Why you need to stop using the word Islamophobia: Maajid Nawaz

9 February 2020, 13:55

Maajid Nawaz gave a fascinating take on what is and isn't Islamophobic - and why people should stop using that word.

An imam appointed by Theresa May to help the government's inquiry into Islamophobia is facing calls to stand down after being accused of questioning free speech.

He is understood to have said that while Muslims “cherish free speech”, there should be exceptions for something that is “distasteful to Muslims or they find it offensive”, particularly where it concerns the prophet Muhammad.

Maajid believes sentiment like that is part of the problem, saying: "It's almost impossible to escape this problem of being accused of being Islamophobic because you've said something that a religious Muslim deems as blasphemous.

"We must never allow our government to adopt neither the word nor the definition [of Islamophobia] that in any way lends credence to the idea that blasphemy is racist.

"There's a huge difference in being critical of an idea and critical of a person because of their political or religious identity."

Maajid Nawaz in the LBC studio
Maajid Nawaz in the LBC studio. Picture: LBC

Maajid urged people to use a different phrase instead: "The appropriate word should be anti-Muslim bigotry, not Islamophobia.

"It's lazy to keep using the word Islamophobia which does nothing but encourage the blasphemy taboo."

Watch his monologue at the top of the page.