Why did you choose the name Khudi?
Khudi was adopted as the name for our movement due to the philosophical concept it embodies and the resonance it holds for Pakistanis. Derived from the Persian language, the concept of Khudi is rooted in ancient Sufi philosophy and has been explored by some of the greatest thinkers and poets of our age, including Hafiz of Sheraz, Jalaluddin Rumi and Allama Iqbal. Khudi refers to a sense of awakening which fuels greatness in individuals as well as the betterment of society. Inspired by this philosophy, our movement endeavours to encourage the youth of Pakistan to realise their true potential and to channel their energies towards positive change for the country.
How can I join your group?
Although Khudi does not have a formal membership structure, the movement is built on a nationwide network of volunteers that are the true strength of Khudi. We welcome volunteers across age, gender, religion, ethnicity and social class.
To join you can either sign up through our Volunteer page, or contact any one of us from the Khudi team. You may opt to join one of our existing projects or propose something new you have in mind – either way, we’d love to hear from you.
How do you define extremism?
Extremism exists in many forms and across several societies in the world, and may be motivated by any number of political, economic or social factors. However, our Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) warned us against a specific kind of extremism when he said: “Beware of extremism in religion, for extremism destroyed those who went before you.” (Hadith al Bukhari 9.582)
These words seem to ring so true today, as we find examples of extremism in all religions – characterized by those who take their religion too far, those who discriminate against difference, and those who sometimes use violence to express zeal for their faith.
A Hindu extremist by the name of Nathuram Godse murdered Gandhi because he was thought to be a pacifist towards Muslims. Similarly, in Northern Ireland, political extremism mixed with religious fervour produced one of the bloodiest conflicts in British history, killing thousands of Catholics and Protestants in England and Northern Ireland. And sadly, innocent civilians are being targeted almost daily by extremists claiming to act in the name of Islam.
It is imperative for us as Pakistanis to show zero tolerance towards those who use the name of religion to terrorise and kill innocent people, and to spread division and discord in our society.
Maajid Nawaz is also Co-founder and Co-director of the Quilliam Foundation, a think tank based in the UK. Why did he choose to set up Khudi in Pakistan?
Maajid set up Quilliam in the UK in an attempt to address many of the issues that plague Muslim communities in the West. As such, Quilliam’s activities as a think tank therefore focus predominantly on those areas that are relevant to Muslims living in Western countries, such as racism, Islamophobia, integration and the policies of Western governments.
However, being of Pakistani descent and having lived and studied in Pakistan, Maajid wanted to contribute directly in finding ways to overcome the current dilemmas Pakistan is facing. He also felt that his in-depth knowledge of the ideology, tactics and recruitment techniques of extremist organisations, as well as his experience with activism, would be a valuable asset in helping to combat the spread of extremist ideology within the country. He therefore teamed up with a group of young Pakistanis to develop the vision for Khudi – and that’s how our movement was born.
How will Khudi be relevant to what’s going on in Pakistan today?
An astonishing 63% of Pakistanis today are under the age of 25 – that’s over 100 million young men and women who have the potential to be future visionaries, leaders and ambassadors for this country. However, the attention and opportunities provided to them at this critical juncture are what will shape the future direction of Pakistan. Sadly, today a small minority of extremists seem to be threatening this future with the division and destruction that they are trying to sow.
Although our government and our army are battling terrorism and have made great gains in doing so, as citizens of Pakistan we also have a role to play – it is our responsibility to stand up against the poisonous rhetoric of extremists and to challenge their arguments in the ideas domain. Khudi aims to be a platform whereby all avenues of education, media, civil action and arts and culture are employed to push back against this trend. A platform where young Pakistanis can connect with each other to encourage the use of dialogue and discussion as the primary tools for dispute resolution, and to foster a culture of healthy debate within society.
At Khudi we are also aware that the factors responsible for the spread of extremism in Pakistan are complex and manifold, which is why we aim to raise awareness and discuss possible action around issues related to identity, nationalism, democratic governance, women’s rights and regional stability – all areas that are integral to the prosperity and progress of Pakistan.
How is Khudi funded?
Since Khudi is a relatively new initiative that has yet to make a mark in terms of its message and work, the Quilliam Foundation, a think tank headed by Maajid in the UK, has provided the start up funds for Khudi.
Quilliam in turn is funded through a mixture of sources. Part of it operates as a revenue-generating venture through activities such as consultancy, training, specialist lectures, report-writing and analysis, which provide a proportion of the funds on which it runs. Other sources of funding include a variety of donors, ranging from private foundations (based in various countries), rich businessmen and public government grants. The grants Quilliam receives are all open-source (which means anyone may apply for them) and are approved through a public bidding process.
The immediate aim, however, is to make Khudi a movement funded on the strength of its own merit as soon as possible.
Are you CIA/RAW/Mossad agents?
Yes, this website is the result of the cumulative efforts of the Americans, the Israelis and the Indians in an apparent tripartite conspiracy to bring down Pakistan.
Silly questions will get silly answers – sorry!