Quilliam Foundation: Never has a British Muslim organisation been more reviled

Quilliam Foundation: Never has a British Muslim organisation been more reviled

Posted by

In all my years reporting on British Muslims I’ve never come across a Muslim organisation which is more reviled by all strands of the community than the Quilliam Foundation, with the possible exception of al Muhajiroun, writes Roshan Muhammed Salih.

Put ten British Muslims in a room together and you’ll get ten different opinions, that’s what happens when a community is comprised of so many sects and political inclinations. And therefore, every group seems to have its fair share of supporters and haters.

But the Quilliam Foundation has achieved something rare in British Muslim circles – it has united Muslims in condemnation and disdain.

If it had been any other Muslim organisation that had brought Tommy Robinson in from the cold yesterday perhaps the Muslim reaction to the EDL leader’s defection might have been less harsh. But because it was Quilliam everyone went on a mocking rampage.

“From one extreme to another,” yelled some; “QF is making Islamophobia mainstream,” shouted others. And my personal favourite from a Facebook post: “EDL and QF: Two cheeks of the same arse.”

Origins

Founded in 2007, Quilliam styles itself as a Muslim counter extremism think-tank with the explicit goal of removing the “poison of Islamism” from British Muslim discourse and promoting a peaceful, spiritual form of Islam which is at ease with the modern western world.

It was fronted by two “ex extremists” and Hizb ut Tahrir activists Ed Husain and Maajid Nawaz but initially struggled to make any impact because of a lack of funding.

But the pair soon spotted an opportunity to secure government backing because the state was looking for a “Muslim partner” that would deflect attention from its wars abroad and their role in fomenting growing British Muslim radicalisation. Instead the government wanted a credible partner to put the focus on the Muslim community itself. Quilliam obliged.

Maajid Nawaz of the Quilliam Foundation

Maajid Nawaz of the Quilliam Foundation

In the following years  QF pocketed around a million quid a year, Husain and Nawaz paid themselves handsome salaries, expanded the organisation and were a regular feature of BBC studios and right-wing newspaper columns.

During their heyday they managed to annoy virtually every strand of British Muslim opinion from the salafis to the ikhwaanis and other Islamists, but also the  Sufis and the apolitical.

They did this by attacking virtually every active Muslim group and harping on relentlessly about Muslim extremism, while ignoring or minimizing the impact of British foreign policy. And they did this while pocketing a hefty cheque from the British government while implausibly claiming to be maintaining a distance from it.

But by 2010 the British government funding had dried up because of the necessities of economic austerity but also, I suspect, because Downing St  realised that Quilliam’s message wasn’t gaining traction with Muslims (and especially those vulnerable to radicalisation) and its impact on the ground was zero or minimal.

So with the dosh no longer readily available Ed Husain buggered off to the right-wing Council of Foreign Relations in America and Quilliam had to cut back on its staff and projects.

Meanwhile, Maajid Nawaz had time to pen a rather naff and vain autobiography and has announced he will stand as  a Liberal Democrat candidate at the next general election.

Yet Quilliam soldiered on, with less media attention and less obvious fanfare, but with the occasional blitz of publicity like yesterday’s fun-and-games with Tommy Robinson. It’s no longer the constant, offensive in-your-face presence it once was, but it’s still occasionally bloody annoying.

Failure

So why did Quilliam fail?

Firstly, Muslims don’t like seeing other Muslims going on national TV and the right-wing media constantly criticising their own while sucking up to the establishment. Even Muslims (like myself) who believe it’s necessary for us to look in the mirror quickly get turned off with relentless self-hating.

Secondly, the facts that Quilliam had no grassroots support, were hardly seen at community events (probably for their own protection), and were artificially created and amplified by  government finances made them transparent frauds in the eyes of the community.

Ed Husain

Ed Husain

Thirdly, they probably annoyed a lot of  “sell-out” Muslim organisations who were also after government money but couldn’t get it because Quilliam had cornered the market.

In many ways this was a shame because the Muslim community is getting more radicalised and insular as the years pass by and its relationship with the British state is getting more problematic.

And there is a need for an organisation which has roots in the community, is loyal to it, is critical of the government and Islamophbia, yet also still seeks to address the real problems that exist in the community itself.

But Quilliam – which is unrepresentative, disloyal and compromised by government finances – certainly ain’t that organisation.

Islamophobia

So I found myself watching the “Tommy and Maajid” show yesterday with a permanent ironic smile.

Here were two people who were theoretically polar opposites but who in reality are basically the same – extremists posing as moderates who should be given a medal by the Queen for services to Islamophobia.

But you know what, I think I prefer Tommy Robinson’s blatant, ignorant retarded form of Islamophobia to Maajid Nawaz’s subtle, suave and sophisticated version.

@RMSalih

Sources
5Pillarz

 

Tags

Facebook Comments

comments

Video Player

VIDEO: Salford man tells Muslim women on tram that he’ll burn immigrants

Mobile phone footage of a Salford man telling Muslim women on a tram that he’ll set immigrants on fire.

VIDEO: Muslim taxi driver in Derby attacked by drunk customer

Mobile phone footage of a Muslim taxi driver in Normanton, Derby, attacked by a drunk customer in the car.

VIDEO: Breathtaking poem about Islamophobia at US poetry competition

A breathtaking spoken word poem about Islamophobia and racism by Rudy Francisco, Natasha Hooper and Amen Ra performed at the 2016 National Poetry Slam Finals in Atlanta, United States.

RADIO DEBATE: Dilly Hussain versus Dr Julian Richards on legitimacy of Prevent

Deputy editor of 5Pillars Dilly Hussain debates Dr Julian Richards from the University of Buckingham about the future of the Prevent strategy on BBC Three Counties Radio. 

VIDEO: Dutch police arrest elderly Muslim man for riding bike on wrong side of road

Video footage of Dutch police arresting an 80-year-old Muslim man in Amsterdam for riding his bicycle on the wrong side of the road. The elderly man can be heard screaming in pain whilst being handcuffed.

VIDEO: Jordanian football fans chant adhan in protest against Israel’s “muezzin bill”

Jordanian football fans chant the call to prayer in protest against Israel’s “muezzin bill” which aims to ban the adhan.

VIDEO: New Amazon advert shows friendship between imam and priest

Amazon have produced a new advert depicting the warm interfaith friendship between an imam and a vicar for their new “Amazon Prime” service.   Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) and East London Mosque helped Amazon produce this video.

VIDEO: Myanmar army throw Rohingya children into fire in front of their mothers

Heartbreaking footage showing the aftermath of Rohingya Muslim children being burnt alive by the Myanmar army in front of their mothers.

VIDEO: Rohingya Muslims burnt alive in their homes by Myanmar army

Shocking footage showing Rohingya Muslims burnt alive in their homes after the Myanmar army set fire to their houses. WARNING: Graphic footage! 

Palestinian leader performs adhan inside Israeli parliament

Ahmad Tibi, a Palestinian member of the Israeli parliament or Knesset, has performed the Maghrib adhan inside parliament in protest at a new bill that forces mosques to lower the volume of the call to prayer. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Israel is “committed to defending those who […]

VIDEO: Woman tells bus passengers speaking Arabic to “speak our f**king language”

A man came to the defence of a group of bus passengers speaking in Arabic after he says a woman began screaming at them to “speak our f**king language.” Ryan McPhee, 25, said he defended the three men and a woman after a fellow bus passenger launched an alleged racist […]

Zionist war criminal Netanyahu congratulates Donald Trump

The Israeli terrorist leader Benjamin Netanyahu has congratulated Donald Trump on becoming the President of the United States. America finances and arms Israel to the tune of billions of dollars every year, enabling Tel Aviv to oppress the Palestinians and commit crimes against them.

Get News Like This In Your Inbox
Subscribe to our mailing list and we'll send you updates
Don't forget to join our social profiles