Tag Archives: Mohammed Shafiq

Quilliam Foundation DfE Funding and Ramadan Foundation

Mehdi Hasan has thrown down a gauntlet to me. Does Maajid Nawaz’s public pronouncements regarding when taxpayer funding ended square with the revelation on Newsnight recently of funding from the Department For Education (DfE)?

According to their policy editor Chris Cook:

In March 2011, the Home Office refused to continue funding the body, which had enjoyed public support, and which then said it needed £150,000 to keep working.

Defending that decision, Damian Green, a Home Office minister, said that “Quilliam should be free to contribute to the wider debate, but not depend on government funding to do so”.

Shortly afterwards, however, the DfE stepped in. Its ledgers confirm that, in May 2011, it contributed £120,000 to the think tank.

The date of this new funding being paid, May 2011, do not seem to square with Maajid Nawaz’s public statements when tax payer money ceased to be awarded to the Quilliam Foundation:


On twitter this was how Mehdi Hasan described the situation:


Regarding Home Office money still being payed to the Quilliam Foundation, that appears unlikely to be in 2012 as Mehdi states given the Freedom of Information (FOI) request for when they were funded:


I do not know the exact date paid, but that £26 thousand is in the financial year 2011-2012. Add that amount to the DfE figure and it is more or less what the Quilliam Foundation were after.

Indeed to help with a transition away from government grants it appears the Home Office initially offered £40,000 to assist in 2011 according to a report here which Maajid Nawaz commented on as being too short.

Ramadan Foundation

So did Maajid Nawaz lie about funding? And, what would I say if it was Mohammed Shafiq rather than Maajid? Well, interestingly when 5 Pillarz requested FOI on Quilliam funding they did so on Shafiq’s Ramadan Foundation. To which the Home Office replied:

The Home Office did not disclose any information in regards to Ramadhan Foundation. They stated: “Regarding any other information we neither confirm nor deny whether we hold information you requested. Sections 24 (2), 38 (2) and 43 (3) of the Freedom Information Act absolve us from the requirement to say whether or not we hold information. These exemptions relate to national security, health and safety and commercial interest tests, are set out in the attached Annex.”

However, Mohammed Shafiq of the Ramdhaan [sic] Foundation has consistently denied ever receiving government funds.

5 Pillarz reported this story in November 2013 – but I have not heard anyone accusing Mo Shafiq of getting into bed with the government possibly in interests of national security against Muslims. Is anyone asking if he might be a government stooge, part of an undercover PREVENT strategy? Involved in counter terrorism activities that any funding he or any organisation he may be linked to cannot be disclosed as coming from Her Majesty’s Government? If Quilliam deserves that kind of accusation and scrutiny surely Ramadan Foundation and Mohammed Shafiq do too.

Quilliam Funding 2011

I linked to this tweet of Maajid’s:




His reply:


In essence the decision to cut funding was taken in 2010, and some pre-cut decision funding agreed for the financial year 2010-11 continued to come in during 2011. Thing is, that does not explain the DfE money.

That money was from a new department of state (from Home Office to DfE) and rather than seed money this was transition money – still tax payer money and ear marked as helping the Quilliam Foundation to keep going in 2011 till non government funding could be found on a regular basis.

So unless that money was agreed very soon after the December 2010 decision by the Home Office to cease funding Quilliam, it was decided as new money in 2011. And paid in 2011. If Maajid meant continuous funding ended in 2010, but some money including a one off DfE special transition amount of £120,000 was paid in 2011 … well these tweets do not read like that.


Let alone this tweet:


The financial situation in 2011 for Quilliam was reported by The Guardian as:

If the latest accounts – for the financial year up to March 2012 – filed by the Quilliam Foundation are anything to go by, the high-profile injection of publicity also comes at a time when it may be facing challenging financial circumstances.

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.

This would suggest the cash injection by the DfE of £120,000 was a vital lifeline for the Quilliam Foundation. As indeed Maajid Nawaz stated at the time when asking for £150,000 – as they made a loss according to the above report even with government funds.


Maybe Maajid Nawaz meant ongoing automatic, year after year, seed funding was to be stopped. Maybe he was lumping all the public funding together rather than drawing special attention to the DfE funding. But it does look like obfuscation over the issue of when government funding ended, even though it would appear in Company House records. If I wanted to be uncharitable I might call it lying if I did not know the following.

The big thing is the last funding from the tax payer came in 2011 still, which we all knew before Newsnight. The decision to end Home Office funding was made in 2010, but pre-agreed funds would still be paid into end of financial year March 2011. It was public knowledge in March 2011 that the home office offered £40,000 in transition funds.

We knew the Home Office was offering, and gave, transition funding in 2011. Maajid Nawaz acknowledged that.

Maybe a bigger song and dance should have been made publicly that the DfE came in to fund a further £120,000 for transition funding in May 2011. The question why this was not made clearer is a legitimate one given Quilliam may have had further financial difficulties without such largess.

One answer would seem to be the public tiff between the Home Secretary and the Education Secretary over tackling extremism this might have generated at the time. As we have seen happen over the Trojan Horse/OfSted reports. But I think it should have been known at the time.

It is not quite a smoking gun, let alone a steaming pork pie. But I would advise Maajid to say “last government funding came in 2011 and stopped after that”, to avoid any ambiguity over decision to cut date/last penny received date. He might feel this is no big deal, but I hope he recognises even molehills can cause trouble in your back garden if you personally do not attend to them.

On that matter, perhaps someone could ask Mohammed Shafiq why the government will not tell us what funding he or his organisation may or may not be getting from the government? I throw that gauntlet down for someone else.

Update Sunday 8 June 2014 9:25PM:

Maajid Nawaz dfe

Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog

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The Word Is Out To Get Maajid Nawaz


Mohammed Shafiq (pictured above) is known to play a dangerous game – to whip up hysteria at the drop of a hat or the showing of a t-shirt – that could potentially endanger others. It is irresponsible as it is callous.

See previous post where he made a fatuous claim about Tom Holland’s documentary on Islam, and wrongly claimed Maajid Nawaz (pictured below) had said the veil should be banned when he had said the exact opposite here.


Nawaz tweeting a Jesus and Mo cartoon T-shirt of The Prophet saying “How Ya Doing” the following happened on twitter:



You can disagree with what Nawaz has to say about showing the t-shirt to his followers on social media – having taken part on a BBC programme which showed it (see here).

What you do not get to do is endanger someone; but that is part of Shafiq’s game. To make it too dangerous for others to dare do anything which offends his sensibilities or interpretation (even when in Tom Holland’s case wrong). No regard for others safety in the process, much less human rights to freedom of expression and free speech.

Why am I posting so much about this T-Shirt?


Because if a Muslim showing this on their twitter feed is subjected to a global hate campaign which endangers them and numerous death threats, we all have an issue. Fear and intimidation have no place in public discourse – civil society cannot function in such a climate.

Shafiq you have shown your measure of faith as personal vendetta clothed as religious zealotry. When you could have said peace, disregarded as self promotion rather than Nawaz encouraging civil public debate, you have instead flamed the desire for vengeance for blasphemy. Do not start what you cannot control if this was never your intent.

The word is now out to get Maajid Nawaz in Islamic countries. Some will use keyboards to respond, but we fear worse.

Please show your solidarity to Nawaz – this tragically has the makings of a Rushdie moment.

Be on the right side of history.


Filed under British Society, Religion, World

Historical Representations of The Prophet Mohammed

“A man asked about the touching of the Black Stone.Ibn ‘Umar said,”I saw Allah’s Apostle touching and kissing it.”


“Muhammad visiting the inhabitants of Hell on the back of his winged horse, Buraq”


“Painting from 1808 from Kashmir depicting Muhammad and his followers entering the Kaaba and destroying the idols”


“Muhammad before the battle of Badr – Persian miniature”


“A depiction of the ‘miracle’ of Muhammad splitting the moon in half”


“Muhammed receiving the submission of the Banu Nadir, a Jewish tribe he defeated at Medina.”


But this is the offensive one in the current day:


Have your sensibility – but do not expect to be taken seriously that this should be outlawed. Which presumably is why careers and life are threatened by some, who would rather be part of a rancid protest mob than one whose God and Prophet are above such pettiness. Where freedom of speech allows a cartoon saying hi just as historical record depicts the Prophet’s exploits.

The threat to Maajid Nawaz life:


And Mohammed Shafiq complaining to a political party for Maajid is a Parliamentary candidate for the Liberal Democrats. Not the first time Shaifq has complained.


Peace be upon you all. And common sense.

Descriptions above with historic images posted on twitter by Council for Ex Muslims of Britain (please support).

Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog

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Mohammed Shafiq’s Dangerous Game


I avoided mentioning Mohammed Shafiq when writing about When Tommy Met Mo. Time to rectify as he shows a blatant willingness to take out of context what someone has said.

Maajid Nawaz of Quilliam has just written a succinct article in The Daily Mail on Islam and wearing the veil in the UK:

It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that we have allowed a form of discrimination to creep in against everyone but those who wear the veil. Yes, women should be free to cover their faces when walking down the street. But in our schools, hospitals, airports, banks and civil institutions, it is not unreasonable – nor contrary to the teachings of Islam – to expect women to show the one thing that allows the rest of us to identify them .  .  . namely their face. [Daily Mail]

The article is nuanced and does not go into a more controversial discussion of whether such total face coverings are demeaning and misogynistic as I do here, but the legal, security and exemptions which exist within Islamic thought to allow it’s removal for identification. No ban is mentioned.

Enter Mohammed Shafiq, who in the When Tommy met Mo documentary said slavery mentioned in the Koran did not include sexual slavery, shouting down Tommy that he was attacking Islam to say it did. Despite that other Islamic theologians say it does include that too, Shafiq claimed the verse was being taken out of context.


Nine hours later there is no apology from Shafiq for misrepresenting Nawaz’s thoughts, taking them out of context. Nor seeking to clarify his own meaning. Only an assertion he has the right to challenge his views.

Thing is, that might be helped if they actually were Nawaz’s views.

Shafiq has form here. He wrote a complaint about Tom Holland’s documentary Islam: The Untold Story (which you can watch here).

      Ramadhan Foundation
      Contact: Mohammed Shafiq
      Embargo: Immediate Tuesday 28th August 2012 23:00
      Published: Tuesday 28th August 2012 23:00
      Mr. Mohammed Shafiq, Chief Executive of the Ramadhan Foundation comments:
      “I strongly condemn Channel 4’s documentary tonight titled “Islam, untold story” which makes a mockery of impartial and objective broadcasting. This distorted, biased programme did not have the decency to check its facts and has broadcast lies. I am disappointed that an international broadcaster like Channel 4 has behaved in unbelievable way.
      There are thousands of Muslims scholars across the globe including many in locations where Tom Holland visited during the programme but he did not see fit to speak to them and therefore I draw the conclusion he did not want the real truth but wanted to promote his utter rubbish.
      For instance he said Mecca was never mentioned in the Holy Quran, but in reality it is mentioned two times; Al- Azhab Chapter 33 Verse 6, Al Fath Chapter 48 Verse 24. There is also a mention of the Kaaba and Sacred Mecca Mosque in the Quran in Surah Al Isra Chapter 17 verse 1. A simple search would have produced this but his desire to distort Islam blinded him to objectivity and honesty. He featured evidence from a number of University Professors who happened not to be Muslim when he could have gone to any Muslim Scholar and asked his questions and would have got the answers.
      I have asked several senior Muslims Scholars in the United Kingdom to watch the programme and identify all the inaccuracies which we will forward to relevant authorities for action as detailed in our complaints.
      There is a desire amongst some people trying to change or discredit Islam whether its politicians, commentators or broadcasters like Channel 4. The British Muslim community will not allow Channel 4 to distort our faith and our history.
      The Ramadhan Foundation calls on Channel 4 to apologise for this programme, withdraw it from online viewing and also order an immediate inquiry into why this was allowed to be broadcast. How many Muslims Scholars, community leaders were given a copy of this programme before transmission? Whether historic facts in relation to Islam were verified by the presenter and who his sources were.
          The Ramadhan Foundation has complained to Channel 4 and also Ofcom in this matter and hope it will be addressed promptly and extensively. [

Ramadan Foundation] 

[Edit 9;35AM: Tom Holland has an important point regarding the above press release. Shafiq says that the Qur’an mentions Mecca twice. In some English translations this is true as it is added to the text by the translator – in the original language it does not. This makes the press release by the Ramadhan Foundation the more remarkable, that a pressure group that purports to defend Islam is unaware of what the Qur’an actually says.]



Tom Holland responded to the complaints promptly:

      The origins of Islam are a legitimate subject of historical enquiry and this film is wholly in keeping with other series and programmes on Channel 4 where the historical context of world religions has been examined, such as The Bible: A History. A considered exploration of the tensions that inevitably arise when historical method is applied to articles of faith was central to the film. We were of course aware when making the programme that we were touching deeply-held sensitivities and went to every effort to ensure that the moral and civilizational power of Islam was acknowledged in our film, and the perspective of Muslim faith represented, both in the persons of ordinary Bedouin in the desert, and one of the greatest modern scholars of Islam, Seyyed Hossein Nasr.
      It is important to stress as we do in the film that this is a historical endeavour and is not a critique of one of the major monotheistic religions. It was commissioned as part of Channel 4’s remit to support and stimulate well-informed debate on a wide range of issues, by providing access to information and views from around the world and by challenging established views.
      As a non-Muslim historian I tried to examine, within a historical framework, the rise of a new civilisation and empire that arose in the late antique world as the two great ancient empires of Rome and Persia were in decline. The themes in the programme have been previously written about extensively by many other historians including: Patricia Crone, Professor at Princeton; Gerald Hawting, Professor at SOAS; and Fred Donner, Professor at Chicago  all of whom lent their support to the programme. The themes it explores are currently the focus of intense and escalating academic debate.
      An accusation laid against the film is one of bias and, although I believe that absolute objectivity is a chimera, what was incumbent upon us, in making the film, was to be up-front about my own ideological background and presumptions, and to acknowledge the very different perspective that Muslim faith provides. If the film was about the origins of Islam, then it was also about the tensions between two differing world-views. Whether one accepts or rejects the truth of the tradition is ultimately dependent upon the philosophical presumptions that one brings to the analysis of the sources.
      To answer some other substantive points:
      1. It has been suggested that I say in the film that Mecca is not mentioned in the Qu’ran. In fact, I say that Mecca is mentioned once in the Qu’ran. As a historian I have to rely on original texts and although later tradition (as brought to us through the hadith) has come to accept that other names are synonymous with Mecca, the fact is that there is only one mention of Mecca in the Qu’ran(although due to an unwarranted interpolation, a second one does appear in the Pickthall translation).
      2. On the broad perspective some complaints assert unequivocally, as is often said, that Islam was “born in the full light of history unlike the ancient faiths”. That may have been the belief of Western scholars back in the days of Ernest Renan, but it is most certainly not the academic consensus today. One leading authority, Professor Fred Donner, who appears in the film, has written:
      “We have to admit collectively that we simply do not know some very basic things about the Qur’an – things so basic that the knowledge of them is usually taken for granted by scholars dealing with other texts. They include such questions as: How did the Qur’an originate? Where did it come from, and when did it first appear? How was it first written? In what kind of language was – is – it written? What form did it first take? Who constituted its first audience? How was it transmitted from one generation to another, especially in its early years? When, how, and by whom was it codified? Those familiar with the Qur’an and the scholarship on it will know that to ask even one of these questions immediately plunges us into realms of grave uncertainty, and has the potential to spark intense debate.”
      This summary may fairly be said to represent the current state of play in the academic debate.
      3. It has also wrongly been suggested that we said there is no historical evidence for the seventh century origins of Islam. What I actually said in the film was that I had expected to find contemporaneous Muslim evidence – “but there’s nothing there.” And the Qur’an aside, the first mention of the prophet Muhammad’s name in Arabic is on the coin that we featured in Part Five, and on the Dome of the Rock, which we also featured prominently. The evidence provided by Christian contemporaries was mentioned in Part Three, and is dealt with at greater length in the book.
        Obviously in a film of only 74 minutes, which opens up very rich and complex arguments and brings to light detailed academic scholarship, which has been going on for over forty years, it is impossible to articulate all the resonances and implications of every argument. Much more detail, with full citation of sources, will be found in my book In the Shadow of the Sword: The Battle for Global Empire and the End of the Ancient World. All the film can hope to do is to introduce this fascinating (but until now, largely academic) debate with careful contextualising to a larger television audience. The subject, it should be said, is advancing and changing all the time as new discoveries are made, and new insights are gained. That is precisely what makes it such a fascinating area of research, and an entirely valid topic for a documentary. [

Channel 4]

The regulator saw no case to investigate the complaints brought against the documentary. However, claims that Tom Holland was deliberately distorting the evidence to fit a biased narrative played their part in abuse and death threats he received. Honest academic research and inquiry into history met with abuse and hysteria. There at the beginning was Mohammed Shafiq whipping it up.

He is trying to do the same with Nawaz, misrepresenting, taking things out of context.

Mohammed Shafiq needs to be called on that – because it has repercussions for serious debate, let alone the safety of others when motives are questioned and emotions played on with such disregard to personal integrity by the antagonist. Shafiq has himself had a credible death threat; he rightly has the liberty to speak his mind, and a nation that values free speech should protect that.

When he twists and distorts others words and actions in the process he deserves our contempt and resolve not to get away with it.

Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog

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