David Cameron's own counter-terrorism advisor is on 'bigoted' secret terrorism database

Maajid Nawaz has advised every Prime Minister since Tony Blair on counter-extremism

Jon Stone
Friday 05 February 2016 13:16
Maajid Nawaz
Maajid Nawaz

A counter-extremism advisor who has worked closely with David Cameron was secretly given the “terrorism” designation on a confidential database, it has been revealed.

The database, made public by the Vice News website, is operated and used by banks to blacklist potential customers for various reasons.

Maajid Nawaz, a former Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate and chair of anti-extremism organization Quilliam, is one of the names on the list.

Mr Nawaz said being listed on World-Check, which is owned by Thompson-Reuters, had had a “material impact” on his life.

“I can now confirm for first time that the existence of this McCarthyist list has had material impact on my life,” he said in a series of messages posted on Twitter.

“List authors don't even know difference between Muslim/ex-Islamist/Islamist (all legal) and a terrorist (illegal).”

The campaigner has consulted every UK Prime Minister from Tony Blair onwards on the subject of Islamic extremism.

The list’s authors say it is used by 300 state agencies around the world and 49 of the 50 biggest banks. Mr Nawaz said he would like to make contact with anyone considering legal action.

Other names on the list include Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) executive Nihad Awad and former World Bank and Bank of England economist Mohamed Iqbal Asaria, who was awarded a CBE for services to international development.

Mr Awad told Vice News the list was “inaccurate, bigoted garbage”.

In his younger years Mr Naawaz previously held self-described “Islamic extremist” views but he has written a book about how his outlook came to change dramatically.

The account received the glowing endorsement of Tony Blair, who said he had read it four times.

The former parliamentary candidate previously hit headlines in 2014 when he tweeted a controversial cartoon of the prophet Mohammed.

He was subject to death threats and calls to stand down after the episode, but defended the action on free speech grounds.

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