A match made in heaven?

A match made in heaven?

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

RT News interview Dilly Hussain on CIA torture and UK complicity

In this interview with RT News, deputy editor of 5Pillarz, Dilly Hussain, explains how the British government was complicit to the CIA’s torture

The Report – Special feature on British girls and the “Islamic State”

The Report’s special feature sees journalist Yasmin Khatun ask what could make young British Muslim women leave their families to live under the

Al Etejah TV Panel Discussion Part 2: The Arab Spring, Syria and Khilafah

In this episode of Panorama, Al Etejah’s Hassan Alkatib discusses the Arab Spring, the Syrian revolution and the Caliphate. Hassan is joined by four

VIDEO: Hindu nationalists train young girls to bomb, shoot and murder Muslims

This video shows the chilling reality of Hindu Nationalist (Hindutva) Girls’ training camps and seminaries.  They young girls talk about buildi

VIDEO: Nouman Ali Khan’s response to Junaid Jamshed

Nouman Ali Khan responds to the attacks against Junaid Jamshed for his comments about Aisha (ra), which were perceived by many as derogatory.

EXCLUSIVE VIDEO: Attempted robbery at Whitechapel Tesco stopped by local Muslims

Exclusive video footage of a moped robbery gang caught by local Muslims in the Whitechapel area of east London. The men tried to rob a G4S driver carr

Al Etejah TV – Panel Discussion on “Who Created ISIS?”

In this episode of Panorama, Al Etejah’s Hassan Alkatib discusses “Who created ISIS?” and “why are Muslims from the West joini

10 hours walking in London as a boy – A young Muslim’s perspective

In this video, a young British Muslim explains what he discovered when he walked around London for 10 hours. He highlights the hypocrisy of “gender

Junaid Jamshed apologises over Hazrat Aisha remarks

Prominent Pakistani recording artist Junaid Jamshed has apologised over remarks he made about the Prophet’s wife, Hazrat Aisha (ra). Jamshed ref

Indian presenter Gauhar Khan slapped on the face for wearing revealing outfit

Indian presenter and model Gauhar Khan was slapped on the face by a member of the audience during a live TV competition for wearing revealing clothes.

The Report: Islamophobia Awareness Month comes to an end #IAM2014

As Islamophobia Awareness Month draws to a close, The Report discusses the current state of anti-Muslim hatred in the UK. Shiplu Miah, London Regional

VIDEO: Abu Rumaysah’s hijra to the “Islamic State”

Abu Rumaysah, also known as Siddhartha Dhar, is reported to have traveled to Syria with his family after fleeing the UK while on conditional bail. VIC

VIDEO: RT News interview Dilly Hussain on UK “terror threat”

In this interview with RT News, deputy editor of 5Pillarz, Dilly Hussain, explains how the “terror threat” to the UK is being over-exagger

Two American women banned from entering Occupied Palestine for being Muslim

Two American students in Amman visited Palestine recently and were questioned by Israeli authorities about their religion, and barred from walking dow

Rochdale Muslims press conference on Islamophobia

Rochdale’s Muslim community held a press conference earlier this week in response to grooming discrimination and the rise in Islamophobia. The f

University of California students’ reaction to ISIS and Israel flags on campus

Pro-Israeli American Jewish filmmaker, Ami Horowitz, was “surprised” at the reaction he got from University of California students when h

Moazzam Begg on BBC Radio 4 – Returning British fighters

BBC Radio 4 speaks to Moazzam Begg regarding his view on returning fighters from Syria and the need to help them reintegrate them into society and not

VIDEO: Oxford Brookes Focus – Who are ISIS?

Deputy editor of 5Pillarz, Dilly Hussain, delivers a lecture on the origin of ISIS at Oxford Brookes University.  Syrian human rights activist Ghias

VIDEO: Islamophobia social experiment in London’s underground

YouTuber’s “Trollstation” try a social experiment in London’s underground when one of their actors spouts Islamophobic abuse t

Syria “hero boy” video was faked

Millions of YouTube viewers have been captivated by the “Syrian hero boy” who manages to rescue a little girl while under gunfire. Now a g

Lutfur Rahman blasts Eric Pickles and “media lies”

The mayor of Tower Hamlets, Lutfur Rahman, has blasted Communities Secretary Eric Pickles and the BBC in a rousing speech to his supporters in East Lo

Matthew Lester: Why I joined… and then left Britain First

In this short video Matthew Lester, a former member of the right-wing Islamophobic group Britain First, tells the story of why he left the group, his

VIDEO: Execution of Palestinian citizen by Israeli police

WARNING: This video shows disturbing footage of Israeli police shooting and killing a Palestinian youth! At least 30 Palestinians were arrested in the

Alchemiya: New Muslim digital web channel seeks funds to launch

A new online Muslim TV channel which will be targeted at the “global urban Muslim” is due to launch once it has raised around £300,000. A

VIDEO: Woman walks for five hours in NYC in hijab without harassment

In response to the video ‘10 Hours of Walking in NYC as a Woman‘, another woman decides to carry out the same experiment. However, she wal