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Lib Dems Mohammed Shafiq And Maajid Nawaz Make Peace Over Mohammed Cartoon Death Threats

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MAAJID NAWAZ
Maajid Nawaz, Executive Director of the Quilliam Foundation and formerly with the international Islamist Party Hizb ut-Tahrir, speaks to the media during a news conference at the Summit Against Violent Extremism in Dublin, Ireland, Monday, June, 27, 2011. The event organized by Google, the council on Foreign Relations and the Tribeca Film Festival brought together nearly 90 former members of violent and extremist groups. It underlined the reality that extremism is not only a problem affecting M | ASSOCIATED PRESS

Two Muslim commentators involved in a very public spat over a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed have agreed to make peace with each other, over their shared intention not to further tarnish the good name of the Liberal Democrats.

Mohammed Shafiq, of the Ramadan Foundation, had backed a petition to remove Maajid Nawaz, the Lib Dem prospective MP for Hampstead and Kilburn.

The row began when Quilliam Foundation's Nawaz, whose think-tank was credited with Tommy Robinson's departure from the EDL, tweeted a 'Jesus and Mo' cartoon, stating he was not offended by the content.

Nawaz has since said he has received "credible" death threats over the tweet.

The cartoon was the same as the one worn on t-shirts by the LSE Atheism society, who were told by the University to remove the t-shirts or cover them up when they hosted a stall at the university Freshers' Fair.

Nawaz was challenged over the tweet by Shafiq, along with Muslim TV commentator Mo Ansar and Bradford Respect MP George Galloway.

But in a joint statement, posted by Lib Dem Voice on Tuesday, both Nawaz and Shafiq agreed to call off the war of words that has raged for days on social media and the blogosphere.

The Lib Dem members acknowledged they had "conflicting views on depictions of Prophet Muhammad" and that other Muslims did too. It acknowledged that other Lib Dems had the right to complain to the executive about the behaviour of either side.

It continued: “We are both Liberals and support the principle of freedom of speech. But we also understand the importance of respect for others’ views and of moderation of language.

"In so far as this second principle of moderate language has been breached in the heat and passion of the current debate, we regret this and call for all those who have differing views to ensure that any debate which continues on this subject should use language and attitudes which conform to Liberal standards of respect and moderation.

“We now call on those on both sides of this argument to return to moderate debate, free of insult and threat and we do so because we believe this is in the interests of our Party, of the wider Muslim community in Britain and of the principles of peace to which Islam is committed.”

More than 21,000 people signed the petition to remove Nawaz.

Chris Moos, one of the LSE leaders of the student atheist society who wore the original cartoon t-shirts, created a counter petition in the support of Nawaz, which had around 6,000 signatures as of Tuesday.

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