Founding chairman of Quilliam, the supposed counter-extremism think tank that claims to “challenge the narratives of Islamic extremists”, Maajid Nawaz also has a regular slot on broadcaster LBC. Here, he likes to pontificate on extremism, and especially racism, his pronouncements given extra weight due to his career experience.
His latest very public pronouncement has been to claim that the Labour Party is “Institutionally Racist”. He has presented this as if it were fact. But for this he provides very little evidence. Moreover, Quilliam’s own past work - endorsed on his LBC show by Nawaz - on “Grooming Gangs” has been shown to be deeply flawed. And Nawaz’ own recent behaviour shows he is in no position to call “racist” on anyone.
Quilliam produced a report last year which asserted that 84% of Grooming Gang cases were down to south Asian males. “UK DOES HAVE A PROBLEM WITH PAKISTANIS RAPING WHITE GIRLS” proclaimed a trailer for Nawaz’ LBC shows. Thus the claims made by Rotherham’s Labour MP Sarah Champion were supposedly vindicated.
But a more recent assessment of the Qulliam report has concluded “[Haras] Rafiq and [Muna] Adil’s theory that Asian-Muslims are targeting white girls for sexual exploitation because a) The girls are white b) The offenders are of Pakistani background and c) The offenders are Muslim, is recklessly inflammatory and simply not supported by the scant evidence they provide”. Then we come to Nawaz’ own recent racist lapse.
There he was on LBC, berating Labour about Jeremy Corbyn’s recently revealed remarks which have been widely reinterpreted for the benefit of his detractors. “All of this stuff starts to pile up, and if I started to build a record … if I started to build some form of documentation for a right-wing politician that had been accused of similar flirtations with racism, but towards, for example, somebody who looked like me” he began.
And then he said it. “Instead of somebody who looked like a Jew”. Somebody who “looked like a Jew”? Suggesting there is a “Jewish” look, appearance or whatever is one of the oldest and crudest anti-Semitic tropes. It’s taking debate back to 1920s and 1930s Germany, with Der Stürmer and the Völkischer Beobachter. It’s nailed-on anti-Semitism.
Small wonder Aaron Bastani has responded “This is so utterly ignorant from @MaajidNawaz I don’t know where to begin. I’ve met people of Jewish heritage who look just like you...saying a group of people all look the same is utterly backwards. Hopefully he’ll apologise”. But Maajid Nawaz has not apologised. Instead he has doubled down.
"Somebody who looked like a Jew"
So there he was at the weekend: “.@MaajidNawaz asks this listener six times whether it was okay for a retired police officer to be a member of the institutionally racist Labour Party after she criticised one for joining UKIP”. Yeah, right.
Given Nawaz has used the institution that is LBC to indulge in crude racism of the least excusable kind, that means the “Institutional racist” would be him.
No-one should take lessons from Maajid Nawaz on facts, or racism, or indeed both.
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