Friday, December 5, 2008

Maajid Nawaz explains why he left Islamism

Following is a long excerpt from an authoritative article about Islamism. The author, Maajid Nawaz, was an Islamist, so he knows whereof he speaks. He is not an apostate Muslim, just a regular Muslim, explaining what it is all about. More HERE.

My time in Egypt's notorious Mazra Tora prison gave me the opportunity to finally study Islam myself from its primary Arabic sources. I also had the opportunity to debate with some of Egypt's most well-known convicted terrorists, such as the surviving assassins of late Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and the founders of al-Gama'a al-Islamiyyah – formerly Egypt's largest terrorist group. I also had access to imprisoned liberals such as the runner-up in the Egyptian Presidential election Ayman Noor, and the then imprisoned Sociology Professor Saad el-Din Ibrahim. My adoption by Amnesty International as a 'prisoner of conscience', and in particular the tireless efforts of one Amnesty activist – John Cornwall – served to open my heart to non-Muslims again for the first time in 10 years. My mind, however, would still not follow without rigorous investigation. After four years of daily debate and organised studying with the whole spectrum of reformed political prisoners I gradually came to the realisation, subconsciously at first, that what I had thought was Islam, was in fact a modern political ideology masquerading as the ancient faith of Islam. Islamists had taken modern day political paradigms and superimposed them onto religion. I now refer to this ideology as Islamism, so as to distinguish it from Islam the faith.

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