U.K. Anti-Islamist Group Claims Funding Cut Over Criticism Of Qaradawi


An English tabloid daily has reported that an anti-Islamist U.K. think-tank has had its Gulf funding cut as a result of the organizations criticism of global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi. According to the report:

THE Quilliam Foundation, the think tank devoted to promoting harmony in West/Islam relations, is facing the withdrawal of its financial backers. The foundation was set up by former Hizb ut-Tahrir members Maajid Nawaz and Ed Husain in April with the explicit aim of freeing Western Muslims from “the cultural baggage of the Indian subcontinent and the political burdens of the Arab world”. Its work has already been feted by such figures as Michael Gove, the Conservative Shadow Secretary for Children, Schools and Families, and socialite Muslim Jemima Khan. But now its financial backers, based in the Gulf, have cut off funding because they are incensed at its criticism of Ken Livingstone’s favourite Islamist, Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi. Husain, author of The Islamist, who is now seeking new sources of funding from Muslims based here in the UK, blames the Muslim Association of Britain and the Muslim Council of Britain for mounting “a character assassination attempt” on his organisation and intimidating its advisers. “It’s a challenge having the funds pulled out,” he tells me. “But it’s not easy for normal Muslims to condemn figures like Qaradawi and then sustain themselves. The people who are trying to shut us down are the same people who were behind Ken Livingstone’s campaign to mount a character assassination of Boris Johnson, portraying him as a racist. “But if we didn’t upset these people we would be failing in our work. It’s an indication that what we are saying is getting through.”

The exact nature of the criticism of Qaradawi was not specified in the article.

Curious however is that the the Quillaim Foundation identifies Mauritanian Islamic scholar Abdullah bin Bayyah as one of its advisors as bin Bayyah is the Vice-Chairman of the International Union of Muslim Scholars, headed by Qaradawi as well as a member of the European Council for Fatwa and Research, also headed by Qaradawi. In addition, since its inception, the Quillaim Foundation has been harshly criticized by groups such as the Muslim Council of Britain, comprised heavily of groups linked to the U.K Muslim Brotherhood which makes Bin Bayyah’s presence at Quillim even more curious. The group’s website explains the name Quilliam as follows:

Abdullah William Quilliam (1856-1932) was an English convert to Islam who founded Britain’s first mosque and started educational and charitable institutions. The Quilliam Foundation is in his memory a think-tank and campaign group to help foster a genuine British Islam, native to these islands, free from the bitter politics of the Arab and Muslim world.

(Source: The Evening Standard (London) May 27, 2008 Tuesday Gulf backers pull plug on Islamic peace think tank; The Londoner’s Diary SECTION: A; Pg. 14)

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