Does Radical Islam and Harry Potter Have This in Common?


These people that I refer to as the subsection
of the left I refer to as the regressive left have good intentions. I recognize that. I
also recognize that the road to hell is paved with good intentions and I think it’s important
to understand that I am a Muslim. I’m born and raised a Muslim and every single grievance
that my fellow well intentioned liberals are worried about that a Muslim may have I have
experienced. They worry about racism. I’ve had Neo-Nazis come at me with hammers and
knives and machetes. I’ve had to watch friends stabbed before my eyes, friends had hammers
put to their heads. I’ve seen all of this growing up. I’ve witnessed this and I’ve
experienced it. They’re worried about the war on terror. Well I’ve been a victim of
the war on terror. I’ve witnessed torture in an Egyptian jail. I’ve been interned
without charge and eventually I’ve been a prisoner of conscience adopted by Amnesty
International. They’re worried about profiling at airports. I’ve had my DNA taken from
me forcibly without my consent. I’ve had my right to silence taken from me under British
war laws. Everything they’re worried about I’ve had happen to me. And I say this therefore
from a place that is concerned about these civil liberties issues because I’ve suffered
them myself. And when I say to these well intentioned regressive
leftists is that you’re good intentions in not having this conversation, not differentiating
Islamism, Islamist extremism, the ideology briefly summarized as the desire to enforce
a version of Islam over society, your intentions in not isolating Islamist extremism from the
religion of Islam are making the problem worse, not better. It’s what I refer to as the
Voldemort effect. You know we know in Harry Potter there were people who, the Voldemort
is a bad guy, the evil character in Harry Potter. The ingenious device that J.K. Rawlins,
an author, came up with in those books was that the people were so petrified of this
evil character that two things happened. One they couldn’t even name Voldemort. They
had to refer to Voldemort as he who must not be named. And then the second thing was that
he who must not be named didn’t even exist. So they couldn’t name the thing they didn’t
even recognize existed because that’s how scared they were. Now of course what happened
as a result is this denial of the problem only increased the fear and increased the
hysteria around this character Voldemort because he became a legend, a myth, an all-powerful
myth that everyone was petrified of. And that’s what happens when we refuse to
name Islamist extremism. We make the problem worse. Two particular problems happen in refusing
to name Islamist extremism. One is that the right wing out there, those who are – not
the right wing but the faction again within the right wing – those who are the anti-Muslim
bigots are in, not naming Islamic extremism, we leave the door open for the anti-Muslim
and racist crowd to hijack this debate and say yes the problem is every single Muslim.
So we’re not providing a lexicon that we’re able to use to differentiate every single
Muslim from Islamist extremism. The second problem is an internal problem. Within Muslim
communities we’re depriving crucially those liberal reforming voices from having the ability
to have those debates within their own communities and say, ‘Yes I’m a Muslim too so don’t
monopolize my religion. You’re an Islamist. You’re claiming to have the correct version
of my religion and you want to enforce it over me I reject Islamism and I’m not going
to reject the religion of Islam itself’. So they’re able to have that reformed discourse
within the communities. And so I think that’s why it’s – despite these good intentions
it’s making the problem worse to deny it. The Voldemort effect is increasing the hysteria.
It’s one of the things I’m being very critical as a liberal about President Obama’s
policy in that he has succumbed to the Voldemort effect and he’s up until now unable to name
the Islamist ideology.

100 comments

  1. I'm often never heard & when I am it's always dark, I don't have proper planning or charisma like Tony Stark, so when I'm filled with joy & I'm singing all your praise, save your trolls & show compassion cuz it's your grin I'd like to raise!

  2. How would this gentlemen respond to the rape epidemic by majority Muslim men in Köln? That is Muslim men, not islamist men…

  3. I'm not sure I understand. When some kind of, either international or domestic, terrorism occurs everyone, and I MEAN EVERYONE, can agree that it was caused by a minority of extremists. Therefore we conclude that extremists DO exist, but that extremist can be produced from the left, right, up, and down or whatever part of the political and religious spectrum. I guess, personally, I have a problem when we start generalizing and start stating that Islam must be a religion of violence. Looking at you Bill Maher.
    If the times paralleled those of the great crusades would we generalize Christianity as a religion of violence?
    I mean Wahhabism isn't helping thought coughSAUDIARABIAcough

  4. From what I see, socially, people discuss Islamists without fear, but in the media such things are considered "racist" and you will be reminded what year it is, like its sine type of argument. The stigma seems to only come from this obsessed politically correct regressive communist/socialist left.

  5. This is a bit of an exaggeration. There are lots of different names for "Islamism" that are used in left-leaning media every day, particularly "Islamic extremism" and "radical Islam". President Obama, along with many Muslims, rejects that ISIS has any claim on Islam, so refers to that group as "violent extremists". He's still naming the enemy, just not with the particular label Nawaz and Harris would like to hang on it.

    I agree that no one can really say objectively what the true version of a religion is, and that rejecting that members of ISIS are Muslims might discourage a theological path to countering their ideology, but at the same time, I think we should use terms that avoid conflating extremists with normal Muslims as much as possible so that they aren't targeted by the bigots and otherwise alienated and pushed toward extremist outlets of political frustrations. That makes perfect sense to me.

  6. We have zero obligation to treat blind faith under any name with respect. I do not respect any religion or anyone that is religious. How could adults be so foolish and stupid?

    Religious people should be embarassed that they have been tricked and stolen from by what normal people would refer to as a cult, the oldest cults, but still the exact same.

  7. I think this guy is wrong.

    It is NOT the "regressive left" who cannot differentiate between muslims in general and Islamic extremists. It is the people on the left who are most eager to say that you shouldn't judge a large group of people for actions taken by a small group of fundamentalists.

    It is the right wing extremists who don't bother with the difference between Islam and Islamic extremsm.

  8. There are plenty of nice Muslims however Islam is a false religion with a false God it'll never be OK. Unfortunately most Muslims were born into it and cannot except that it is not true.

  9. Isn't it strange that most "Muslim Extremists" are actually doing more of what the Quran says than anyone else? Muhammad was a pedophile warlord!

  10. How political correctness both diminishes your rights to free speech and makes the problem of racial and religious injustice worse not better.

  11. Every muslim sect thinks the other muslim sects are not real muslims… Every single one. Which means what? No such thing as a real muslim?…..Why are'nt extremist muslims extremely peaceful if islam is the religion of peace?? Why doesnt this guy EVER bring up the passages that state "kill the infidel"???? Thats cowardly. Just keep dodging the real questions…. Not one will talk about this question. When the rare few do… They say "it was put in during war time"… But never taken out… Which means they are always at their holy war. All religions are bad but getting people to "kill the infidel" (none believers) is worse.

  12. Everything is created. God, Allah or YWEH are the names given to the creator of all creations by people of certain lineages. Religious doctrines have been manipulated to control mass populations. GOD (An unknown higher power responsible for the creation of all creations) is timeless. Religious doctrines are outdated.

  13. I'm not worried. I'm well-armed and waiting for your next terrorist attack. Propaganda like this only makes me stockpile more weapons. Cum get me… ISIS!!!

  14. There is a third aspect to your Voldemort Effect. If the Christian Right start referring to Islamic Extremism, it will make it easier for others to address Right Wing Extremism, (which has caused far more damage in America than anything Islamic.) The last thing they would want is to be tarred with the same brush as al-Qaeda.

  15. I'm still waiting to see a muslim going against extremism. All you hear is that you don't understand, you can't judge, they are poor extremists.

  16. I was expecting better from Big Think than giving space to more-of-the same islamics trying to confuse people using memes.

  17. SJWs will try and tell you that the "regressive left" is a term used by racist people (probably white, too) in defense of being islamaphobic, but…
    1. islam is not a race, it's a religion
    2. "regressive left" was coined by a muslim

    this video was great, however, even though i agree that the distinction is important, i'm not sure we should call them extremists when so many polls have shown that the majority support at least one of the following views that are counter to western values: death for apostasy (leaving the religion), stoning adulterers, punishing gay people for being gay, punishing or killing people for criticizing islam, preventing women from singing or showing their faces in public.
    http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/pages/opinion-polls.htm

  18. Islam should stay in the middle east. Instead you come to the west, impose your personal religion on me by blaring your prayers over loudspeaker. You come to my workplace and demand extra breaks. You take interpersonal jobs and demand the right to cover your face. All that if your a moderate, if you are radical you kill. Seriously if you go to a foreign country integrate if you want to be accepted. Don't try to impose tribal customs on a progressive 21st century country.

  19. I am heartbroken that in the country of religious freedoms it is becoming widely socially acceptable to believe it is okay to discriminate Muslims.

  20. much respect to sam harris and maajid nawaz. had this guy been white, people would call him racial. such bullshit. also I Must say, I don't really agree that islam is not a problem. of course it is. religion is the problem and in that sense it IS all muslims. he seems to think it's all down to interpretation which I don't see at all. there are just some ways you cannot interpret it and much more plausible ways than others. it just seems like an excuse. I swear leave the religion and think critically. he Seems to be making excuses. which I don't think is good. that's why side with sam harris more

    but that being said, much respect for the good he does. fuck islam.

  21. 1.6 billions muslims. Pew Research poll found 13% of muslims support killing nonmuslims in order to spread Islam. That's 91 million muslims supporting annihilation of non-muslims. Problem is not Islam (the one we cannot name)?

  22. Talk about the regressive left on big think? Holy crap. A few months back the channel was filled with shitty feminist videos.

  23. ironic that he should mention "he who must not be named" and how he "didn't even exist" within a religious context.

  24. I've heard a lot from Nawaz about the follies of political correctness and excessive tolerance from people on the left. I have yet to hear from him anything of substance about Islam, how he thinks Islam should be reformed and how he thinks the Quran should be read. That is a true shame since I really expect a lot more from someone who's undoubtedly an expert and somewhat of a scholar of Islam. If Nawaz wants to atone for his extremist past and leave a positive mark he'd be doing himself, his fellow muslims and his religion a great deal of good by finally starting to tackle the core issues of reform instead of continuing his timid sterile dance.

  25. I seriously think the problem is with religion itself. Stop believing. Try a year without religion. You'll see religion divides us. And don't give me reasons like oh i'm in it for moral guidance, and psychological support because there's a lot of secular communities that you probably don't even know which offer the same support

  26. A well thought out mentality that sounds so incredibly simple to embrace to me. I'm dumbfounded that there are people out there who refuse to call a spade a spade, opting instead to take the passive and quite frankly nonchalant route of sticking their fingers in their ears and closing their eyes.

    Stop being fuckboys, start acknowledging the fact that there are some shitty fucking people in this world of all walks of life that must be acknowledged, discussed and dealt with.

  27. We need a lot more people like this within the Muslim community that people will listen to, from all sides.

  28. I personally think all the religions are very dangerous at some point, because come on there're humans in it

  29. Think bigger, unfortunately you are a small minority I the Muslim population. The reality is there isn't enough Muslims with your tolerance and acceptance of western culture to change the face Islam. Islam around the world needs reform

  30. Mainstream politicians, by avoiding the subject of islamic extremism in Europe, by sweeping it under the carpet, are responsible for the new rise of radical right wing, as they are the only ones addressing the problem, even if with populous ideas. We've reached the paradox – when you want to name and discuss the problem with radical islam, you are being portrayed as a neo-nazi, so the actual fascists gain followers. It's happening in my country a lot. People are attracted by simple solutions.

  31. Most commentors below have no understanding on semantics and verbatim. They will interpret this video as how they see fit and with their elementary knowledge on world matters, often MSM induced garbage and poor understanding on Islam (but don't challenge them, because they will tell you they studied Islam for 6 years!) and then conclude with a pathetic comment that they see as a sophisticated response. Someone will later come and tear a new hole in their remark and they'd think how well it sounded in their head at the time.

  32. yup, voldamort = muhammad, I like the analogy, "He who must not be named(depicted/disrespected/etc)"…. increased the hysteria around this character because he became this legend, this all powerful myth"
    Religion is poison; why is this crap on Big Think?
    If you tolerate bigotry or bigoted beliefs, or in essence a bigot yourself

  33. you think that religion is the problem? your wrong if religion was to be taken away humans would find another way to cause violance and oppression and try to justify it its in the human nature itll probably go back to racism

  34. I just wanna take a moment and say that I love your logo for this channel. It is one of the most beautiful I have ever seen. I just love the symmetry and the negative space between the characters.

  35. Yea, but there are wayyyyyyyyyyy less people who won't call it Islamic terrorism than the media and people in general seem to think.

  36. Thank you for the video and your ideas. This cancer of extremism should be confronted with open minds and free debate within The religion itself and between it and others. Indeed, the vision is blurry with many when it comes to differentiating The religion itself from the scum who well and truly sullied it's names in mud and excrement. The battle, I fear, is hard.

  37. I'm actually impressed. Big Think is almost always stupid, but once in a while we get this rare gems thrown at us.

  38. I agree with this guy 100%. It's a great thing to hear something intelligent once in a while… For some reason the "Voldemort effect" sound silly as hell to me though.

  39. You got your talkers and your doers. You've got the the butt-hurt talkers from the pseudo-liberal side or regressive left who's best efforts are ranting in the comment claiming they know better than Maajid the doer.

  40. And we've also got the "the problem is religion, remove religion" people. Instead of supporting reformists like Maajid, their humble nature denies them the sincerity of looking at things realistically. I mean, good luck turning the whole planet apostate.

    Should we argue how wrong the bible is with this verse? "Song of Solomon 8:6 – Set me as a seal upon thine heart, as a seal upon thine arm: for love [is] strong as death; jealousy [is] cruel as the grave: the coals thereof [are] coals of fire, [which hath a] most vehement flame."

  41. this is a very naive observation and playing into west's subtle racism where the facade is equal opportunity employment but everything is biased in favor of whites. This rhetoric will help Maajid sell more of his books, etc. to majority of west audience who like this subtle racism filled rhetoric and who can afford to pay top dollars. the left in west is not filled with billionaires, so he is targeting the right mass. ISIS is bunch of rogue terrorists and have nothing to do with Islam, and more to do with grievances with West. period.

  42. I really love your fight against bad ideas like Islam.
    BUT don't feel that you always need to voice your opinion through a muslim.
    There's nothing wrong with stating your opinions and FACTS on your own.

  43. I'm glad Maajid and Sam Harris are working together. But just like liberal Christians, I wish he would recognize that Islam nor any other religion is good and that he should just drop it.

  44. I've only seen a very small handful of leftists do what this guy is claiming and they were all politicians or randoms on the Internet.

  45. Islamist and moderate Muslim both believe Muhammad who rape, kill, conquer and destroy other race religion as the best example for a Muslim to be and they both whole the same Quran. They will have us believe they are some how different. In the end of day, Islam will always want domination over the infidels, they is no change in that. So now when the hard jihad don't work so well, they come at us with a soft jihad. Sorry no! Islam need to end, because it have done too many crime under it name, and Islam is not peace.  Sorry we are not going to believe your soft jihad, it is a con.

  46. religion is for people who can not love, they seek a purpose where may be none because without love and without purpose the world is too much for them
    religion may not be designed to be a political tool but its just too convenient not to use it as one, right?

  47. the religion itself is the reason why islamism exist. Death penalty for apostasy is a valid punishment for example

    Throughout the history islam was almost always spread through sword (Middle East, Europe, Balkan, India) As long as muslims dont start to change dogmas, islamism will NEVER go away. Thats 100 procent sure

  48. Islamic fundamentalists is only a problem if the fundamentals of Islam spit in the face of human rights. If you leave the your faith, the simple fact that you should be killed according to your holy book should tip you off that your religion is simply a big cult. Christianity is more benign, but also absurd.

  49. Perhaps these idiotic Leftists will comprehend this analogy of their FAILINGS?
    I doubt it, as their Ideology blinds them to all truths that do not directly support their narrow-minded vision of what the world should be.

  50. I don't see anyone treating radical Islam with kid gloves. . . well, ok, a handful of frightened children, but nobody else.

    Radical Christians, radical Jews (for example, the entire Terrorist State of Israel) – swept under the rug for the most part. Not just treated with kid gloves, but ignored entirely.

    All too often these days, I get the impression the the only thinking going on around here is in the name of the channel.

  51. What if Islamism is the right Islam, and everyone being peaceful, and you, has been just practicing it wrong?

    What if you're just changing Islam to what you want it to be, than what it really is? Whose to say what version of Islam is right?

  52. Muslims don't like the term "Islamist" because it sounds too similar to the word "Islam". The structure of the word leads one who never heard the term to believe that it means some one who practices Islam. Another reason we don't like the word "Islamist" is that we already had a word for people who try to use the name of Islam as a banner to promote violent acts. That word is "khawarij", and it has been in use since the days of the Prophet Muhammad himself(SAW). Many of us Muslims would prefer that you use the word "khawarij" when referring to violent people who are trying to force their version of Islam on others. I personally think it is more politically correct.

  53. What we do have, is "voldemort effect" on the doctrine of islam. Everything Islamists believe and follow must come from somewhere. Their allure is in fact that it all comes from quran and hadiths. Until islam goes through reformation this will not go away, it will just hide to come back later. Reform must, firstly, separate religion from the society. Take away the judicial side of islam. No more sharia courts in every mosque (yes, every mosque can be a sharia court), because that court has precedence over state law for believers. Second, it must walk more on a philosophical side, less "kill the blasphemers" side. And every imam that does not conform should be punished within the religious organisation it self. And this will not happen for as long as we pretend that quran is full of goodness and there is nothing inherently bad in its teachings. As you just saw even Maajid is avoiding to name it. This may be just my opinion but, if you are reading this, please think about it a bit. And please, please read the quran and the hadiths (without apologetic explanation of imam, if it is from God it must be clear on the meaning). It will all become clear to you after.

  54. We need more Islamic Reformists like Maajid Nawaz.
    Because without them islamic terrorism is fated to never end.

  55. Big Think lost the plot when you decided to present this opportunist as voice of Muslims or Islam, perhaps if you audience are predominantly non Muslims, and you need some sort of street creds to give weight to your argument, than yes I guess.

  56. Are u retarded what the * quack * has Voldemort to do with Islam ik islam extremists dude it's the Arabian culture Not always the religion there are Muslims who are takin it easy whoever Muslims also who take it hard dude like cristians its the same

  57. You were tortured because you were a member of Hizb ul tahreer which is proscribed in Egypt. It is a terrorist organisation and any members should be punished. It's a shame that people have to listen to you when you have no knowledge of Islam. Islam is the middle course and it is evident you went from one end; radicalism, to the other; negligence of Islam. How then can you comment on Islam when you've never known Islam as taught to is by the prophet? Keep lying to these people for your meals but know rizq is from Allah and all of us will stand before him and be judged.

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