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Radical

My Journey from Islamist Extremism to a Democratic Awakening
Narrated by: Maajid Nawaz
Length: 10 hrs and 30 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (368 ratings)

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Summary

Born and raised in Essex, Maajid Nawaz was recruited into politicised Islam as a teenager. Abandoning his love of hip-hop music, graffiti and girls, he was recruited into Hizb ut-Tahrir (the Liberation Party), where he played a leading and international role in the shaping and dissemination of an aggressive anti-West narrative. While studying for his Arabic and law degree, he travelled around the UK and to Denmark and Pakistan, setting up new cells.

He arrived in Egypt the day before 9/11, where his views soon led to his arrest, imprisonment and mental torture before he was thrown into solitary confinement in a Cairo jail reserved for political prisoners. There, while mixing with everyone from the assassins of Egypt's president to Liberal reformists, he underwent an intellectual transformation, and on his release after four years, he publically renounced the Islamist ideology that had defined his life. This move would cost him his marriage, his family and his friends as well as his own personal security.

Six years after his release, Maajid now works all over the world to counter Islamism and to promote democratic ideals through his organisation, The Quilliam Foundation, which he cofounded with former Islamist and best-selling author Ed Husain.

Following in the wake of the extraordinary democratic change in the Arab world that few would have foretold, Radical is Maajid's intensely personal account of life inside and out of Islamic extremism. It also highlights one man's quest to inspire change and challenge extremism in all its forms. This is a hard-hitting memoir of one man's journey into and out of Islamic extremism.

©2013 Maajid Nawaz (P)2016 Audible, Ltd

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  • Rak
  • London
  • 07-01-17

Fantastic Insight

An extremely interesting true story that is well told by the author. I was gripped and would recommend it.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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Enlightening

An enlightening story, captivating and thought provoking, and great narration by Maajid Nawaz. Highly recommended

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Simply Inspirational

It is my hope that Maajid's candid writing and progressive work for an international secular Islam, touches the minds and hearts of those who would otherwise press for the islamisation of the west and the establishment of a Caliphate. Thank you Maajid.

11 of 12 people found this review helpful

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Essential.

I will begin donating to Quilliam after listening to this. A very important book and a fascinating story.

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

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Insightful

Excellent insight into what immigrants and 2nd generation immigrants have faced in Europe in the latter part of the 20th century and the inner mechanics of Islamism. Maajid is courageous and intelligent with a fantastic story to tell. He is also an eloquent and engaging narrator.

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

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A gripping tale

An important and amazing journey.
Read by the author, who is a fiery speaker. ++

Sadly, the issue of radicalism is unlikely to become irrelevant for a long time to come, so this book is likely to remain relevant as well.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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DANGER! Islamism Explained

This is a rip-roaring story, made more so by the fact that it is true. If, like me you are puzzled why educated, intelligent, middle class Britons risk everything to join an Islamist organisation that stands opposed to every liberal value we hold dear, this book helps explain it - or at least it did for me. Maajid Nawaz makes clear the powerful mutualism between the racism of the far right and Islamist radicalisation.

He also clarifies the difference between Islam as a religion and Islamism as a militant political movement, dedicated to the revolutionary spread of political Islam, in particular, the overthrow of those secular dictatorships supported by the West. As an Islamist student, Nawaz was arrested in Egypt, and gives a harrowing account of his time as a political prisoner (torture is routine), and his release after Amnesty International takes up his case. This is the turning point, and the last few chapters are about the bitter opposition he faced from former friends in renouncing Islamism (though not Islam), and his courageous decision to found the Quilliam Foundation.

Great book, superbly read by the author, exciting, insightful and intelligent. If you want to really understand the roots of radicalisation and Islamism, I know of no better account.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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Life imitating the best of fiction...

If I didn't know Maajid Nawaz was real from our interactions on social media, I'd be thinking this was a fiction dressed up as an autobiography. Maajid's story is so gripping and full of lesson, it should be required reading for anyone with an interest in the intersection of politics and religion in the 21st Century. It is indeed "un-putdownable"!

It is welcome that the author narrates his own work, as for me this always lends authenticity to an audiobook, however if I were to make one criticism of Maajid's delivery it is that it is a touch dispassionate in places given the subject material. His beautiful pronounciation of Arabic does somewhat make up for this, though.

11 of 13 people found this review helpful

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Facinating, Compelling & Shocking

I first came across Magid Nawaz when he became a regular presenter on the LBC radio station recently. I was drawn to his articulate and rational debating skills as well as his extensive knowledge on Islam. This latter point became of great interest to me when I would hear Magid debate with those Muslims with more fundamental views on their religion and how this man spoke from a position of knowledge and experience such that he could joust with the most fervent followers of Islam and recite in fluid Arabic various passages from the Koran to make his points. Here, finally I thought, was someone who could debate the topic of Islam and fundamentalism on a level playing field rather than the more usual ignorance of a non Muslim trying to argue points of theology with impassioned believers of doctrine. Here was a presenter with great intelligence and debating skill that thoroughly impressed me. As I listened in regularly to his show, I heard him say how he had once been one of those radicals and this piqued my interest even further as here was a man who clearly has seen the other side as it were and is in a perfect position to put the counter argument across against Islamic extremists given he used to be one. I wondered about this very different past and was curious to learn more but had no idea he had written a book detailing his life leading up to and during his shift to extremist views until I saw his book on Audible as part of a sale and immediately purchased it.

Radical: My Journey From Islamist Extremist to a Democratic Awakening tells this story and is narrated by the man himself which is a real bonus as he has a pleasant and clear voice. The book provides some brief family history and then gets into the main section starting with his young life in South End in the early 1990's. Listening to the mature calm and articulate man on the radio belies his more colourful past fully immersed into the Hip-Hop music scene at that time. He recounts the times when he was on the receiving end of brutal and overt racism. Magid tells his story in a direct and honest way and doesn't shy away from using bad language to illustrate the life he led back then. Sort of odd hearing this most articulate of radio presenters dropping F-bombs frequently but it's all done in the name of delivering a raw narrative which works very well.

The story develops and evolves to eventually find Magid immersed into the Islamist fundamental ideology and his journey takes him to Egypt where he is imprisoned by the special Police there. I won't go into too much detail but the entire story told here is compelling and fascinating and I didn't want to stop listening. Magid paints a vivid picture of his world in which he inhabits at the time of this story.

What I found amazing was that during the early 1990's I do remember seeing orange flyers stuck on lamp posts in the area I worked in at the time but had absolutely no idea of their meaning and implications. I was shocked to learn of the scale of the Islamist movement back then seeing universities and colleges in key cities across the country being infiltrated and in the case of Magid's University, having its student body effectively taken control of. What is also alarming and a lesson to politically left leaning or liberal establishments such as those found in universities is that tolerance of the intolerant leads to spreading of the insidious ideology. Magid said himself that if they were ever challenged by university staff that they would throw the racist accusation at them which did the trick. it seems evident from Magid himself that the poisonous message was allowed to spread in part as a result of political correctness not allowing those in authority to stop it. A real eye opener to me it must be said. I do not wish to espouse any political views here myself. What I've said is purely what the author has said and that's what is so important here.

It is shocking for a non religious person like me to see just how the mind set of an extremist works and how powerful a foundation to such views that a religion can be.

Highly recommended.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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This story touched my heart

As an Asian male, who grew up on the edge of London in the 70s & 80s, I could relate to so much of this. With an Asian Muslim father, I too experienced some of the racism described. But with a White Christian mother, my paler looking sisters had it from the other side. We learned balance from an early age. Lessons it took Maajid decades to work through.
God bless you Maajid. In my view you have more than made up for the damage you caused in your youth. You are an example to anyone who tries to make the world a better place.
Adam

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Jennifer Elliott
  • 10-10-18

A must read...

Every now and then a book like this one comes along... A great story told with heartfelt realism.

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  • Mike
  • 17-05-18

Absolutely breathtaking

Listening to Maajid tell his story is shocking, exciting, intellectually compelling, and highly informative. I highly recommend this to those who have an interest in politics, religion, or extremism and deradicalization.