Challenging the future with a profound lack of history

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Last week the Quilliam Foundation, a think-tank founded by Ed Husain and his acolyte Maajid Nawaz, held its grand launch event at the British Museum in London. It was entitled “Reviving Western Islam & Uniting Against Extremism”, and attended by, among other people, Ghayasuddin Siddiqui, Jemima Khan, Timothy Garton Ash, Dr Usama Hasan, Shaikh Abdul-Aziz Bukhari, Dr Musharraf Hussain of Nottingham (a prominent and fairly moderate Bareilawi imam), and Rachel North, a prominent survivor of the 2005 London bombings. All the speeches, and the question-and-answer session afterwards, are now available to be watched online. The first speech after the introduction was by Ghayasuddin Siddiqui, and I intend to concentrate on that here. (More: Abu Eesa.)

I have written about Ghayasuddin Siddiqui before; he was the leader of the Muslim Parliament, which was originally set up by Kalim Siddiqui and was part of what I call the Khomeini fan-club in London. It is best-known for supporting Khomeini’s fatwa against Salman Rushdie. I am neither sympathetic towards Rushdie nor do I take the position that Shi’ites are infidels, but the Muslim Parliament and its related institutions were clearly a public relations effort on behalf of the Iranian regime in its effort to extend its influence over the Muslims outside Iran. Besides giving a spurious legitimacy to this outfit, he also turned up at at least four “advisers” who turned out not to be (they have now taken their list of “advisers” off their website altogether); they have misrepresented their critics, claiming that the response to their efforts has consisted of threats and abuse, and largely ignoring the cogent criticism; and they have been content to be presented as brave Muslims who speak out against Islamism, capitalising on the desire of many non-Muslims to see such people in the wake of the 2005 bombings, which had nothing to do with the group they are most concerned with, when in fact many Muslims have been working within the community against all of those elements for years; and to top it all they have even misrepresented the man whose name they appropriated. I am sure they have many perfectly sincere fellow travellers, but they should be warned that the Quilliam clique’s credibility with the Muslims is very, very low indeed.

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