Archive for the 'Quilliam Foundation' Category

Kuwaiti businessmen

Does anyone know if the Kuwaiti businessmen funding the Quilliam Foundation are supporting any similar moves to promote pluralism and combat Islamism in Kuwait?

Or is this an absurd question?


Ziauddin Sardar lays into Quilliam Foundation founders

The embrace of former extremists is a slap in the face for Muslims who have worked tirelessly to build a British Muslim identity and foster inclusion by constructive community activity. It’s another attempt at the marginalisation of the overwhelming majority who never had a moment’s doubt that Islam gives no sanction for such murderous and misguided perversion of belief.

I am troubled by the fact that former extremists are seen as the only people who know how to deal with extremism. Just because you have been an inmate of a mental hospital does not mean you are an expert in clinical psychology. But former extremists are being lionised because they confirm the basic tabloid prejudice that violence is a natural part of being a Muslim. So whose ignorance is being vindicated? Certainly the potential of an open, unapologetic belief in Islam as a valuable part of British society is not on the agenda.

At every stage of dealing with extremism, the government has made the wrong choice. First, only British-trained imams were to be promoted, though how and what they were trained in was not examined. Then there were to be roadshows at which religious scholars selected for their moderation and tractability, rather than an understanding of the problems of young British Muslims, would explain the error of extremist ways. Then Sufism was touted as the solution, and the Sufi Muslim Council was created as the voice of moderation. Now the way forward is with sinners who were once mouthpieces for jihadi propaganda and advocated the violent rejection of all things western.


Some Quilliam advisors drop out?

Ahead of their official launch later today (1pm in the UK), I decided to take another look at the Quilliam Foundation website and noticed some of the (Muslim) names on their board of advisors had been removed.

Here was a list of Muslim advisors when the website first went up:

Shaikh BaBikr Ahmed BaBikr
Shaikh Abdal-Aziz Al-Bukhari
Shaikh Dr Usama Hassan
Shaikh Ali al-Saleh al-Najafi
Mufti Abu Laith al-Maliki
Imam Dr Musharraf Hussain al-Azhari
Shaikh Abdus Subhan
Professor Yahya Michot

Three of these names have been removed: Yahya Michot, Abdus Subhan and Abu Laith al-Maliki. I couldn’t find anything on why they have been removed, other than some speculation on MPACUK’s forums.

Unsurprisingly, websites denouncing the foundation’s creators, especially Maajid Nawaz, have appeared.

Muscular Liberals and Celebrity Ex-Extremists

Are we witnessing a convergence of interests and causes between Celebrity Ex-Extremists and British ‘muscular liberals’ (neoconservative types, decent leftists or pro-war liberals)?

Look at the evidence (not proof I hasten to add) so far:

Shiraz Maher is listed as a member of Policy Exchange on their Facebook profile (this is a closed group which is open to people who have worked for the institute or by invite from the Facebook group administrator only). Policy Exchange, you may remember, was involved in a row with BBC’s Newsnight over a report they released on the availability of extremist literature in British mosques and Islamic centres. Their ‘expert’ on terrorism is Dean Godson, an advocate of ‘political warfare’ and an interventionist foreign policy. Godson’s father (Joseph Godson) and brother (Roy Godson) are noted figures who have helped ‘massage’ American intelligence to achieve certain policy goals (Godson senior appears to have been a Cold War Liberal, the intellectual predecessors of those known as ‘neocons’). Policy Exchange was also Michael Gove’s platform for lauching his political career. And Martin Bright, political editor for the left-wing political magazine The New Statesman, also received sponsorship for his pamphlet on the Islamist connections of promiment British Muslim organisations from Policy Exchange.

– The Quilliam Foundation (home of ex-Hizbis) announce Michael Gove as one of their advisors. Gove’s ‘neoconservative’ views are widely known (he is a member of the neocon Henry Jackson Society), as are his fanatical attacks on Palestinians from the pages of The Times.

Hassan Butt, who once boasted about his jihadi credentials (funny how he never offered his own services), is given a boost by Nick Cohen, one of the founders of the Euston Manifesto and foremost member of the pro-war left in Britain. Butt, it turns out is writing Leaving Al-Qaeda with the journalist Shiv Malik, a proponent of the ‘conveyor belt’ theory of Islamist activity and terrorism.

Ed Husain, boring us to death, provides a flavour of Quilliam criticism

I am guessing the latest Ed piece at the Observer is a brief insight into the main targets of the Quilliam Foundation.

Let’s hope we don’t get bored to death first.

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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