Last night Maajid Nawaz, the Director of the Quilliam Foundation, was physically attacked by a British member of Hizb ut-Tahrir (HT), a global Islamist organisation, in Lahore in Pakistan. Maajid, a former senior of member of HT, is presently touring university campuses in Pakistan to promote religious tolerance and political pluralism.
Maajid was in a restaurant in Lahore with friends when he was attacked by a man subsequently identified as Tayyab Muqeem, a British Muslim who was sent to Pakistan by the British branch of HT in order to recruit Pakistanis into HT.
Muqeem, a former boxer from Stoke, waited for Maajid to stand up to leave the restaurant and then punched him in the face while Maajid was exchanging the Muslim greeting of ‘salaam alaikum’ or ‘peace be with you’ with his friends. The severe blow knocked Maajid to the ground.
Eyewitnesses say Maajid promptly stood up and offered ‘salam’ or ‘peace’ to his attacker. Muqeem then lunged forward to continue his attack on Maajid but restaurant staff and others physically stopped him. As he was forcefully removed, Muqeem threatened Maajid, saying ‘this is only a slap compared with what I am going to do to you’.