Former Islamist details horrific abuse he witnessed after being jailed in Egypt

Former Islamist details horrific abuse he witnessed after being jailed in Egypt

Reformed radical turned counter-extremism activist Maajid Nawaz is opening up about how he saw tortured Islamist prisoners turn violent after enduring horrific abuse and explains the importance of having a government that defends human rights on “Tucker Carlson Today.”

As a young man in Britain, Nawaz witnessed horrific violence and decided to seek protection in Hizb ut-Tahrir (an Islamist organization that sought a caliphate in the world).

His ideas, and his organization participation, although not violent, led to him embarking on a journey of recruitment. He arrived in Egypt a day before the 9/11 attacks where he studied Arabic and set up group chapters. After a government clampdown, his house was raided and at 24-years-old in Egypt, he was jailed for his thoughts. He was changed by what he saw.

“To reach that prison, first you have to go through the torturedungeon.” he stated. “…We were tied with rags around our eyes and our hands, and my number was 42…What they would do in that underground torture dungeon is they’d go through a roll call … Number one is called. The guard leads him off to the torture facility and everyone else hears the screams of number one…”


Nawaz, who was forced to watch his friend be tortured after Nawaz only answered for his name and organization, detailed how officials electrocuted prisoners’ teeth and genitalia, among other horrific practices. His charge was “propagation through speech and writing for an organization that is banned.” All organizations in Egypt were banned as you needed a permit to run. Suspension of the country’s constitution allowed people who believed in certain beliefs to be tried.

“We were put into solitary confinement for four months in cells that had no bed, no toilet, no sanitation (with) 15 minutes break a day,” he shared. “The toilet was on the floor.”

Many prisoners who he met had been in jail without charge for as long as he had been alive. After being charged, Nawaz was allowed to “mix with” the political wing of the prison, where he met Sadat, the leader and founder of Egypt’s largest terrorist group. He quickly realized the prison was a place that encouraged radicalism.


“If you torture somebody’s 17-year-old child in front of them by electrocution to force them to confess, which is what happens… then the father…will go mad and so violence… it’s a mad response. It’s an instinctual, reflexive response.

Amnesty International eventually accepted his case as prisoners of conscience. After he was released, he abandoned the ideology and established Quilliam to combat extremism and promote public policy. He now explains why it is important to have a Constitutional government that protects human rights.

” “The more you can strip away the sacred nature (of) the Constitution, the easier it will become to adapt it, change it, and amend it for your purposes,” he stated.

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