Radical: My Journey from Islamist Extremism to a Democratic Awakening
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 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
- Tony Blair
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
Maajid Nawaz was thirty years my junior when I first encountered him in the Torah Prison. His story saddened but inspired me. His innocence and idealism sharply contrasted with the corruption and despotism of his captors. Through Maajid my faith was renewed that a spring of freedom was bound to happen eventually, and so it did
- Dr Saad El-Dine Ibrahim, Egyptian liberal reform pioneer and former political prisoner
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
One of the most compelling descriptions of radical political immersion of recent times
- Mail on Sunday
A horrifying reflection on modern Britain
What a life, what a compelling storyteller. In parts you’ll need to remind yourself that what reads like an engrossing, fast-paced, action-packed thriller, a piece of fiction, is in fact a real-life account
- The Indian Express