Maajid Nawaz On Australian TV


On the heels of a joint speaking engagement down under with Sam Harris, Maajid Nawaz appeared on Australian talk show ‘The Drum’. Non-Australians can now watch this online here.

Firstly, I think it’s great to see liberal, progressive Muslims like Maajid granted a platform on mainstream TV – rather than the usual rent-a-loons that are invited in the service of controversy, rather than discussion.

Nawaz, as always, shared some articulate views on extremism, secularism and the Islamist narrative. This brings me to another guest and ‘Human Rights Campaigner’, Sarah Saleh.


Keep in mind what Maajid Nawaz stands for and speaks clearly about on this TV appearance: anti-extremism, freedom of expression, human rights and secularism. Saleh’s response? She summarises Nawaz’s position as ‘extreme’. She also appears to have a hard time accepting that theocracy is a bad idea. “Surely you agree theocracy is wrong?” asks Nawaz. “Do I need to?” responds Saleh. At least she was helpful insofar as demonstrating the problem we have with so-called ‘moderate Muslims’.

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  • Do rent-a-loons smell as bad as rent-a-loos? I would get a mischievous sense of satisfaction from knowing C.J.Werleman stunk of crap.

  • After watching the video, and the woman refusing to say what she meant by “extreme” when describing Nawaz, I figured it out. On one side, you have the extremists that want to murder everyone, and on the other extreme, you have Nawaz who doesn’t want anyone murdered. We need to find a happy middle ground, I guess?

    • What would your happy middle ground be? Just a few murdered? I’m not being facetious here – if you simply read back to yourself what you submitted I have drawn the logical conclusion.

      Maajid Nawaz is a force for good & should be listened to at every opportunity. He is after all one of the few people who have truly experienced both sides of this debate.

  • I can’t help wondering whether Sarah Saleh just doesn’t know what secularism is? That would be bizarre enough but maybe would explain her even more bizarre attitude

    • She thinks she knows what it means… the same as she thinks she knows what ‘Human Rights Campaigner’ is. It is clear from her evident support of Theocracy and Islamism, and her early move to state Maajid’s position as ‘racially based’ that she is being marketed to the regressive left as a female Muslim voice of reason – but who has no substance in her argument.

    • It is very common for the religious to describe secularism as anti-theism, that its goal is to eradicate religion. This comes from, I think, the projection of their own views, that there can only be one ideological belief that controls the government, and all other ideologies must be destroyed. The concept of neutrality is meaningless to them.

  • The regressive left is strong here and sadly this is not a conversation we are at present willing to have in Australia.

    This was made abundantly clear to me this past week when two relatively well know Australian identities, @charliepick and @JohnSafran, appeared to not make mention publicly they were hosting such a well known figure as Sam Harris. I wonder why?..

    On a positive,3 years ago Maajid was ‘ex-communicated’ from a Sydney mosque and boycotted, this time there were full houses so it’s slowly happening.

  • Having listened right the way through I can make neither head nor tails of Sarah Saleh. A useful idiot? A fifth columnist? Or simply stupid?

    It’s not at all clear to me that she understood the terms employed during the piece. Is she confused between secular and sectarian? Does she know that theocracy is authoritarian rule by government and not the right to practise your religion?

    Regardless, however, she embarrassed herself and no doubt many members of the Australian Muslim community are wondering how the hell she got on television.

    Maajid Nawaz was, as ever, calm and clear, despite the attempt to wrong foot him at the outset with the strip club clip.

    • Sarah Saleh wound up openly saying that she thinks theocracy is preferable to secularism but she warmed up by cynically deploying all the language of now entrenched academic critical theory and post modern tropes. She did the latter by appeal to the supposed oppression of liberal values and capitalist secularism of the west and the idea that nothing can be confidently known about the world by the only important political discourse is to give a special voice to those presumed excluded – especially minorities in western countries – A. CRITICAL THEORY ASSUMPTIONS 1. Western capitalism the greatest form of oppression and imperialism theres ever been 2. Other cultures essentially superior to west and modern technological culture essentially an offshoot of capitalism. We would be better going back to the past if we can’t reign in “capitalism” with an idealised pastoral service based no industry in sight economy or we can’t please the first two groups of no. 3. . 3. Politics needs to be about giving voice to the voiceless who are presumed to be minorities in western countries (esp if aggrieved by the West) , peoples in non western countries opposed to the west or oppressed by capitalism or something which can be seen as capitalism, or, further down the list women and the working class. 4. By extension liberalism has come to be equated with economic liberalism and even religion is preferable to the supposedly more consumerist nature of current secularism. B. POST MODERN ASSUMPTIONS there is no such thing as fact every argument is as good as any other because empiricism – “objective” fact is too often used to “objectifying” a group. Language is just a tool of oppression unless the underlying oppression of minorities and excluded groups is brought to the fore ….. blah blah

      • Very good points, Rose, although it was difficult to read through it!
        It seems that Saleh is a classic student that is often produced by the modern Western education system. She uses all the obfuscating Marxist language, which she has been taught and learnt so effectively, to avoid expressing the fact that she actually thinks Theocracy is a superior form of government! Unfortunately Nawaz is so used to employing the language HE has perfected in opposition to all the arguments that Muslims put forward that he couldn’t see the wood through the language trees. He could so easily have put her on the spot by simply concentrating on her obvious admiration for Islamic Theocracy as a superior form of government instead of asking over and again whether she thought supporting secularism and human rights was an extreme viewpoint. As far as she was concerned secularist, governments driven by capitalism are the most oppressive, imperialist force that’s ever been! She is very familiar and comfortable with that stance because of course she knows so many liberals on the Western left fully share her views.
        I feel sure she would be far less comfortable championing her views on Islamic Theocracy which no one but her fellow Muslims sympathise with.

  • Interesting observing people struggling to defend their beliefs when confronted with having to state what being Islam means to them, therein lies the problem.

    Ultimate challenge would be to hold onto any religious beliefs in the face of scientific and historic fact in the absence of truth behind all actors’ actions in instigating control of others in the name religion. If individuals evolve intellectually, ethically and morally, they may grasp truth behind life and realise majority are at Neanderthal stage of development, manipulated by the few for power, control and money. Still a long way to go.

What do you think? Leave some comments!