Shiraz Maher

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Shiraz Maher is a Senior Fellow at the neoconservative Policy Exchange and runs Standpoint magazine's Focus on Islamism blog with Alexander Meleagrou-Hitchens. Like several other Muslims presently being feted by neoconservatives, he also claims to be a reformed Islamist (which he equates with extremism). Like his fellow extremists-turned-neocons, Maher is not shy to flaunt his extremist past. He did a show for BBC's Panorama entitled 'How I became a Muslim extremist' and he also highlights his extremist past as a qualification in his Standpoint magazine bio: 'From 2002-2005 he was a member of Hizb ut-Tahrir, becoming regional officer for north-east England before resigning as a matter of conscience.'. In March 2009 Maher led a neocon campaign in support of Hazel Blears's efforts to get Daud Abdullah fired as the deputy secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain for signing the Istanbul Declaration in support of Palestinian resistance to Israeli occupation.

At the peak of Israel's bombing of Gaza earlier in 2009, Maher contributed an article to the Daily Telegraph titled 'Britain's Muslims should condemn Hamas, not Israel'. Besides using familiar neocon memes such as 'moral relativism' in the article, Maher goes on to present British Muslims with a choice: 'between Hamas, a terrorist group committed to destroying a sovereign state and its people – and Israel, the region's only democracy which is responding to that threat'.

YNET reports: [1]

Due to the preeminence of the hosting institution, the Israeli embassy in London decided to send representatives Ran Gidor, the embassy's political advisor and a Cambridge graduate, and Shiraz Maher, a former radical Islamist that has become an enthusiastic Israel supporter.

Henry Jackson Society event profile (August 2016):

Dr Shiraz Maher is a member of the War Studies Department at King’s College London and Deputy Director of its International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation (ICSR). Maher is widely acknowledged as one of the leading experts on the current Middle East crisis and on radical jihad. The Washington Post has called him “a respected specialist on Islamic State,” and the BBC described him as “one of the world’s leading experts on radicalisation.” At the King’s Awards in 2015 he received the prize for ‘Excellence in Research Innovation and Impact.’ He has given evidence before three parliamentary committees on the Syrian conflict, the flow of foreign fighters into the country, and the rise of Islamic State. Maher is a contributing writer for the New Statesman, frequently writing on Islamic State and the broader Middle East. He has conducted fieldwork across the world, interviewing members of the Taliban, al-Qaeda, Jabhat al-Nusrah, Ahrar al-Sham and the Free Syrian Army. Most recently, he has conducted interviews with more than 100 Western foreign fighters in Syria. In 2016 he was shortlisted for the Orwell Prize in journalism for his writings on issues related to radicalisation, foreign fighter mobilisation, and the terrorist threat to Europe. His book, Salafi-Jihadism: The History of an Idea, was released in the UK in June 2016.

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