The Quilliam Foundation

Last week, the Guardian reported on the forthcoming official launch of the Quilliam Foundation, a think tank headed by former members of Hizb al-Tahrir, aimed at “improving [Muslim] relations with the west by challenging extremist ideologies”, which primarily means Islamism. The organisation is headed by ex-members Maajid Nawaz and Mohammed Mahbub “Ed” Hussain, author of The Islamist.

The foundation’s website, which has been revamped for the official launch with the help of a leading London marketing consultancy, provides us with a list of the rather diverse set of advisors who will be providing support for their activities. This eclectic group includes:

– traditionalist scholars of hadith and Sufism
– an Oxford acadmic (and Muslim) specialising in Ibn Taymiyya and Ibn Sina
– a Tory MP who is something of a British ‘neocon’ (and know for his anti-Palestinian rhetoric)
– the representative of a Muslim secularist organisation
– a liberal Anglican
– the directors of leading conservative and liberal think tanks

For now their list of publications is limited to the newspaper articles, blog posts and books published by Nawaz and Husain, although there are plans for several new books criticising Islamism. They also have an open challenge to Hizb al-Tahrir, especially the party’s leader Ata Abu Rishta, for a debate.

There is nothing on the website about who is funding their work (clearly they must have some cash in order to hire a consultancy like Cognet, although someone needs to tell the web designers to include a search facility). Nawaz has been quoted as saying they are being funded by “Middle Eastern businessmen and Muslims who are concerned about how Islam is being abused.”

Lastly, it is worth noting that the foundation is named after the Victorian British Muslim William Quilliam, who is taken as a paradigm of sorts. Yahya Birt offers a contrasting view on Quilliam’s role.

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6 Responses to “The Quilliam Foundation”


  1. 1 admin March 3, 2008 at 9:18 pm

    On their homepage they mention that they’ve received “ample guidance” from “scholatic giants” such as Sh Abdallah bin Bayyah and Sh Ali Jum’uah. It would be interesting to find out what (if any) guidance they’re received, as it seems like name dropping to me…

  2. 2 Omar March 4, 2008 at 12:35 am

    To be honest, I wouldn’t be surprised if some of these advisors have been coerced into joining. Ed has a secret weapon: ‘exposure’ – either you get with him or he will expose you with his media tactics. Many close to him have already sold their souls to not be ‘exposed’ by Ed and his neo-con cronies. They in turn are helping Ed so that they may be saved from slaughter.

    The enemies of Islam from within the community are far more dangerous than those from outside.

  3. 3 dawood March 4, 2008 at 2:03 am

    I am curious as to what someone like Dr. Yahya Michot can really do to help the organisation, as well as the other names dropped. His work rocks and is fascinating, but unless the Foundation is rapidly changing tune, I don’t think quite the right platform for his work to be shown.

  4. 4 thabet March 4, 2008 at 7:15 am

    assalamu alaykum

    admin, dawood: I agree, it would be interesting to know just how these scholars are helping them. I suppose we will just have to wait and see when they start publishing articles, books, reports etc. It is a think tank, afterall.

    Omar: That is quite an accusation to make. Do you have some or any evidence of this? That might be your gut feeling, but imagine if we all went around accusing people on merely such feelings?

  5. 5 Omar March 4, 2008 at 3:08 pm

    Not it isn’t an accusation in the dark. It is based on strong/direct observation and facts, but which I cannot reveal.

    Some advisors may have been persuaded to come on board (to their full knowledge or not), but non-public facing close associates of Ed have decided to save their souls. Others have also been approached with the same life-line.


  1. 1 Ed Husain, boring us to death, gives us a flavour of Quilliam targets « pixelisation Trackback on March 9, 2008 at 11:08 am

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