Critics hit anti-Islamist think tank cost

LONDON, Jan. 20 (UPI) -- The British government is wasting $1.4 million on a think tank run by former Islamic extremists to counter the radicalization of Muslims, critics say.

The public money is being given to the Quilliam Foundation think tank despite doubts expressed by members of the government as well as by Conservative Party opponents, The Times of London reported Tuesday.


The foundation was set up nine months ago by bestselling author Ed Husain and Maajid Nawaz, a former political prisoner in Egypt, as part of the government's strategy to combat the spread of extremist ideology among British Muslims, The Times said.

"It will be very interesting to see what has been achieved with this considerable sum of public money," Patrick Mercer, the Tory Member of Parliament who heads the House of Commons counter-terrorism subcommittee, told the newspaper.

An unnamed government minister told The Times that the size of the grant was outrageous, and saying Britain had seen the rise of an "ex-Islamist industry."

Husain, however, said that Islamism can only be defeated by those who were once a part of it, saying, "If it is becoming an industry, it's a good one and let's have more people on it."


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