An author and former radical Islamist who turned his back on extremism three decades ago has warned Muslims are not doing enough to counter violent interpretations of their faith, on a visit to Scotland.

He called on first minister Nicola Sturgeon to challenge Islamic leaders to condemn extremism to help protect communities and undermine Islamophobia.

Dr Tawfik Hamid, who is giving lectures in Edinburgh on tackling radicalism, said Imams and scholars should do more to disavow the Islamic texts which support the stoning of women, the taking of sex slaves, the killing of apostates and violent Jihad.


However his views were condemned by the Muslim Council of Scotland, which said he knows nothing of Scotland and called on him to provide evidence for his claims.

Dr Hamid was recruited by the Jamaa Islamiya, as a medical student in Egypt 35 years ago, but claims to have left the group after being ordered to kill an Egyptian police office by burying him alive.

Now living in Washington DC, he is the author of Inside Jihad: Understanding and Confronting Radical Islam. He publishes an online guide to peaceful interpretations of the Koran which has millions of readers.

He was invited to Scotland by the Asia Scotland Institute for a talk on how the west can defeat radical Islam.

However his views are controversial.

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Dr Hamid claims there are two types of Islam, one that contextualises teachings about infidels, jihad and the maltreatment of women, and more literal hardline interpretations.

But he says that while defenders claim Islam is peaceful, many troubling texts continue to be referred to and taught in mosques around the world.

“Instead of just telling the world ‘Islam is peaceful’, Imams and Islamic scholars need to stand up and clearly and unambiguously reject teachings about the killing of apostates, barbaric treatment of women, enslavement of female war prisoners and the killing of gay people,” he said.

“This teaching is mainstream teaching. There is not a single text that challenges it, they can’t prove me wrong,” he said. “Isis is merely practising what is taught in the mainstream.”

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Imams in Scotland are continuing the same teachings, he claimed. “It is happening in all parts of the world “Nicola Sturgeon should convene a private meeting of Islamic scholars and tell them if you are not standing against this, it will be very difficult to protect your communities it is in your hands to stop it as part of the solution.”

“If you can’t produce educational material that denounces this clearly becomes more and more difficult to protect you in a friendly loving atmosphere.”


He said he stood by comments he had made defending US presidential candidate Donald Trump, as justified in his fear of Islam. “If he is a racist, why is he not Hinduphobic, or Buddhaphobic?” he said. “I don’t think you should blame the guy who says it. A phobia is an irrational fear, but Islamophobia is a rational fear, considering the number of terrorist attacks conducted by radicals around the world. What he said [about banning Muslims from the US] was impractical, but a rational reaction.”

Dr Hamid, who says he is a Muslim by faith, a Christian by spirit, a Jew by heart “and above all a human being” called on his fellow Muslims to do more to counter Islamophobia.

“Muslims are the only ones who can end Islamophobia. They need to demonstrate against terrorists and the stoning of women with the same passion as they do against the hijab ban in France or cartoons of the prophet Mohammed”, he said.

Dr Hamid says much teaching in mosques is based on sources other than the Koran, such as the Hadiths of Mohammed and Islamic law, which less palatable. “

However he says there are hopeful signs of a trend towards change, with the internet key even though it helped nurture the spread of radical Islam. “The reformers are not winning yet. But on internet they are devastating the radicals.”

I’m completely against discrimination. I am doing this because I love Muslims.”

Callam Fletcher, chief executive of the Asia Scotland Institute said Dr Hamid had been invited as part of a series of talks aimed at building links between Scotland and Asia. “Jihadism and terrorism have an impact on people and countries on the world stage and Asia is a huge part of that,” he said.

No-one from Glasgow Central Mosque was available to comment on Mr Hamid’s claims.

However his views were condemned as absurd by Mazhar Khan, spokesman for the Muslim Council of Scotland, who said: “Dr Hamid’s claims are quite ridiculous. If he has any evidence to support what he is saying he should put it on the table and we will look at it.

But he doesn’t know Scotland. We are living in Scotland and know what mosques are teaching and what he is saying about the teachings is wrong.”


Aamer Anwar

Human rights lawyer Aamer Anwar added: "I'm not sure what Mr Hamid can offer other than a deeply flawed analysis of radicalisation.

"I'm sure his thesis will be pleasing to the likes of Donald Trump but in reality but pointing the finger of blame at Imams for the actions of IS bears no results.

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"In all honesty those recruited to the ranks of the terrorists have little time for the words of imams at our mosques, they are increasingly irrelevant - as we have seen time and time again.

"Mr Hamid words may play well with the State Dept Neo Cons but are useless in providing us any solution to radicalisation- many will find his comments deeply inflammatory and offensive but not wonder then that he has kind words for Donald Trump."