Maajid Nawaz's moving plea to demonstrators to remain peaceful

31 May 2020, 17:02 | Updated: 31 May 2020, 17:04

By Seán Hickey

Maajid Nawaz drew on his own experiences to plead with protesters to stay away from violence in their demonstrations.

As protests in America intensify and the streets of London are taken over by Black Lives Matter protesters showing solidarity with the activists in the USA, Maajid Nawaz ended his show with a powerful message directly addressing protesters worldwide.

He called out looting and violence visible at protests in the US by insisting that "no form of populism, fascism or racial supremacy will get us through this", referencing anti-fascist protesters found at some of the American demonstrations inciting violence.

"Martin Luther-King's method, Madibas method and El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz's method is the correct method" he said, insisting that peaceful, nonviolent protests are the correct way forward for activists worldwide if they seek justice.

Maajid went on to read out a text he received during his debate on racism during his show. The text read "I am ashamed to say I am often a little racist, I must listen to you more often because you speak sense" and insisted that his own philosophy of nonviolence has shown this texter the error of his ways rather than if he was aggressive, which would have stoked the racism of the listener.

"Racism is an armour to protect against one's own insecurities" Maajid stated, accepting that it isn't a question of who has suffered more but rather how a person feels that matters when addressing the debate. "I need people to understand that violence isn't the way" he said.

Maajid warned against violence during the current Black Lives Matter demonstrations
Maajid warned against violence during the current Black Lives Matter demonstrations. Picture: PA

Maajid recalled his time in prison when telling listeners that he has learned to keep his own anger in check when trying to fix injustice. "It is easy for me to succumb to my anger" Maajid said, while also adding that "it's not that I am insensitive to your pain."

He insisted that he understood the struggle of the protesters but pleaded with them to look at the work of the most successful equality activist of his generation.

"Mandela spent longer in prison than my five years and came out looking for a nonviolent answer" Maajid pointed out. He saw it crucial for protesters to pay attention to the message of nonviolence as the debate surrounding race is becoming more tense in the UK, and in the US.

"We are born in injustice and fear" Maajid said and encouraged people to be open to dialogue and debate for their cause. He concluded that "this means aspiring to the idea of nonviolent protest."