Moazzam Begg is a former Guantanamo Bay prisoner who was featured in the BBC documentary “The Confession: Living The War On Terror”. The US authorities held him as an enemy combatant and claimed he was an al-Qaeda member, yet he has never been convicted of any crime. Today, Moazzam is an advocate for the rights of those unjustly held at Guantanamo Bay and elsewhere, serving as the Director of Outreach for Cage, a London-based advocacy organisation which aims to empower communities impacted by the War on Terror.
In this fascinating London Real interview, watch as Moazzam talks about extremists and the rise of ISIS, the fact that the relationships built with his captors continue to this day and how his treatment in Guantanamo has changed him as a person.
Born on July 1, 1968, in Birmingham, England, Moazzam Begg grew up in a working-class family. His parents had migrated from Pakistan, and Begg’s childhood was shaped by a sense of identity and belonging to both Britain and his family’s cultural roots.
Begg’s activism began in the 1990s, where he became involved in humanitarian work and advocacy for the rights of Muslims globally. His commitment to social justice and human rights was evident long before the events that would lead to his incarceration.
Moazzam Begg’s life took a dramatic turn in 2002 when he was arrested in Pakistan by U.S. authorities on suspicion of being associated with terrorist organisations. He was subsequently transferred to Guantanamo Bay, the controversial U.S. military prison that gained notoriety for its treatment of detainees in the post-9/11 era.
Begg spent almost three years at Guantanamo without being charged with a crime. His detention raised concerns about the erosion of civil liberties and the lack of due process in the war on terror. Begg later detailed his experiences in the book “Enemy Combatant: A British Muslim’s Journey to Guantanamo and Back,” providing a firsthand account of life inside the notorious detention facility.
Since his release from Guantanamo in 2005, Moazzam Begg has turned his experiences into a platform for advocacy. He became a vocal critic of the policies that led to mass detentions without trial and the use of torture in the name of national security. Begg’s advocacy extended to challenging the erosion of civil liberties and the impact of counterterrorism measures on Muslim communities.
In 2010, he founded the organisation Cage (formerly Cageprisoners), a human rights advocacy group focused on issues related to the war on terror, arbitrary detentions, and human rights abuses. Cage works to raise awareness, provide legal support, and campaign for justice for individuals affected by counterterrorism policies.
Moazzam Begg’s work with Cage reflects his commitment to challenging injustice and advocating for the rights of those impacted by the war on terror. He has spoken at international forums, engaged with policymakers, and collaborated with other human rights organisations to shine a light on the consequences of draconian security measures.
Begg’s advocacy also extends to challenging Islamophobia and fostering a better understanding of Islam and Muslims in the context of counterterrorism policies. His efforts aim to bridge divides and promote a more just and inclusive society.
Moazzam Begg’s life is a testament to the complexities of the post-9/11 world, where issues of national security, civil liberties, and human rights intersect. From his incarceration at Guantanamo Bay to his subsequent work as a human rights advocate, Begg has navigated extraordinary circumstances with resilience and a commitment to justice.
As he continues to champion civil liberties, challenge oppressive policies, and advocate for the rights of those impacted by the war on terror, Moazzam Begg remains a prominent figure in the ongoing discourse on human rights and counterterrorism measures.