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Militant Islam Monitor > Weblog > UK Stealth jihadists profit from forming Quilliam Foundation

UK Stealth jihadists profit from forming Quilliam Foundation

January 20, 2009

The Quilliam Foundation purported to be a think tank which combats extremism" made up of self proclaimed "ex" terrorists has just gotten a 1 ml pound grant from the UK government. "Almost £1 million of public money is being given to a think-tank run by two former Islamic extremists, despite reservations being expressed by members of the Government and the Opposition...

The scale of the funding has aroused concerns that the Government is relying too heavily on a relatively unknown organisation in its desperation to counter extremism. The Times understands that the foundation, which has 18 full-time staff, is paying about £110,000 a year to rent offices at one of Central London's most prestigious addresses, which, for security reasons, have no name plate or sign outside. Inside, the offices are expensively furnished with state-of-the-art computers and plasma screen televisions.Mr Husain and Mr Nawaz, the organisation's directors, are believed to be receiving salaries of about £85,000 each a year. The foundation refused to discuss individual earnings."http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/politics/article5549138.ece

An unnamed government minister told The Times that the size of the grant was outrageous, and saying Britain had seen the rise of an "ex-Islamist industry." http://www.upi.com/Top_News/2009/01/20/Critics_hit_anti-Islamist_think_tank_cost/UPI-58251232470163/

MIM: In a reply to a piece by Ed Husain blaming Israel for the Gaza offensive Melanie Phillips (author of Londinistan") wrote that Ed Husain incited Muslims to violence and that she had mistakenly given him the benefit of the doubt that he had become a moderate.

"The British government has invested huge hopes in Ed Husain as an attractive and plausible antidote to Islamist extremism in Britain. But how can anyone now believe anything he has ever said when he promulgates such a gross libel as the canard of Israel's ‘massacre' of hundreds of ‘innocent' Gazans? How can the government believe that Ed Husain will de-radicalise British Muslims when through articles such as this one he is inciting them to yet more hatred of Israel, the west's forward salient against Islamist aggression?"

Of course, his arguments are — tragically, appallingly — replicated in large measure amongst the British intelligentsia, media and indeed members of the government itself and the broad political class. Indeed, this is a far, far wider problem than one not-so-reformed-after-all Islamic extremist. http://corner.nationalreview.com/post/?q=MTk3NjkyMTI3ZWFhODZhMjY3YWQwMDhjOWEyMzk5ZjY=

The organisation has established a cordial relationship with the stealth jihadists at the Council on American Islamic Relations [CAIR, named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the United States' largest and ongoing, Hamas terror funding prosecution, U.S. vs Holy Land Foundation] having invited Arsalan Iftikhar, CAIR's National Legal Director, as a guest speaker at the organizations' coming-out party held at the British Museum.

Quilliam's website also links [source, http://www.quilliamfoundation.org/links.html] to such Islamist groups as the Radical Middle Way [see, http://www.radicalmiddleway.co.uk/], City Circle [see, http://www.thecitycircle.com/] as well that of leftist financier George Soros' Open Society Institute along with the socialist Fabian Society [see, http://fabians.org.uk/].

The baseline questions regarding these modern day terrorism "relapsis" are complex, touching on sincerity, motivation and above all propriety. There is an old saying in legal circles, "a witness once impeached is forever suspect"....

At their worst, people of this ilk are members of the stealth jihad, further insinuating themselves into the governance of societies they seek to destroy; at best they are parasites, living off a curriculm vitae consisting of a murderous or hate-filled past, committed in service to Muslim fundamentalism.

These folks criss-cross the Western world proclaiming loudly - and for a price - that Islamic terrorism is not a desirable commodity. Why such a message is considered especially revelatory and hence worthy of compensation or reward, remains a mystery to many. Regardless, this occupation's bottom line is starkly evident; what these people do is preach - to the converted - certainly a less perilous way of earning a living than engaging the in acts of religious warfare. http://www.pipelinenews.org/index.cfm?page=nawazid=8.20.08%2Ehtm

MIM: CAIR legal Director Arsalan Iftikhar was among the speakers at the Quilliam Foundation Launch. Many of the speakers also serve as advisors to the Foundation.

Quilliam Foundation Launch: 'Reviving Western Islam & Uniting Against Extremism'
British Museum, London 22nd April 2008

Speakers included Dr Ghayasudin Siddiqui, Dr Usama Hassan, Lord Paddy Ashdown, Sheikh Abdel Aziz al-Bukhari, Professor Timothy Garton Ash, Rachel North, Dr Musharraf Hussain, Jemima Khan, Shekh Dr Ali al-Saleh al-Najafi, Arsalan Iftikhar, Mohammed Hee.

Delegates came from Austria, Denmark, Holland, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Egypt, Jerusalem, & USA.

The Chair's Introduction & Letter from Imam Pallavicini of Rome, Italy
Maajid Nawaz
The Need to Rid Ourselves of Islamism
Dr. Ghayasuddin Siddiqui
The Challenge of Western Islam & Secularism Towards creating Harmony
Dr Usama Hasan
European Islam
Lord Paddy Ashdown
Message from Jerusalem
Shaykh Abdel Aziz Bukhari
Standing Together Against Extremism
Timothy Garton Ash
Why Islam is Needed to Defeat Terrorism
Rachel North
Terrorism: a Misreading of Scripture
Dr Musharraf Hussain
Why The Quilliam Foundation
Jemima Khan
Islam & Human rights
Dr Ali al-Saleh
Living Western Islam: An American Experience
Arsalan Iftikhar
From Islamism to Islam
Mohammed Ali Hee
Question and Answer Session
Ed Husain and Maajid Nawaz
Chaired by Angus Walker


MIM: Among the publications offered by the Quilliam Foundation are texts by radical Imam Zaid Shakir who is referred to as a "Muslim scholar".

By Muslim scholars
Jihad, apostasy, and women's rights by Shaikh Abdal-Hakim Murad
'Recapturing Islam from the Terrorists' by Shaikh Abdal-Hakim Murad

'Islam: Religion or Ideology' By Imam Zaid Shakir on 26 July 2006


MIM: Shakir has produced a CD titled "Jihad or Terrorism?" in which he justifies violent jihad blaming "the enemies of Islam" for equating the two. The CD is described below.

Approximate Running Time: 1 Hour

"The enemies of Islam have linked [Jihad and Terrorism] together as far as we Muslims are concerned, by trying to make one synonymous with the other. They say that Jihad is irresponsible, random, senseless, violence, and terrorism is Jihad... The two are not synonymous; they can't be synonymous." -- Imam Zaid Shakir

This CD covers the following subjects:

-If the enemies of Islam attack Muslim civilians, can we attack non-Muslim civilians?
-What is the role of Muslims living amongst non-Muslims in the West?
-Jihad and terrorism, objective or subjective?
-What is the meaning of the word Jihad?
-Are we obliged to stay in the West?
-Who sanctions Jihad?
-World Trade Center Bombing!
-Hijacking Airplanes!
-Should we vote?
-Hijra or Jihad?



MIM: Shakir dismisses the threat of Islamic terrorism as "a myth".To Shakir, America is the real source of terrorism.

"At a Muslim Students Association convention in Chicago, Ill., in September 2005, Shakir denied altogether any threat from Islamic terrorists, claiming, "…there's a whole myth that, you know, global Islamic terrorism is a threat to our civilization. That's garbage… a handful of irresponsible terrorists aren't going to threaten anybody."

At the 2005 Reviving the Islamic Spirit convention in Canada, which had stoked controversy the previous year for inviting a noted neo-Nazi to speak (who had also incidentally spoken at several CAIR-sponsored events), Shakir said of America:

And the finger of blame will be pointed at all of those real or imagined terrorists scattered all over the world, and no mirror will be held up to see the terrorism that is being inflicted and has been inflicted on the people of the world because of the policies of the United States of America."



Ed Husain

Maajid Nawaz

MIM: Jeffrey Imm criticises the Quilliam Foundation for their support and defense of radical cleric Sheik Mufti Ali Gomaa.

Quilliam Foundation and Misdirection on Egypt's Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa


By Jeffrey Imm

In my July 16, 2008 article "False Reports of Jihadists 'Quitting' or Abandoning Islamic Supremacism," I challenged the Quilliam Foundation to address some key questions that were being asked about its organization. The primary issue I raised was its documented support for Egyptian Grand Mufti Sheik Ali Gomaa (also spelled "Ali Gum'a" or "Goma").

In reply, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy's Stein Program on Counterterrorism and Intelligence Director Matthew Levitt criticized me on July 17 for asking this obvious question, and on August 15, that same organization's Michael Jacobson published a "response" to my July 16 article on behalf of Maajid Nawaz of the Quilliam Foundation.

Mr. Nawaz's comments in Mr. Jacobson's reposting "Quilliam Responds" are not a response at all, but are directed towards a July 30, 2008 letter from various senators to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice regarding "a 2003 article in Egypt's 'Al-Haqiqa' newspaper quoting Ali Goma defending terrorist acts in Israel." Mr. Nawaz dismisses this quote as he states it is coming from a "Wahabite-Islamist source" and "a newspaper that explicitly promotes a Shari'ah-law based Caliphate." (On the other hand, Mr. Nawaz does not explain how he defends Ali Gomaa who is interviewed in the March 2008 U.S. News and World Report as seeing Sharia as a solution for "Islamic extremism.")

Mr. Nawaz further defends Gomaa by referencing a July 21, 2007 Newsweek / Washington Post blog article where Gomaa seeks to define jihad with "a large category of meanings," and where Gomaa states that "Islam forbids suicide" and "Islam forbids aggression against others." (This did not stop Gomaa from defending the terrorist group Hezbollah, as he viewed Hezbollah attacks on Israel as a "defense of its country and not terrorism" and called for support for Hezbollah as a "religious duty.") On July 24, 2007, the Gulf News reported an update on Gomaa's comments to Newsweek / Washington Post regarding "apostasy," quoting Gomaa: "What I actually said is that Islam prohibits a Muslim from changing his religion and that apostasy is a crime, which must be punished."

Mr. Nawaz further dismisses criticism of Gomaa by using a ploy of playing on assumed political divisions: "[o]n the matter of support for Ali Goma, it seems rather ironic that right-wing critics share their worries over our stance, probably to their horror, with Marxists on the far-left such as the UK Guardian's Seamus Milne." Unfortunately those who think that criticism of Islamic supremacism is merely a right-left issue, fail to understand the issue and certainly fail to understand America's history in fighting supremacist ideologies. Mr. Nawaz should recognize that his experiences with the Nazi Combat 18 group were part of a continuing challenge against supremacist ideologies, and that the battle against supremacism beliefs will not be addressed by inconsistencies or by pandering to inaccurate assumptions about right-left political divisions.

The larger issue that my July 16 article raised is how can an organization that attacks political Islamism, such as Quilliam Foundation, support an individual as Egyptian Grand Mufti Sheik Ali Gomaa, which it calls a "Muslim scholastic giant," when there are numerous articles about Gomaa that would make him a questionable "scholar" to emulate?

The simple answer is that in their efforts against political Islamism, Quilliam is seeking "scholars" that will justify their goal to develop a "Western Islam" as a method to counter political Islamism. Quilliam apparently believes that there are limited "scholars" that would provide such justification, and therefore the ends justifies the means (even though such an approach will not work in an ideological battle).

So the Quilliam Foundation chose Mufti Sheik Ali Gomaa as an example of "Muslim scholastic giants" to provide guidance to Muslims in adapting "to local cultures and traditions, while remaining true to the essence of their faith..." despite the numerous negative media reports readily available about Ali Gomaa. While Mr. Nawaz continues to defend Quilliam's support for Gomaa by stating that "Mufti Ali Goma must stand innocent until proven guilty," perhaps he can explain how Americans should be supporting a group who admires and defends someone like Mufti Sheik Ali Gomaa -- who supports the terrorist group Hezbollah, thinks that Sharia law is the answer to "extremism," views that "social violence is the result of the secularists' attempt to impose their principles upon society," is quoted as calling Israeli Jews "blood-suckers," is quoted as calling for the denial of freedom of religion, calls for the death penalty for adultery, and takes a relativistic view towards wife-beating. (This includes media reports from such "right-wing critics" as the Associated Press, the New York Times, and U.S. News and World Report, as well as Egypt's Al-Ahram that is frequently quoted by left-wing Counterpunch.)

If Mr. Nawaz continues to defend Mufti Sheik Ali Gomaa as a role model for the Quilliam Foundation's objective in developing a "Western Islam," then it is fair for analysts to question what that vision of "Western Islam" really is. That is truly the challenge to the Quilliam Foundation. Moreover, it is not the responsibility of the general public to prove the worthiness or unworthiness of Quilliam's esteemed "Muslim scholastic giants," but it is the responsibility of the Quilliam Foundation to thoroughly vet individuals that they claim represent their guidance and message to Muslims. "Innocent until proven guilty" is not a coherent approach for promoting role models. http://counterterrorismblog.org/2008/08/quilliam_foundation_and_gomaa.php


Robert Spencer and Jihad Watch on the Quilliam Foundation's faux moderation.

UK: New Muslim think-tank says it will challenge the jihad ideology with the true, peaceful Islam

This venture is getting an extraordinary amount of attention for a new group, suggesting that it has people with money and power behind it. I've been inundated over the last few days with links to enthusiastic press reports about it -- clearly a lot of people in the mainstream media and elsewhere have a great deal invested in its success. Unfortunately, however, this is yet another case of the Moderate Emperor's New Clothes.

"New Muslim think-tank aims to challenge extremist ideology," from Ekklesia (thanks to all who sent this in):

A new Muslim think-tank, which aims to bring together voices who oppose violence and extremism, and who want to explore Islam in a modern European setting, was launched at the British Museum yesterday.

Author Ed Husain, who charted his own journey away from what he calls "a dark place" in his controversial book 'The Islamist' is a prime mover in the venture, along with Essex-born Maajid Nawaz.

Ed Husain is the author of The Islamist, a book about how he entered and then left the jihadist group Hizb ut-Tahrir. Last year he debated Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and subsequently wrote a piece in The Guardian, "Stop supporting Bin Laden," about how Hirsi Ali, my dear friend Ibn Warraq and I are playing into the hands of Osama bin Laden himself by noting the deep traditional foundations within Islam of the jihad ideology. I wrote about it here. You can see at that link that Ed Husain in his piece wrote disingenuously about Islamic teaching on apostasy and other matters, and ignored the deep scriptural, theological and legal foundations of Islamic violence and supremacism. Hardly a promising performance for a genuine reformer.

The Quilliam Foundation (named after a 19th century British convert) is being pitched as advancing the counter-argument to extremism.

The founders say Islam in its purest universal form, as what Muslims believe is the last global message of God to humankind, sits perfectly well in modern multicultural societies - providing that Muslims find the right way to express their faith.

If British Muslims rediscover the purity of the faith, they argue, they can cast off the political and cultural baggage that would see Islam as the enemy of the West.

These bland and reassuring statements stop short of actually saying that the supremacist tradition within Islam must be rejected and opposed by Muslims. All this pleasant tosh about Islam fitting in with multicultural societies and not being seen as the enemy of the West could easily come out of the mouth of the most committed, but clever, jihadist. He would not even be lying -- he'd be working from the proposition that Islam allows for something of a multicultural society, provided that non-Muslims stay in their place as dhimmis and do not aspire to rights equal to those of the Muslims. And he'd have in mind the idea that Islam is not the enemy of the West, but the friend of the West, the friend that wants to give the West a gift -- the gift of the law of Allah. I have seen jihadists say exactly these things. Thus it is not reassuring to see them come from a foundation supposedly dedicated to moderate Islam, and named, significantly enough, for an English convert to Islam.

The think-tank aims to develop its arguments out of the Islamic theological tradition, rather than simply use Western secular arguments against versions of political Islam which it regards as distorted and damaging.

Its founding statement says: "Western Muslims should be free from the cultural baggage of the Indian subcontinent, or the political burdens of the Arab world. We were born and raised in a milieu that is different from the Muslim East. As such, our future and progeny belong here.

"Just as Muslims across the globe have adopted from and adapted to local cultures and traditions, while remaining true to the essence of their faith, Western Muslims should pioneer new thinking for our new times. Here, Muslim scholastic giants, such as the noble Abdullah bin Bayyah and Shaikh Ali Goma (Mufti of Egypt), have provided ample guidance."

Not reassuring. Ali Gomaa is the statue-hatin', wife-beatin', Hizballah-supportin', Muhammad's-urine-drinkin' Mufti of Egypt, who not long ago denied reports that he had rejected the traditional Islamic death sentence for apostates. The delirious Dinesh D'Souza has praised him as a "traditional Muslim" with whom American conservatives should cultivate an alliance. I do not think Americans should be so naive, and do not think that the Quilliam Foundation's invocation of this man as a moderate bodes well for its own claims of moderation.



MIM: At an event at the radical Luton Central Mosque Ed Husain called upon Muslims to " prepare for defending the honor of our beloved Prophet Mohammed" and to "prepare serious refutations of vicious attackers on Islam, including Ibn Warraq, Robert Spencer and others".

Luton Central Mosque Hosts Quilliam Directors

26th July 2008

Luton is a hotbed of Islamist and Jihadist activists, confirmed by local Muslim leaders and former activists of Islamist organisations. When faith leaders from different religions attended Luton Central Mosque recently, Islamist extremists protested outside the mosque. It was exceptionally courageous of young, mainstream Muslims from Luton to organise a Q&A session with Maajid Nawaz and Ed Husain.

Chaired by the visionary secretary-general of Luton's Central Mosque, Tariq Mahmud, Maajid and Ed answered an array of questions from the mosque's Ambassadors of Islam project. The majority of the attendees were young Muslims who were interested in learning about ways in which extremists operate.

After speaking about his own personal experiences inside extremism, Maajid spoke out against superimposing modern European notions of 'state' and 'sovereignty' on Islamic tradition, and then making it obligatory for 'working toward an Islamic state', an aim shared by al-Qaeda, Hizb ut-Tahrir and the Muslim Brotherhood.

Ed called upon young Muslims in the audience to look beyond the current debate on Islamism, and prepare for defending the honour of our beloved Prophet Mohamed. He asked undergraduates in the audience to prepare serious refutations of vicious attackers on Islam, including Ibn Warraq, Robert Spencer and others.

Luton Central Mosque is a rare institution, a forte of traditional Islam committed to preserving Sunni communities against infiltration from extremists. http://www.quilliamfoundation.org/index.php/component/content/article/280


MIM: Ed Husain was among several Muslims who wrote a letter to the Prime Minister to warn him that anger at UK foreign policy was reaching "an acute level of intensity" among Muslims. They said that it was the UK government's responsibilty to get Israel to stop the Gaza offensive and threatened that there was a risk of terror attacks if they did not comply.

Gaza conflict has caused fury among British Muslims, leaders tell Gordon Brown

The Gaza conflict has caused fury among British Muslims and could provoke extremism in this country, Muslim leaders have warned Gordon Brown.

By Jon Swaine
8 Jan 2009

In a letter to the Prime Minister, they said anger had grown to "acute levels of intensity" and that Britain's failure to condemn Israel's actions would strengthen groups seeking disenchanted young Muslims.

The Israeli government's use of "disproportionate force" to protect itself has "revived extremist groups" and "empowered their message of violence and perennial conflict", they wrote.

They added that the Government's refusal to distance itself from the line taken on the conflict by the US was also dangerous. They wrote: "We urge you to make concerted and successful efforts to convince the US administration of the dangers of its approach and to ensure the incoming Obama administration forges a more enlightened direction.

"We also believe the UK - bilaterally and as part of the EU - has an important role to demonstrate to Israel that the threshold of acceptable behaviour has been perilously transgressed."

Among the letters authors were Dilwar Hussain, the head of the policy research centre at the Islamic Foundation, Dr Usama Hasan, the imam of Al-Tawhid mosque in London and Ed Husain, the author and co-director of the anti-extremism think-tank the Quilliam Foundation.

Their letter continued: "As you are aware, the anger within UK Muslim communities has reached acute levels of intensity. The Israeli government's use of disproportionate force ... has revived extremist groups and empowered their message of violence and perennial conflict.

"For Muslims in the UK and abroad, we run the risk of potentially creating a loss of faith in the political process."

The letter came after a meeting on Tuesday between 30 people from Muslim organisations and Bill Rammell, a Foreign Office minister.

Dr Hany el-Banna, of the charity Islamic Relief, who was at the meeting, told The Guardian: "We are all working tirelessly to try and cool [British Muslims] down. I am telling them to change and bring something positive, but they see these images and they trigger extremist thoughts in the simplest individuals.

"Many millions of people will see these images in the media, what do you think the affect will be? The government is responsible for the country and its foreign policy. I don't want something to happen here." http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/israel/4173587/Gaza-conflict-has-caused-fury-among-British-Muslims-leaders-tell-Gordon-Brown.html


MIM: During the press conference with Tommy Robinson Nawaz boasted of Quilliam having "decapitated" the EDL.

Maajid Nawaz, formerly of hate group Hizb ut-Tahrir, now runs think-tank Quilliam, which was set up to ‘challenge extremism'.

Last night with an unfortunate choice of words, Mr Nawaz boasted of ‘decapitating' the EDL.

He said: ‘What is commonly perceived as the UK's largest anti-Muslim street movement – the EDL – is being decapitated.' "


Quilliam facilitates Tommy Robinson leaving the English Defence League

Posted in: 2013, Press Releases | October 8, 2013 at 08:47

Quilliam is proud to announce that Tommy Robinson and Kevin Carroll, the leaders of the anti-Islamist group, the English Defence League (EDL), have decided to leave the group. Having set up the EDL, infamous for its street protests, in 2009, they wish to exit this group, because they feel they can no longer keep extremist elements at bay.

Tommy Robinson said:

"I have been considering this move for a long time because I recognise that, though street demonstrations have brought us to this point, they are no longer productive. I acknowledge the dangers of far-right extremism and the ongoing need to counter Islamist ideology not with violence but with better, democratic ideas."

Quilliam has been working with Tommy to achieve this transition, which represents a huge success for community relations in the United Kingdom. We have previously identified the symbiotic relationship between far-right extremism and Islamism and think that this event can dismantle the underpinnings of one phenomenon while removing the need for the other phenomenon.

We hope to help Tommy invest his energy and commitment in countering extremism of all kinds, supporting the efforts to bring along his former followers and encouraging his critique of Islamism as well as his concern with far-right extremism. We call all of Tommy's former colleagues in the EDL to follow in his footsteps and also call on Islamist extremist leaders to follow this example and leave their respective groups. Tommy and Kevin believe the voice they have created can be channelled in a positive direction. Quilliam stands ready to facilitate such moves across the spectrum.

Quilliam Chairman and Co-Founder Maajid Nawaz said:

"As well as being a very positive change for the United Kingdom, this is a very proud moment for Quilliam. This represents not a change but a continuation for us, as challenging extremism of all kinds forms the basis of our work. We have been able to show that Britain stands together against extremism regardless of political views and hope to continue supporting Tommy and Kevin in their journey to counter Islamism and neo-Nazi extremism."

We are hosting a press conference for Tommy Robinson and Kevin Carroll's departure from the EDL at an undisclosed location in London today, 8 October 2013 at 6:30pm and will field all questions then. Entrance will be strictly conditional on the presentation of press passes; please contact [email protected] or call 020 7182 7275 or 020 7182 7278 if you would like to attend and more details will be provided but please do not RSVP if you are not press.


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