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UK: Update on defence of LibDem PPC Maajid Nawaz

Wednesday 29 January 2014, by siawi3

Update about ’Nick Clegg: Give full support to LibDem PPC Maajid Nawaz and take disciplinary action against party member Mohammed Shafiq’ on Change.org

27 Jan. 2014

by Chris Moos

To those who signed the petition in support of Maajid Nawaz: an update

Petitioning Nick Clegg: Give full support to LibDem PPC Maajid Nawaz and take disciplinary action against party member Mohammed Shafiq

Source: http://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/nick-clegg-give-full-support-to-libdem-ppc-maajid-nawaz-and-take-disciplinary-action-against-party-member-mohammed-shafiq?utm_source=supporter_message&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=petition_message_notice

You will be pleased to learn that following the public uproar about the campaign against Maajid Nawaz, Nick Clegg has offered his public support, as suggested by our petition. In a letter to the campaigners against Nawaz, released on Sunday, Clegg said:

"I very much recognise and respect that the visual depiction of the Prophet Muhammad is regarded as deeply offensive and distressing to you and many other Muslims in the UK and beyond. But I recognise too that there are also Muslims, including devout ones, who take a different view.
…
However, the Liberal Democrats are a party of respect, tolerance and individual liberty. We fundamentally believe in freedom of expression in an open, liberal and free society and therefore strongly defend Maajid’s right to express his views. Maajid was commenting on a recent BBC programme which covered this issue and wanted to make the point that as a Muslim he did not regard depiction of the Prophet Muhammad as being offensive.

It is my understanding that Maajid has made it clear that he therefore tweeted in order to contribute to a live debate rather than out of any intention to deliberately offend, and that his tweet reflects his genuinely and sincerely held religious views. I hope that those who take a different view would respect his right and sincerity in doing so. I’m sure it goes without saying that the death threats and threats of violence Maajid has received are totally unacceptable, and I’m sure you will join me in whole-heartedly condemning them."

This is a proud moment for all of us who asked Nick Clegg to give his full and and unequivocal backing to Maajid. 6.500 signatories of our petition have made it clear that the bullying and harassment of liberal and secular Muslims by reactionaries and their apologists has no place in a liberal party, let alone in a democratic society.

However, there are still reactionaries like Meral Hussein Ece, Lester Holloway, and Irfan Ahmed within the LibDems, who hide behind the label of liberalism in order to peddle their illiberal and undemocratic views. Please see this article by commentator Amjad Khan for details of their campaign against Maajid: http://tinyurl.com/mo8meku

We should therefore celebrate our victory, while remembering that those who have started and fuelled this vicious campaign are still spreading their poisonous narrative that portrays Muslims as monolithic bloc incapable of tolerating the same levels of discordant views as any other human being. This kind of othering of Muslims is inherently racist and has no place in our society, whereas the human right to free expression within the law should be cherished by all, no matter from what political or religious background.

Thank you again for your support, we will continue to put pressure on Nick Clegg to take disciplinary measures against Mohammed Shafiq as the main instigator responsible for the hate campaign that has resulted in threats to Maajid Nawaz’s life.