Tag Archives: Maajid Nawaz

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.

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