Quilliam Foundation

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Quilliam Foundation logo, screengrab from http://www.quilliamfoundation.org/

This article is part of the Counter-Terrorism Portal project of Spinwatch.

Microphones-2-.jpg This article is part of the Propaganda Portal project of Spinwatch.

The Quilliam Foundation‏ is a London based 'counter-extremism' think-tank which claims to challenge Islamic extremism in the UK. It was set up by self-styled ex-extremists Maajid Nawaaz, Ed Husain and Rashad Ali, all former members of the political Islamic group, Hizb ut-Tahrir. Incorporated as a limited company on 20 November 2007, it was launched on 22 April 2008, receiving much media attention. According to the BBC's Newsnight, the Foundation, backed by the British government, is waging the 'ideas' part of the so-called 'war on terror'. It has links to neoconservative initiatives such as the Centre for Social Cohesion and Harry's Place. In 2009 it launched Khudi a project targeting Pakistan.[1] The think tank has been embroiled in several controversies since its founding for encouraging domestic spying and preparing secret blacklists of citizens and groups that it alleges share the 'ideology of terrorists.'[2][3] Although the exact funding figure is unknown, the Quilliam Foundation reportedly received £700,000 as part of the government's Preventing Violent Extremism Programme, £400,000 of which was given by the Office for Security and Counter-Terrorism (OSCT).[2]

The Quilliam Name

The foundation takes its name from Abdullah Quilliam, a 19th Century British convert to Islam who founded a mosque in Liverpool. This is an ironic choice since Abdullah Quilliam was an opponent of the British Empire and a supporter of the Caliphate. He also argued that Muslims should not fight Muslims on behalf of European powers, citing specifically Britain’s enlistment of Muslim soldiers against the resistance in Sudan. In all these respects his activities correspond to those that the individuals running the Quilliam Foundation today hold up as evidence of extremism.[4].

Relationship with Centre for Social Cohesion

Until late 2009 Quilliam Foundation enjoyed a close relationship with the Centre for Social Cohesion. Together their members run The Spittoon, whose future now remains uncertain amid the public split between the two think-tanks. On October 23 2009, Douglas Murray of CfSC accused Ed Husain of holding 'extreme views...quite appallingly illiberal'[5] after the Quilliam director had taken a position supporting spying on innocent people.

QF has become part of the problem...The nature of QF and its funding arrangements ought to be a source of concern to all British taxpayers, no matter what their political or religious opinions, and finally be brought out in the open...QF is currently cosying up to the Conservative party to ensure its role under the next government. It would not be a bad thing if that party's first cost-cutting exercise was to stop funding an organisation that has come to represent the toxic juncture at which intense personal ambition and government propaganda meet.[6]

The piece generated a war of words between supporters of the two think-tanks in the article's comments section.[7] The attack may have been instigated by an earlier article by James Brandon of Quilliam in which he attacked Murray, his former employer. In the article, Brandon listed Murray as one of the leading 'preachers of hate', one of the right's 'non-violent extremists' who has 'routinely demonised Muslims collectively'. He accused Murray of failing to 'distinguish Islam from Islamism'. Of his resignation from CSC he wrote:

My time there was a constant struggle to "de-radicalise" Murray and to ensure that the centre's output targeted only Islamists – and not Muslims as a whole. This October, however, I had finally had enough of this constant battle and resigned.[8]

Low key government support

In an interview with The Guardian in March 2008, Maajid Nawaz stated that the organisation would be financially independent, and that money was coming “mainly from Middle Eastern businessmen and Muslims who are concerned about how Islam is being abused."[9] Similarly, the Irish Times reported that according to Nawaz, Quilliam ‘does not receive government funding and is financed instead by private donors from countries including Egypt and Kuwait.’[10] A New Statesman article by Shiraz Maher the following month stated: “The Quilliam Foundation has ensured its independence by raising money from private Muslim donors, while, paradoxically, the government is inadvertently undermining it by funding separatist agendas through the PVE fund.”[11]

Inayat Bunglawala of the Muslim Council of Britain wrote in Guardian Online's Comment is Free blog, that the Department for Communities and Local Government had hinted to UK Islamic groups that if they were prepared to work with the Quilliam Foundation, they could obtain financial support from the government:

"Some representatives of various UK Islamic groups were invited to see senior officials at the Department of Communities and Local Government recently to discuss the work they were doing with young people. Strong hints were dropped that they could obtain financial support from the government, but only if they were prepared to work with - and thereby help lend credibility to - Ed Husain's soon to be launched Quilliam Foundation."[12]

At the Foundation's launch, advisor Abdel-Aziz Al-Bukhari reportedly argued in his speech that Muslims should 'love, obey and respect' the government[13]. Former ambassador Craig Murray sees a party-political reason behind the New Labour government's support of the Foundation. He has described it as 'the branch of New Labour tasked with securing the Muslim vote and reducing British Muslim dissatisfaction with New Labour over the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan.'[14] For some of those who saw potential Quilliam's early claims to independence were crucial. One terrorism expert, M.J. Gohel told the Christian Science Monitor that ‘if there are people that have the platform and the ability to challenge and expose myths that Al-Qaeda purveys then that is very important and significant," but added that Quilliam ‘will have to prove its financial independence to keep its integrity intact.’[15]

Within weeks of Quilliam’s launch, however, the Evening Standard would report that Quilliam’s un-named initial un-named backers had pulled out, and that Ed Husain was seeking new funding from Muslims in the UK.[16] Parliament would later be told that it was only after this incident that Quilliam began to receive public funding, from the Home Office PVE programme and from the Foreign Office.[17] The result was starkly at odds with Quilliam’s initial claims of independence. In 2008-09, Quilliam received £674,608 from the Home Office, equivalent to almost three-quarters of its total income of £915,456 for that year.[18]


The Foundation's first publication, "Pulling Together to Defeat Terror: Recommendations for Uprooting Islamic Extremism", says that if Muslim leaders "must realise that the foreign policy of the British government will not be held hostage by any one community," and argued that the editors of "liberal newspapers" should "think twice before allowing column space to Hamas and its supporters while they remain committed to the destruction of Israel".[19]

One of the Foundation's key aims is to cast doubt on the link between British foreign policy and the rise of extremism. In so doing the Foundation is fighting not only the consensus of the British and US intelligence communities and much of the security establishment, but also the empirical evidence from experts such as Robert Pape.[20] While the Foundation is remarkably amenable to the neoconservative worldview, it shows little tolerance for Muslims in mainstream politics who do not, as advisor Shaikh Abdel-Aziz Al-Bukhari has suggested, 'love, obey and respect the government'. The Foundation has also tried to scuttle the political career of Osama Saeed, the SNP candidate for Glasgow Central, by accusing him of 'promoting religious separatism' and alleging that he does not understand 'basic democratic principles' because he once expressed amazement when one of Jack Straw's Blackburn constituents defended the former foreign secretary by blaming Iraqis and Palestinians for their own plight.[21] The organization has also recommended spying on Muslims unsuspected of any crimes, which led Jonathan Githens-Mazer and Robert Lambert to note:

Charles Moore and Dean Godson of Policy Exchange, have explained that this is a re-make of a 1980s Thatcherite counter-subversion strategy in which Husain is cast in the role of Frank Chapple the "moderate" trade union leader who was, they suggest, used to discredit and undermine the "extremist" miner's trade union leader Arthur Scargill. Husain, they argue, can help defeat Altikriti, Bungalwala and their colleagues in the same way.[22]

Neocon Nexus

While the Foundation has been ecumenical in choosing its advisers, its endorsement of such hardline luminaries of the Israel lobby as Michael Gove shows that some forms of extremism are less unacceptable than others. The Foundation's lineup has since expanded to include such veterans of neoconservative think tanks as James Brandon (formerly of the Centre for Social Cohesion), who has also helped build bridges with such pro-war outlets as the notoriously Islamophobic Harry's Place. Brandon used the McCarthyite website as a platform for his attack on CND for participating in an antiwar protest with a coalition which included among others the British Muslim Initiative.[23] During his 2008 tour of the US, Majid Nawaz also spoke at the Israel lobby think tank Washington Institute for Near East Policy[24]. Nawaz also maintains ties with Michael Jacobson of WINEP who posted a response on behalf of Nawaz on the Counterterrorism Blog, a website that devoted considerable coverage to his tour.[25] However, Quilliam was also attacked by the blog's Jeffrey Imm[26], but it was in turn defended by two other bloggers, Mark Levitt and Michael Jacobson, both associated with WINEP.[27]

Nawaz was in the US to testify before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs where he appeared along with Zeyno Baran of the neoconservative Hudson Institute. He was also hosted by the Center for National Policy.[28] [29]

The Question of Palestine

The Foundation's views however are not entirely in line with that of the British government. Whereas Tony Blair had recognized the Israeli occupation of Palestine as the central issue exacerbating relations between the Muslim world and the West, in an FAQ the Foundation tellingly presents the situation as an 'Arab-Israeli' conflict (to suggest parity), rather than a military occupation (it does not use the word occupation once). It draws parity between the Israeli military and Hamas, and while it has nothing to say about the crimes of the former, it accuses the latter of 'politicking with the lives of ordinary Palestinians'. The response to the question of Palestine ends with Muslims being encouraged to 'care about other conflicts and issues in the world, including Burma, Darfur, climate change, poverty, and gender inequality.' [30]

Double Standards

The Foundation is clearly discriminating in the type of extremist views it wishes to proscribe. While it opposed the UK government's ban on the extremist Dutch politician Geert Wilders (who Ed Husain described as 'undoubtedly an ill-informed, hate-driven bigot'), arguing that 'Banning Geert Wilders from the UK is not the solution. Just as the ideas of non-violent Islamist groups like Hizb ut-Tahrir should be tackled through debate and argument, so should those of Wilders and others.'[31] However, three weeks later in March 2009, the Foundation intervened with the Bradford Police, the Council, and the Community Centre where Hizb ut-Tahrir was holding a public meeting in order to get it banned.[32] The Foundation has also attacked various British figures for their links to Sheikh Qaradawi, yet it has been perfectly willing to publish its material on Islamonline.net, despite the website's conspicuous connection to Qaradawi.[33]

Focus on Pakistan

In 2009, the Quilliam Foundation turned its focus on Pakistan, hiring two new individuals specifically for this. In April-May 2009 Foundation co-founder Maajid Nawaz went on a lecture tour of Pakistan where spoke on 'combating extremism' in Islamabad among other places where he was hosted by Pervaiz Hoodbhoy, a pro-war academic. Nawaz was accompanied on his trip by a security team provided by the British Foreign Office. The tour received sympathetic coverage from the BBC's Newsnight, which had a team accompany Nawaz on the trip.[34] In July 2009 the Foundation's co-founders went on another tour of Pakistan in partnership with Bargad, a Pakistani NGO whose director Sabiha Shaheen arranged Nawaz's tour of various universities on which she accompanied him.[35][36] According to Pakistani scholar Ayesha Siddiqa, the organization also 'funded a conference of the vice-chancellors of various Pakistani universities to convince them of the project that [Majid] Nawaz later undertook' - i.e., to lecture their students against 'global jihad'.[37] The conference titled “National Conference on Peacebuilding and Women Leadership Development on Campuses”, held 3-5 March 2009. The conference invited Vice Chancellors and prominent faculty members from across the country to share their views and experiences on various themes of the complex phenomenon of radicalization. On 1 March 2010, it appeared Quilliam's activities in Pakistan finally bore fruit when it announced that it will be hosting Tahir-ul-Qadri, a Pakistani cleric of mixed repute, to launch an anti-Terrorism fatwa (religious edict). Considering that the fatwa was supposedly directed at Muslim jihadis, the choice of Westminster as launch venue was odd, since no militant activity has been reported in the British parliament yet. Quilliam claims the fatwa would counter fatwas that preach otherwise.[38] The logic of such a move has been questioned by Brian Whitaker of the Guardian among others, who argues that it would achieve no more than launch a fatwa war.[39] The event was preceded by a PR campaign that included supportive articles from Douglas Murray and Boris Johnson's ex-wife. Qadri used the occasion to engage in divisive sectarian politics by declaring Salafis and Deobandis outside of the Sunni tradition, adding: 'Every Salafi and Deobandi is not a terrorist but I have no hesitation in saying that everyone is a well-wisher of terrorists and this has not been appreciated by the Western governments'.[40][41]

Attacks on Muslim Organizations

The Quilliam Foundation has attacked various British Muslim organizations accusing them of having ties with the Pakistani Jamaat-e-Islami and the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, two mainstream political parties with large followings in their respective countries. The organizations which the foundation has targeted include Muslim Council of Britain, Islamic Forum Europe, Muslim Association of Britain, Islamic Foundation, Islamic Society of Britain, UK Islamic Mission, the London Muslim Centre and Da’awatul Islam.[42][43][44]

Ed Husain's contention that the government's Prevent strategy should target those who meet his expansive definition of 'Islamist', whether they are suspected of violent extremism or not because they "provide the mood music" for people like the July 7 bombers was criticized by Jonathan Githens-Mazer and the former head of the Metropolitan Police's Muslim Contact Unit Robert Lambert who noted that there was 'no credible evidence to support this view', but,

it is one that Husain shares with influential thinktanks including Policy Exchange and the Centre for Social Cohesion in the UK and Daniel Pipes' Middle East Forum in the US. On this account, regular Cif bloggers Inayat Bunglawala and Anas Altikriti are described as "extremists" and "subversives" who should be targeted and stigmatised in the same way as terrorists inspired or directed by al-Qaida.[45]

Against Civil Liberties

After it was revealed by the Guardian that the government's 'Prevent' programme to counter radicalism was being used to gather intelligence on innocent people not suspected of involvement in terrorism[46], Ed Husain defended the government's actions arguing that it was 'morally right'. 'It is gathering intelligence on people not committing terrorist offences. If it is to prevent people getting killed and committing terrorism, it is good and it is right', he told the Guardian. Of course, as the Guardian noted, the foundation has received £700,000 from the same program.[47]. Interestingly, one of the strongest reactions Husain's comments elicited was from Douglas Murray of the neoconservative Centre for Social Cohesion, who accused the Quilliam director of holding 'extreme views'.

These statements strike me as quite appallingly illiberal: wrong in principle because the police should not investigate innocent people and very obviously damaging in practice...Husain also seems to be under the impression that if a Muslim seems "suspicious" to anyone, the police should be called straight away...Husain, in particular, ought to know the difference between a police state – especially since his co-director was until recently in such a state's prisons – and a developed liberal democracy...QF is now using public money to advocate increasingly totalitarian attitudes towards the general public and judging Muslims by their own early standards.[48]

The Spittoon

While the Foundation under its own name employs press releases, alerts, and its contacts in the media and politics to take on opponents, its members are also associated with the blog The Spittoon where they attack critics anonymously in less temperate manner. Key targets have included Inayat Banglawala of the Muslim Council of Britain[49] and Bob Pitt of Islamophobia Watch[50].

Quilliam and the EDL

In July 2011, announced that it was holding a roundtable meeting with two former activists in the English Defence League, Leighton Evans and Harry Burns. [51][52] Both Leighton and Burns had been involved with an 'Anti-Extremism Alliance that had protested against a Hizb-ut Tahrir meeting in East London, earlier that month.[51] Quilliam had also criticised the HuT meeting in the local press.[53] An open letter on the issue carried on the Anti Extremism Alliance website listed Quilliam's Ghaffar Hussain among the signatories.[54]

Quilliam's initial statement on its roundtable meeting said that: "For the first time ever, Quilliam is able to bring together former senior members of the EDL who have renounced the group and are willing to speak out against it publicly and to answer questions about the organisation and their time inside it.”[51] However, Evans subsequently stated in a Facebook post:

i refused to go along with what the quilliam wanted me to do which was renounce the edl. i wont do that and it was never on the agenda in my email exchanges with ghaffar hussain. he said i’d be asked why i joined, what i did, why i left and what i think know. he then released that load of old bollocks which i was never party to.[52]

The proposed event, originally scheduled for 20 July 2011, never took place.[51]

Stephen Yaxley-Lennon

In October 2013, Quilliam put out a press release entitled 'Quilliam facilitates Tommy Robinson leaving the English Defence League' (EDL) and held a press conference to announce that the EDL founder - real name Stephen Yaxley-Lennon was leaving the far-right street movement. Kevin Carroll also departed the group and QF stated their reason for leaving was that 'they feel they can no longer keep extremist elements at bay.'[55]

The press release stated: 'Quilliam has been working with Tommy to achieve this transition, which represents a huge success for community relations in the United Kingdom. We have previously identified the symbiotic relationship between far-right extremism and Islamism and think that this event can dismantle the underpinnings of one phenomenon while removing the need for the other phenomenon.'[55]

Days later, Ben Quinn noted in the Guardian that 'senior figures working in the growing field of the study of counter-extremism and the rehabilitation of former extremists have been viewing [Quilliam's] link-up with Robinson as a high-stakes gamble that has raised serious questions about the motivations of an organisation that has played a particularly controversial role.' Academic Matthew Goodwin for instance described the arrangement as 'disingenuous nonsense'. Quinn notes that according to the latest published accounts - for the financial year up to March 2012, the high-profile injection of publicity that came with their dealings with Lennon also came 'at a time when it may be facing challenging financial circumstances'.[56]

Quinn noted:

'Two years after the Home Office began to wind down its funding for the organisation, those accounts show that Quilliam was facing mounting debts, while having little in the way of relative assets. Income from training, consultancy and publications were haemorrhaging, while its income from grants and donations fell from just over £900,000 in 2011 to £532,099 in 2012. The company was in particular trouble in 2011, making a loss, but after taking radical action to cut back on expenses and parting company with half of its staff, it was just about able to make it into the red again in the following year, when Nawaz paid himself £77,438.'[56]

In December 2013, the blog Political Scrapbook reported that an FOI request to the Home Office had shown that QF received zero public funding, contradicting the organisation's website which described it as 'funded by both private and public funds'.[57]

Payments to Lennon

Just months after Lennon left the EDL it became clear from statements he posted on Twitter that his views had not changed. In early December 2015, this was confirmed when he announced he was starting Pegida UK, a branch of the German anti-Islam, anti-immigrant movement. Days later it emerged that Quilliam had made payments to him around the time it was 'facilitating his departure' from the EDL.

Huffington Post reported that in his newly published book 'Enemy of the State', Lennon claimed that 'he was on the Quilliam payroll for six months and received about £8,000.'[58]

In a statement, Quilliam responded: 'Quilliam never claimed to "deradicalise" Tommy, nor "reform" him, only that we facilitated his departure from the EDL. Quilliam cannot comment on Tommy's intentions (or "staging") for leaving the EDL, as it cannot read his mind. We simply helped him leave the EDL, rendering that group leaderless since. Tommy has never been a Quilliam member of staff, nor on our payroll, nor did he join Quilliam. Tommy was remunerated, as an external actor, after invoicing us for costs associated with outreach that he & Dr Usama Hassan did to Muslim communities after Tommy's departure from the EDL, in an attempt to reconcile Tommy with our Muslim communities.'[58]

Robinson reportedly called Quilliam's response 'PR-Spin'. He also wrote in his book that he had been 'in a desperate place' at the time, and characterised his relationship with Quilliam as one in which 'I was using them, they were using me'.[58] In February 2014, emails obtained by the Political Scrapbook blog under FOI showed that Maajid Nawaz had contacted Mark Carroll, head of counter-extremism at the Department for Communities and Local Government to ask for funding for QF, including specifically making mention of the organisation's need for finances in order to 'cut off [Robinson's] previous dependency on EDL donors'.[59]

Gatestone Institute

In January 2015, just days after the Paris attacks targeting magazine Charlie Hebdo and a kosher supermarket, Usama Hasan and Maajid Nawaz of the Quilliam Foundation were among the signatories of a statement put together by the Gatestone Institute. Hilary Aked writes:

Gatestone spent approximately $100,000 taking out a full page advert in the New York Times. To drive home its implicit message that a 'good Muslim' supports US power, two out of the three Muslims pictured in the Gatestone advert were posing next to the American flag. Mentioning violence in Iran, Iraq, Syria, Nigeria, Egypt – and, 'Africa' - the text of the advertisement effortlessly ignored all other violence in the world not involving any of the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims and simultaneously glossed over the context-specific political factors at play in each conflict. The subtext was very clear: Gatestone was advocating a mono-causal explanation for this violence and put the spotlight firmly on Islam.
Ostensibly a 'counter-extremism' initiative, this advert was typical of how contemporary anti-Muslim racism is articulated: by generalizing specific behaviours and attributing them deterministically to religious ideology. This fundamental problem of collectively imputing blame is not negated by the fact that all 23 signatories were Muslims. Though the statement calls on 'all people of conscience' to sign up, since the word 'duty' is twice used in relation to Muslims it is clear that they, far more than others, are expected to prove they reject violence. Thus the Gatestone declaration serves the same function as the so-called 'Charter of Muslim Understanding', which similarly called for Muslims to be required to make special denunciations. Commissioned by UKIP’s Gerard Batten, that document was called 'frightening' even by pro-Israel Tory MP Robert Halfon, who compared it to a first step towards wearing a yellow star, as Jews were required to do under Nazi rule.[60]

Quilliam U.S.

Quilliam was incorporated in California in January 2009.[61] Its registered address is 4100 Macarthur Boulevard, Newport Beach, the home of Gen Next, a non-profit associated with the Makarachian family, whose real estate businesses are also located there.[62]

Quilliam registered as a charity in California in July 2011.[63] Journalist Nafeez Ahmed notes that this was the same year the foundation lost its Home Office funding.[64] Quilliam's form 990 filing for 2011 listed it's US directors as Michael Davidson, the CEO of Gen Next, Ed Husain and Chad Sweet.[65]

Sweet, formerly a counter-terrorism official in the administration of George W. Bush was appointed as director and served for two years from 2011. Also in 2011, Sweet had set up a non-profit in Texas called 'Ted Cruz for Senate', helping the Republican - who would latest be a contender for the GOP's presidential candidate - to gain election to the Senate in 2012. Sweet also directs 'Texans for Ted Cruz', and has personally donated to Cruz's attempt to run for president.[64]

As Ahmed notes, 'Cruz represents the very far-right of the Republican spectrum and is close to the most bigoted elements of the Tea Party movement.' he has spoken alongside notorious anti-Muslim bigot Robert Spencer at an event organized by the Young America's Foundation which has also hosted David Horowitz and Ann Coulter and in 2011 merged with the group Young Americans for Freedom who had played host to Holocaust-denier Nick Griffin of the BNP.[64]

Quilliam's 2012 filing listed Darren Henderson as a director in place of Ed Husain.[66] The following year Sweet was replaced by Courtney Le Bau.[67]

US Funding

In its first year of operations, Quilliam’s US branch received $265,000 in grants.[65] Of this sum, $250,000 was allocated to recipients in Europe, to help fight counter-extremism.[65] Filings state that this was sent to a UK charity, placing a question-mark over the assumption in some coverage that the money went directly to Quilliam in the UK, which does not appear to be registered as a charity.[65]

Quilliam's US revenue rose to $265,875 in 2012 and $282,994 in 2013, almost all of which was sent outside the US.[68]


On the day of the launch in May 2008 the director Maajid Nawaz told Newsnight: "We have absolutely not received government money, despite being offered it by the Preventing Violent Extremism Pathfinder Fund, and we have said that it is not appropriate for us at the moment - although I would emphasise that I don't have a problem in principle in receiving taxpayers' money for a good cause, as long as it comes with no strings attached."[69]. However, according to The Times, the government has underwritten the Foundation's operations to the tune of £1 million in taxpayer money, despite the reservations of government and opposition members. According to the story, the foundation is paying 'about £110,000 a year to rent offices at one of Central London’s most prestigious addresses, which, for security reasons, have no nameplate or sign outside'. The foundation's co-directors are believed to be receiving annual salaries of £85,000 each. [70].According to Ed Husain's evidence given to the Select Committee Hearing on Preventing Violent Extremism, the Quilliam Foundation is in receipt of "about £850,000" of government funding, per annum. [71]

Co-director Ed Husain has stated that the Foundation is receiving private Kuwait funding.[72]

Grant received by Quilliam from 2008-2015 in £ GBP [73]
Organisation 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 Total Received Per Donor
Department for Communities and Local Government 4,350 10,550 - - - - - - - 14,900
Department for Education - - - 120,000 - - - - - 120,000
Home Office 674,608 396,882.80 158,896.66 26,993.34 - - - - - 1,257,381
Foreign & Commonwealth Office 323,590 428,105 370,000 (estimate) 370,000 (estimate) - - - - - 1,491,695
Eranda Foundation - - 15,000 79,000 94,500 - - - - 188,500
John Templeton Foundation - - - 113,087 262,168 383,683 234,717 207,026[74] (USD$447,703) [75] £1,297,658
Lynde & Harry Bradley Foundation - - - - - 49,875 - - - 49,875
Stuart Family Foundation - - - 146,025 164,000 114,800 98,325 168,373 - 691,523
Schwab Charitable Fund - - - 18,993 ($30,000) 19,680 ($30,000) 19,352 ($30,000) 15,032 ($25,000) ($20,000)- - -
Total Received Per Year 998,198 824,988 543,897 504,098 540,348 567,710 348,074 375,399 - - -


Foreign and Commonwealth Office

From January 2009 until January 2010, the Quilliam Foundation was given £138,890 by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.[77] Moreover, the co-Director of the Quilliam Foundation, Ed Husain, was sent to Cairo and Alexandria on an FCO funded trip entitled 'Projecting British Islam' from 7-11 July 2008 to 'build partnerships between prominent British Muslims and like-minded Egyptians to highlight positive messages about modern Islam and counterbalance the extremist ideology and narrative'.[78]

In March 2011, Minister Damian Green stated in relation to funding to Quilliam: 'Quilliam has received more Home Office Prevent funding than any other single organisation—nearly £1.2 million over the past three financial years. The Foreign Office has provided nearly £1.5 million in project funding over the same period.[79]

In 2015, the FCO stated that it had provided no further funding to Quilliam since 2011.[80]

Home Office

In March 2011, Minister Damian Green stated of Home Office funding to Quilliam: " In 2008-09, it was £665,000; in 2009-10, it was £387,000; and in 2010-11, it was £145,000."[81]

In response to a Freedom of Information request, the Home Office stated in 2014 that its funding of Quilliam had been: £674,608.00 in 2008/09, £396,882.80 in 2009/10, £158,896.66 in 2010/11 and £26,993.34 in 2011/12.[82]

Department for Communities and Local Government

The Department for Communities and Local Government paid Quilliam £4,350 2008/09 and £10,550 in 2009/10. These funds paid for training to explore radicalisation and methods to counter it, in sessions held for staff at the Department and the then Government Offices.[83]

Department for Education

In March 2011, the Department for Education awarded Quilliam, a one-off payment of £120,000 to support the Due Diligence and Counter Extremism Division (DDCED) (formerly the Preventing Extremism Unit).[84]

Eranda Foundation

The Eranda Foundation (a charitable trust founded in 1967, by Sir Evelyn de Rothschild) awarded a grant of £15,000 to Quilliam in 2010-11[85], £79,000 in 2011-12 and £94,500 in 2012-13.[86]

Stuart Family Foundation

The US-based Stuart Family Foundation provided Quilliam with two grants of $125,000 and $120,000 in 2011.[87] Quilliam received US $250,000 in 2012 - making it the Foundation's second highest recipient of funds.[88] Quilliam received three grants totalling $175,000 in 2013, a single grant of $150,000 in 2014 and a single grants of $260,000 in 2015.[89]

John Templeton Foundation

The John Templeton Foundation gave Quilliam a grant of USD$174,248 in 2011; two grants of $198,076 and $201,571 in 2012; and three grants of $191, 632, $189,113 and $198,163 in 2013.[90]

In 2014, Templeton paid Quilliam two grants of £318,017 and $53,371.[91] In 2015 a payment of USD$304,003 was made to The Quilliam Foundation Ltd .[92]

According to expenditure responsibility statements in 2014 grants were issued to Quilliam for 'promoting freedom of religion, speech and association through strengthening PAK democratic culture', and for 'reconciling Islamic theology with modern political and scientific ideas, promoting community.[91] The grant in 2015 was for 'unrestricted general support'. [92]

Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation

In 2013, the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation donated $75,000 to support Project Tamkeen.[93]


Former staff

Original List of Advisors

The following is a list of Quilliam Foundation's original Advisors that was available on the Quilliam website, before it was removed sometime before 27 May 2008.The images on the right are screengrabs of the original list of advisors to the Quilliam Foundation that are no longer viewable on the Quilliam Foundation website but were instead retrieved using an archive website.[95] By the 27 May 2008 the page had been removed and was replaced by an announcement that the Quilliam Foundation had removed the advisor list 'to save them the indignity of constant Islamist-Wahhabite harassment'.[96]

Quilliam Foundation Note stating reason for removal of advisor list.
Screengrab of Part 1 of Quilliam Foundation Advisors List archived on 27 May 2008 on www.archive.org ’Waybackmachine’ and captured on 21/02/10.
Screengrab of Part 2 of Quilliam Foundation Advisors List archived on 27 May 2008 on www.archive.org ’Waybackmachine’ and captured on 21/02/10.
Screengrab of Part 3 of Quilliam Foundation Advisors List archived on 27 May 2008 on www.archive.org ’Waybackmachine’ and captured on 21/02/10.
Screengrab of Part 4 of Quilliam Foundation Advisors List archived on 27 May 2008 on www.archive.org ’Waybackmachine’ and captured on 21/02/10.
Screengrab of Part 5 of Quilliam Foundation Advisors List archived on 27 May 2008 on www.archive.org ’Waybackmachine’ and captured on 21/02/10.
Screengrab of Part 6 of Quilliam Foundation Advisors List archived on 27 May 2008 on www.archive.org ’Waybackmachine’ and captured on 21/02/10.
Screengrab of Part 7 of Quilliam Foundation Advisors List archived on 27 May 2008 on www.archive.org ’Waybackmachine’ and captured on 21/02/10.
Screengrab of Part 8 of Quilliam Foundation Advisors List archived on 27 May 2008 on www.archive.org ’Waybackmachine’ and captured on 21/02/10.
Screengrab of Part 9 of Quilliam Foundation Advisors List archived on 27 May 2008 on www.archive.org ’Waybackmachine’ and captured on 21/02/10.
Screengrab of Part 10 of Quilliam Foundation Advisors List archived on 27 May 2008 on www.archive.org ’Waybackmachine’ and captured on 21/02/10.

2010 advisers

Supporters & Affiliates

The following individuals professed their support for the Quilliam Foundation when they all gave a speech at the foundation's launch event in April 2008.

At the 2009 Labour Party Conference, the foundation cohosted a fringe event with New Labour thinktank Progress.[102] A few days later, at the Convervative Party conference it cohosted a fringe event with Policy Exchange, where among others, it made the policy suggestion for the government to introduce a national holiday 'to reinforce Britishness'.[103]

In the Parliament

In the Media

  • Martin Bright - shared platform with Ed Husain at a Labour Party conference fringe event.[104]
  • Ed West - considers Ed Husain 'a breath of fresh air'[105]

The Quilliam Foundation and the Media.

Think Tanks

External Resources


Journalist Nafeez Ahmed suggests that 'not a single Quilliam employee has a meaningful peer-reviewed publication track record that might indicate some semblance of the interdisciplinary insight needed to understand the complex issues bound up with Islamist extremist groups and their relationships to the history, theology, culture and policies of both the Muslim and Western worlds'.[107]

Contact Information

Registered office:

34-36 High Holborn
email: information@quilliamfoundation.org
Tel: 020 7193 1204


  1. FAQ, Khudi, accessed 2 December 2010
  2. 2.0 2.1 Vikram Dodd Spying Morally Right, says Think-Tank, The Guardian, 16 October 2009
  3. Vikram Dodd List sent to terror chief aligns peaceful Muslim groups with terrorist ideology, The Guardian, 5 August 2010
  4. “Abdullah Quilliam: Britain’s First Islamist?”, YahyaBirt.com, 25 January 2008
  5. Douglas Murray, Quilliam's toxic take on liberty, The Guardian, 23 October 2009
  6. Vikram Dodd, Government anti-terrorism strategy 'spies' on innocent, The Guardian, 16 October 2009
  7. Douglas Murray, Quilliam's toxic take on liberty, The Guardian, 23 October 2009
  8. James Brandon, Reining in the Preachers of Hate, The Guardian, 13 January 2009
  9. Owen Bowcott and Riazat Butt, Ex-Islamists start moderate think-tank, Guardian, 1 March 2008.
  10. Mary Fitzgerald, An Inside View of Islam’s Fundamental Flaws, Irish Times, 10 May 2008.
  11. Shiraz Maher, Extremism is going unchallenged, New Statesman, 3 April 2008.
  12. Inayat Bunglawala, 'Abandoning banning', Guardian.co.uk, 17 April 2008
  13. Ziauddin Sardar, 'To lionise former extremists feeds anti-Muslim prejudice', The Guardian, 24 April 2008
  14. Craig Murray, New Labour Corruption and Quilliam, CraigMurray.org.uk, April 2009
  15. Mark Rice-Oxley, British ex-jihadis form ranks for tolerance, Christian Science Monitor, 23 April 2008.
  16. Gulf backers pull plug on Islamic peace think tank; The Londoner's Diary, Evening Standard, 27 May 2008.
  17. Hansard, 15 March 2011, column 2WH.
  18. Home Office, Freedom of Information response, 6 May 2015.
  19. Susannah Tarbush, 'The Quilliam Foundation', Al-Hayat, 26 May 2008
  20. For an aggregation of the assessment of various intelligence bodies and think-tanks, see David Wearing, Ignoring the Intelligence: How New Labour Helped Bring Terror to London, The Democrat's Diary, 22 July 2005
  21. Quilliam Alert: Scottish National Party to endorse Islamist candidate, 17 April 2009
  22. Jonathan Githens-Mazer and Robert LambertQuilliam on Prevent: the wrong diagnosis, The Guardian, 19 October 2009
  23. James Brandon, CND is about to betray its founding principles, Harry's Place, 1 April 2009
  24. Maajid Nawaz, The Way Back from Islamism, WINEP, 16 July 2008
  25. Michael Jacobson, Quilliam Responds, Counterterrorism Blog, 15 August 2008
  26. In a piece no longer online at the Counterterrism Blog website: Jeffrey Imm False Reports of Jihadists "Quitting" or Abandoning Islamic Supremacism United States Action, July 16, 2008, accessed 19 October 2009
  27. Jeffrey Imm, Quilliam Foundation and Misdirection on Egypt's Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa, Counterterrorism Blog, 18 August 2009
  28. Andrew Cochran, Summary of Statement by Maajid Nawaz, Former Hizb ut-Tahrir Official, at Senate Hearing, Counterterrorism Blog, 10 July 2008
  29. Jeff Stein, Red Tape Nearly Stops Testimony by Top Former Islamic Radical, CQPolitics, 9 July 2008
  30. Frequently Asked Questions – A Candid Response (Accessed, 28 July 2009)
  31. Press Release: Quilliam Foundation challenges Geert Wilders to a debate on Islam 12 February 2009
  32. Call to ban Islamic meeting, Bradford Today, 3 March 2009
  33. Muslim Women and Unemployment, IslamOnline.net, 21 July 2009
  34. BBC Newsnight, 9 May 2009. The video is archived on Quilliam Foundation's own Youtube channel Part 1Part 2
  35. Ed Husain, Can we befriend Pakistan?, The Guardian, 31 July 2009
  36. Pakistan Universities' Tour and Student Leaders' Conference, April - July 2009
  37. Ayesha Siddiqa, An Alternative Discourse, Dawn, 2 October 2009
  38. Anti-terrorism fatwa launch in London, Quilliam Press Release, 1 March 2010
  39. Brian Whitaker, Fatwa wars aren't the solution, The Guardian, 2 March 2010
  40. Allegra Mostyn-Owen, Is this a triumph for the Islamic peacemakers?, Evening Standard (London), 26 February 2010
  41. Douglas Murray, Why this fatwa for peace matters so much to us all, Evening Standard (London), 26 February 2010
  42. Martin Bright, Denham challenged on Prevent, TheJC.com, 1 October 2009
  43. Press Release, Quilliam Alert: Islam Channel and the promotion of extremism, 30 April 2009
  44. Ed Husain, Beating the Extremists, The Guardian, 8 September 2009
  45. Jonathan Githens-Mazer and Robert LambertQuilliam on Prevent: the wrong diagnosis, The Guardian, 19 October 2009
  46. Vikram Dodd, Government anti-terrorism strategy 'spies' on innocent, The Guardian, 26 October 2009
  47. Vikram Dodd, Spying morally right, says thinktank, The Guardian, 16 October 2009
  48. Douglas Murray, Quilliam's toxic take on liberty, The Guardian, 23 October 2009
  49. Admin 1 (George Reading), Bungles continues comical crusade against Quilliam, The Spittoon, 15 June 2009
  50. Yossarian, Bob and Bungle – Forget the BNP, let’s attack Quilliam, The Spittoon, 20 August 2009
  51. 51.0 51.1 51.2 51.3 Bob Pitt, Quilliam's 'Former EDL members speak out' stunt unravels, Islamophobia Watch, 15 July 2011.
  52. 52.0 52.1 Richard Bartholomew, Quilliam Foundation Abused by Advertised "Former EDL" Speaker, Bartholomew's Notes on Religion, 17 July 2011.
  53. Nadia Sam-Daliri, Campaigners hit out at "hate peddling" group's East End conference, East London Advertiser, 27 June 2011.
  54. Open letter to Tower Hamlets Council and East London Advertiser, Anti-Extremism Alliance, 5 July 2011.
  55. 55.0 55.1 QUILLIAM FACILITATES TOMMY ROBINSON LEAVING THE ENGLISH DEFENCE LEAGUE, Quilliam Foundation, 8 October 2013, accessed 17 December 2015
  56. 56.0 56.1 Ben Quinn, Tommy Robinson link with Quilliam Foundation raises questions, Guardian, 12 October 2013
  58. 58.0 58.1 58.2 Tommy Robinson, Former EDL Leader, Claims Quilliam Paid Him To Quit Far-Right Group, Huffington Post, 4 December 2015
  60. Hilary Aked, One of America's Most Dangerous Think Tanks is Spreading Hate Across the Atlantic, Alternet, 23 November 2015
  61. Business Search, California Secretary of State, accessed 12 December 2016.
  62. 4100 Macarthur Boulevard, Newport Beach, CA 92660, LoopNet, accessed 8 December 2016.
  63. Quilliam Foundation, Office of the Attorney General, State of California Department of Justice, accessed 12 December 2016.
  64. 64.0 64.1 64.2 Nafeez Ahmed, How violent Extremists Hijacked a London Based Counter-extremism think tank, Alternet, 28 April 2015
  65. 65.0 65.1 65.2 65.3 Quilliam Foundation, Form 990, 2011.
  66. Quilliam Foundation, Form 990, 2012.
  67. Quilliam Foundation, Form 990, 2013.
  68. Quilliam Foundation, Form 990s, 2012-13.
  69. Susannah Tarbush, 'The Quilliam Foundation', Al-Hayat, 26 May 2008
  70. Richard Kerbaj, Government gives £1m to anti-extremist think-tank Quilliam Foundation, The Times, 20 January 2009
  71. Preventing Violent Extremism: Sixth Report of Session 2009-10, House of Commons Communities and Local Government Committee, March 2010, Ev 4 - accessed 25.04.10
  72. Susannah Tarbush, 'The Quilliam Foundation', Al-Hayat, 26 May 2008
  73. Data compiled from yearly 990 forms of each donor and FOI releases
  74. Form 990 reviewed by Spinwatch: USD304,004 calculated at annual average rate 0.681 for 2015. Payment address to The Quilliam Foundation Ltd
  75. needs to be converted to £sterling at 2016 average rate
  76. Analysis by Spinwatch/Powerbase of each organisation's IRS form 990s and UK Charity Commission records, 2017. If you use this information in your work or studies please credit us as the source.
  77. FOI REQUEST 1121-09 - COPY OF PREVIOUSLY RELEASED INFORMATION. Ref 0967-08 Questions on the use of the Quilliam Foundation by the FCO in the last twelve months: FCO Visits by Quilliam Foundation and FCO funding for Quilliam Foundation - Release date of information: 22 January 2010
  78. FOI REQUEST 1121-09 - COPY OF PREVIOUSLY RELEASED INFORMATION. Ref 0967-08 Questions on the use of the Quilliam Foundation by the FCO in the last twelve months: FCO Visits by Quilliam Foundation and FCO funding for Quilliam Foundation - Release date of information: 22 January 2010
  79. Hansard, 15 March 2011, column 22WH.
  80. Freedom of Information Response, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, 3 June 2015.
  81. Hansard, 15 March 2011, column 22WH.
  82. FOI release: Home Office funding to the Quilliam Foundation, 2008 to 2012, Home Office, 29 January 2014.
  83. Department for Communities and Local Government, Freedom of Information response, 7 May 2015.
  84. Quilliam Foundation, whatdotheyknow.com, accessed 11 April 2016.
  85. Schedule of grants paid for the year ended 5 April 2011, Eranda Foundation.
  86. Schedule of grants paid for the year ended 5 April 2013, Eranda Foundation.
  87. Stuart Family Foundation, Form 990, 2011.
  88. Stuart Family Foundation, Form 990, 2012.
  89. Stuart Family Foundation, Form 990s, 2013-15.
  90. John Templeton Foundation, form 990s, 2011-2013
  91. 91.0 91.1 John Templeton Foundation, form 990, 2014.
  92. 92.0 92.1 IRS Form 990PF reviewed by Spinwatch
  93. Lynde & Harry Bradley Foundation, Form 990, 2013.
  94. Lucy James, What Muslim women want, The Spittoon, 17 July 2009
  95. Screengrab of Waybackmachine highlighting changes to Quilliam Foundation website regarding Advisors. Captured on 21/02/10 using ‘Way back machine’ on www.archive.org. Original available at http://web.archive.org/web/*/http://quilliamfoundation.org/advisors.html
  96. Screengrab of Quilliam Foundation Advisors Note. Captured on 21/02/10 using ‘Way back machine’ on www.archive.org. Archived date – 27 May 2008
  97. Advisors, accessed 21 February 2010.
  98. Quilliam Announces New Head of Advisory Board, 19 January 2010 accessed 21/02/10
  99. Jemima Khan Speech at Quilliam Foundation Launch Youtube, 4 June 2008, accessed 23/02/10
  100. Mohammad Ali Hee Speech at Quilliam Foundation Launch, 4 June 2008, accessed 23/02/10
  101. Arsalan Iftikhar Speech at Quilliam Foundation Launch 4 June 2008, accessed 23/02/10
  102. Martin Bright, Denham challenged on Prevent, TheJC.com, 1 October 2009
  103. Press release, Quilliam and Policy Exchange fringe event at Conservative Party Conference 2009, 7 October 2009
  104. Press Release, Quilliam and Progress fringe event at Labour Party Conference 2009, 28 September 2009
  105. Ed West, An Ed Husain v Geert Wilders debate would be great for democracy, Telegraph Blog, 15 October 2009
  106. Ben Rogers, Ignore the critics and take Quilliam seriously, Henry Jackson Society (website), 28 April 2009
  107. Nafeez Ahmed, White supremacists at the heart of Whitehall, Middle East Eye, 6 March 2015