Britain’s leading moderate Muslim organisation has challenged Communities and Local Government Secretary John Denham over his claim that government money was not being used to fund groups and institutions promoting radical Islamist ideology.
Speaking at a fringe event during Labour Party conference in Brighton, Ed Husain, director of the anti-extremist Quilliam Foundation, said he would provide Mr Denham with a list of organisations funded by the government’s Prevent strategy that should be a cause for concern to ministers.
Mr Denham had told the audience at a debate hosted jointly by Quilliam and New Labour think tank Progress that there was no evidence that the government was unwittingly financing extremism. The case had been raised of the Muslim Association of Britain, which sits on the government’s Mosques and Imam’s National Advisory Body, despite its known links to Hamas.
Mr Husain was particularly worried by organisations with links to radical South Asian group Jamaat-i-Islami (JI), which has its power base in Pakistan and Bangladesh. The movement’s founder, Abul Ala Maududi, wrote: “It must now be obvious that the objective of the Islamic jihad is to eliminate the rule of an un-Islamic system and establish in its place an Islamic system of state rule. Islam does not intend to confirm this rule to a single state or to a handful of countries.”
JI supported the establishment of the Hudood ordinance in Pakistan, which introduced “sharia” punishments for extramarital sex, including stoning. As a result, human rights groups reported women who had been raped being incarcerated under the law if they failed to provide Muslim witnesses.
The Quilliam Foundation will raise its concerns about a number of prominent organisations in Britain with links to JI which receive government funding. These include the Islamic Society of Britain, UK Islamic Mission, the London Muslim Centre and Da’awatul Islam. The Leicester-based Islamic Foundation, which was founded as a JI outpost in Britain was also named by Mr Husain, although it has developed a reputation for moderation in recent years.
Quilliam has also urged the government to investigate the Muslim Welfare House, a London-based organisation which traces its ideology to Egyptian Islamist group the Muslim Brotherhood.
The JC highlighted concerns over the state funding of radical Muslim groups following a report by the Taxpayers’ Alliance last month detailing where the Prevent money had been spent. Communities Minister Shahid Malik wrote to the JC: “It is untrue that groups promoting radical ideas receive money from the Preventing Violent Extremism fund.”