ali has talked of the need for the same thing. The "demand-led" idea has a lot to it.

    OTOH, the scenario where the mistakes of democratic parties cause the dismissal of democracy itself works both ways — in Egypt, the rule of Morsi was enough of a disaster to set the Muslim Brotherhood back severely, even in other countries such as Jordan.

    Nawaz wants us all to be radicals — in the right cause…

  43. One of the few things Maher says which is… "to quote you and him, "bullshit". Muslim religious fanatics are more extreme in their actions but only because the laws in the countries are not as encompassing. Give our Christian right wing nut jobs time. They'll get the hang of it.
    If Rick Santorum had his way we would be killing anti Christians and anyone who said the planet was more than 5000 years old now

  44. Maajid is really interesting and articulate. Good to see a man can be redeemed from a life of violence, and for me, my problem isn't with 'freedom fighters', but rather, with men who equate the tyranny of violence and brutal terrorism with fighting for freedom.

    When Subhas Bose tried to take India by force alongside other Indian extremists, they failed, and ultimately the British seized the moral highground of eliminating a 'terrorist threat'. When Gandhi forced himself and his followers to suffer unimaginable brutalities through peaceful protest and dissent, the British began to truly understand the values of 'liberty' and 'freedom' and 'justice which they had used up until then to mask the cruel nature of Empire…and finally let India go.

    Some men say, 'If I am not violent, how will I defend myself against someone who is violent?' this is the argument each of us makes and which creates a world filled with violence. When someone does the truly brave thing, and becomes the first person to lower that fist, he is making the leap of faith which others will follow into a world of dialogue, discussion, progress and ultimately long lasting peace.

  45. As Islamists spread across Iraq and Syria, this three-year old TED talk seems quite relevant and illuminating. It's always refreshing to hear a vigorous defense of enlightenment values – or universal human rights – from an articulate young man who warns of both terrorist threats and the dangers of political correctness that blinds so many westerners. It's clear that we must engage the Islamist narrative in the media and schools – or we will face decades of civilizational conflict. Unfortunately, the speaker remains quite vague about how we can create a "civilizational choice" for democracy in closed, authoritarian countries.

  46. Civilisation and islam have been at war for hundreds of years. They be continue to be at war till one side is destroyed. The left have decided that islam must win.

  47. he said it is far right to ban halal meat.. and you like his speach… you are the extrimists, not Nationalists.
    P.S. pork is being banned in schools to not offend these sons of bitches

  48. yah lets talk about freedom of speech and then lets talk about how to ''force'' democracy on others. Bloody idiot.

  49. That was very well done! Thank you Maajid Nawaz! I hope to see a big change in the next few decades in the Middle East!

  50. I think the current state of the transnational Islamist movements and the late 19th and early 20th century Communist movements would have been a more apt comparison with the big difference of the current state of technology and easy of travel that did not exist in the late and early 19th/20th century.  

  51. I heard a true enemy of Islam and Muslims speak first time in my life. The damage this man can do to Muslims and Islam is beyond what FBI CIA MOSSAD can do.

  52. Maajid Nawaz always talks sense, nothing controversial at all in what he's saying. Politics and religion should remain separate. Groups supporting democratic values need to be encouraged.

  53. Maajid Nawaz is a LibDem. Thats the party here in the UK who just went along with the ideological austerity of the Independent Living Fund for the disabled. It is the party that said and did nothing while David Cameron toured the Middle East during the Arab Spring, selling arms to brutal, despotic regimes such as Saudi Arabia. Their new leader is a Christian who is homophobic and anti-abortion- yet Nawaz has not raised an objection to this.

  54. Truly inspirational stuff that I couldn't agree more with. And incredibly poignant with regards to what has happened since this talk in 2011. Maajid Nawaz I take my proverbial hat off to you!

  55. Read this article on Maajid Nawaz. His own ex-wife, brother, and other were interviewed. It is confirmed that Maajid Nawaz soldout and became a paid informant to the British Government.

  56. I have wondered if you could have some sort of 'subversive' species of democracy, the same way capitalism would always exist as black markets no matter how hard a government attempted to outlaw it.

    Currently Im not sure how western democracy would survive the beheading of their government, say by a coup. I can imagine protests but all you should really need to do is passively ignore undemocratic government. We shouldn't have to require an authority to continually impose democracy on us, organise ballots for us and so on. Ideally it would emerge naturally from bottom up behaviour and if any coup or other attack attempted to behead this democratic government, a new government would instantly appear, hydra-like..


  57. The point that democracy as a system gets the blame when parties that embrace it inevitably make mistakes, which then leads the populace to embrace antidemocratic alternatives, is quite profound.

  58. I wonder whether by now he realised that he is a civic nationalist. Civic nationalism can create strife as well (like between the USA and other countries like Russia), but it is the best system we have, because democracy is the best system we have.

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