The ex-Islamist, the million pounds grant and the big-mouthed Minister

IF YOU haven’t already read The Islamist by Ed Husain, then I recommend you do so.

It tells the very true and moving story of a British-born Muslim and his recruitment into – and subsequent disillusionment with –  the radical Islamist group, Hizb ut-Tahrir. It offers a fascinating insight into the Islamist, as well as the Muslim, mindset in the UK. Husain is painfully honest about his experiences; I physically winced at the part where he describes encouraging fellow Muslims to celebrate the events of 9/11, and his confusion when he was reprimanded by those same people.

Now Husain and another former Islamist, Maajid Nawaz, a former political prisoner in Egypt, have formed the Quilliam Foundation, aimed at combating the Islamist tendency in the UK. Only an ex-Islamist can effectively fight the current ones, the logic goes.

Government grants of nearly a million pounds have been put at the foundation’s disposal, whcih seems to have irked some, not least The Times and an unnamed government minister who, hiding, inevitably, behind the shield of anonymity, described the giving of the money as “outrageous”. He (let’s assume it’s a “he”) also warned that Britain is becoming home to “the ex-Islamist industry.”

Well, we can only hope. Or would he prefer for us to be home to the Islamist industry?

Once again, we are revealed as a nation obsessed with the cost of everything and the value of nothing. The Times reports its supposition that the two directors of the Quilliam Foundation are receiving salaries of “about £85,000”. The same report states that its offices have no sign, for security reasons, but doesn’t make the logical link that if people are doing dangerous work to protect other people, they should be finacially rewarded.

I had a discussion recently where I told a friend that Islamism represented the greatest threat to our nation. “No,” he replied, “global warming is the biggest threat to our nation.”

Not sure those aboard any of the Underground trains on 7 July 2005, or any of their friends or relatives, would necessarily agree with that.

The Quilliam Foundation will produce its first report soon. It may well do some vital work on behalf of our country. If it results in saving lives, these government grants can be considered money well spent.  If it doesn’t deliver the goods, then we can always try another approach. But for crying out loud, can we just for once see past the headlines and the salary figures, past the snide little comments about “state of the art computers” (“Golly! They’re using up to date IT? Outrageous!”) and plush offices and judge such organisations on results? Or would that be too logical for our talkative ministerial colleague?

Presumably, the fact of the awarding of these grants suggests that the Quilliam Foundation has the support of the government. That being the case, maybe the minister in question should shut his mouth and get back to supporting the government.



Filed under Government, Society

7 responses to “The ex-Islamist, the million pounds grant and the big-mouthed Minister

  1. Jim T

    I had a discussion recently where I told a friend that Emphysema represented the greatest threat to our nation. “No,” he replied, “global warming is the biggest threat to our nation.”

    Not sure that my best friend’s father, my Mother’s best friend or any of the other 3000 people who die from lung diseases in the Uk every year or any of their friends or relatives, would necessarily agree with that.

  2. Simon

    I’ve worked in the City of London for over 20 years, and have been caught up in more IRA bombings than Islamic ones.

    It’s interesting how on the one hand you solved a terrorist issue by legitimising one group of terrorists and ensuring they got Government jobs, yet attempted to solve another terrorist issue by declaring war on them.

    I’ve never understood the double standard.

    Having said that, I’m not a soldier and would rather not live and work in fear of being blown up, so on the whole agree that anything that can be done to stop extremism of any kind should at least be tried. It might be cheaper to just pull out of Iraq and Afghanistan though.

  3. M Harris

    Excellent post Tom, the Times apparently decided to “get Quilliam”, and have done so.

    As for anonymous Ministers, it’s appalling that a Labour Minister would brief against an organisation that government departments are funding.

    As for the Tories seemingly turning against Quilliam, it shows yet more division in the Tory ranks; with Michael Gove a patron of Quilliam, and un-named Tory special advisors attacking it.

  4. Chris' Wills

    Why such high salaries when they haven’t shown they can deliver?

    How is their success to be measured, independant of other state sponsored activities? Publish the KPIs and underlying metrics.

    Do these chosen wish to help fellow faithful repent and leave the darkness? If that was the case surely they’ld rather spend the money on evangelising rather than filling their bank accounts.

  5. madasafish

    Our greatest threat is nutty bankers and incompetent regulators.
    Done far more damage than any terrorist.

  6. wrinkled weasel

    Clearly another waste of our money. Labour must get consistent with its attitude to Islamic extremism. Recently a Channel Four documentary maker was prosecuted for telling the truth:

    “West Midlands Police and the Crown Prosecution Service has publicly apologised and paid a six-figure sum for accusing a Channel 4 documentary, exposing extremism in Britain’s mosques, of misleading editing.

    The apology was made at the High Court following Channel 4’s decision to launch libel proceedings against police and the CPS.”

    If you are going to allow the police to become part of a political regime, paying born again moderates to preach the Gospel is a bit of a sham, isn’t it?

    NB. Anticipating the excuses, either the police are doing what their political masters tell them to or they are out of control. Both options stink.

  7. bupendra bhakta

    But for crying out loud, can we just for once see past the headlines and the salary figures


    Absolutely, Mr Harris. Let’s face, it what’s another public sector eighty-five grand salary here or there. Perhaps if I were in the private sector and funding it I would have a different opinion.

    Oh wait – I am in the private sector and funding it.

    And, yes, I have a different opinion.

    Off topic, but a GNVQ in Ingluish (that’s worth five GCSEs, you know) to anyone that clicks through to Labourmatters from his/their posts here and spots the steaming great spelling mistake on the front page.

    Education x 3 my ****

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