New Home Secretary sits on political council of “Islamophobic” think-tank

Amber Rudd

It has emerged that the new Home Secretary Amber Rudd sits on the political council of the right-wing think-tank the Henry Jackson Society which is widely considered to be Islamophobic, writes Roshan Muhammed Salih.

In her new job Rudd will be responsible for the internal security service MI5 which is tasked with countering al-Qaeda and ISIS-inspired terrorism. She will also be responsible for the Prevent strategy which is designed to stop people from supporting terrorism or becoming terrorists themselves.

Both M15 and Prevent have been accused by many prominent Muslims and non-Muslims of targeting the Muslim community as a whole.

Rudd was formerly Energy and Climate Change Secretary, a position she held for just one year. Aged 52, she is a former investment banker, venture capitalist and financial journalist.

Raza Nadim, of MPACUK, told 5Pillars that Rudd’s link to the Henry Jackson Society is extremely worrying but predicted that she wouldn’t step down from it.

“The Henry Jackson Society is an extremely Islamophobic think-tank with individuals like Douglas Murray who’ve made a living out of attacking Muslims and saying that Islam is to blame for everything. He was even being an apologist for the Iraq war when the Chilcot report came out last week,” he said.

“What’s worrying is that the Henry Jackson Society once again will have access to people in extremely powerful positions and they’ll have influence which is really bad news for Muslims.”

Nadim added: “Rudd is part of a Conservative government which has made it its mission to talk down to Muslims and not treat us with equality and dignity so I expect her to continue with Theresa May’s policies. She will tell us that Prevent is needed and paint it as a safeguarding issue; and she will push through the surveillance measures that May started. This is one of the most right-wing Tory front benches that I can actually remember.”

Islamophobe Robert Spencer (l) pictured with the Henry Jackson Society's Douglas Murray
Islamophobe Robert Spencer (l) pictured with the Henry Jackson Society’s Douglas Murray

On its website The Henry Jackson Society advocates militarism, aggressive democracy-promotion, Western liberal values and capitalism.

It says that “modern liberal democracies set an example to which the rest of the world should aspire,” and that it “supports the maintenance of a strong military, by the United States, the countries of the European Union and other democratic powers, armed with expeditionary capabilities with a global reach…”

But its critics say that the think-tank is a leading exponent of neo-conservatism in the UK that is deeply influenced by Islamophobia and an open embrace of the “War on Terror.”

The think-tank, which is a registered charity, has attracted controversy in recent years with key staff being criticised in the past for allegedly anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant comments.

Its Associate Director, Douglas Murray, has complained that London has “become a foreign country” because white Britons are a minority in 23 of 33 London boroughs. Murray has also been pictured with Robert Spencer, the far-right US anti-Islam campaigner banned from Britain.

In 2012 its then director William Shawcross, who now runs the Charity Commission, said “Europe and Islam is one of the greatest, most terrifying problems of our future.”

David Miller is a professor of sociology and co-founder of the Spinwatch organisation which produced a detailed report into the Henry Jackson Society.

He has said one of its donors is Nina Rosenwald, who also finances the US-based right-wing Gatestone Institute which publishes Douglas Murray’s writing alongside Geert Wilders, the founder and leader of the Dutch Party for Freedom who has declared he “hates Islam.”

Miller has said: “In recent years, the Henry Jackson Society has become increasingly anti-Islam, expressing views characteristic of the far-right. Its anti-Islam orientation appears to have garnered it increasing support from a range of conservative funders in both the UK and US.”

The Henry Jackson Society has said that claims the charity is anti-Islam are “scurrilous and unfounded”.

5Pillars contacted both the Home Office and Amber Rudd for a comment on this story but did not receive a reply.

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