Maajid Nawaz is an author, politician, and founding chairman of Quilliam, a think tank that focuses on integration, citizenship and identity, religious freedom, extremism, and immigration. Born in the United Kingdom to Muslim Pakistani parents, Nawazi was radicalized as a teenager and spent more than a decade as part of Hizbut Tahrir, including four years in an Egyptian prison because of his membership in the organization. Declared a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International, Nawaz was released in 2006 and left Hizbut Tahrir the following year, turning away from radical Islam. Nawaz is still a Muslim, but is now a liberal democrat, a harsh critic of Islamism, and an ardent free speech activist. He is a weekly columnist for the Daily Beast and contributes to dozens of other publications on issues related to Islam and civic reform.