Ex-Islamist Radio Host Lambastes Comparison of Israeli UK Ambassador to ISIS Leader
On his popular British radio program on Saturday, a reformed Islamist lambasted a commenter who compared Israel’s ambassador to the UK to the leader of ISIS.
Speaking on LBC talk radio, Maajid Nawaz — who now works to counter Islamic extremism through his organization, the Quilliam Foundation — told an individual named Chris that he “should be disgusted with [him]self” after he wrote into Nawaz’s show, which was covering Israeli envoy Mark Regev’s Thursday lecture at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London.
After Nawaz called the Regev event a “rare victory for free speech,” Chris had challenged, “Would you accept if [Abu] Bakr al-Baghdadi came to speak at one of our universities?”
Nawaz replied: “How on earth do you have the audacity to compare an ambassador of a democratic and, yes, imperfect country in the Middle East, to the leader of the worst terror group that we’ve known in our lifetime — [that] systematically enslaves and rapes women, that turns children into weapons, and that engaged in an attempted genocide of the Yazidi people.”
The radio host added that it was the “moral relativism” of “people like you, Chris, [who] are the reason why more Muslims are suffering from ISIS.”
Nawaz hailed Regev for being the first Israeli diplomat in 12 years to appear at SOAS, and slammed some 150 university staff members who had signed a letter in an attempt to ban Regev from the campus.
Nawaz, who is a graduate of SOAS, said the faculty who participated in the attempted boycott were “failing in [their] responsibility to [their] students” by not promoting SOAS’s particular goal of educating students about the Middle East in its entirety — including understanding the Israeli perspective — and in the larger mission of advancing “universities [as] institutions for debate.”
Nawaz also eviscerated the hundreds of anti-Israel protesters who overran the campus the day of Regev’s appearance for doing nothing when a man “in their own rank[s], one of their own, was shouting” that the Jews murdered in Hitler’s gas chambers were “cowards.”
Nawaz’s SOAS segment — posted in three parts on Facebook by Sussex Friends of Israel — also included a call-in session, during which a man identified as “Maajid from Guilford” told Nawaz that his gripe with Regev was not one of freedom of expression, “but about if it is good to allow the representative of a racist, apartheid regime [on campus] or not.”
Nawaz countered the claim that Israel was an apartheid state by citing his own experiences while visiting the country on a 2011 Liberal Democrat Friends of Israel mission, though he reiterated that he did not agree with the current Benjamin Netanyahu-led Likud government and believed Israel’s 2014 military campaign against Hamas in the Gaza Strip was “disproportionate.”
As The Algemeiner reported last week, the announcement of Regev’s upcoming talk led to an immediate backlash from the SOAS community. A student group that was meant to co-sponsor the event backed out days before the lecture due to the controversy.
In March, as The Algemeiner exclusively reported, footage was released of SOAS students openly expressing support for terror groups Hamas and Hezbollah, and calling for the destruction of the Jewish state. Some in the Jewish community have wryly said the school’s acronym stands for “School Of Antisemitism.”