Terror think tank in funding crisis

By Martin Bright, December 22, 2010

The anti-extremist think tank Quilliam has issued an emergency appeal for donations following the slashing of its Home Office grant.

The organisation was founded in 2008 by two former members of the radical Islamist group Hizb-ut-Tahrir, Maajid Nawaz and Ed Husain. It has forged a reputation as a high-profile counter-balance to established organisations such as the Muslim Council of Britain. Quilliam's original funding from the Middle East was withdrawn after the leadership criticised fatwas backing suicide bombings in Israel.

In an appeal issued to supporters on Monday it announced that its £387,000 annual grant had been "reduced

It has given supporters a week to find the money to allow its operations to continue. These include work on campus to tackle radicalisation, advising western governments on counter-terrorism policies and building a grassroots pro-democracy movement in Pakistan.

Quilliam has grown exponentially in the two years of its existence and is now facing the prospect of significant staff cuts. It has recently recruited the high-profile former Libyan jihadi leader Noman Benotman as its senior analyst.

Meanwhile, one of Quilliam's fiercest critics, the anti-Zionist campaign group Engage, has begun a campaign against its own removal as the secretariat of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Islamophobia.

As the JC reported two weeks ago, the group's chair, Tory MP Kris Hopkins and his Labour vice-chair, Lord Janner, decided that it would not be appropriate for the controversial organisation to provide administrative support. The other vice-chair of the group, LibDem president Simon Hughes, sided with Engage.

An email statement to Engage supporters, seen by the JC this week, stated: "We strongly object to the implications of the joint statement issued by Kris Hopkins MP and Lord Janner of Braunstone, as reported in the Jewish Chronicle on December 10, on their intent to remove Engage as the secretariat to the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Islamophobia. We urge all members of the group and parliamentarians of all parties to reject their recommendation and to resist the pressure being exerted by right-wing bloggers and the pro-Zionist lobby."

An online petition has been set up to support the reinstatement of Engage, which addresses directly the question of Engage's anti-Zionism. "Whether anti-Zionist or not is irrelevant to the role of secretariat in the same way that one would not expect Lord Janner's pro-Zionist stance to affect his serving on the APPG, or investigating Islamophobia from his position as vice chair."

    Last updated: 1:44pm, December 22 2010