Quilliam Foundation: Lies and Abuse

The Quilliam Foundation is a British Muslim anti-extremist think-tank which has been regarded with scepticism by some due to its past government funding and for a perceived affinity with neo-conservatism. Despite that, I take the view that anti-extremist efforts acting in good faith ought to be supported in general, and I’ve tended to agree with the view of one of Quilliam’s non-Muslim former advisers, Rev Giles Fraser:

Some have accused the new organisation of being a front for an anti-Islamic neo-conservative agenda… Of course, a number of conservative voices have been among its most active supporters, and some of its members have been harshly critical of multiculturalism. But what this organisation stands for is too important to hitch itself to any one political philosophy. And the leaders of the Quilliam Foundation agree.

However, I raised one concern about the Quilliam Foundation back in August, after an event involving two ex-EDL members was cancelled at short notice. One of the planned speakers, a man named Leighton Evans, announced on Facebook that although he was ex-EDL, he had objected to Quilliam’s billing of the event as an exposé of the EDL:

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.

This could have been a good-faith misunderstanding, but there was a strange development a few days later when an article by Hugh Muir appeared in the Guardian claiming that the event had been cancelled due to threats against the speakers from the EDL. This was emphatically denied by Evans; it appears very much that the Quilliam Foundation decided to release a falsehood into the public domain as a damage limitation exercise. Whatever one’s views of the EDL, this is not acceptable.

Evans has a friend who boasts of links with the Quilliam Foundation: this is Charlie Flowers, a self-styled “activist” who spends much of his time stalking me on-line (see the notice on the top-right corner of this blog for details). It seems likely that he played a role in setting up the event, and its collapse should have been a bit awkward: on the one hand, Quilliam had been presented with an unsuitable speaker who was now abusing them (“fuckers” and “cunt” being Evans’ preferred descriptive terms); and on the other, Evans had been misrepresented as someone who was anti-EDL and who had been cowed by (non-existent) threats.

Flowers’ bizarre explanation to Evans (which I have no idea whether or not Evans believes) was that Muir must have got his misinformation from this blog rather than from Quilliam, even though I’d never suggested such a thing. Given that my name had been brought into the matter, I recently decided to write to Ghaffar Hussain at the Quilliam Foundation to ask for an explanation as to why the event had been cancelled and for Quilliam to correct Muir’s inaccurate report. I also pointed out that Flowers was lying about me, in this case apparently to divert Evans’ attention away from Quilliam.

Hussain declined to reply, although he forwarded my message to Flowers, who posted a response on Twitter claiming that I had “harassed” Quilliam and that I am (inevitably) a “cunt”.

This is a rather odd way for a supposedly serious organisation to carry on.

9 Responses

  1. EDL as an organisation would never issue threats because tbh we couldn’t care less what Evens says or does.

    But there is a point of principle here, Quilliam lying to the press and not giving us a chance to respond.

    It was obvious that the whole thing was a set up designed to make EDL look bad in some way, as if the media don’t do that anyway.
    We are slurred all the time anyway.

    The Quilliam Foundation is full of people who have done far worse things than the EDL few arrests for minor public disorder, they themselves admit they are so called ex extremists.

  2. What an appalling way to treat someone, passing on your private communication like that – let alone to such a person. Well out of order!And, seeing that, you’ve got to wonder just how close the relationship between Hussain and Flowers actually is ….?

    If you wrote to Hussain in his institutional capacity, which presumably you did, in the context, there is surely a breach of the Data Protection Act which could be taken to the Information Commissioner.


  3. I am one of those boring old sceptics who think leopards do not really change their spots – they only change their CVs, their job descriptions and their publicity. The fact that leading figures at Quilliam were intent upon destroying democracy- not only in Britain but in Egypt and elsewhere – in favour of some Islamofascist superstate makes me think that they are still people who are not to be fully trusted with the values of decency and fair play that were once meant to traditionally underpin Western liberal democracies.

    This shoddy forwarding of a letter – while apparently aware of the consequences of such an action – only goes to show that Hussain (at least)

    • Most Muslims see the underlying problem of Quilliamites as being the same before and after, which is why such individuals jump from one extreme to another. The majority of Muslims are conservative. We have certain values that may be different to Western liberalism but we are living in the UK, and to each their own. We may criticise foreign policy but most have never been the type of hotheads these people used to be, nor do we condone circumventing the law. Then all of a sudden these people switch roles for the government paycheck and start lambasting the masses of Muslims – the very people who wanted nothing to do with them in the first place. People like myself may still be hated by the EDL but we are what we are and we don’t try and sugarcoat.

  4. […] however, there are reasons to be concerned about Quilliam’s integrity, as I discuss here. Share […]

  5. […] as an attempt to intimidate (this was on the now-defunct “NiceOnesUK” page). Flowers also attempted to co-ordinate an event involving ex-EDL members and the Quilliam Foundation. He also become […]

  6. […] Flowers is also involved with the Quilliam Foundation, and last year he helped to organise an abortive event involving two ex-EDL activists; the event fell through when one of the planned speakers accused […]

  7. […] were talking at cross-purposes – and it should be remembered that Quilliam has been dishonest in the past when it comes to showcasing ex-EDL […]

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