Friday, June 20, 2008

A Critique of the Quilliam Foundation – A Secularist Challenge to Islam


The unrelenting rise of Islam, threatening Western hegemony across the Muslim world, presents the Caliphate and Sharia as the only viable way forward. Political discourse increasingly dominated by this narrative is seeing secularist thought becoming marginalised. The emergence of a new neoconservative enterprise is becoming discernable, as the relevant actors are being put in place for a "war on Islamism".

Within this context, this paper considers the embryonic Quilliam Foundation's secular-modernist narrative contrasted with traditional Islamic political thought, exemplified by the international Islamic Party, Hizb ut-Tahrir. Whilst unimportant as an actor, the Quilliam Foundation is an organisation backed by the British government as an instrument to forward its version of British Islam. This paper argues a secular British Islam is unable to mount any serious intellectual or political challenge to movements based on and around traditional Islamic thought nor does it provide any viable future alternatives. The extremity of Quilliamite ideology, lack of support amongst Muslims as well as lack of internal coherency renders it little more than a short-term tactical partner and actor for any protagonist in this conflict.

The paper concludes that
the UK and US should engage in discussions directly with serious movements that reflect mass Muslim thought and sentiment, like Hizb ut-Tahir or Ikhwan al-Muslimeen, rather than making the same historical mistake of using pretenders, who complicate and confuse the agenda with personal interests, biases and agendas. Allowing political freedom in the Muslim world, opposing political repression and avoiding attempts at micro-managing its future are essential to policy formulation.



2.1 Founders
2.2 Hizb ut-Tahrir
2.3 What’s in a Name
2.4 Objectives and Ideology
2.5 Proposals
2.6 Funding
2.7 Advisors, Associates and Affiliates
2.8 Competitors
2.9 Critics and Response

3.1 Background
3.2 Philosophical Beginnings
3.3 Towards a Typology
3.4 Political Thought
3.5 What went wrong?
3.6 Jurisprudential Revisionism
3.7 Terrorism
3.8 Abdullah Quilliam
3.9 Associates and Advisors
3.10 Activist Scholars
3.11 Quilliam Challenges



“As we have already succeeded in finishing off the Caliphate, so we must ensure that there will never arise again unity for the Muslims...” (Lord Curzon, 1924)

"...there can be no negotiation about the re-creation of the Caliphate; there can be no negotiation about the imposition of Sharia (Islamic) law..." (Charles Kennedy, British Home Secretary, 2005)

The unrelenting rise of political Islam is being catalysed by globalisation and foreign power
adventurism .[2] It has not been an easy matter for those observing in deciding how to respond to the changing sands of Islamic politics. The US administration has responded by trying to transform a major world religion and way of life. If “nation-building” is a daunting task, “religion-building” is immeasurably more perilous and complex. Islam is neither a homogeneous entity nor a simple system.[3]

This approach has not been unique to the US, prevalent in Europe too, where it has led some commentators to note sarcastically that the political leadership “collectively appears to have acquired an instant postgraduate degree in Islamic studies, enabling them to lecture the population concerning the true nature of Islam.

Following in the footsteps of the failed Muslim Council of Britain and Sufi Muslim Council, the Quilliam Foundation launched in April 2008, as a “think tank” and “campaign group” established by three ex-activists from the Islamic political party, Hizb ut-Tahrir. Emerging from Islamist ideology as secularists, it contradictorily argues the same ideology to be the cause of terrorism. This paper provides an analysis of this new political actor, its founders, ideology and positioning within the broader context of the Western battle against the rise of political Islam, arguing that the Quilliam Foundation is a new political pawn adopting a secular ideology to counter Muslim activist organisations in general, and Hizb ut-Tahrir in particular.

Over 60 million died as a result of the Cold War,
[5] trillions of dollars were wasted in the arms race and the futures of millions were ruined.[6] By all accounts, mild compared to the potential conflict with Islam, the greatest threat to American hegemony. As such, it is important that Islamic discourse is clearly understood to allow implications to be understood so that the correct policy can be put in place. With increasing attempts at hijacking the discourse for political ends, new political actors are necessarily subject to greater scrutiny and critique as the wrong partners and stakeholders may lead to the famously predicted and unnecessary, "clash of civilisations".


“This week saw the launch of the Quilliam foundation. Next week is the launch of the British Muslims for Secular Democracy. It’s like buses. You don't get one for ages and then two come along at the same time... Is someone co-ordinating the launch of these two groups…” (Guardian CommentIsFree)

The Quilliam Foundation sees the phenomenon of political Islam as a dangerous and backward step. It is not the first to attempt a theological refutation of Islamic activist theology and politics.


“The fixation with HT is somewhat understandable considering the history of Husein. However, the obsession to blame it for the environment of terrorism is taking reductionism to its extreme.” (Ziauddin Sardar)

The three public founders,
[10] Maajid Nawaz, Mohammed Mahboob “Ed” Husain and Rashad Zamaan Ali, are ex-activists of the UK branch of the Islamic political party Hizb ut-Tahrir. Their opposition to it has ensured notoriety and attention of media and governments alike. Throughout Hizb ut-Tahrir’s history, no member has undertaken such a high profile u-turn. Their profiles on the Quilliam Foundation website contain selective histories with considerable exaggeration and glossing over of questionable gaps.

Mohammed “Ed” Mahboob Husain

Husain’s family hails from Sylhet in Bangladesh; after failing his GCSEs he drifted between Islamic groups achieving nothing noteworthy. His claim to fame is his time with Hizb ut-Tahrir chronicled in his book “The Islamist”. His critics see his narratives as no different to those of the infamous Hasan Butt - full of inconsistencies and factual inaccuracies.
[11] A friend reminisces, “I knew mehboob when he was busy radicalising Newham college and the whole of East London. It was as much as you could do to get him to hand out a flyer on a cold day. The most radical thing about him was his odd socks. The accounts he gives are pure fiction.[12] Neo-conservatives Nick Cohen, Melanie Phillips, Michael Gove and David Aaronovitch provided rave reviews whilst Taji Mustafa,[13] Andrew Booso, Azam Tamimi and Yahya Birt were more critical with Ziauddin Sardar questioning whether the book was penned by Whitehall.[14]

Husain argued he was a member of Hizb ut-Tahrir and left due to his contribution to the atmosphere surrounding the murder of a student at Newham College.
[15] The reality however was his sexual indiscretions, unacceptable in Muslim circles, strangely confirmed in his book where he writes he was in the library with his “girlfriend” when a student was murdered.[16] Hizb ut-Tahrir categorically denied he had ever been a member and the trial Judge’s report concluded the Newham College murder had in fact resulted from an argument over a table tennis game.[17] Husain’s version subsequently mutated to, “Their understanding of membership is idiosyncratic and involves swearing cultish oaths to Arab control-freaks” – referring to the Islamic oath process that transforms novices to official party members, ensuring conformity and obedience from members to the Amir, as is traditionally obliged in Islamic law.[18]

Following the publication of his book, Husain alleged there were attempts of intimidation against him, akin to the prominent and discredited ‘ex-Islamist’,Hassan Butt. In the New Statesman in June 2007 he said: “In Manchester in April [2007], Hassan Butt, a one-time jihadist who is now opposed to extremism, was stabbed and beaten for speaking out against fanaticism. He now lives in hiding.” In May 2008 Hassan Butt admitted such narratives as fabrications during Police interviews - police interviews may be necessary before Husain admits the same.

From one extreme to another appears to be Husain’s journey. Currently, co-director of the Quilliam Foundation, he in fact leads with Nawaz and Ali following in his wake.
[19] Now a member of the Labour party he has yet to articulate the Islamic jurisprudence that permits membership of such an entity yet forbids “Islamist” organisations.

His critics cite numerous unusual and extreme views. Regarding politicised Muslims he says, "Call them jihadists, Islamists, but I wouldn't call them Muslim. Being Muslim is not enough for them. They make politics seems religious…"
[20] His hatred drove him to inform the Syrian secret service of Hizb ut-Tahrir members he encountered in Damascus and has called for them to be banned in the UK.[21] The al-Assads and their fellow elites hail from the Alawite sect, an offshoot considered to be apostates. Alawite rule in Syria is secular, dictatorial and the government has a historic fear of an uprising by the majority Sunnis – massacring its own population during the 1980s. Husain’s sentiments against Muslim activists and Palestinians are also similar to this regime - when Syria first invaded Lebanon in 1975, it was against the Palestinians and in support of Lebanese Christians. Husain supports the invasion of Iraq to overthrow Saddam, compares Hamas to the BNP, describes the Arab "psyche" as irredeemably racist, cites Gandhi as his hero,[22] criticises the director of MI5 for "pussyfooting around" with extremists, pours cold dismisses western policy in the Muslim world contributes to terror attacks in Britain, believes penal sharia punishments to be barbaric, inhumane and outdated, dismisses the idea of Islamophobia, and declares there to be too many immigrants in the country.[23] Critics argue Husain was never known in any of Britain’s Mosques, Muslim charities or youth organizations, never gave a Friday sermon nor was he invited by any of Britain’s Muslim youth.

Whatever else, Husain is hardly a voice of moderation or reason.

Maajid Nawaz

Nawaz entered the spotlight when jailed in Egypt in 2002 with two others for belonging to Hizb ut-Tahirir. Whilst in prison, he underwent the Egyptian dictatorship’s “detox” program developing his new ideological positions. Nawaz argues his studies in prison made him realise Hizb ut-Tahrir had provide a false ideological narrative - however, he does not appear to have considered that the provided to him may the one that is false.

On his return, he appeared on BBC's Hardtalk claiming Hizb ut-Tahrir's ideas were peaceful and had prevented him from becoming violent despite the oppression he had faced, in fact arguing his time in prison had "convinced me even more... that there is a need to establish this Caliphate as soon as possible."
Maajid has never satisfactorily explained why he continued working with Hizb ut-Tahrir for over a year since returning from Egypt. It is believed his early release from prison has been facilitated by the British government, with Nawaz continuing with Hizb ut-Tahrir to cement a high-profile position before leaving - akin to Freddie Scappaticci "Stakeknife", the famous British agent who operated in senior leadership positions of the IRA for over twenty years.

Nawaz's previous knowledge of Islam, like Husain, is based on some introductory Hizb ut-Tahrir texts having never studied any of the more sophisticated texts (never translated into English during his stint with the party) – this has resulted in Nawaz's distorted, sloganistic and crude understanding of Islamist, and in particular Hizb ut-Tahrir, ideology.

Nawaz’s new ideological view of Islam is secular in nature, one that denies the Prophet (pbuh), his companions and successors were rulers of a religiously structured expansionist state for over thirteen centuries, and consistent with, "render unto Caesar what is Caesar's, and render unto God what is God's".

Like Husain and Butt, Nawaz’s narratives have an inconsistent quality. For instance, he argued he established Hizb ut-Tahrir branches in Pakistan and Denmark single handedly - something unsubstantiated and disputed by his contemporaries. In 2007 he claimed he had been with Hizb ut- Tahrir for 12 years,
[24] in 2008 this became, “I have been training people [in Hizb ut-Tahrir] for 14 years, every single week for two hours a week…“[25]

Reasons for Nawaz’s departure from Hizb ut-Tahrir, like his colleague Husain are unclear. He argues he resigned due to profound doubts. His critics argue it was unethical activities (nightclubbing and girlfriends) and subversive meetings and activities with Ali and Husain resulting in a rapid resignation before the disgrace of expulsion.
[26] In a recent Newsnight interview, Nawaz sought to distance himself from some of Husain’s extreme and damaging positions.[27] Nawaz states the Quilliam Foundation started with over 20 members however refuses (or is unable) to cite any of them.

Rashad Zaman Ali

Rashad Zaman Ali is of Bangladeshi origins living in Sheffield; he encountered Hizb ut-Tahrir when a party member delivered a school assembly. Following this he read a tract of Hizb ut-Tahrir’s economic system which deconstructed western economic theory of Adam Smith, Ricardo and Malthus through to Marx.
[28] He began studying with Hizb ut-Tahrir and was with them for 12 years before being expelled for alleged criminal and fraudulent activities. [29]

Rashad Ali has no significant academic background commenceing courses without completing them. His self-taught Islamic jurisprudence and Hizb ut-Tahrir books makes him the most qualified of the trio. He provided content for Nawaz’s theological paper of 2007 and academically flawed responses to the resulting barrage of critique.
[30] His theology is radically reductionist in nature, believing revelation comprises of limited abstract ideas like justice, reason and liberal utilitarianism. Squaring this with traditional theology poses a significant challenge – one where Ali responds through questionable techniques of misinterpretation and misrepresentation of classical scholars and avoiding addressing the source texts used as proofs.[31]

All three friends have enrolled on postgraduate doctorates – apparently not for the educational content but “for the legitimacy such a piece of paper will give their views.

Hizb ut-Tahrir

Hizb ut-Tahrir al-Islami (The Islamic Liberation Party) is the group with whom all three founders spent varying durations. It stands apart from other movements by its opposition to the use of violence. It is a political party whose ideology is based on Islam. It aims to re-establish the historical Caliphate in order to bring together all Muslim lands under Islamic rule and establish a state capable of counterbalancing the West. It rejects contemporary efforts to establish Islamic states, asserting Saudi Arabia and Iran do not meet the necessary criteria. According to Hizb ut-Tahrir, the Islamic state is one in which Islamic law – Sharia – is applied to all walks of life, and there is no compromise with other forms of legislation.

It first emerged among Palestinians in Jordan in the early 1950s, achieving a highly committed following in a number of Middle Eastern states and Asia and has also gained in popularity among Muslims in Western Europe.

Hizb ut-Tahrir rejects violence as a form of political struggle, and its activities are peaceful. The group rejects terrorism, considering the killing of innocents to be against Islamic law.

Government responses have been contradictory and often ineffective. In much of the Middle East, the organisation is banned from acting openly, and many of its members have been imprisoned, tortured and killed. Central Asian governments have taken particularly harsh stances, with Uzbekistan leading the way by arresting and sentencing thousands of members to long prison terms, with cases of activists having been boiled alive. In some other Muslim countries, such as Indonesia, Hizb ut-Tahrir acts more or less openly, as it does in much of Western Europe where its views find widespread support.

What’s in a Name

"An Armenian explodes a bomb in the crowded streets of Constantinople and slays innocent women and children and, because he calls himself a Christian he is extolled in England as a hero and as a patriot! An Afghan fights for his fatherland in the Khyber Pass, and because he is a Muslim he is denounced as a traitor and a rebel, and his land is to be raided and his wives and children slain. Such is the British Christian logic at the end of the 19th Century in the diamond jubilee year of the reign of the Queen Empress." (Abdullah Quilliam, 1917)

Abdullah Quilliam was a 19th century British convert to Islam. He was influential in advancing knowledge of Islam within the British Isles, and gained converts through literary works and charitable institutions he founded.
[34] In 1894, Sultan Abdul Hamid II, gave him the title of “Sheikh al-Islam of Britain”, leader of British Muslims. The Sultan of Afghanistan gave him £2,500 to help him continue his good works and the Shah of Persia made him a consul. He opened the first mosque and centre to help the local community Muslims and non-Muslims.

The Quilliam Foundation argues Abdullah Quilliam advocated a British Islam in contrast to the likes of Syed Qutb. However, this is inconsistent with Quilliam’s political activism, critique of the British way of life and politics, blending of scripture and politics, addresses to the Muslim world (ummah), and relationships with the Ottoman Caliph.

An organisation arguing Muslim educational establishments must “re-evaluate their syllabi to ensure that these are in line with the expectations of lives for citizens in a 21st century liberal democracy, not British India in the 1850s
[35] is probably unwise to select a name of a nineteenth century Islamic activist along with content from medieval Spain.

Objectives and Ideology

“Many Western observers and policy makers have tended to lump all forms of Islamism together, brand them as radical and treat them as hostile. That approach is fundamentally misconceived.” (The Crisis Group)

Think tanks conduct research and engage in advocacy in areas ranging from social policy, political strategy, economy through to military advice. Supporters like the NIRA
[37] hail think tanks as "one of the main policy actors in democratic societies..., assuring a pluralistic, open and accountable process of policy analysis, research, decision-making and evaluation". Critics like SourceWatch have called them "little more than public relations fronts... generating self-serving scholarship that serves the advocacy goals of their industry sponsors."[38] The Quilliam Foundation appear to fall into SourceWatch's definition.

It proclaims itself to be a counter extremism think tank and campaign group, believing Muslims are required to revive a “Western” Islam of Andalusian heritage comprising pluralism and respect. Nawaz states, “The first (objective) is I want to demonstrate how the Islamist ideology is incompatible with Islam. Secondly, I want to develop a Western Islam that is at home in Britain and in Europe. We want to reverse radicalisation by taking on their arguments and countering them.”
[39] However this is contradicted when asked why it has no grassroots supports, answering, “We are a think tank, we do not aspire to being a representative body and do not actively seek mass support.[40]

The Quilliam Foundation believes Islam is not an ideology but a faith,
[41] namely “Islam is not Islamism.[42] Denying Islamic politics it advocates Western secular politics in its place, resulting in a secularism akin to that of modern Turkey which the Foundation supports.[43] Researchers have described such positions in their typologies of modern Islam as ideological stances.[44]

The Foundation has an additional objective focused on opposing Hizb ut-Tahrir. Recurring references to the group across its website, writings and speeches makes this clear.
[45] Unusually however, it appears not to have considered or critiqued the only serious in-depth academic research conducted on Hizb ut-Tahrir by Dr Farouki of Durham University,[46] preferring to take anecdotal comments and Civitas papers as the basis of its critique.

In relation to the Islamic Caliphate, Husain argues there was no glorious history as the first three Caliphs were assassinated
[47] failing to explain how this has anything to do with the glorious civilisation emerging across the Muslim world for over a millenium under the Caliphate. According to Husain's historiography Spain, Africa and Persia were autonomous at different points in history resulting in there being no one Caliphate state.[48] This narative contradicts traditional scholarly historiography which relates the Umayyad, Abbasid and Ottoman Caliphates as maintaining general political and territorial integrity in general with fragmentation and divisions being the exception.

The Foundation controversially and crudely argues that Islamism is the cause of terrorism - however such claims are debunked by numerous academic studies, the latest being the most comprehensive research to date by MI5 in the UK who concludes those who become terrorists "are a diverse collection of individuals, fitting no single demographical profile, nor do they all follow a typical pathway to violent extrmism."

The Foundation controversially argues Islam has no specific prescriptions for modes of governance, as Muslim history has illustrated a plethora of approaches to government – none of which are detailed or referenced. A review of Muslim political jurisprudence, philosophy and practice indicates a consensus on the Caliphate form of government with a clear structure comprising a Caliph, assistants (mu’awinoon), governors (wulaat), judges (qudaat) and administrators (mudeeroon). Famous tracts by scholars (Abu Yusuf, Shaybani, Mawardi, Juwayni, Nizam al-Mulk, Ghazali, Ibn Khaldoon, Naima et al) throughout Muslim history shows this has never been in any serious dispute.

The Foundation argues a reductionist form of Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh), alien to classical jurisprudence, comprising of little more than ideas of objectives (maqasid). However, the approach appears inconsistent as sometimes these secular principles are applied and at other times detailed analysis is attempted (incorrectly) according to classical methodology. Examples of the former include the role and laws relating to women in Muslim society and the latter includes the prohibition of nationalism.

Cultural baggage brought by the Muslims of the Indian subcontinent to the UK is to be replaced by the culture of Muslim Spain. Given the history of Muslim Spain spanned several centuries, much of it turbulent, it is not clear which period is referred to. Why Spanish history and culture dating over a millennium ago is preferable to contemporary subcontinent practice is also unclear.

Unlike Christianity, it argues, Muslim history has not battled for the separation of church and state since clerics were almost always a separate entity from the rulers.
[49] This goes against legal historiography where leading jurists worked with governments of their times: Abu Yusuf, Mohammed Ibn al-Hasan, Shafi’i, Yahya bin Said, Abu Hamid al-Ghazali, Ismail bin Yasa, Ibn Tulun, Abu Zura, Abu Hasan al-Mawardi and Tabari.[50] Furthermore, prominent theologians would write moral advice literature to help the Caliph discharge his Islamic duties, often on the request of the incumbent Caliph - resulting in a body of classical advice literature. Finally, many Caliphs and governors provided patronage to scholars across all disciplines, the most famous, though not unique, being the Abassids who funded extensive translation programmes and building of libraries.

From calling for the removal of religion from public space the Quilliam Foundation appears to be attempting to build on Middle Eastern secularist-modernist discourse. Its political philosophy is based on a Hellenistic Juedao-Christian state-religion relationships, ethics are little more than Rashid Rida’s utilitarianism justified with a thin veneer of Shatibite maslaha having totally ignored meta-ethical considerations.
[51] Rational and empirical reasoning is replaced by an “unjustifiable, inarticulate and non-intellectual, intuition[52] reminiscent of mystic gnosis.

Critics argue the Foundation is a neoconservative organisation, whose objectives are the forceful implementation of a questionable form of “democracy” and “universal” Western values on Muslim states. Its views are influenced by extreme right wing organisations like Civitas and the Policy Exchange and advisors like Michael Gove and Dr Green despite the Foundation’s protestations that it has many advisors.


“…the United States, which, by carrying liberalism to its individualist extreme, represents the idolatry of the self.” (Kurth)

A policy proposal has been published for the British government and journalists. Copies appear to have been sent to the Muslim community in hindsight – prior consultation not having been considered relevant. There has been no comment regarding response. The Foundation claims it has relied on organisations including Civitas, Policy Exchange, Demos, IPPR and RUSI for its content, however, does not reference any of its proposals to these organisations. The recommendations comprise high level outlines with little detail hence limiting serious deliberation or debate.

The primary recommendation comprises rehabilitation centres
[55] – a proposal to “detox” extremists based on the “success” of unnamed Egyptian and Saudi programmes. These centres would expose extremists and terrorists who wish to leave their organisations to “genuine and authentic” scholars.[56] However detail is missing as to who these scholars will be, how they will be differentiated from “non-genuine unauthentic” scholars, how the detox process would work, what results are being relied on from Saudi/Egypt etc. Even Quilliam endorsed scholars like the Egyptian al-Gomaa state such processes do not work:
“Our experience with such people is that it is very difficult to move them two or three degrees from where they are. It’s easier to move from terrorism to extremism or from extremism to rigidity. We have not come across the person who can be moved all the way from terrorism to a normal life.”

Quilliam Foundation may have underestimated Western sensitivities when relying on Saudi and Egyptian processes which incorporate arbitrary arrests and torture including sexual abuse and genitalia electrocution. MPs rebelling against extended detentions will no doubt find Saudi and Egyptian tactics unpalatable.

Other totalitarian recommendations instruct communities, groups, scholars and leaders to exclude “Islamists” from their midst, with colleges and universities, bastions of Western open and free debate, “to prevent the call of jihad and other problematic concepts in Friday sermons”.

The target audience is said to be the Muslims of Britain with a particular focus on “extremists” and “radicals”. To date the focus has been mainly non-Muslim audiences across Europe and the Middle East with an aversion and fear to engage with Islamist groups. Critics argue that in the rush to launch, the target audience has not been considered, thus all that is happening is “preaching to the converted”.

The advisors, publications and events appear to be designed to gain credence with a governmental audience. Critics cite the founders jet-setting to pre-organised events in Europe and the Middle East comprising civil servants, politicians and high profile individuals – for a new organisation accessing an audience of this nature is happening surprisingly quickly.


“If you press the right buttons on integration and ‘radicalisation’ and hold your tongue on western foreign policy, there are rich pickings to be had...” (Seamus Milne – The Guardian)

The Quilliam Foundation claimed its source of funding is from anonymous Kuwaiti businessmen,
[60] allegedly in excess of £0.5 million. Businessmen from the Arab world do not give money away for no return.[61] Given the concern regarding hidden agendas and the need for transparency, refusal to openly declare sources is problematic. It raises questions as to what the actual sources of funds are and their associated conditions. Furthermore, such anonymity does not sit well with a call for democracy. The most recent notice on the Quilliam webstite indicates even these funding sources have been terminated. Hizb ut-Tahrir’s funding policy on the other hand is stated clearly in its Administrative Law, basing its operations on voluntarily contributions from members[62] - something the Quilliam Foundation is unable to do due to a distinct lack of membership.

The British government's national security strategy contains a Preventing Violent Extremism (PVE) Pathfinder Fund, amounting to £45 million over three years.
[63] As its name suggests, it is largely about countering violent extremism.[64] A number of groups operating in the UK have received funding however with strings attached. Nawaz has denied that they have taken any funds from the PVE fund despite being offered it although he would have no problems in principle in receiving “without strings” taxpayers’ funds.[65]

Critics allege the UK government is providing funding citing strong hints being dropped by senior officials at the Department of Communities and Local Government recently that financial support from the government would be available but only if they were prepared to work with and thereby help lend credibility to the Quilliam Foundation.
[66] Both Husain and Nawaz are on record as stating they would be happy to take government funds[67] - a process that has commenced judging the leaked emails from the founders detailing the Foundation’s applications for government funding.

Advisors, Associates and Affiliates

The Quilliam Foundation site had listed a number of scholars as supporters and advisors. These were rapidly taken down when a number of scholars including Shaikh Abu Laith Maliki, Shaikh Abdus Subhan and Professor Yahya Michiot
[68] objected to their names being used without permission, the Foundation’s ideas and agendas and questionable behaviour by the directors highlighted on a number of sites.[69] The Foundation states it had received permission.[70] Website postings however indicate otherwise:
“Sheikh Babikar is my brother in law and I spoke to him today about this very matter, Ed Husain approached the sheikh a matter of months ago to ask him to become an advisor to their group. The sheikh having no knowledge of Ed Husain or his group said he would consider it but only after researching their agenda. The sheikh was extremely shocked when I informed him that his name appears on Husain’s site and he is now taking steps to having it removed. May Allah strengthen our resolve to expose Husain and his cronies for all they are worth. Saeed”

Husain cited a number of scholars whom he approved of in his book, including Hamza Yusuf Hanson, Nuh Keller and T.J. Winter;
[73] most have disassociated themselves from him because of his attacks on traditional Islamic notions along with his questionable views.[74]

Those speaking at the Quilliam Foundation launch appeared to be little more than an ad hoc collection, none exhibiting any serious understanding about the Quilliam Foundation and its secular modernist ideology. Speeches were contradictory with none contributing anything of note. Dr Musharraf’s controversial views regarding the superfluousness of a reformation of Islam during question time indicated vetting had been inadequate.
[75] Others like Ahmad Babikr, T J Winters and the government endorsed Hamza Yusuf were conspicuous by their absences. The Foundation is very circumspect about putting government advisors on their site despite Husain’s public comments about his close relationship with Whitehall. Those who attended the launch along with their contribution included:

Jemima Khan (ex-wife of Imran Khan) claimed she probably not the best person to talk on Islam – no doubt a reference to her dress sense, extra-marital relationships and media antics. However she was happy to challenge the “dark side”, allegedly receiving death threats as a consequence – she did not explain why these had not been reported these to the police.

Dr Husain argued Islam and its values as being universal, citing the al-Hambra palace of Muslim ruled Spain.
[77] Contradicting his hosts, he argued Islam did not need reform, citing the Quranic verse “This day I have completed your deen for you.”[78]

Dr Hasan (mis-)cited Ibn Khaldun to argue Islam prescribes a secular form of government – maybe unaware Ibn Khaldun wrote in support of the Caliphate in his famous Muqaddima:
"The appointment of the Imaam is obligatory, its obligation known in the shar’ by the ‘ijmaa (consensus) of the companions and the taabi’een … and the settling of that consensually/ upon consensus indicates the obligation of appointing the Imaam."(Ch. 1, Section 26)

In secular-modernist tradition, he incorrectly generalised a tradition that related to specific technological processes - the Prophet(saw) commented on those undertaking agricultural cross-pollination, “you know your worldly matters best.”
Dr Hasan is affiliated with JIMAS (a Wahabite organisation) and his attendance is unusual given Husain’s public contempt for JIMAS and Wahabis. Dr Hasan's new views have been heavily critiqued by Wahabite/Salafite organisations. In his defence, he has revised his position arguing that he simultaneously supports a just Caliphate (fusion of religion and politics) whilst also supporting Islamic political secularism whilst denying metaphysical secularism - a position unknown to the Quilliam Foundation and not espoused at the launch.[79]

Dr Sidiqi unconvincingly argued Islamism to be the cause of Muslim decline.
[80] Known for his views of opposition to the Shabina Begum’s jilbab case[81] and his request that Khomeini issue the death sentence on Salman Rushdie, Ummah Pulse had said, “Yet using his extraordinary chameleon-like abilities, Mr Siddiqui has now metamorphosed into a leading authority on social cohesion and Islamic reformation.[82]

Dr David Green of the Civitas is regarded as a close advisor – it is instructive reviewing his organisation’s book, “The ‘West’, Islam and Islamism - Is ideological Islam compatible with liberal democracy?”. Critics state the organisation’s vitriolic thought
exemplified by the book is reflected in the Quilliam Foundation. It also goes some way to explain the poorly researched positions with extensive neoconservative citations (including Lewis and Pipes) on epistemology, politics, Muslim history and theology and policy orientation.[83]

The Quilliam Foundation promotes scholars like Ali al-Goma as a "scholastic giant" for making a stand against extremism
[84] - based in Egypt it is not clear if he is aware of his association with the Foundation.[85] Ali Al-Gomaa is an Egyptian scholar, appointed the Grand Mufti of Egypt by the dictatorship government of Hosni al-Mubarak in 2003. However Gomaa’s favourable views on martyrdom operations[86] contradicts the Foundation views and its criticism of the cleric Qaradawi being extremist for holding similar views. Qaradawi is linked to the Muslim Brotherhood, a popular opposition movement in the Arab world, while Gomaa is appointed by the pro-Western Mubarak dictatorship. [87]

In conclusion, it is unclear which individuals remain associated with the Foundation, however right-wing Civitas and Policy Exchange clearly inform its intellectual positions.


The Quilliam Foundation is operating in a very competitive arena, with numerous organisations clamouring for government funding. The main contenders comprise:

British Muslims for Democracy

A re-launched group (who first launched around 2005) who enjoy complaining how little media and government attention they receive in comparison to the Quilliam Foundation. It comprises primarily a set of secular “Muslim” journalists. With the Muslim community seeing no separation of religion and politics, they have an uphill struggle facing them to convince them otherwise. Their impact has been negligible to date and the lukewarm response to their launch indicates that the media and the government are becoming bored with the “me-too” organisations.

The Sufi Muslim Council

This organisation came from nowhere and began gaining publicity from the media and government. It argued the majority of Muslims in Britain were apolitical Sufis whom this group represented, its head being Kabhani. However, it soon fell out of favour of the government as most Muslim organisations condemned its views as neo-conservative with links to Washington and the infamous ISCA (a neo-conservative group furthering the US administration’s overseas agendas).

The Quilliam Foundation appears to be resuming from where the Sufi Muslim Council left off. With views remarkably similar, it is no wonder allegations of neo-conservatism are regularly made against them. The two organisations believe in: the legitimacy of Israel, the separation of Islam and politics, the opposition to “Islamists” (Muslim Brotherhood, Hizb ut-Tahrir, Jamati Islamiya etc), opposition to extremism in the Muslim community, silence on foreign policy atrocities, and have close relationships with neo-conservatives.

Muslim Council of Britain

An umbrella group comprising a loose coalition of a variety of groups and institutions from across the UK, the MCB has been working with British government for several years trying to influence policy before being marginalised in favour of SMC. Since the 7/7 bombings the government distanced itself from the MCB for its vocalisation of the Iraq war, its stance on Islamic values and Sharia – however, having been most recently replaced by the Quilliam Foundation with its more favourable positions, MCB is being pressurised to change its stance with Innayat Bunglawala recently relenting on the stance on homosexuals and memorial day.

Critics and Response

"I don't think the Quilliam Foundation knows the grassroots... Their focus is on the mosque and religions and then young people. It's the same way the British government thinks." (The Muslim News )

Critics have condemned the Quilliam Foundation, its theological position, its relationship with the government, its neoconservative politics, attacks on other groups and the behaviour of its directors. Critics have included Azam Tamimi (Ikhwan al-Muslimeen), Inayat Bunglawala (MCB), Ziauddin Sardar, Yahaya Birt and Seamus Milne (Guardian). Others like Anas al-Tikriti, Yvonne Ridley, Ihtisham Hibatullah, Ismail Patel, and Roshan Salih have written:
We represent a cross section of the Muslim community, and reject the simplistic narrative about the dangers of Islamism espoused by the Quilliam Foundation… We believe this is just another establishment-backed attempt to divert attention from the main cause of radicalisation and extremism in Britain: the UK's disastrous foreign policy in the Muslim world, including its occupation of Muslim lands and its support for pro-western Muslim dictators. The foundation has no proven grassroots support within the Muslim community, although it does seem to have the ear of the powers that be, probably because it is telling them what they want to hear.
It is quite possible to be a politically engaged Muslim without wanting to fly planes into tall buildings. Yet the foundation equates all forms of political Islam with extremism and terrorism. But those misguided few who are willing to cross the line into terrorism are not driven by disfranchisement or Sayyid Qutb's writings; they do it because they are furious about western foreign policy...

On a Newsnight discussion with Nawaz, Azam Tamimi of the Muslim Brotherhood alleged the Quilliam Foundation comprised of neocons. Others have cited that the founders of Quilliam Foundation are no different to those contained in Dr Sa'id Al-Ghamdi’s doctorate, issued by Medina University, “Deviation from the Faith as Reflected in [Arab] Thought and Literature on Modernity”, which names more than 200 Arab intellectuals and authors as heretical, controversially making it permissible to kill them.
[91] A number of websites satirize the lack of originality and content whilst others have focused on exposing the antics and speeches of the founders for their distinctive lack of Islam thought.

Critique of the Quilliam Foundation or its founders is seen by the media as a hate campaign. Journalists have refrained from criticising the Foundation’s simplistic narratives, ties with radical scholars, extreme positions and indiscretions.
[92] This appears consistent with the Rand Corporation recommendations to expose shortcomings of extremists whilst providing platforms publicising views of secularists and modernists – the 9/11 bombers were widely reported as having visited nightclubs, Omar Bakri Mohammed’s comments about Jews were publicised as were the MCB’s attitudes to Holocaust Memorial Day and homosexuals.

The Muslim response has generally been outright rejection. From scholars, imams, religious leaders, organisations and communities, there has been condemnation for this organisation as the latest in a long line of (Western backed) Uncle Tom organisations, its views and the government’s attempts at propagating a neoconservative agenda. The Foundation however believes “the vast amount of supportive correspondence we receive bears out” facts to the contrary.
[93] This section reflects a sample of the views posted on internet forums and comment pages:

“In fact this is just a carbon copy of the RAND foundation in the US, which promotes Sufi-mystic Islam as being True Islam and everything else is non-Islamic according to them. Ironically this makes them a cult. But a Western backed, funded and friendly one.”

“I note that there [appears] to be a distinct dearth of invites for the Quilliam Foundation in places like Birmingham, Bradford, Manchester and Brick Lane.”

“The Quilliam Foundation's leading lights could not be less representative of mainstream Muslim opinion in Britain... Officials from Hazel Blears' communities department recently made clear to a Muslim organisation involved in youth work that it would need to line up with the Quilliam Foundation if it wanted government funding.”

“…chairman of the National Association of Muslim Police, Zaheer Ahmad, warned… while Husain had "few supporters within the Muslim community", some senior officers had been "seduced" by his "celebrity status" and "taken in by the stereotypical image of Islam he portrays". The dangers of trying to impose the voices you want to hear on the Muslim community should be obvious.”

“The community are not naive, only genuine, sincere and principled individuals can apply, not those who tarnish and attack entire movements which have been actively serving their respective Muslim and non-Muslim communities for nearly 50 years and have histories dating back hundreds of years…”

“And you really do need to get away from this idea that foreign policy is not in any way a cause for the rise is extremism. "Oh but extremism started way before 9/11". Yes, but western interference in the Islamic world didn't start with the invasion of Afghanistan!!!”


“Quilliam Foundation sound palatable as their surface arguments seem to make sense, however when you dig deeper they are full of holes, inconsistencies and overtly deterministic towards a pre-defined agenda of historical and theological revisionism.”
(Pickled Politics)[100]

Think tanks engage with issues and introduce clarification and precision to a debate avoiding bias and partisanship. According to critics the Quilliam Foundation has done little more than build emotive arguments,
[101] labelled opponents pejoratively and undertaken incessant public speeches.[102] Given the number, breadth and depth of issues addressed, surrounded by intellectual clutter, the critique has tried to maintain a focus on key issues intentionally. References have been provided for further reading.


“The West will conquer peoples, like it conquered communism, even if it means a confrontation with another civilisation, the Islamic one, stuck where it was 1,400 years ago…” (Silvio Berlusconi)

Contemporary Islam is engaged in a struggle over its values, politics, identity and place in the world. Since the demise of its moral and political leadership, the Ottoman Caliphate, the Muslim world experienced an inexorable decline in all spheres of social life. Secular elites imposed alien systems and promoted scholarship in accordance with their interests. Even reformists were split between the pro-elite modernists emphasising democracy, and activists calling for the supremacy of the Islamic scheme of life.
[104] The resumption of the Caliphate, unification of Muslim lands, and the application of Sharia is one that majority of Muslims agree upon.[105]

The US is increasing efforts to understand and impede its development. Having fought a long and bitter Cold War it is utilizing its confrontational experiences against the Muslim world.
[106] The US prefers a Muslim world that is compatible and subservient to the existing world order, hostile to one seeking change:[107]The Alliance has placed Islam as a target for its hostility in place of the Soviet Union.”[108] Bush has stated, “They hope to establish a violent political utopia across the Middle East, which they call Caliphate, where all would be ruled according to their hateful ideology[109] and “The militants believe that controlling one country will rally the Muslim masses, enabling them to overthrow all moderate governments in the region, and establish a radical Islamic empire that spans from Spain to Indonesia… they are utterly committed…[110] Tony Blair said Britain must confront “an evil ideology”, defining this as “the establishment of effectively Taliban States and Sharia law in the Arab world en route to one Caliphate of all Muslim nation[111] whilst Foreign Secretary Charles Clarke stated, "...there can be no negotiation about the re-creation of the Caliphate; there can be no negotiation about the imposition of Sharia (Islamic) law."[112] The think tank American Enterprise Institute[113] added, “Because Islamists base their legitimacy upon a higher power, they are intrinsically anti-democratic and unwilling to accept popular rebuke”,[114] representing essentialist arguments advocated by the likes of Pipes, Lewis and Indyk. These are having greater sway with US foreign policy as opposed to the contingencists like Esposito, Said and Piscatori.[115]

Yet the caliphate is esteemed by ordinary Muslims who regard themselves as members of a global Ummah, a community of believers that forms the heart of Islam. As earthly head of that community, the Caliph is cherished both as memory and ideal. That reservoir of respect represents a risk for the US administration as it addresses an issue closely watched by a global Islamic population of 1.2 billion. Most surveys show Muslims almost universally see the war on terrorism as a war on Islam.
[116] The American Enterprise Institute highlighted some of the greatest strategic threats to the US: [117]
a rising Chinese system of economic, scientific, and military power;
a resurgent autocratic Russia using energy wealth to rebuild military power;
an aggressive and dedicated effort by the irreconcilable wing of Islam to defeat the West, eliminate Israel, and impose a fascist Islamic dictatorship [Caliphate]…

It argued any US strategy would have to take into account all these threats and would have to be designed to overmatch all of them.
[118] The US envisages increased Islamic political and militant activism across the Muslim world and increased unrest for minority Muslim populations in Europe and North America. It thus seeks to engage with and encourage elements compatible with its vision for the world.

Numerous think tanks detail analysis of trends and positions of Muslim movements along with policy recommendations. Groups are positioned according to issues important to the West: political and individual freedom, education, status of women, criminal justice, legitimacy of reform and change and attitudes towards the West.
[119] Anticipating the inevitability of change in the Islamic world, the structures, policies and paradigms that maintained American hegemony are seen as needing renewal. New systems must reflect values of democracy and political freedom, along with economic improvements beyond the ruling elites.[120] Goals and values of potential allies and protégés must reflect this with strategies against opponents. Rand describes what such a strategy might look like:
• Support the modernists with a broad platform to articulate and disseminate their views,
• Support the secularists on a case-by-case basis.
• Back traditionalists to keep them viable against fundamentalists and to prevent a close alliance,
• Encourage the popularity and acceptance of Sufism,
• Oppose fundamentalists by exposing corruption, bias and inability to lead and govern. Encourage journalists to investigate corruption, hypocrisy and immorality...

Historically, the groups the UK government privileged were believed to somehow represent The Muslim Community.
[122] However, these groups historically comprised a coalition of competing interests that could not be brought in line with government requirements. It thus sought new groups that would call for its values absolutely and unrestrictedly.

Working with the government and attracting funds is competitive with proximity to the government bearing an inverse relationship on credibility. The MCB’s stance on the Iraq war saw the government replace them with the Sufi Muslim Council; suffering exposes in relation to their neo-conservative links and outright rejection by the Muslim community the Sufi Muslim Council was replaced by the newly founded Quilliam Foundation. With views mirroring government policy it has met with a warm reception both by the UK and US establishment; however reception amongst Muslims has not been so favourable.

Philosophical Beginnings

“We might say that the radical Islamist in a secularist country is like a person who has grown up in a house whose structure he does not like and who would like to take it over and demolish it and rebuild it to a different plan, but is quite willing to use some of the old materials in the process. In Iran the process has begun.” (W E Shepard)

What philosophy terms episteme is an intellectual construct, concerned with the scope and nature of knowledge, informing ethical positions built upon it (politics, economics, social constructs, law etc). All of us carry an episteme that informs and directs our views, whether we are able to articulate it or not. Its importance is paramount to any serious and significant intellectual discourse.

Hizb ut-Tahrir documents its epistemological positions in a number of publications,
[124] detailing clear paradigms of knowledge, thought and reason along with deconstruction of secular and Marxist positions. Bringing traditional Asharite theology into modernity, Hizb ut-Tahrir commences with establishing fundamental axioms on a rational basis which it uses to build an intellectual doctrine. This doctrine rationally concludes the necessity of an eternal creator, through demonstrable and empirically verified phenomenon, arguing revelation to be the correct basis for ethics.[125] It then follows the contours and fluctuations of revelation to construct its jurisprudence in a manner similar to that of the classical jurists, disagreeing with attempts at using crude and oversimplified principles such as utility or objectives (maqasid). It is neither crude nor simple, reflecting some of the most sophisticated thought in society. For that very reason, Muslim intellectuals gravitate towards Hizb ut-Tahrir and few move away from it.

The source of Quilliam Foundation's epistemological ideas appears to be the historical European compromises reached between the establishment and its challengers, found rooted in Egypt’s modern secular discourse. Commencing in the late nineteenth century, Mohammed Abdu and Rashid Rida who whilst “defending” Islam undertook a project to modernise it to match Western institutions and social processes. This project superimposed the transitory world of the nineteenth century on the extensive body of Islamic knowledge that had accumulated in a different milieu. These efforts had little impact at first, however were catalysed with the demise of the Ottoman Caliphate in 1924 and promotion of secular liberalism – particularly with a new breed of writers being pushed to the fore including Egyptian Ali Abd al-Raziq’s publication attacking Islamic politics for the first time in Muslim history.
[126] Subsequent secular writers including Farag Foda, al-Ashmawi, Muhamed Khalafallah, Taha Husayn and Husayn Amin et al have argued in similar tones. Having been marginalised in recent years by resurgent Muslim activists, support and platforms for the secularists are increasingly having to be provided by the Egyptian state (as is the case in the rest of the Arab world) - with ideas and terminology increasingly having to undergo revision – terms like “secular” (‘almani) in relation to the state are being replaced with the more acceptable “civil” (madani) – in vain attempts to remain relevant to the masses.[127]

Nawaz, the founder of the Quilliam Foundation, spent a number of years in an Egyptian prison where he came into contact with state sanctioned ideas, adopting them in a wholesale and uncritical manner. Binary arguments like scientific thought is the inspiration of many Islamists belies the fact that jurists like Nabhani and Mauwoodi were not scientists and Qutb was a writer. Much of his ideas appear to be influenced by writings of secularists like al-Ashmawi: “Islamists confuse Sharia and fiqh”, “Egyptian law is consistent with the Sharia”, “Governance is civil (secular) in Islam”, “There has never been a glorious Caliphate”, “Extremists are descendants of the earlier Khawarij” and “Religious governance is disastrous.

The Quilliam Foundation opposes Hizb ut-Tahrir’s epistemological outlook contending the standard Civitas view that an ideological mode of thought represses truth.
[129] Rashad Ali’s presentation at the Institute of Ideas states, “There is [sic] a number of reasons why they [Hizb ut-Tahrir] believe the Quran is divine and the prophetic narrations are divine… They have a set of intelligible arguments for this…[130] However, he provides no refutation or critique simply branding the ideas as “left-wing multi-culturism”[131] and “intuitively wrong”. Whilst acknowledging the role of intuition in human life, classical scholars like al-Ghazali and Ibn Taymiyyah rejected the fact that intuition (usually associated with mystics) could yield certain knowledge let alone provide an episteme.[132]

More particularly the Foundation appears to be building a Western pragmatic episteme inherited from American writers Peirce, James and Dewey.
[133] These writers recast traditional notions of truth, from being beliefs that concurred with reality or absolute/transcendental values, to subjective views based on their utility – resulting in a multitude of potential truths which were mutable and relative to conceptual schemes. Not only is truth determined according to its utility, the Foundation evaluates revelation according to its utility, rejecting the bulk of sharia due to, in its opinion, lack of utility in the changing world - a crude application of “instrumentalism”. This contrasts sharply with the Islamic view of truth (haqq) and falsehood (batil), which is deployed throughout the Quranic revelation, one which the Foundation rejects.

In conclusion, Quilliam Foundation’s publications provide little of value by way of epistemological discourse, its ideological underpinnings pragmatically lifted from Western political discourse, with no rigorous analysis or refutation of the "Islamist" philosophy, a pattern that recurs throughout its discourse.

Towards a Typology

“It is probably fair to say of labels such as "fundamentalist," "modernist," and "secularist," which are in common use today in writing about modern Islam, that we cannot live very easily with them, but that we certainly cannot live without them.” (W E Shepard)

Modern ideological and political thought in Islam can be described in terms of two separate but inter-related debates, one about secularism and westernization; the other about religious renewal and modernization. The first debate is about Western ideology, philosophy, civilisation and culture whilst the latter is about ijtihad, material technology and modern techniques of social organisation and mobilisation.
[135] The complexity of the Muslim response to Western political, cultural, military and economic encroachments over the last two centuries makes meaningful discourse difficult. Biases and political point scoring abound with labelling and categorisation used to stunt rather than further debate.

This section seeks to further the debate, identifying the current trends by considering the typologies that have been and are being used to provide some meaning to the plethora of thought in the Muslim world in comparison with those advocated by the Quilliam Foundation.

Typology of Islamic Activism

William Shepard’s research on typologies in the 1980s produced a typology that has not significantly changed in recent years – he placed secularists on one end of a continuum of totalism with Islamists at the other end and created a second dimension of modernity and placed traditionalists on the far extreme of that:
Secularists - At the extreme "left" of radical secularism, Islam is totally rejected even as "religion," somewhat to the right of this it is accepted as "religion" but rejected as the guide to public life,
Modernists - In between, there is some effort to have it both ways.
Islamists – Believe Islam is both religion and ideology.
Traditionalists - Respond to the Western challenge strictly in terms of the paradigms offered by the tradition for coping with adversity.[137]
Neo-traditionalism - May be viewed as a transitional stage on the way to secularism, modernism, or radical Islamism, but it is also possible that it may generate more permanent and distinctive types.

The Rand Corporation have provided a detailed analysis of trends in the struggle against Western hegemony,
[138] identifying four essential positions:
• Fundamentalists who reject contemporary Western culture, wanting an Islamic state that will implement Islamic law and morality.
• Traditionalists want a conservative society, suspicious of modernity, innovation, and change.
• Modernists want the Islamic world to become part of global modernity. They want to modernize and reform Islam to bring it into line with the age.
• Secularists want the Islamic world to accept a division of church and state in the manner of Western industrial democracies, with religion relegated to the private sphere.

The Crisis Group identified three similar distinctive types comprising:
Political exemplified by the Muslim Brotherhood, AKP in Turkey and the Party for Justice and Development in Morocco, whose purpose is to attain political power as opposed to religious proselytism. These generally accept the nation-state, operate within its constitutional framework, articulate a reformist vision and invoke universal democratic norms. The characteristic actor is the party-political militant.
Missionary exemplified by Tablighis and Salafis, where political power is not an objective; the overriding purpose is the preservation of the Muslim identity and the Islamic faith and moral order against unbelief. Characteristic actors are missionaries and the ulama.
Jihadists in three variants: internal (combating regimes), irredentist (to redeem land under occupation) and global (combating the West). The characteristic actor is the fighter.
Hoebink categorises the debate as being primarily between:
Modernists who stand for a belief in human moral autonomy and for the freedom of interpretation of the moral ideal of Islam in the changing conditions of life, and,
Fundamentalists who emphasize the subjectivity of human moral judgements and resist interpretation of the moral ideal for fear of its manipulation by worldly powers.

Traditionalists allow interpretation only in novel cases but forbid it in cases that have already been interpreted by earlier generations, arguing historically Islamic traditionalism emerged as a compromise between the demands of the advocates and opponents of interpretation.

The Quilliam typology comprises a crude and oversimplistic binary Islamist vs traditional Muslims paradigm lifted from Civitas.
[141] However these categories are not self-contained with key features appearing in each category. For instance, scholars like al-Goma are seen as traditional however he exhibits irredentist jihadist views from the Islamist category. Existing Muslim regimes and state institutions are seen as legitimate by parties across both categories however both acknowledge the need for sharia and ijtihad etc.[142]

This typology is then used to explain phenomena as diverse as causes of terrorism through to analysis of divine text. Before the US Senate Committee for instance, Nawaz argues that Islamism as an ideology interacts with those who feel a crisis exists to create terrorists - however, he fails to explain that the vast majority of such cases do not lead to terrorism, thus the use of the Islamism category is too wide and specification thereof is necessary.

In conclusion, the Foundation’s homogenisation of a vast array of socio-political thought, responses and approaches provides a typology that is totally unsuitable for any discourse on the subject.

Faith, Religion and Ideology

“I think it is fair to say that no secularisation has taken place in the world of Islam: that the hold of Islam over its believers is strong, and in some ways stronger than it was 100 years ago. Somehow or other Islam is secularisation-resistant, and the striking thing is that this remains true under a whole range of political regimes.” (Ernest Gellner)

The Quilliam Foundation, like minority modernists,
[144] believes Islam to be a faith like other religions, a personal and private religion as opposed to an ideology.[145] A review of its advisors highlights the source of this perspective - the Policy Exchange describes Islam as "a religion practiced by Muslims worldwide" and Islamism as "a political ideology that aims to create a state and society in strict conformity with religious doctrine." Civitas describes Islam as “the Arabic word denoting submission or self-surrender to Allah as revealed through the message and life of his Prophet Mohammed” and Islamism as “radical, militantly ideological versions of Islam, as interpreted by the practitioners and in which violent actions such as terrorism, suicide bombings or revolutions are explicitly advocated, practised and justified using religious terminology”.[146]

The terms faith and religion are commonly used to denote Christianity and Judaism and ideology for Capitalism and Communism. Muslims have traditionally used the term “deen” which does not immediately translate to any of these terms, the rendering “way of life” usually being used translators. These terms when used by Muslims have resulted in some confusion, both in terms of their definition, and more concerningly, statements of fact about Islam.
[147] Imam Zaid Shakir’s unsuccessful attempt at distinguishing religion from ideology, is promoted on the Quilliam Foundation’s website (his scathing criticism of secularism has however been omitted):[148]
“[an ideology is] any systematic and all-embracing political doctrine, which claims to give a complete and universally applicable theory of man and society, and to derive there from a programme of political action.…This limitation to the political realm marks where Islam parts with ideology. Islam is not simply concerned with man’s political condition; it is also concerned with his spiritual condition, and at the heart of the Islamic call is a normative program for spiritual salvation...Moreover, ideologies are also utilitarian in that the doctrines they espouse are informed as much by their effectiveness as they are by any overarching principles. Few ideologies would deviate far from the Machiavellian maxim that “the ends justify the means”.”

This section seeks to clarify the meanings and usages of the terms ideology, faith and religion.


There is no agreed definition of the term ideology only a set of rival definitions. "Ideology is the most elusive concept in the whole of the social sciences."(
David McLellan, 1995). As Andrew Heywood explains in his primer, "Political Ideologies", this has been partially due to the contentious link between theory and reality, and partially due to the use of the term as a political device to condemn and criticize rival belief systems - visible in the Quilliam Foundation's discourse.

The term ideology has been defined as:
The body of doctrine, myth, belief etc., that guides an individual, social movement, institution, class, or large group.[150]
a systematically developed worldview oriented toward stimulating and guiding social change[151]
The body of ideas reflecting the social needs and aspirations of an individual, group, class, or culture or a set of doctrines or beliefs that form the basis of a political, economic, or other system.[152]
A system of beliefs or theories, usually political, held by an individual or a group.[153]
a system of ideas, beliefs and myths justifying or attacking a given social order[154]
The important 'belief systems' adhered to by groups or whole societies - it is our 'world view' or 'mind set' concerning how things are and ought to be.[155]
Those underlying assertions, propositions, or kernels of personal-truth that integrate and organise each individual’s expressed socio-political attitudes.[156]

The term ideology can be said to denote fundamental ideas that provide belief systems for individuals/ groups. The term has frequent usage in relation to secular or materialistic systems but is not limited by this usage nor does it pose any contextual problems when transferring its use to the Islamic context. Classical literature reveals a spiritual creed (aqeedah/imaan),
[157] a set of fundamental and decisive concepts, providing guidance through values and ideas enforceable and regulated via political authority. These ideas include both natural matters (morality, ethics, socio-political, law etc) as well super-natural matters (meta-physics, the hereafter etc).

Labelling Islam as an ideology importantly results in no loss of any aspect of the subject matter nor does it introduce anything unwarranted, adhering to accepted notions of typology (jami’ wa mani’). Those who deem ideologies are limited to a political realm ignore their comprehensive nature.
[158] Some instances of ideologies have Machiavellian tendencies however this is a characteristic of an instance and not a necessary aspect of an ideology’s definition.

Al-Nabhani defines ideology (mabda'a) as “…a rational doctrine from which a system emanates. The ‘aqeedah (doctrine) is a comprehensive idea about man, life and the universe… As for the system that emanates from this doctrine, it is the solutions for man's problems, the method for implementing those solutions, preserving the doctrine and conveying the ideology to others.”
[159] These systems manage three relationships, individual (morality), creator (worships) and social (systems of life). Activists like Hasan al-Banna, wrote, 'we believe Islam is an all-embracing concept which regulates every aspect of life, adjudicating on every one of its concerns and prescribing for it a solid and rigorous order.”[160]

The Quilliam Foundation argues that the term ideology does not appear in the Quran/Sunnah or that its modern day Arabic equivalent, ideolgiyya, indicates that the notion has not been addressed by revelation. (It ignores commenting on the Arabic equivalent mabda'). However this argument is fundamentally flawed and disingenuous and continues to be used by Nawaz despite being exposed and refuted (e.g., Well known terms that the Foundation readily accepts as part of its "religion" were never seen or used in the sources - e.g., asbab al-nuzul (causes of revelation), maqaasid (objectives of revelation), mushaf (copy of Quran) or aqeedah (Islamic creed). Islamic scholars and jurists created technical terms for ease of discourse, however ensured that normative positions were determined by revelation - a matter misunderstood by the Foundation.

In conclusion, the definition and the use of the term ideology in both cases is acceptable, and to assert Islam is an ideology is valid. Restricting it to a political ideology is no doubt controversial, however it is an irrelevant debate as Islamists do not argue such.

and Faith

The term religion has been defined and used as:
Theological beliefs, private prayers and ritual worships.[161]
A set of beliefs concerning cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, esp. when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.[162]
Belief in and reverence for a supernatural power(s) regarded as creator and governor of the universe or a personal or institutionalized system grounded in such belief and worship.[163]
A strong belief in a supernatural power or powers that control human destiny.[164]
Veneration or reverence of the Supreme Being, and love of his character; loving obedience to the will of God, and earnest devotion to his service.[165]

And faith has been defined and used as:
A belief that is not based on proof or belief in God or in the doctrines or teachings of religion or a system of religious belief.[166]
Confident belief in the truth, value, or trustworthiness of a person, idea or belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence or the body of dogma of a religion.[167]
A system of religious belief of any kind.[168]
An institution to express belief in a divine power.[169]

The term religion emphasizes belief and reverence of a supernatural power and the system that regulates that relationship (e.g., the church in Christianity). The term faith focuses on the belief of a God or associated doctrines. Either term is acceptable in Christianity, which displays a clear dichotomy between God and Caesar due to its early political formative experiences – something absent in the Muslim historical experience.
[170] As such, neither of these two terms have the propensity to provide a sufficiently comprehensive definition that includes the socio-political dimensions that are present in Islam. As such, it is inaccurate to label Islam a religion or faith, despite the fact it exhibits aspects or components that may be loosely termed religion or faith (e.g., tawhid, worships, morality etc).

The Quilliam Foundation’s opposition to the term ideology appears to be a political stance rather than an intellectual position. Its lack of definitions and semantic analysis is something one would not expect of a think tank. Comments like “Islam, like other world faiths, is a religion, not a political ideology
[171] and “the Islamist ideology is incompatible with Islam” and “[Hizb ut-Tahrir state] we need a Prophet to define a political ideology[172] show the argument to be disingenuous – objecting to defining Islam as a “political ideology” rather than defining Islam as an “ideology”. The attempt reminiscent of modernists suggests Islam is not inherently political and Muslim activists are attempting to politicise it through the use of ideologies. The same argument is presented by neoconservative politicians:
“…respect for Islam as a religion of peace suggests by implication that Islamic activism in general is un-Islamic, a perverse exploitation of religion for political ends, and that jihadi activism in particular -- conceived as merely the extremist end of the Islamist spectrum - is simply evil. But while it is rooted in the understandable concern of Western governments to make clear that "the war against terrorism" is not a war of religion, this approach renders jihadi activism inexplicable in terms of cause and effect…
Since Islam is above all a religion of law, all forms of Islamic activism - including the government-sponsored activism of "official Islam" - are naturally political to a degree. Secondly, to suggest that Islam is a religion of peace that has been "hijacked" by jihadis is in effect to imply that jihad has no place in the Islamic tradition, whereas it has a very clear and time-honoured - but also rule-bound - place. For the US president or the British prime minister to deny this is for them to claim to be the arbiters of what true Islam is, a remarkable claim by any standard, and one which ensures that official Western discourse can have little or no purchase on the reflexes of the populations of the Muslim world.”

In conclusion, Islam is neither a mutually exclusive secular faith nor political system – it is and has historically been seen as a fusion of the two, meeting the needs of individuals and society according to divine premises without contradiction.

Politics of Terminology

“The fundamental malaise of modern Islam is a sense that something has gone wrong with Islamic history. The fundamental problem of modern Muslims is how to rehabilitate that history: to set it going again in full vigour, so that Islamic society may once again flourish as a divinely-guided society should and must.” (William Cantwell Smith)

Use of terminology is no doubt important, informing and directing discourse. The Quilliam Foundation’s use of terminology is often vague, unclear and contradictory – with attempts at politicising the language appearing to be focused on countering dissenting voices. Critics argue the abuse of terminology, including hijacking of terms like “Islamist”, demonstrates its political nature whilst rendering its critique of its opponents questionable. This section considers two of the most common and important terms in this discourse to illustrate this.


“The fact that radical Islamism takes a position on the place of the Sharia clearly and diametrically opposed to secularism and its tendency to be intolerant of other views allows it easily to be labelled "fanaticism" or "extremism," but also helps make it a suitable vehicle for movements of protest or revolution.” (W E Shepard)

Extremism is a term used to describe the actions or ideologies outside the perceived political centre of a society – it is almost always exonymic and almost invariably used pejoratively. The term is used to describe those who have become radicalized, in some way, even though the term radical originally meant to go to the root of a (social) problem. Many researchers object to the term as "at best this characterization tells us nothing substantive about the people it labels; at worst it paints a false picture."

The Quilliam Foundation argues that “[Islamists] are extreme because of their rigidity in understanding politics
[177] – likewise it can be argued the Quilliam Foundation are extreme because they staunchly and rigidly believe in secularism.

Nearly any movement that brought about significant change has not been at the political centre, but at one extreme or another - this includes figures ranging from the Prophet Mohammed(saw), Martin Luther, America’s founding fathers, the Suffragettes, Nelson Mandella, through to the Communists. Those whom Husain sees as advocates of peace were also extremists of their time – “The discourse of peaceful political change comes from great people like Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, and Aung Sun Su Chi” - interestingly excluding the Prophet Mohammed (saw).

Laird Wilcox, a researcher specializing in the study of political fringe movements, defines extremism by identifying 21 traits of "political extremists".
[179] He argues we define as extreme our opponents’ positions and our positions as reasonable and moderate. It is not a position a group takes that makes it extreme, but the styles. The key styles comprise those that involve fanaticism, hatred, intolerance, and a strong tendency to oppress differing viewpoints. Applying these styles to the pronouncements and publications of the Quilliam Foundation paradoxically classify it as an extremist organisation (references follow each criteria).[180]

Laird Wilcox's Traits of Political Extremism applied to the Quilliam Foundation:

1. A tendency to character assassination [181]

2. Name calling and labelling [182]

3. The making of irresponsible, sweeping generalizations [183]

4. The failure to give adequate proof of assertions made [184]

5. Advocacy of double standards [185]

6. A tendency to view opponents and critics as essentially evil [186]

7. A Manichean (bipolar) world view [187]

8. Advocating censorship and/or repression of opponents and critics 188]

9. Identifying themselves by reference to whom their enemies are [189]

10. A tendency to substitute intimidation for argument [190]

11. Widely use slogans, buzzwords and "thought-terminating clichés" [191]

12. Claim some kind of moral or other superiority over others [192]

14. Bad things justified in the service of a supposedly "good" cause [193]

15. Emotional responses as opposed to reasoning and logical analysis [194]

Muslim Jurists have historically viewed those who advocated ideas without justification from the texts as extremists – whether they were the Khwarijites, the Ismailis, and the modern Young Turks. They have always been reluctant to denounce those who base their actions on a theological extraction from the divine texts. Even extreme positions in the classical legal schools of law have been tolerated and rarely condemned.


“The difference between Islam and most other religions is that it did not content itself with merely establishing acts of worship and abandon the needs of society to a Caesar... Rather, Islam established ways of conduct, relationships, and rights and obligations for the individual vis-a-vis members of his family and the nation and for the nation vis-a-vis other nations.” (Abd al-Rahman Azzam)

"In order to become equal partners in civilization with the Europeans, we must literally and forthrightly do everything that they do; we must share with them the present civilization, with all its pleasant and unpleasant sides" (Taha Hussein)

In charting Muslim political discourse, a number of terms have been considered by researchers. Terms like “fundamentalist” have been rejected for their pejorative connotations whilst terms like “Islamists”, though commonly used, harbour other hidden problems. Islamism
[197] has been defined as:
“the belief that Islam should guide social and political as well as personal life”,[198]
“Islam must be the ideology that guides society as a whole and that law must be in conformity with the Islamic sharia”,[199]
“a movement that seeks cultural differentiation from the West and reconnection with the pre-colonial symbolic universe”,[200]
Islam in political mode,[201]
“the whole body of thought which seeks to invest society with Islam which may be integrist, but may also be traditionalist, reform-minded or even revolutionary”,[202] and
"a political ideology that aims to create a state and society in strict conformity with religious doctrine."[203]

Secularists are usually defined in converse to “Islamists” as “any view that openly rejects Islamism
[204] or “any view that would follow an ideology other than Islam in most areas of public life[205] – the Quilliam Foundation being amongst the secularists by this definition.

Popular analyses of the term have generally explained it with reference to cultural, religious, or regional concerns, the nature of Arab civilization, the tenets of Islam, the Arab-Israeli conflict. The first problem with these definitions is they assume Islam is not inherently political – which it is. And secondly, they designate groups as diverse as 19th century reformers, mystics (sufis), warriors and educationists through to contemporary movements
[206] as broad as Turkey's elected AK Party and al-Qa'ida – assuming all forms of “Islamism” are politically equal which they are not.[207] Such monolithic definitions do not assist in clarity of thought, debate or policy prescriptions.

The Quilliam Foundation introduces its own definitions, stating, “The modernist attempt to claim that political sovereignty belongs to God, that the Shari'ah equates to state law, and it is a religious duty on all Muslims to create a political entity that reflects the above… Islamism is the belief that Islam is a political ideology
[208] – without citing which “Islamist” organisation believes Islam is solely a “political ideology”. Husain’s definition of Islamism comprises: [209]
the rejection of 1400 years of Muslim traditional scholarship and re-reading of scripture with political lenses (the Foundation uses politically “secular” lenses when interpreting revelation)
a world view that's based on eventually at some stage confronting the West (missing the US essentialist-contingencist debate with the essentialists driving US foreign policy into a confrontation based on the success of such an approach against the Russians in the Cold War)
the rejection of mainstream Muslims giving them all sorts of labels such as 'non-practising Muslims', 'jahils', 'partial Muslims'… (the Foundation calls its opponents non-Muslims)
those individuals from al-Qaida to Ikhwan who believe sovereignty is for God (ignoring the breadth of movements covering all Islamic orientations spanning two centuries)
underwritten by the works of particular writers - Mawdudi, Syed Qutb, al-Nabhani and Fathi Yaqoun (ignoring the jurists, scholars, historians, journalists, politicians etc who have written on the topic for over two centuries)

These definitions simply dichotomise Muslims into two camps, the Islamists and non-Islamists. - the non-Islamists being "ordinary decent Muslims" - a meaningless definition, but one which Western leaders support in a dichotomised narrative:
"…on the one hand, Islam qua religion and its adherents - 'ordinary decent Muslims' for whom 'Islam' is a matter of personal piety, not political commitment - and, on the other hand, 'Islamism' or 'political Islam' - by implication an affair of a minority of agitators exploiting the faith of their fellow-Muslims for political ends, stirring up resentment, constituting a problem for Western interests and 'friendly' Muslim states alike."

Some scholarly treatments of the subject have dug deeper and perceptively analyzed particular national Islamist movements and the regimes they confront.
[210] The ICG's report makes the point:
"…the conception of 'political Islam' inherent in this dichotomy is unhistorical as well as self-serving. The term 'political Islam' is an American coinage which came into circulation in the wake of the Iranian revolution. It implied or presupposed that an 'apolitical Islam' had been the norm until Khomeini turned things upside down. In fact, Islam had been a highly politicised religion for generations before 1979. It only appeared to have become apolitical in the historically specific and shortlived heyday of secular Arab nationalism between 1945 and 1970."

The ICG thus suggests a more meaningful and useful definition of Islamist, terming it synonymous with “Islamic activism”:
“the active assertion and promotion of beliefs, prescriptions, laws or policies that are held to be Islamic in character.”

The Foundation’s consideration of the “Islamist” chain is arbitrarily cut short at al-Banna, Qutb and Mawdudi, believing these to be the causes of modern Islamism. Were it to follow the chain further back, it would identify nineteenth century modernist reformers like Afghani, Abdu and Rida who not only inspired these writers but a number of modernist and secular writers such as al-Raziq, Hanafi and Khalid et al whose arguments informs the Foundation’s ideology.

Strangely, the Foundation argues most violence emanates from those who aspire to an “Islamist” agenda, and that most conservative Muslims oppose Islamism. Unfortunately no evidence or citations are provided for such remarks.
[213] According to the Quilliam Foundation's play on terms, if one defines Islam as a secular faith, this would not in theory instigate violence, as violence is in response to political injustice which faith does not address - conveniently placing the blame on Islamists. However, the Quran in over a hundred verses justifies the use of force and violence, jihad, which makes it difficult to argue that Islam has no connection whatsoever with those using violence.

More interestingly, when one defines Islamism in such a manner as to try to encompass all those who undertake violent actions, such statements become meaningless tautologies. In this the Quilliam Foundation reiterates neoconservative views. The American Enterprise Institute wrote, “They are using the tried-and-true methods of the Bolsheviks, and the many revolutionaries who have followed in their wake, as they attempt to accomplish this mission.”
[214] The Foundation attempts to argue the same point by retrofitting arbitrary points from Muslim activist theology. In a likewise fashion, one could selectively retrofit their quotes and argue Quilliam Foundation is a socialist organisation. The point is that it must be shown that Muslim activists actually adopted socialist material, not that there are simply some similarities. This is problematic when considering Hizb ut-Tahrir as its founder Al-Nabhani was a graduate with degrees in Islamic Law, Tafseer and Seerah from Egypt’s al-Azhar University prior to its reorganisation in the 1930s. His reconstruction of philosophy, politics, law and theology from divine texts is presented in detail in his books.[215] Likewise, Mawdudi was a jurist of Deobandi origins with a similar approach to the problem to Nabhani.

The Quilliam Foundation argues Hizb ut-Tahrir's “Islamism” is a post-colonial ideology, at odds with fourteen centuries of Muslim scholarship. What scholarship Hizb ut-Tahrir contradicts is unclear as the only paper Nawaz has written on theology was refuted as ahistorical, politically motivated and self-serving as well as being discredited for its intellectual dishonesty, misrepresentations and misinterpretations of classical scholarship
[216] (akin to critique levelled against his colleague Husain).[217] Contradicting Nawaz, Husain in his book confirmed Hizb ut-Tahrir adopted from classical scholarship in much of their works – as such, the allegation appears disingenuous. Little research material exists that has critiqued Hizb ut-Tahrir theology in any depth[218] – probably because it is little more than a traditional fusion of the Shaffite legal school of law with Asharite theology.[219]

These allegations are also a strange inversion of reality – the Quilliam Foundation is attempting to fuse Islam with western secularism contradicting classical scholarship it asserts it follows. "If militant Islam is the problem, then the opposite, moderate Islam, must be the solution," concludes neoconservative Daniel Pipes. And the Quilliam Foundation, as with secularists in general,
[220] fall into this camp, busy creating a new ideology, a grand theory that seeks to replace traditional Caliphate theory with secular political thought - one where the Islamic political narrative of “God created Adam(as) and made him his Khalifah on earth…[221] is replaced with, “Man is born free yet everywhere he is in chains…[222] Such ideas are seen as radical and extreme by Muslims. Thus, the play on terminology appears to be more political than a statement of fact.

In conclusion, the Quilliam Foundation adds little to the existing debate or literature, advocating the dichotomy narrative of Western leaders that “ordinary decent Muslims” are apolitical and “Islamists” are a problem. Muslim activists have after decades of activities undoing the colonialist hegemony, made their views, theology and politics mainstream – it is the Foundation’s views that are now on the edges of the mainstream.

Political Thought

“…fundamentalist political thought needs to be understood as an apparently compelling… ethicopolitical vision for the future, one that, furthermore, is a part of a broader critique of rationalism and modernity that we in the West not only recognize, but in which we often participate…” (R Euben)

Political philosophy is the study of fundamental and normative questions about the state, government, politics, liberty, justice, property, rights, law and the enforcement of a legal code by authority: what they are, why (or even if) they are needed, what makes a government legitimate, what rights and freedoms it should protect and why, what form it should take and why, what the law is, and what duties citizens owe to a legitimate government, if any, and when it may be legitimately overthrown—if ever.

What is Quilliam’s position on any of this? “Islam has no role in politics” and sovereignty is not solely for God. Secular democracy is advocated in place of the classical Islamic theology of the Caliphate and existing dictatorial post-colonial regimes in the Muslim world are legitimate.


The etymology of “sovereignty” is derived from the old French soverainéte loosely meaning ‘supreme power’.
[224] Modern usage emerges from the feudal system where authority was organised hierarchically with barons, dukes and counts at the bottom and the king at the apex of the system. Each member of the nobility had full authority in his domain.

The first modern definition was phrased by the jurist Jean Bodin, “the greatest power to command
[225] referring to an unalienable, absolute and unlimited right of command placed in the national King’s hands – secularising the theological concept of sovereignty. Later theorists including Thomas Hobbes, Jean Jacques Rousseau and John Austin confirmed similar definitions differing on who ought to possess sovereignty. This appears to be a normative issue determined by ideology. Critics have disputed theories based on nation states possessing absolute sovereignty due to issues arising in relation to the community of states, along with scenarios where there are a multitude of bodies in one state operating with simultaneous “sovereignty” in their own spheres. [226]

Muslim thinkers, the most well known being Ibn Khaldun, historically utilised the terms mulk, hukm and sulta for political power, the Islamic manifestation termed Khilafah.
[227] Although the Caliph was not the source of law, its essential function was to use its power to execute the sharia laws. If sovereignty is understood to mean the highest, greatest and final political power it comes close to mulk. However, mulk has never been seen as absolute and unlimited, being seen as enforcing law rather than making it. This is the difference between mulk and sovereignty.

Husain and Nawaz argue against fundamental notions such as “sovereignty is for God”, basing the argument on the fact that the Arabic term siyaadah does not appear in the Quran – failing to note that technical terms used by jurists were coined to reflect concepts found in the revelation and usually did not appear in divine texts. Al-Nabhani uses the term siyadah for sovereignty whereas Syed Qutb and Mawdudi use the term hakimiyyat – all cite verses where judgment (hukm) is ascribed to Allah alone (12:40, 12:67, 5:44, 5:45, and 5:47).
[228] This point has not been addressed by the Foundation.

The Islamic Caliphate

"(Without the Khalifa) the judges will be suspended, the Wilayaat (provinces) will be nullified, ... the decrees of those in authority will not be executed and all the people will be on the verge of Haraam (committing unlawful acts)" (Imam al-Ghazali)

Muslim scholarship confirmed the need for law and order, governance, and regulation of society.
[229] The nature of governance was articulated in the Caliphate theology[230] by Sunni Scholars and the Imamate theology amongst Shi’i scholars, the key difference being whether the Caliph must be from the descendants of the Prophet(saw).

The Caliph is defined as the moral and temporal leader of the Muslim ummah, whose role is to implement the Sharia, protect the frontiers,
[231] and organise a global Islamic call through diplomacy and warfare.[232] The fundamental principles of Islamic governance comprised: sovereignty is for God (hakimiyyat Allah),[233] authority for the ummah (sultan lilummah) and the Caliph is contracted to implement and enforce the sharia with the responsibility of accountability resting on the ummah. The Caliph represented God’s shadow on earth, and was responsible for preserving rights and dealing with injustices. He would have an advisory body which would also represent and account him on behalf of the ummah. None of this was ever in any serious dispute amongst the classical jurists. As an example of the jurist’s views, Ibn Taymiyyah wrote:
“Definitely the sultan is a servant of God, created by Him, always in need of Him, and cannot dispense with Him. But there are some qualities possessed by the sultan like ability, authority protection, support and other attributes of mastery (su’dad) and lordship (samadiyya) on which rests the control and welfare of the people. That is the reason why he resembles the shadow of God on earth; besides he is the most effective cause to put the affairs of the people in order… However if there is no shadow there will be complete disorder. That is a case similar to the situation if God does not exist, because God is the One who sustains all mankind.”

Differences have been expressed on ancillary aspects of theory and implementation details. Mawardi for instance focused on the Abbasid rule in contradistinction to the Fatamid pretenders in his political discussions of the twelfth century.
[235] Al-Nabhani takes Islamic law and uses it to show how the Caliphate would be implemented in contemporary Muslim societies and how it would deal with problems.[236] The divine evidences used for this form of government included:

“Indeed, we have revealed to you the book with the truth so that you may rule between mankind by that which Allah has shown you” (Quran 4:105)

“So rule between them by that which Allah has revealed, and follow not their desires, but beware of them in case they seduce you from just some part of that which Allah has revealed to you” (Quran 4:49).

“Whosoever does not rule by that which Allah has revealed, they are disbelievers (Kafiroon)… the zaalimoon (oppressors)… the fasiqoon (evil doers)” (Quran 4. 5:44-47)

“When the oath of allegiance has been taken for two Khalifs, kill the latter of them” [Muslim]

“Whosoever comes to you while your affairs has been united under one man, intending to break your strength or dissolve your unity, kill him” [Muslim]

“The children of Israel have been governed by Prophets; whenever a Prophet died another Prophet succeeded him; but there will be no prophet after me. There will soon be Khulafa’a and they will number many (in one time); they asked: What then do you order us? He (saw) said: Fulfil allegiance to them, the first of them, the first of them, and give them their dues; for verily Allah will ask them about what he entrusted them with” [Muslim]

“The one who removes his hand from obedience he will meet Allah without a proof for himself' and Whosoever dies without a bay'ah (to a Khalifah) on his neck dies the death of Jahiliyyah” [Muslim]

"Whoever pledged allegiance to an Imam giving him the clasp of his hand and the fruit of his heart, he should obey him as long as he can, and if another comes to dispute with him, you must strike the neck of the latter." [Muslim]

"Whosoever dies and he does not have over him an Imaam, he dies the death of Jahilyyah." [Ahmad]

Abu Bakr replied: "It is forbidden for Muslims to have two Amirs (rulers)..."

Umar advised these six people to select a Khaleefah, and appointed to them a three day time limit. After a long talk with them he said: "When I die, consult for three days, and let Suhaib (in these days) lead the Muslims in prayer. Do not let the fourth day come without having an Ameer upon you."

Ali ibn abi Taalib (ra) said, "The people will not be straightened except by an Imaam (Khaleefah), whether he is good or bad." (Bayhaqi, No. 14286, Kanz ul-ummal)

Numerous jurists supported and substantiated the idea of the Caliphate. According to the Mufassir (exegete) Al-Qurtubi, when referring to “And when your Lord said to the angels, I am going to place in the earth a Khalifa” Quran(30:2), "This Ayah (verse) is a source in the selection of an Imaam, and a Khaleef (Caliph), he is listened to and he is obeyed, for the word is united through him, and the Ahkam (laws) of the Caliph are implemented through him, and there is no difference regarding the obligation of that between the Ummah, nor between the Imams except what is narrated about al-Asam, the Mu'tazzili." He also said: "The Khilafah (Caliphate) is the pillar upon which other pillars rest."

For al-Nawawi, "(The scholars) consented that it is an obligation upon the Muslims to select a Khalif."

According to al-Ghazali, when writing of the potential consequences of losing the Caliphate, "The judges will be suspended, the Wilayaat (provinces) will be nullified, ... the decrees of those in authority will not be executed and all the people will be on the verge of Haraam (commiting unlawful acts)".

For Imam al-Mawardi, "The contract of the Imamah (leadership) for whoever is standing with it is an obligation by Ijmaa'a (consensus)."

Imam Ahmed ibn Hanbal, said, "The Fitna (mischief and tribulations) occurs when there is no Imaam established over the affairs of the people."

Al-Jaziri said regarding the four Imams: "The Imams agree that the Imamah (Leadership) is an obligation, and that the Muslims must appoint an Imam who would implement the deen's rites, and give the oppressed justice against the oppressors."

The Quilliam Foundation opposes this entire body of jurisprudence and history – however have yet to publish any detailed works. Its critique that there was no glorious caliphate is misconceived. As prophesised and addressed by a number of diving texts, no ruler, bureaucrat or politician was or could be perfect and as such processes of accountability and advice were ordained. However, after stripping revisionist accounts from the various periods of Muslim history
[238] one notes an impressive history which achieves genuine continuity and exemplifies the application of Islam that few civilisations in human history can match.

In conclusion, the Caliphate system historically has been an essential part of the body of Islam. Its purpose was to promulgate a universal moral order; arguably similar in perspective, if not content, to other religious traditions and to policy making based on natural law arguments. Western scholars and think tanks are beginning to consider the policy implications of a future Caliphate and potential convergence points across the political, social and economic spheres.
[239] The Quilliam Foundation’s rejection of it is untenable marginalising it in any meaningful debate about the future of the Muslim world.

Secularism, Democracy and Capitalism

“When the Austrians elected a government that displeased the Eurocrats, the latter decided that Austria must be punished by sanctions, despite being a member of the Union. And when the European process has required a referendum in order to proceed to its next stage, a 'No' has never been accepted. The Danes and the Irish have tried saying no, only to be told that they must try again.” (R Scruton)

Democracy is a system of government by which political power (sovereignty and authority) is retained by the people and exercised either directly by citizens or through their elected representatives. It is premised on the belief that humans are fallible and no one should be trusted with too much power – instead, it attempts to mediate knowledge through discussion, resulting in a world of relativity. Despite its various forms, its key features comprise separation of powers,
[241] elections, freedoms, human autonomy from the moral authority of God (secularism), separation of state and religious authority (laicism)[242] and political pluralism.

The West promotes this system and its values as universal and something to be aspired to – despite its Judaeo-Christian traditions and Hellenic origins. A review of the literature indicates this is far from the truth with a number of disillusioned western writers including George Bernard Shaw and Julianne Huxley. Of the numerous political philosophies and models, the democratic form is one normative form out of many possibilities. The liberal-democratic paradigm has been questioned in relation to the growing awareness and differences between Catholic and liberal ideals and US and papal foreign policies, stating “this would represent not only the return of history; it would be something of a return of antiquity as well.”

Furthermore, there is considerable lack of conceptual clarity resulting in differing versions and interpretations, for instance:
Where does sovereignty rest – the state, the masses or their representatives?[244]
Does secularism mean the separation of church and state or does it mean there should be no public manifestations of religion in civil society and life?[245]
Must the ruling party be supported by majority of society or the one that gathers most votes, despite those votes representing a minority?
• How does one prevent tyranny of the majority?
Must the executive, judiciary and legislature be separately appointed (US) or not (UK)?
• Does one allow positive or negative freedom, or both?
Do the voter’s interests come first for their political representatives or does the party whip decide the party’s interests for them?

The Caliphate model has been criticised by the Quilliam Foundation as “…expansionist, totalitarian, Islamist state in the Middle East with jihad as its foreign policy…
[246] ignoring researchers who criticise democracy of “being the tyranny of a majority on a minority”. Researchers have concluded that neither authoritarian nor democratic models necessarily lead to a successful economy or progress. Each case has to be judged on its own merits. For instance, there is still significant poverty in many allegedly “democratic” countries, with corruption, alienation and big business dominating political decision making – India and the Philippines being cases in question. Authoritarian or totalitarian countries have created significant development, independence and security for their counties along with progress and prosperity – examples include the UAE, Cuba and China. “With Capitalism being implemented in nearly all countries around the world just 1% of the world's population controls 40% of the world's wealth, whilst 50% of the world's population has a meagre 1%. As one looks at the world in which over 3 billion people live on less than two dollars a day one concludes that the West's leadership of the world has failed to address mankind's problems. The West cannot excuse itself; it has had ample time to apply its ideas and values over the last few centuries.[247]

Furthermore, most countries are suspicious of the free market policies that Western states advocate given the protectionism they practiced early in their own histories (as well as currently) before developing strong economies and the dominance of the economy by a small number of wealthy individuals and organisations. Critics have noted:
…that had Europe (and later North America) not become filthy rich by exploiting most of the world since the 18th century, there would be a lot more poverty in our part of the world, far more unrest and we would very quickly see that our dogmatic clinging to 'freedom' and 'democracy' is an irrational leap of faith which is difficult to justify.

Likewise claims for free and fair elections, free speech and a free press are seen with cynicism given the limited number of political parties that dominate the political scene and the close relationship most media owners have with big business and the government.
…David Irving and Ernst Zündel, both who have been imprisoned for not conforming to the official, orthodox version of the Holocaust and as such have been continuously persecuted for their "heresy." Yet those who printed the Danish cartoons were hailed as heroes and defenders of "free speech." This is the greatest hypocrisy.

The Islamic Caliphate model fuses religion and politics whereas western democracy requires a distinct separation, echoing the ‘Render…to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s’ (Matthew 22:21). One Caliph who holds real authority as head of state is unacceptable to western democracy, where the president or prime minister is first amongst equals.
Polls throughout the Muslim world
[251] claim a majority of Muslims want a Caliphate as opposed to a minority who would like to see the form of government Quilliam Foundation desire. The FIS experience with democracy in Algeria in 1991 resulted in elections being cancelled and the military blocking them from power following their electoral victory. This along with the recent Turkish experience makes it clear that the illusion of democracy will not provide any of the necessary institutional changes required nor allow new political actors into governance, preserving the existing post-colonial inspired status quo.

What are the objections of Muslim activists to secularism? A basic premise is the idea that the source of strength of a society is primarily located, not in its economic or military power, but in its culture and in the consciousness of its members - it is of vital importance for a society to remain loyal to its authentic cultural self. If it does not, it will lose its self-confidence which is the source of its power, and it is bound to fall prey to disintegration and decay.

Departing from this perspective, activist scholars analysed the different problems and crises of the Muslim world: domination by the West, strivings for national unity and independence and later problems of military defeat and underdevelopment-primarily in terms of loyalty to what they view as their authentic cultural identity. Society is held together not by material wealth but by moral solidarity, by loyalty to a generally agreed body of values and norms. The institutions of society-the law, the system of education and so on-are viewed as organically related to these cultural values. Efforts to replace such authentic, indigenous institutions by others based on alien, non-indigenous values would inevitably result in a separation between the outward institutional structure of society and the internal structure of the consciousness of its members, a mental cleavage that would lead to alienation and eventually to the disintegration of society.

Secularism was understood by Muslim activists as one of the imperialists' shrewdest devices with its deceitful promises of freedom and progress, that Western values, laws and institutions were forced upon the Muslim world, with the underlying aim of destroying the vital moral basis of the Muslim community and thus establishing Muslim dependency on the West.

The only way in which the Muslims could combat imperialism and regain their lost unity and independence was by building their lives on their own authentic values and principles, by a return to Islamic roots. Although a novel response to a novel situation, the Islamist discourse of authenticity has its origins in classical Islam, the classical notion of a return to the authentic practice (Sunnah).
From the moment of its introduction, secularism acquired different, almost contradictory meanings for Muslim activists and for Muslim secularists. To the secularists it implied modernization and liberation from authoritarian structures in society and the shackles of religion. To activists however, secularism came to mean westernization and the subjection of Muslim lands to the hegemony of Western imperialism.


“Elections alone do not make democracy, though. Washington should be cynical about Mubarak’s commitment to democracy. Even though 83% of his electorate voted for multiparty elections in a May 25, 2005 referendum, his government still determines who can run. In October 2004, Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali won 94.5% of the vote after curtailing his opponents’ campaign. The Saudi kingdom has trumpeted its municipal elections, but the resulting councils have had neither budgetary nor legislative authority.”

Neoconservatism, a political philosophy emphasizing foreign policy, sees America's role as the world's sole superpower as indispensable to maintaining global order.
[254] The neoconservative desire to spread democracy abroad has been likened to the Trotskyite theory of permanent revolution. [255] It is to its critics a unified ideology that justifies military adventurism, sanctions torture and promotes aggressive Zionism.[256] Neoconservatives argue that the lack of freedoms, economic opportunities and secular general education in authoritarian regimes promotes radicalism and extremism. Aggressive support for democracies and nation building should reduce extremism, a breeding ground for Islamic terrorism.

Daniel Pipes, a neoconservative, has through 20 years written about and spoke of militant Islam as a totalitarian ideology in line with fascism and communism. "The Islamists' agenda is very different than the communists' and fascists'. It's about belief, and, unlike communism and fascism, they don't have large states like the Soviet Union and Germany behind them, but if one looks at methods and goals, the similarity is striking. All three ideologies are radical utopias, which basically have a theory for how the human race can be improved... Whenever it's succeeded in a country, the ambition has been to develop its control over others. The two earlier confrontations with communism and fascism shed light on the current conflict between the civilized world and militant Islam.

Critics argue the Quilliam Foundation is little more than another neoconservative organisation. David Edgar of the Guardian cited “all three are straight out of the cold war defectors' mould trading heavily on their former associations and travelling rapidly in a conservative direction”.

The Quilliam Foundation has recruited the likes of Tory frontbencher Micheal Gove, David Goodhard and David Green, director of the rightwing think tank Civitas, as advisers. Husain's book was greeted with enthusiasm last year by British neoconservatives such as Tory frontbencher Michael Gove and Mail columnist Melanie Phillips.
[257] Nawaz has befriended Douglas Murray, author of “Neoconservatism: Why we need it”.[258] When asked to criticise neoconservatism in a City Circle discussion, he said to Murray, "I mean American Neoconservatism, but not the British Neoconservatism." [259] Douglas's brand of Neoconservatism is not significantly different to that practised in the US, arguing:
"Islam is a proselytising faith, and one that is incompatible with British history, British law, and British society. With nearly two million Muslims currently living within Britain's borders, no risk whatsoever should be taken... the Muslim community in Britain is innately hostile to any integration with British society... To defend our tolerance we must be intolerant to those who oppose us, even when we express tolerance. We must not tolerate them."

The Quilliam Foundation defends the regimes in the Muslim world and their systems as being consistent with Islam. It believes that if any reform is needed the existing systems should be modified, allowing more representation, accountability and population centred policies, rather than demolishing the system and replacing it with something new.

Furthermore, it argues that sharia is being implemented and not fiqh – sharia being broadly a certain spirit whereas fiqh being the result of human opinion on the divine texts. On reviewing the laws of Muslims states, even this interpretation is not tenable. William Shepard in his research paper observes:
Far more influential has been a "moderate secularism" which seeks to "separate" religion from politics and other areas of public life. In this case the ideology is generally nationalism in diverse alliance with others such as capitalism, socialism, liberalism, etc. In a "moderate secularist" constitution Islam is not the religion of state and sovereignty is not vested in God but in the "nation" or the "people." The best known example is Turkey, which in 1928 removed from its constitution the clause that made Islam the religion of state. At present the relevant article reads: "The Republic of Turkey is a democratic, secular and social state governed by the rule of law,. . . loyal to the nationalism of Ataturk, and based on the fundamental principles set forth in the Preamble" (Article 2). The preamble vests sovereignty "unconditionally" in the nation and explicitly separates "the sacred tenets of religion" from "state affairs and politics."

A still more moderate type of secularism is found in the Indonesian constitution, which affirms belief in "One, Supreme Divinity"' as the first of its "five principles" (pancasila), but not Islam nor even "Allah." Perhaps we might label the Turkish type of secularism "neutral secularism" and the Indonesian type "religious secularism"… The Egyptian constitution of 1972 says, "Islam is the religion of the State" and "The principles of the Islamic Shari'a are primary sources of legislation" but also says that "sovereignty belongs to the people only, who are the source of authority" (Articles 2 & 3). Popular sovereignty along with the fact that the principles of the Shari'a are, by implication, not the only source of legislation make this constitution substantially secular…

In the area of legal reform, secularism in its "pure" form replaces the Shari'a in all areas of public law with codes of other, in practice Western, origin and makes citizens of all religions in principle equal before the law. The best known example of this is, of course, the Turkish legal reforms of the 1920s. Most other Muslim countries have in fact done the same thing in many areas, usually excepting the more "sensitive" areas relating to family life, such as marriage, divorce, inheritance, etc. This, too, is secularism insofar as it establishes substantial areas where the Shari’a does not apply, although the line between the "religious" and the "secular" is drawn in a different place from where it is drawn in the West.”

In this the Foundation’s views resemble those of the neoconservatives. Their origins appear to be from Egyptian government policy (originating in the US) for Nawaz during his time in prison and Whitehall and MI5 for Husain as a result of his close and public ties with Whitehall and intelligence.

What went wrong?

“Traditionally, the argument states that the Ottoman Empire reached its peak in the sixteenth century under Suleiman the Magnificent, and thereafter began an inexorable stagnation and decline lasting until the twentieth century.” (Jonathan Grant - 1999)

The Quilliam Foundation premises its political views on the division of the Ottoman state in 1924 into the plethora of nation states and the narratives that deemed this necessary. Muslim activists however dispute this believing oriental and nationalist revisionist history has dislocated Muslim history and therefore identity, allegedly peaking in the 12th century and then declining. Through magnifying and generalising isolated problems and periods, the Caliphate in general, and the Ottoman period in particular, was shown as an irreligious and decadent state - with the future political direction steering away from this structure.

The reality is argued as markedly different – the Caliphate had political independence and sovereignty and leadership that was able to respond to a fast changing world. Despite internal problems no different to its contemporaries it provided a unified political and moral leadership that reflected the Islamic values of its populace.

This section considers both narratives in relation to Ottomanist research based on Ottoman archives released over recent years as opposed to nationalist histories.


“Most Arab nationalists view the entire Ottoman era as a period of oppressive Turkish rule which stifled Arab culture and socioeconomic development... The intellectual foundation for this shared image can be traced to the extensive literature published during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries by Westerners...” (Doumani)

The centuries of Islamic power in the Middle East corresponded to the Middle/Dark Ages period of European disarray and weakness. Islamic expansion came to an abrupt halt in the late seventeenth century, when Ottoman armies were routed at Vienna. In 1603, the English historian Richard Knolles described the Ottomans as “the present terror of the world” and by the mid-nineteenth century, Tsar Nicholas II of Russia described it as “the sick man of Europe”, a term by which it was to become stigmatised.
[263] Subsequent nationalist writers wrote about the Ottoman presence in very hostile and negative terms,[264] with many works being vacuous, based on suspect sources and heavily biased.[265] Donald Quataert, a leading Ottomanist scholar, comments:
“Given the nationalist logic of the nineteenth- and twentieth-century history writing, the Ottoman legacy has been difficult to assess and appreciate. The biases come from many sides… now being directed against the full membership of an Ottoman successor state, Turkey, into the European Union. In the more than thirty countries that now exist in territories once occupied by the Ottoman Empire, the Ottoman past until recently has been largely ignored and/or considered in extremely negative terms.”

Arabs and Turks in seeking a new identity and foundation for their states exhibited similar hostility, preferring to go back to the Pharaohs,
[267] Kings of Babylon and the Hittites of pre-Ottoman Anatolia. This hostility and often vilification,[268] appears less to actual Ottoman policies and more to their new state building processes.[269]

The Quilliam Foundation is guilty of these practices – by selectively highlighting negative aspects of Muslim history and generalising it, a false picture is portrayed.

The Decline Thesis

“The UK floods of the summer of 2007 offer an interesting analogy. The river Thames consumed towns and villages around Oxford, not because they were in decline, sinking beneath the waves, but because the river was rising.”

Each era of Muslim civilisation brought about its own challenges and responses. The less successful responses generated low periods,
[271] resulting in an idealization of the past making it more difficult for new dynasties and thinkers to match their performance. The general theories of a long protracted decline do not support such a thesis. The scholarly attempts at identifying abstract theories rely on essentializing Muslim history in ahistorical ways, going against the considerable range of historical variations, contours and trends, in favour of implicit ideal types.
With the growth in scope and sophistication of studies treating the history of the empire in the seventeenth to the nineteenth centuries, it has become increasingly difficult to maintain the uniform view of processes over such a large geographical expanse, during such a long period of time, and covering all aspects of human history – the political, the economic, the social, the cultural and others.

The fact that explanations of a general decline thesis are so varied and contested amongst scholars renders them doubtful.

The Ottoman Caliphate

“As long as the unity of Islam continues, England, France, Russian and Holland are in my hands, because with a word the Caliph could unleash the jihad among their Muslim subjects and this would be a tragedy for the Christians... Eighty-five million Muslims under [British] rule, 30 million in the colonies of the Dutch, 10 million in Russia… 250 million Muslims are beseeching God for delivery from foreign rule. They have pinned their hopes on the Caliph, the deputy of the Prophet Muhammad. We cannot remain submissive in dealing with the great powers.” (Sultan Abdul Hamid II)

The Ottoman state began in 1300 as a Turkish frontier principality focusing on war (gaza). Rapid conquests by Sultans Murad, Bayezid and Mehmed through to Suleiman in the sixteenth century who amongst other strategies, developed naval supremacy in the Mediterranean
[274] allowed Ottoman institutions assumed their classic forms and patterns. The Ottomans saw military expansion and fiscalism as the source of wealth, with agriculture more important than manufacture and commerce.[275] It had its own internal dynamics whereby it was able to adapt to changes in trading conditions.[276] Despite a number of changes, output continued to rise devoid of any significant European involvement in the sector[277] with exports to Europe and America contributing to rising export figures. Manufacturing through the period 1600-1914 witnessed remarkable continuities; industrial centres flourishing in the 1600s were often still active in 1914.[278] Manufacturing initially struggled against competition whereby handicraft industries were displaced by cheaper industrially produced imports. However, manufacturing achieved surprising output levels, with the decline of some industries being more than compensated by the rise of new industries.[279] Foreign trade, a minor part of the Ottoman economy, became slightly more important towards the end of the nineteenth century with the rise of protectionism in Europe and producers looking to new markets.

The Ottoman Caliphate was never colonised like other peripheries however was subject to inter-imperialist rivalry. A number of financial crises emerged towards the end of the nineteenth century that increased European involvement in the Caliphate’s internal affairs, primarily in collecting taxes from securities pledged against debt. However, with foreign debt dropping from 242 million Turkish pounds in 1875 to 139 million in 1914 these events appear overstated in the literature and cannot be construed as causes or be considered part of a larger decline.

The Ottomans were not considerably outpaced by any of its rivals.
[280] Although there was no industrial revolution in the Caliphate, it did achieve and sustain improving levels of living to its end.[281] With surplus labour and land resources, the Ottomans were in a strong position for long-term growth.

The support and affection it received from across the Muslim world demonstrated its position in the hearts and minds of ordinary Muslims:
“84-year-old Hajji Muhammed Faruk, adores the Ottomans and wishes they were back in power. He is just one of thousands of Indian Muslims who love Turkey and who want to see Turkey as a leader in the world. Along with his five sons and two daughters, Faruk loves Turkey and everything about it.
He spoke about his memories of the past and the Caliphate Committee's activities at the time, “Our people believed then in the strength of the Turkish people. India, as it was, saw the Turks as one of the greatest sources of support for its own people. Turks were heroes for our people. We respected them very much. During that period, we knew the Turks well. Of course, as I said, I was a child then and didn't understand very much. Whenever any news came from the Turks or whenever a caravan would come carrying information, we would work as much as possible and gather together money for them. We met in mosques and all prayed that they remain strong."

The main challenge the Ottomans appeared to struggle with, remaining a legacy across the modern Muslim world, was that of its socio-cultural political identity,
[283] elaborated in a theory by the American Historian Ira Lapidus. Under the Ottomans, the European territories led to an imbalance where non-Muslims became the majority[284] – the socio-political identity of Turkic-Persian-Islam seemed unable to provide a cohesive and unitary identity that the majority of the population could accept and remain loyal.[285] The Arabo-Islamic identity of the early periods along with state expansion where the majority could accept this identity was not maintained by the Ottomans – with large European territories and even regions of Muslim lands unable to identify with the new identity, the potential for divisions existed.[286] Al-Nabhani argues that the neglect of Arabic head numerous repercussions diluting the ideological nature of the state.[287]

The Ottomans formed ever-changing alliances playing one power off against another preventing any one of them to be in a position to take on the Caliphate.
[288] It was only after the First World War, with Germany defeated, Russia marginalised, the Austria-Hungary Empire in tatters that Britain and France had the opportunity to divide its territories between themselves.[289] Prior to this, a delicate balance between the powers was maintained, no one of them allowed to disrupt it.[290]

Had the Caliphate survived intact, it could have rebuilt itself after the First World War into a formidable power – facing a situation not unlike that faced by Bismarck in the late nineteenth century.
[291] However, with colonialist domination of all its organs, the trajectories of the new nation states of the Ottoman Caliphate were set along colonially inspired lines.[292] New constraints and policies[293] forced them to be inward looking, work with limited resources and markets, limited independence and international involvement, wiping out centuries of Ottoman legacy.[294]

Jurisprudential Revisionism

“I cannot give a fig about fiqh” – (Timothy Ashton, Quilliam Foundation Launch)

Critics argue the Quilliam Foundation is undertaking theological revisionism
[295] to support its objective of creating a Western Islam.[296] This section reviews its theological pronouncements along with a comparative analysis of the theological positions of the classical jurists and also that of Hizb ut-Tahrir.

Methodologies Of Jurisprudence (Usul al-Fiqh)

Historically the science of Usul al-Fiqh was developed to determine the sources of Islamic law, rules of interpretation, philosophy and rationale and procedures by which the law is to be applied and extended. Over the centuries two main approaches were identified by the Sunni jurists, that of the Hanafites and the Shaffites.

The modernist movement of the nineteenth century attempted to reconcile Islamic thought with Western social processes, philosophies and institutions. This led to an emphasis on utilitarian principles and selective scriptural readings rather than a coherent and detailed methodology. Considerable critique against this approach includes allegations of politicisation and manipulation of jurisprudence for secular ends.

The Quilliam Foundation has not documented its methodology. It claims it follows classical scholarship, without stating which historical legal school it follows, however its publications imply a methodology that is neither orthodox nor traditional – resembling the modernist approach to jurisprudence:
Reduction of Quranic revelation to ethical principles such as mercy, reason and justice,
Use of categories of ibadaat and muamalaat to infer human moral agency in matters of muamalaat especially politics,
Careful selection of Quranic ayaat based on potential utility,
Category errors due to viewing different realities as homogenous – e.g., jihad to free land from occupation being equated to war against civilians,
Rejection of laws by arbitrary “contextualisation” – e.g., implemented laws were relevant to Arabia of the time and not relevant today, and,
Legal systems in Muslim countries being in accordance with Sharia – e.g., the Egyptian French Napoleonic code is equated with Islamic jurisprudence.

Hizb ut-Tahrir documents its methodology in detail in a number of its publications, the core legal and linguistic principles being similar to the Shafi’i school of law but also including critique of western philosophical positions. Hizb ut-Tahrir argues its methodology is used consistently for all its legal arguments.

In conclusion, the absence of any substantive methodology negates any juristic arguments the Foundation may advocate.

Jurisprudence (Fiqh)

Traditionally Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh) has been elaborated by scholars over thirteen centuries of seeing jurisprudence as a means to understand divine texts and provide practical solutions to human problems.

The Quilliam Foundation however rejects this body of knowledge believing Sharia comprises more a spirit and movement than a body of law. It particularises the Quranic texts, arguing that most had causes (asbab al-nuzul), which jurists de-emphasise in favour of lexical analysis, limiting the application of Quranic texts to specific situations which cannot be generalised. For example the verses of “not taking disbelievers as allies” is argued to be applicable to the turbulent relations with Jewish tribes at the time of the Prophet(saw) so do not apply in general. This approach however makes obsolete a vast number of verses, leaving behind only general ethical principles such as justice, reason and mercy - an approach rejected by jurists. There is nothing in the causes of revelation that provides support to the notion that texts should be limited to the problem that was originally addressed and scholars have noted the bulk of Quranic texts were not accompanied by causes. Moreover, with this approach texts are open to the accusation of double standards. For instance, Surah al-Baqarah condemns the Jews of concealing and manipulating revelation. According to the Foundation’s logic, the Muslims are not mentioned and could do the same without censure as the textual discourse is limited to the Jews – an absurd proposition.

Modernists also argue jurisprudence in a similar manner in three ways. The first is by the tendency to restrict the specific and detailed content of the tradition as much as possible by limiting it to the Quran and authentic Sunnah, limiting the latter by a radical Hadith criticism.
[297] A few, such as Parwez in Pakistan, go further and treat only the Quran as absolutely binding. The second way is a more or less radical (re)interpretation of the authoritative sources. This is particularly the case with the Quranic texts on polygyny, the hadd punishments, jihad, and treatment of unbelievers, which conflict with "modern" views.[298] In some cases modernist (re)interpretation can find support in the text, such as the requirement of four witnesses to adultery, which may have the effect of voiding the hadd in practice, or the permission of four wives conditioned on the ability of the husband to treat them fairly, which is argued as denied by another passage. The third way is an apologetic which links aspects of the Islamic tradition with Western ideas and practices, and claims Western practices in question were originally derived from Islam.[299] Modernist apologetic has however been severely criticized by many scholars as superficial, tendentious and even psychologically destructive, so much so that the term "apologetics" has almost become a term of abuse in the literature on modern Islam.[300]

Much of Quilliam Foundation’s jurisprudence has been controversial and is regularly aired by the unqualified Husain – receiving considerable criticism.
[301] His juristic arguments have regularly proven to be incorrect despite his insistence that he follows traditional classical scholarship. Regarding apostasy, Husain debated it did not appear in the Quran, subtly omitting its mention in the Sunnah[302] – however the matter appears in both and is argued as such by numerous classical scholars.[303]

Ali regularly cites the scholars Shawkani and Shatibi as the source for his jurisprudence. Shawkani is (mis-)cited as having called for ijtihad and revival, and Shatibi for his views on the purposes of the sharia (maqasid al-sharia) and utility (masalih al-mursala). Both are interestingly cited heavily by Abdu and Rida, selectively adopting what suits their purposes and misrepresenting what did not. Many of their views on jurisprudence have been omitted as they are at odds with the Foundation, such as Shawkani’s critical stance against the colonialist hegemony ad the rationalism of the Mutazila.

The following table summarises a number of key juristic issues comparing the Foundation’s stance against that of the classical jurists and groups like Hizb ut-Tahrir – it highlights the fact that the Quilliam Foundation does not adhere to the classical scholars.

Rules of Fiqh Regarding:

Islamic governance (Caliphate)
Q - X
[305] C - Y [306] H - Y [307]

Society/Lands (Dar paradigm)
Q - X
[308] C - Y [309] H - Y [310]

The penal code
Q - X
[311] C - Y [312] H - Y [313]

The laws of inheritance
Q - X
[314] C - Y [315] H - Y [316]

The laws of apostasy
Q - X
[317] C - Y [318] H - Y [319]

The laws of evidence
Q - X
[320] C - Y [321] H - Y [322]

Social laws (prohibition of mixing, sexual freedoms, nightclub etc)
Q - X
[323] C - Y [324] H - Y [325]

Offensive warfare (jihad)
Q - X
[326] C - Y [327] H - Y [328]

Q - Quilliam Foundation’s Stance, C - Classical Scholars’s Stance, H - Hizb ut-Tahrir’s Stance
X - Disagree, Y - Agree

It is noticeable in the Foundation’s writings that it appears to be following the Rand’s views in avoiding entering juristic discourse:
“Some argue that one should not engage with fundamentalists and traditionalists on the level of hadith. For example, Ibn Warraq… believes that to do battle with the orthodox, the fanatics, and the mullahs in the interpretation of these texts is to do battle on their terms, on their ground. Every text that you produce they will adduce a dozen others contradicting yours. The reformists cannot win on these terms—whatever mental gymnastics they perform.”

It is not without good reason that their secularist and modernist counter-parts across the Muslim world have also avoided entering juristic discourse. The Quilliam Foundation however regularly employs rhetoric arguing its adherence to divine sources and Sharia – no doubt this will be pragmatically dropped over time when it realises its position on these matters is untenable.

Eastern Islam or Western Islam

“In fact, a very major reinterpretation of Islam will be necessary before it can be congenial to secularism. A step in this direction is a reinterpretation of Islamic history that puts the relatively secular Umayyads in a much better light than pious Muslims have usually seen them, that emphasizes the secular elements in the Abbasid period of glory, and deemphasizes the cultural significance of the early Medinan state and the Rightly Guided Caliphate; but I doubt if this is sufficient.” (W E Shepard)

The Quilliam Foundation argues for the creation of a new “Western Islam”,
[331] modelled on Andalusian Spain between 711 and 1492 AD,[332] begging the question, “…what the hell was the Islam of al-Andalus? Could Maajid or Eddy explain that in more detail? Is it the Islam of ibn Rushd and ibn Hazm…, who believed in jihad and shari'ah? Is it the Islam of the Arabs and Berbers who invaded the Iberian Peninsula and waged jihad against the Visigoth Christians and other Christian powers?[333]

It is instructive to consider the history of Andalusian Spain. Operating under the Umayyad Caliphate, the famous military leader, Tariq ibn-Ziyad, led a small force that landed at Gibraltar in 711, bringing most of the Iberian Peninsula under Muslim occupation in a seven-year jihad campaign. The peninsula became part of the expanding Umayyad Caliphate, ruled by governors appointed by the Caliph, implementing the sharia.

In 1086 the Almoravid ruler of Morocco, Yusuf ibn Tashfin, was invited by the Muslim princes to defend them against the King of Castile and León. Yusuf inflicted a severe defeat on the Christians and by 1094 had annexed their states regaining Valencia from the Christians. The Almoravids were succeeded in the 12th century by the Almohads, another Berber dynasty. In 1212 a coalition of Christian kings defeated the Almohads but they continued to rule Al-Andalus for another decade; later civil wars led to the re-establishment of taifas, quickly conquered by Portugal, Castile and Aragon. After the fall of Murcia and the Algarve, the Kingdom of Granada survived as a Muslim state, but only as a tributary of Castile.

Following the peace treaty made with King Pedro of Castile, Granada survived for nearly 150 years more as a state. Its Muslims were guaranteed virtual self-government, freedom of movement, complete religious freedom and even a three-year exemption from taxes after the surrender. In 1469 the marriage of Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castile led to a final assault on Granada, a campaign carefully planned and well financed with the Pope having declared their war a crusade. In 1492, after a long siege, Muhammad abu Abdallah surrendered the fortress palace, the renowned Alhambra itself.

The period of the Caliphate is seen by Muslim writers as the golden age of al-Andalus. Crops produced using irrigation, along with food imported from the Middle East, provided the area with an agricultural economic sector by far the most advanced in Europe. Among European cities, Córdoba under the Caliphate overtook Constantinople as the largest and most prosperous city in Europe, one of the leading cultural centres. The work of its most important philosophers and scientists
[335] had a major influence on the intellectual life of medieval Europe.

The jurisprudence of Andalusian Spain, Malikite law, was that of much of North Africa.
[336] The cultural and civilisational manifestations in art and culture had a distinct flavour of their own and these varied across the Muslim world as did technological changes and progress. However these did not negate the universalism of the Islamic creed, sharia laws and the Caliphate system all defined by Islam.

There appears little substantive difference between the Islam implemented in Spain and that implemented in the rest of the Muslim world. The Quilliam Foundation does not explain how its version of “Western Islam” differs from “Eastern Islam” nor the criteria and theology underpinning this idea. Furthermore, a number of questions arise when one wishes to begin dividing Islam by geography – when would one stop subdividing? Could there be an Islam for the: US, British, English, Scottish, Welsh, or Birmingham, Leicester, London, East London, Walthamstow etc?

Based on comments by the founders, the following appears to be the version of Islam that is being labelled “Western Islam”:

Removal of Islamic law from governance – Islam is a personal faith and has no say in politics
Removal of the Penal Code – existing punishments are barbaric
Changing the laws of inheritance – the Quranic prescribed inheritance ratios are unfair
Changing the laws of evidence – the conditions for witnesses are unfair
Secular democracy with capitalist economics and a liberal social system

Its inspiration appears to be two historical projects - the first undertaken by the Indian ruler Akbar (1591) who commenced with legislating religious freedom and tolerance and then established a new religion, fusing Islam and Hinduism. Akbar failed in his effort, being generally seen as an apostate by Muslims and his rule was regarded as an exception to the Islamic rule over India. The second project was that of the 19th century reformists Afghani, Abdu and Rida,
[338] influenced by European thought, who argued European institutions and social processes could be accommodated by Islam, providing precedents in Islamic history that would provide justification. Abdu received backing from Lord Cromer whilst Afghani was a member of French Masonic lodges.[339]

Like their historic predecessors, the Quilliam Foundation’s efforts of fusing Western secular democracy with spiritual Islam has already brought allegations of apostasy from a number of quarters as well as backing from the Western establishment.


“…commentators who explain the September 11 attacks by referring to a "clash of civilizations" assume that terrorism is somehow an authentic expression of the predominant values of Islam. But the common responses to this interpretation do not adequately explain the theology of radical Islamist groups… How might classical or contemporary Islamic theology contribute to the use of terrorism by modern Islamic movements?” (Khalid Abou El-Fadl)

Contemporary Western analysis lumps all violent activism as a single phenomenon – terrorism. Aside from the problems of definition,
[341] it fails to consider or address that those undertaking a global jihad are differentiated from internal and irredentist jihadists by the fact they lack attainable objectives. Secondly, it attempts to argue that jihadi activism is evil and has no place in Islam – factually incorrect.[342] This section considers the Quilliam Foundation’s views on the causes of terrorism and its political context.

Causes of Terrorism

“…politicians need to realize denying any linkage between an unethical foreign policy and radicalisation will further infuriate critical partners and serve to bolster the armoury of grievances and double standards” (A Malik, Birmingham Post)

Violence is not a consequence of increased Islamic political awareness across the Muslim world. The history of political violence is cross-cultural, cross religion and ideology. History bears witness whenever a nation is attacked, subdued or subject to political injustice there will be a response – armed rebellion, political resistance or political elites/powerful groups establishing self-interested equilibriums with the enemy to the detriment of their peoples – events visible across the contemporary Muslim world.

A number of writers have discussed the causes of the terrorist phenomena from a number of perspectives. When one considers the range of views, the picture becomes more complex than the Foundation would portray:
The International Crisis Group argues, “…the issues and grievances which have been grist to the mill of Sunni jihadism across the Muslim world have not been resolved or even appreciably attenuated since 2001, but, on the contrary, aggravated and intensified. The failure to address the Palestinian question and, above all, the decision to make war on Iraq and the even more extraordinary mishandling of the post-war situation there have unquestionably motivated and encouraged jihadi activism across the Muslim world. Unsophisticated Western understanding and rhetoric that tends to discredit all forms of political Islamism, coupled with the lumping together of the internal, irredentist and global jihadis...”[345]
Fuller argues, “a result of global trends toward modernization, a response to the problems and aspirations of the modern world.”[346]
Hoebink argues that “similar to the period of the "Inquisition" by al-Ma'mun in the ninth century, efforts of the rulers to gain control over the process of interpretation provoked a fundamentalist reaction[347]
Bobbitt believes “market state terrorism is a function of what we have done to eradicate old threats. That is, its principal causes are the liberalisation of the global economy, the internationalisation of the electronic media, and the military-technological revolution...[348]

An academic study by Professor Robert Pape, Associate Professor at Chicago University, demonstrates suicide bombers are not unique to Muslims but are generic cross-human phenomena driven by political factors rather than theological beliefs. His study compiled every suicide attack around the world from 1980 to early 2004 identifying:
• The world leader in suicide attacks was the Tamil Tigers of Sri Lanka – a Marxist, secular group – originators of suicide bombings,
• Suicide-terrorist attacks (95 percent) are driven by the key objective of getting countries to withdraw military forces from their homeland,
• Two thirds of Muslim 'suicide bombers' have been from countries where US forces have or are still maintaining military forces, and,
• The presence of US forces in Iraq created suicide attackers where none existed prior to the 2003 invasion.

The proponents of such attacks use political injustice to justify such actions. It is therefore crucial that acts of political violence are analysed as a separate phenomena - based upon the individuals who engage in them, their justifications and the role local and foreign political injustice has in providing oxygen to justify such acts.

This analysis supported by a number of surveys and around the world. The Centre for Strategic Studies (CSS) at the University of Jordan published a representative survey entitled "Revisiting the Arab Street" in 2005 where its findings suggested hostility towards the West was largely down to political reasons, such as the foreign policy of the US and Britain towards the Muslim world, rather than religious or theological arguments.

The question for Muslims however is, “which approach is legitimate?” There is a consensus amongst Islamic jurists that collaboration with an enemy invader or aggressor is forbidden. However, the remaining two alternatives are disputed. Groups like Hizb ut-Tahrir argue that armed resistance should be undertaken until a land is occupied following which political options should be considered including resisting and changing the political status quo. Others like al-Qaida argue that armed rebellion is required in all cases.
[352] The point is that both views are derived from Islamic jurisprudence. One simply needs to compare Hizb ut-Tahrir’s narrative with that of the Prophet’s life in Mekka or al-Qaida’s narrative with that highlighted by Ibn Taymiyyah during the Mongol invasions of the 14th century.[353]
Al-Qaeda today draws a similar line. The following passage from its manual on guerrilla warfare describes the emergence of the apostate ruler: "After the fall of our orthodox caliphates on March 3, 1924 and after expelling the [European] colonialists, our Islamic nation was afflicted with apostate rulers who took over... These rulers turned out to be more infidel and criminal than the colonialists themselves. Muslims have endured all kinds of harm, oppression, and torture at their hands."

The role that the Mongols played as the threat to Islamic civilization in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries is currently played by Western civilization.”

The Quilliam Foundation’s narrative blames Muslims for not doing enough against extremism for the current problems.
[356] The contours and interactions of foreign policy, challenges of modernity, failure of enlightenment/modernist projects, vacuum of political discourse, dictatorial governance, and tensions between Western and Islamic value systems are generally ignored, substituted with Islamist based polemic. Even when foreign policy is mentioned there is a concerted effort to couple it and blame activists. For instance, the launch pamphlet states:
“Just as Western policies in Afghanistan, coupled with the growth of an aggressive Islamist ideology over the last two decades have contributed to the creation of international terrorism...”
“Our foreign and domestic policies… have created an environment wherein Islamist politics and ideology can spread and therefore can be manipulated into providing political justifications for terrorist theology...”

Husain even cites arguments used by Western rulers, “Undoubtedly, foreign policy has some role to play but let's not forget that countries such as Indonesia (Bali), Turkey, Egypt, Algeria and others have also suffered terrorism. Islamist terrorism started long before foreign policy blunders of Western government. The terrorists' targeting of nightclubs last year and talk of killing "slags" while they dance indicates a medieval mindset that cannot tolerate social freedoms.
[359] However, it is not only the “terrorists” who oppose these innovations and social freedoms that the Foundation approves of – most Muslims oppose nightclubs, drink, sexual indecency etc and the authoritarian regimes that permit these are western educated elites imposed on their peoples.[360] Furthermore, colonialism commenced in the eighteenth centry - Islamism however, according to the Quilliam Foundation, commenced with al-Banna after the first world war.

Hizb ut-Tahrir is targeted by the Quilliam Foundation as the real cause of terrorism. This logic is of the American Hudson Institute’s Zeyno Baren who attempted to make spurious links between Hizb ut-Tahrir and violence.
[361] Most academics have favoured serious academic research,[362] which finds that Hizb ut-Tahrir has a calming effect on activists, working peacefully to resume the Caliphate in the Muslim world.[363] The Quilliam Foundation does not explain why it is that if Hizb ut-Tahrir espoused terrorism through a causal chain, why not continue working backwards to the actual causes that brought about groups like Hizb ut-Tahrir. Why arbitrarily stop at the Hizb ut-Tahrir link in the chain? Furthermore, “Islamic” terrorism existed in the nineteenth century, prior to the existence of Hizb ut-Tahrir – how is this explained? Furthermore, those members who have moved on from Hizb ut-Tahrir, none have been cited as having undertaken any terrorist action. Their work has varied from individual efforts to resume the Caliphate to those in the Quilliam Foundation, who have become extreme secularists opposing it - hardly a consistent "conveyor belt" pattern. These failings means the organisation needs to give further consideration to its analysis.
“In fact, globally, it remains a fact that large numbers of people who joined Hizb ut- Tahrir left armed militancy after being convinced of Hizb ut-Tahrir's political methodology on the basis of Islamic evidences. In Uzbekistan, for example, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, a group that has advocated armed struggle, witnessed a large turnover from its ranks to Hizb ut-Tahrir. The commitment of Hizb ut-Tahrir not to be involved in any violent activity is based on its faith and understanding of the revelation of God, which makes its involvement in any terrorist or violent activity impossible, either in theory and practice.” (Hizb ut-Tahrir, Britain)

The Politics of Terrorism

“It is not the Muslims who are terrorists. The biggest terrorists are Bush and Blair and Berlusconi…” (George Galloway)

“In the corridors of Washington and Westminster, Islam's political ideas are seen as a potential threat - not to security - but to the control, exploitation and interference that has continued for decades. Yet on the 'Muslim street' these ideas mean liberation from tyranny and oppression, a connection to their beliefs and history and the ability to shape their own political destiny.” (Hizb ut-Tahrir – Britain)

“Most Muslims are still in denial about this cancer of extremism in our midst. Unless we Muslims accept we have a serious extremism problem, we cannot turn to rejecting it” (Husain, Quilliam Foundation)

The demise of the Ottoman Caliphate resulted in the creation of weakened nations, disruption to trade, new inexperienced regimes resulting in a steep decline of the Muslim world. The new Western inclined elites had cooperated with the colonial powers in this process. In the First World War, a nomadic tribe in the Gulf, the Saudis, were assisted by the British by smuggled weapons and gold to undertake terrorist and guerrilla warfare against the legitimate rulers of the time, the Ottoman Caliphate. When the British faced Jihadist uprisings in India in 1857, threatening to end their rule, they turned to Mirza Gulam Ahmed, a new Prophet, who initiated a campaign that denied Jihad.

Following the division of the Caliphate, the populace attempted to reassert itself resulting in severe repression and mass arrests. To establish the new political landscape, revisionist scholarship was encouraged to rewrite and darken the Ottoman period of Muslim history. New political parties and movements based on ideas of nationalism, socialism etc were encouraged whilst those based on Islam were banned and hounded. Despite all these measures, the call for re-establishing an Islamic polity resurfaced again and, commencing with the Muslim Brotherhood, followed by Hizb ut-Tahrir, Jama’at Islamiyyah etc. Though the means vary, the goal has become unified.

The call for reformation and subversion of foreign thoughts has historically been the approach the West undertook to defend itself from challenges to its supremacy. The Cold War is the best example of this, including the McCarthyism purges as well as anti-communist propaganda. The RAND Corporation in its most recent report about the Muslim world, 'Building Moderate Muslim Networks', describes how, "the propaganda and cultural-infiltration efforts of the United States and Britain during the early years of the Cold War hold valuable lessons for the Global War on Terrorism."

The West today defends itself against all those who oppose ‘Western values’ as dangerous, extremist, radical, fundamentalist, terrorists and national security threats. In January 2007, Prime Minister Gordon Brown said, "But you will not win against extreme terrorist activities and particularly the propaganda activities, unless you have this battle of hearts and minds that is won. And that makes me think of the same cultural war that had to be fought against communism from the 1940s and 50s onwards, is in a sense the model for what we've got to do here."
[369] As a result, it is seen as perfectly legitimate to monitor Muslims by bugging their phones, monitoring their histories, tracking their movements and holding them on mere suspicion, Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib and Bagram Airbase having become notorious as have tactics that have seen extraordinary rendition (illegal kidnappings), use of secret detention (torture) facilities, the genocide of 650,000 civilians in Iraq and the wanton use of white phosphorous and depleted uranium.[370] The strategy does not end there - calls for challenging the ideas of those who attack the Western way of life have been seen in the Rand recommendations. Daniel Pipes, an outspoken American neoconservative thinker, argues that Islamism is just another Western ideology with no important roots in traditional Islamic thought. By attempting to marginalise those Muslims who call for political reformation, support is provided for those who endorse Western hegemonic interests - the secularists and modernists.

The Quilliam Foundation’s campaign is little more than perpetuation of Western approved secularised Islam replacing the comprehensive Islamic ideology Muslims had known throughout their history. In particular, it wants to put those calling for a return to it – a broad political trend that stretches from the Turkey's ruling Justice and Development party to al-Qaida - beyond the political pale.
[371] However, it has written no persuasive works or critiques thereof instead relying on press releases, sound-bites and slogans.[372]

Abdullah Quilliam

“So the Foundation is named after a man who was an enemy of Britain - and the West - and whose sole loyalty was to Islam and to promoting the interests of Muslims. We have been warned. Hizb ut Tahrir at least have the merit of openness.” (WHYS)

Many of Abdullah Quilliam’s activities in nineteenth century Britain were remarkably similar to those currently undertaken by the Muslim activists in the West, particularly Hizb ut-Tahrir in Britain.
[374] It is unclear why the Quilliam Foundation has adopted this name - unusual for a secularist/modernist organization. It is not that the founders of the Foundation are unaware of Quilliam’s legacy. Nawaz delivered a number of speeches whilst a member of Hizb ut-Tahrir and used Quilliam’s legacy to define the political role of Muslims in contemporary British society and its website details Quilliam’s legacy – albeit choosing to focus on those aspects that purport its version of Islam.[375] The table below compares and contrasts Abduallah Quilliam's stance on a number of important issues to that of the Foundation and its nemesis, Hizb ut-Tahrir:

Caliphate - A - Y [376] H - Y [377] Q - X [378]
Jihad - A - Y
[379] H - Y [380] Q - X [381]
Ummah / Nationalism - A - Y
[382] H - Y [383] Q - X[384]
Shariah A - Y
[385] H - Y [386] Q - X [387]
Western Civilisation - A - Y
[388] H - Y [389] Q - X [390]
Integration - A - Y
[391] H - Y Q - X [392]
British Foreign Policy - A - Y
[393] H - Y [394] Q - X [395]

A - Abdullah Quilliam’s Position, H - Hizb ut-Tahrir’s (UK) Position, Q - Quilliam Foundation’s Position
X - Disagree, Y - Agree

So why the adoption of the name Quilliam? Did it adopt the name without any research, like its adoption of Spanish history? Maybe. It also may be the case that it is attempting historic revisionism.
[396] Critics like Yahya Birt have highlighted the attempt to project Abdullah Quilliam as a kind of proto-Brownite patriot, a social entrepreneur working in the third sector.[397] This would not be the first time – accusations of revisionism were made in the blogs Maajid contributed to[398] before he published the first (and only) in his series of papers where he tried to refute the intellectual basis of the “Islamists”.

In conclusion, the appropriation of the Quilliam name by a neo-conservative organisation is probably as bad as naming it the Qutb Foundation.

Associates and Advisors

“It’s difficult to find an intellectual who is considered to be merely a scholar, because everyone is associated with some tendency, some faction, some ideological or political line.” (Akbar Ahmed)

Hasan Butt, ex-activist of the former Islamic group al-Muhajiroun, disavowed his radical allegiances and used to plead with the British Muslim community to confront extremism head-on. He provided activist narratives akin to the founders of the Quilliam Foundation claiming to have recruited 200 fighters for the Taliban.
[400] His narratives were exposed as little more than fantasy, and fabrication including never having met any al-Qaida operatives, during Manchester Police interviews in May 2008. The journalist Shiv Malik, co-author of a forthcoming autobiography “Leaving al Qaeda: Inside the Mind of a British Jihadist”, was cynically asked by Channel 4 News if “he had been shafted [by Hasan Butt]…[401] From a review of material on the web and from narratives of contemporaries of the Quilliam Foundation founders, one notes a similar pattern to Hasan Butt. Gross exaggerations, outrageous behaviour,[402] rejection of basic Islamic concepts,[403] misquotation of classical scholars[404] etc.

A similar narrative emerges when one considers the scholars they claim are guiding them. Akll of those on their website have distanced themselves from the Foundation and the remaining Dr Hasan has defended his and their position with a plethora of confusing statements claiming he believes in the Caliphate (fusion of religion and state) whilst simultaneously believing in secularism (separation of relition and state).

Furthermore, if one considers the background and stances of the scholars that are cited, one notes a decidedly establishmnet orientation, with a number of views that the Foundation consider "extreme" in "Islamists" they criticise. The example of Ali al-Goma is briefly considered below.
Ali al-Goma has had a traditional education at the al-Azhar University and is familiar with the Islamic sciences. The Quilliam Foundation cite him as one of the greatest contemporary scholars. However, since his appointment as Grandi Mufti of Egypt by one of the region’s most heavily criticised dictators, President Mubarak, brings his neutrality and views into question. The Quilliam Foundation whilst promoting his political views, which are little more than those of the Egyptian state, fails to mention some of his not so progressive views:
Stating the Islamic restriction on unmarried men and women being together could be lifted at work if the woman breast-fed her male colleagues five times,[405]
Drinking the urine of the Prophet Muhammad is deemed a blessing,[406]
Stating apostasy is a sin punishable in this world and the hereafter,[407]
Authorizing women Imams and women led prayer,[408] (contradicting its other scholar, bin Bayah, who prohibits it),
Openly supported Hizbullah during the 2006 Lebanese war,
Stating it was forbidden for the Taliban to hand Osama bin Ladin over to the Americans in 2001,
Stating it is permitted for Egyptians to carry out martyrdom operations in Palestine/Israel.[409]

Regarding the issue of Israel and Jews, Goma contradicts the Foundation’s stance stating:
“The world has let the Jews spread corruption throughout the land and they have succeeded in obtaining international legitimacy to territories that were conquered after 1967... We are facing a criminal occupation that is the source of terror" and "The Zionists themselves do not differentiate between civilian and military personnel. They have set the entire people to military service. The civilian settler who occupies land in a state of war is a Harbi. Besides, everyone in Israel, civilians and military personnel, bear arms. That is, they are Ahl Al-Qital [those who deserve to be killed]."

When asked, "Is it permitted to kill an Israeli travelling outside the borders of his land?" Goma said, "Yes, it is permitted to kill him, because he is a Harbi and the Harbi spreads corruption throughout the face of the earth."

Gomaa also said Hizbullah, the resistance group, was defending Lebanon against Israeli injustice:
"The attacks, killing and destruction that are taking place in Lebanon now by Israeli forces are injustice itself. This gives the Lebanese the right to defend themselves. Hizbullah is defending its country and what it is doing is not terrorism.”
[412] Quilliam Foundation see Hizbullah as a terrorist organisation.

Nawaz in 2007 wrote a paper attacking Hizb ut-Tahrir’s stance on the classical notions of Dar al-Islam arguing against these notions.
[413] In the Quilliam Foundation launch document it argued, “Muslim seminaries should… Explain religious texts of the past in their context and assess relevance to today’s world (for example, the invalidity of notions of Dar al-Harb and Dar al-Islam).”[414] In a fatwa approved by Goma however, selling pork and alcohol is permitted in the West because, “it is allowed taking the opinion of the scholars from the Hanafi madhhab who allow to deal with wrong contracts in dar al-harb (the house of war).” Furthermore he cites a Prophetic narration, “No usury between the people of war in dar al-harb.[415]

Husain has criticised Muslim dress however Goma states that hijab is an obligation on all Muslim consenting female adults, as firmly established in the Holy Qur'an and Prophet Muhammad’s hadiths as well as unanimously agreed upon by Muslim scholars.

These views are glanced over by the Quilliam Foundation, as he provides justifications to some of their secular views on politics arguing Islam does not call for and has never known a theocratic state and that there is no contradiction between Islam and liberal democracy.

Activist Scholars

“From the very beginning up to now, Islam is the only system of thought that provided a pure ideological system without a trace of nationalism…” (Mawdudi, 1940)
“Man progresses according to the concepts he carries…” (Al-Nabhani, 1953)
“It requires a realistic and practical code and system of life; and any theories that are presented to it will be judged on the benefits that are proved to result from their application in the realm of practical life.” (Qutb, 1966)

The modern history of revivalism and reformation began in the nineteenth century across the Muslim world, catalysed by the interventions and occupations of colonial powers. Unlike the Quilliam Foundation narrative, it reflected views from a broad spectrum of Muslims, movements, thinkers and scholars encompassing sufi, theological, political, and militant traditions: Sayyid Ahmad Shahid (India 1786-1831), Mirza Hasan Shirazi (Iran 1815-94), Imam Shamil (Central Asia, 1796-1871), Amir Abd al-Qadir (Algeria, 1808-83), Mohammed ibn Abdille Hasan (Somaliland 1864-1920), Mahdi (Sudan, 1885), Uthman Dan Fodo (Nigeria, 1754-1817), Mohammed Iqbal (Pakistan, 1877-1938), Abul-Kalam Azad (India, 1888-1958), Mawlana Husain Madani (India, 1879-1957) and Mawdudi (Pakistan, 1903-79).

The Quilliam Foundation alleges “Islamist” scholars have imposed political interpretations on the Islamic faith by considering revelation through a political lens. However, it has have not substantiated these allegations and has opened itself to allegations of double standards by doing the same, arguing Muslim history was secular – something factually incorrect. This section considers these three scholars and their contribution to the debate.

Mawdudi trained with Deobandi ulama at the Fatihpuri mosque’s seminary in Delhi and received his certificates to teach religious sciences (ijazahs) in 1926.
[422] A journalist by trade he opposed the division of India arguing for the unity of the Ottoman Caliphate, and rebuilding the Caliphate anew after its demise. For Mawdudi:
“Islam is not the name of a mere religion, nor is Muslim the title of a nation. The truth is that Islam is a revolutionary ideology which seeks to alter the social order of the entire world and rebuild it in conformity with its own tenets and ideals” and “Islam is a comprehensive system which seeks to annihilate all evil and tyrannical systems in the world and enforce its own programme of reform, which it deems best for the well-being of mankind.”

"Mankind today, stands at the edge of the abyss…" Syed Qutb wrote in the opening line of his most important book.
[424] Egyptian authorities however executed him in 1966 for allegedly conspiring to overthrow the government. Qutb's importance lies in having translated the logic of Ibn Taymiyya's rulings on apostasy into a comprehensive perspective on the problems of Islam in the modern world. Describing modern society as general state of barbarity, he argued it was a state into which any Muslim society can sink even after the advent of Islam. He argued a notion of emigration and establishing a counter-society on the periphery of the existing society following which the process of total transformation to an Islamic society could occur. Qutb used the example set by the Prophet(saw) of how Muslims should carry out a revolution - preaching the faith, performing Hijra to escape oppression, organizing an independent power base and then conducting war to topple the unbelievers from power – as a blueprint for revolution. [425]

Al-Nabhani graduated from al-Azhar University becoming a judge in the Court of Appeal in Palestine. Following the creation of the state of Israel, he created an Islamic political party to re-establish the Caliphate so Muslims could resume the Islamic way of life. His analysis of Muslim decline identified historic factors (encounter with greek philosophy, neglect of the Arabic language etc) and more importantly, the systems imposed by European colonialists across the Muslim world as causes and impediments to any meaningful progress. The Prophet’s Meccan life provides the methodology which saw the Prophet(saw) establish a political party that sought socio-political change, initially addressing the ruling elites and following a hostile response, striving for a new public opinion. Having failed in Mecca the call was welcomed in Medina where the Prophet(saw) took power through a peaceful coup with support of Medina’s leading political figures.

All of these scholars claim Islam is for all aspects of social and personal life. They agree that Islam is flexible, the need for the implementation of Sharia and absolute ijtihad, so long as it is not done as a covert means of copying the West. Mawdudi says, "The purpose and object of ijtihad is not to replace the Divine law by man-made law. Its real object is to understand the Supreme Law." Syed Qutb says Islam is "flexible" but not "fluid" and stresses that "if there is an authoritative text (nass), then that text is decisive and there is no scope for ijtihad. If there is no nass, then comes the time for ijtihad, in accordance with the established principles of God's own method." Consistently with this, they accept more of the past ijtihad of the scholars strongly emphasizing the distinctiveness of Islam. None have any difficulty accepting modern material technology, as is seen from use of computers and the web for communicating their message. This does not compromise authenticity since classical Islamic civilization had little problem borrowing purely material technology. Mawdudi and Nabhani however do object to those who wish to identify Islam with "democracy," "communism," or "dictatorship" on the grounds that such identifications result from "the belief that we as Muslims can earn no honour or respect unless we are able to show that our religion resembles modern creeds" and confusion in culture and civilisation (hadhara/madaniyya). In accord with this concern for authenticity and distinctiveness, they all see an "inferiority complex" in modernist apologetics.

The Quilliam Foundation has not addressed any of these writer’s works or thoughts in any significant detail. Nor does it present any analysis of the historical political movements in the Muslim world and the origins of its associated political thought – the context to the contemporary debate. This is surprising given the profound impact they had on Islamic revivalism and reform over the twentieth century and beyond. From the citation of Islamist scholars, who include traditional jurists, thinkers, philosophers, politicians and activists, one would have expected a critique identifying the commonality of mistake or error amongst them. More importantly, a critical conceptual or legislative articulation of their works with a critique thereof would also have been expected if the Foundation expected its views to be taken seriously.

Quilliam Challenges

“Anti-Americanism in any community is only dangerous if there is a group within that community that can organize and channel that sentiment into an intelligently conceived strategy. Destroying such groups is the highest priority, but it is extremely difficult...” (American Enterprise Institute)

Bizarrely the Quilliam Foundation challenges “Islamist” groups to public debates, in particular Hizb ut-Tahrir.
[429] However, when given the opportunity on BBC’s “World Have Your Say” (WHYS) programme, "Husain declined the offer to challenge a member of Hizb ut-Tahrir live on air, claiming that he did not want to give a platform to activists.[430] Husain argued, “‘Sometimes it’s as simple as some people being wrong, and some being right. I’ve better things to do than argue with these people.’ …he went on, ‘I suppose you’ll be asking the British National Party on next’. ‘We did just that last year’ I replied.”[431]

The Foundation’s arguments may have been credible if Hizb ut-Tahrir did not already have a high profile, providing global media appearances, reviews in leading academic journals, periodicals, and research papers, debated across the web and present in communities across the UK and the globe. Hizb ut-Tahrir no doubt will want to carefully consider whether it wishes to give Quilliam Foundation any profile by engaging with it.

Inverting the Foundation’s challenge, critics have posted challenges which the Foundation has failed to respond to - “…could you, "Ed" or your Research policy guy, Rashad, please post your evidences that you said that you would have making the case from Islamic texts, for Muslims to recognize the state of Israel and have FULL diplomatic relations with it. Would you also be willing to condemn those academics who have tried to organize an embargo/boycott of Israel on University campuses? Please put this in writing if so.”
[433] Husain’s evasive and feeble response, "…kindly tell us more about yourself and your past/current affiliations with Islamism (of any shade). For others waiting in the wings, please introduce yourself or your family connections to Islamism which make you vulnerable to rise to the defence of Islamism. Otherwise, I reserve the right to silence. Mohamed Mahbub Husain."[434]


“Given the current climate of suspicion and fear it is necessary that now more than ever people try to understand the legitimate political aspirations of many in the Muslim world, rather than simply falling for a reductionist Manichean dialectic, that paints everyone who seeks Islamic change in that region as extremists and supporters of terrorism.” (Hizb ut-Tahrir – Britain)

The Quilliam Foundation, a new political actor in the UK, is unclear about the nature of the debate it has entered - believing "Islamists" to be single handedly bringing about a conflict. It professes to be both a think tank and a campaign group, providing no critical contribution to the contemporary political debates and facing widespread rejection by communities. The Quilliam Foundation advocates a strict secular “Sufi” version of Islam, denying any religious contribution to politics despite orthodox sufis acknowledging the fusion of religion and politics – British secular politics however is acceptable. Ideologically it oscillates between extreme secularist and modernist tendencies. The founders have tainted motives, their distinguishing feature being imited ethnographic experiences with the UK arm of Hizb ut-Tahrir. An indiscriminate set of advisors has resulted in mixed messaging and defections. The British establishment has responded warmly providing access to public platforms, financially chastising organisations that refuse to work with them and overlooking well-documented shortcomings, whilst denying the same to their opponents.

The Foundation attempts to suppress meaningful debate through the use of stereotypes and pejorative labelling of its opponents, in a “you are with us or against us” approach and advising the government not to engage with "Islamists" but to consult themselves. The Foundation regards political Islam as the cause of extremism and terror, an inverse of general opinion which sees Islamic activism arising from continuing colonialist misadventures in the Muslim world, political injustice and the failure of secular ideologies. No analysis appears to have been carried out on this subject and any mention of foreign policy and clash of value systems is ridiculed. A rigorous critique of secularism, modernism as well as traditionalism would have been expected with balanced and considered recommendations – however, placing the blame of everything at the feet of Muslim activists, “Islamists”, is untenable, though convenient for the establishment and neoconservatives as well as funding requirements.

With the receding importance of traditionalism among activists, the old contradiction between activists and modernists has re-emerged to the surface.
[436] The tide however is clearly moving in the direction of activists calling for a global Caliphate.[437]

In traditional British politicking, the Quilliam Foundation has been positioned as secular extremists on the political spectrum (however a secularist-modernist tension exists between the views of Husain and Nawaz/Ali). This positioning would allow the debate to shift to a new centre ground, where modernists with palatable views can be engaged with and those calling for a radical change in the systems are marginalised as extremists.
The May 30 Sunday Times newspaper has leaked confidential papers discussing a government project code-named “Contest,” which is meant to tackle mass social and political disaffection amongst the UK’s 1.6 million Muslims. It detailed the government's plans to engage "moderates" such as Hamza Yusuf, Tariq Ramdan and Amr Khaled in order to marginalise critics. As such, the Quilliam Foundation is little more than a tactical partner destined to be used and cast aside over time; the true strategic partners will be the modernists who will urge Muslims to accept and legitimise the overall status quo, abstain from the growing global struggle, and show loyalty to a British identity.

Increasingly the Muslim Ummah sees the post-Ottoman unjust political configuration as the cause of their stagnation, as it increasingly discovers its badly maligned historic civilisation did not cease in the twelfth century but continued to 1924. With the subsequent call growing for significant reform, Muslim elites and their Western allies will have to do much more.

In policy formulation, both the UK and US should stop using organisations with self-interested goals that do not reflect the Muslims or the Muslim world. Tensions with the Russia and the communist world were only reduced once it was engaged with directly - the same is seen in the success of the British with the IRA and the current attempts at engaging with Iran. Engaging with movements like Hizb ut-Tahrir, Jama't Islam and Ikhwan al-Muslimeen all of whom reflect Muslim political thinking and sentiment, will result in a more progressive solution than that from the use of "middle-men" advisors who exagerrate issues and threats that do not exist, complicate the problems with their own agendas and biases, increasing the likelihood of a clash of civilisations scenario.

Furthermore, the UK and US need to allow genuine political freedom in the Muslim world rather than feeling the need to “micro-manage” the process so that “acceptable” leaders are chosen and “acceptable” groups are allowed to operate. An unhindered debate is needed in relation to the Islamic political system, values and policies and their impacts rather than the enforcement of secular systems and Western “universal” values that are wholly inappropriate to the Muslim world. As some researchers have suggested, progress in the Muslim world may even “…lead to Western governments taking on reforms that incorporate aspects of the programmes of political Islam; and by taking a more ethical approach to international trading inequities.”

The appropriate response to Islam’s assertion lies not in a renewed Western policy of Cold War 'containment', which opposes this 'threat' wherever and whenever it raises its head, currently seen in the “war on terror”, no doubt due to progress to a “war on Islamism”. What is needed are genuine attempts to recognise how Islamic critiques of the West's liberal democratic norms represent a legitimate reopening of questions concerning the appropriate political framework for post-modern societies. Islamic critiques are essentially attempts to reopen the 'end of history' debate through the notion of a 'new convergence thesis'.

Such efforts will not be easy, given the triumphalist cold war assumptions that underpin Western foreign policy making.


[1] British Home Secretary Charles Clarke in a speech to the Heritage Foundation on October 6 2005
[2] Chossudovsky, M, “War and Globalisation, The Truth behind September 11”,, retrieved 21st May 2008
[3] “All mod cons”,, retrieved 7th May 2008
[4] Heitmeyer, 2001
[5] CIVITAS, "The West, Islam and Islamism",, retrieved 5th June 2008, p. 9
[6] The US spent about 17 percent of the 20th century in major wars and almost all of the 21st century – Friedman, G, “The US Air Force and the Next War”, 11th June 2008, Stratfor
[7], retrieved 3rd May 2008
[8] The likes of Nasr Hamid, Naguib Mahfouz, and Farag Foda have long emphasized the compatibility of Islam with modern civilisation – Najjar, F M, “Islamic Fundamentalism and the Intellectuals: The Case of Nasr Ḥāmid Abū Zayd”, British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, Vol. 27, No. 2 (Nov. 2000), p. 178
[9] “Ed Husein : A British Neo-Conservative in Sufi Clothing”,, retrieved 16th May 2008
[10] The fourth, Dawud Masieh, is an ancillary figure bringing little to the organization.
[11], retrieved 12th May 2008
[12], retrieved 19th May 2008
[13] “The 'Islamist' bogeyman”,, retrieved 19th May 2008
[14] Sardar, Z, “The Islamist by Ed Husain; Journey into Islam by Akbar Ahmed”,, retrieved 19th May 2008
[15], retrieved 16th May 2008; Husain, E, “The Islamist”, Penguin, 2008;
[16] Husain, E, op cit, 2008
[17], retrieved 15th May 2008
[18] The oath comprises: “I swear by God Almighty to be loyal to Islam and to defend it, to embrace Hizb al-Tahrir’s opinions and constitution, to have confidence in its leadership, and to implement its resolutions even if they are contrary to my own opinion, as long as I remain a member. In all this I place my trust in God. (Leaflet, al-Qanun al-Idari, 4)” – Taji-Farouki, S, op cit, 1996, p. 134
[19] Reviewing the Quilliam Foundation website videos, Husain is the only one of the trio who has any conviction in what he delivers. Rashad Ali’s speech at the Institute of Ideas highlights this well – he unenthusiastically explains Quilliam Foundation views in sharp contrast with his enthusiastic narration of Hizb ut-Tahrir’s culturing processes during the q&a session (leaving the audience skeptical about what the problem is with Hizb ut-Tahrir discourse) -, retrieved 22nd May 2008
[20], retrieved 12th May 2008
[21] Husain says, “…but banning Hizb ut-Tahrir would be an excellent first step” -, retrieved 20th May 2008
[22] “Ed Husain: You Ask The Questions”,, retrieved 12th May 2008
[23] “The Heretical Counter”,,, “A pointless attack on liberty that fuels the terror threat”, retrieved 14th May 2008;
[24] and - retrieved 22nd May 2008
[25] and - retrieved 5th May 2008
[26], retrieved 15th May 2008
[27], retrieved 19th May 2008
[28], retrieved 22nd May 2008
[29]Was your head of research Rashad Ali suspended from HT for being involved in criminal activities? …who 'turned' after being arrested for dubious fraudulent activity and dealing with stolen luxury cars! He is renowned across the country for being a con-man!”, “It is ludicrous to dismiss us as neocon former extremists”,, retrieved 15th May 2008
[30] “Towards Political Engagement”,, retrieved 5th May 2008
[32] Rashad Ali Q&A – January 2008
[33]; Taji-Farouki, S, op cit, 1996; International Crisis Group, “Radical Islam in Central Asia: Responding to Hizb ut-Tahrir”,, retrieved 10th June 2008
[34] “William Abdullah Quilliam”,, retrieved 10/05/08
[35] “Pulling together to defeat terror”,, p. 9 - retrieved 5th May 2008
[36] "Understanding Islamism", International Crisis Group,, retrieved 4th June 2008
[37] National Institute for Research Advancement
[38], retrieved 26th May 2008
[39] “How I’ll fight against Islamic extremism”,, retrieved 12th May 2008
[40], retrieved 5th June 2008
[41] Husain states, “Islamists are at odds with Islam as a faith. Islam is a faith not an ideology” – “How I’ll fight against Islamic extremism”,
[42], retrieved 12th May 2008
[43] Article 2 of the constitution resonates the Quilliam Foundation position: "The Republic of Turkey is a democratic, secular and social state governed by the rule of law,. . . loyal to the nationalism of Ataturk, and based on the fundamental principles set forth in the Preamble" (Article 2).
[44] Shepard, E, “Islam and Ideology: Towards a Typology”, International Journal of Middle East Studies, Vol. 19, No. 3, Aug 1987, Cambridge University Press, p. 307
[45] A number of references to Hizb ut-Tahrir on the Quilliam Foundation include:,,,,,,
[46] Taji-Farouki, S, "A Fundamental Quest: Hizb al-Tahrir and the Search for the Islamic Caliphate", Grey Seal, London, 1996
[47]Of the four Righteous Caliphs who followed the Prophet in the headship of the Islamic community, three were murdered. The second Caliph, Umar, was stabbed by a Christian slave with a private grievance; learning this, the Caliph on his deathbed thanked God that he had not been murdered by one of the faithful. Even this consolation was denied to his successors Uthman and Ali, who were both struck down by Muslim Arabs—the first by a group of angry mutineers, the second by a religious fanatic…” - CIVITAS, "The West, Islam and Islamism",, retrieved 5th June 2008, p. 22
[48], retrieved 8th May 2008
[49] Early Muslim rulers (Imam Ali, the Prophet's son-in-law, for example) fought those who claimed "rule is for God". Muslim scholarly giants such as Ibn al-Qayyim (d 1350) condemned those who claimed to rule in God's name -, retrieved 8th May 2008
“Muslims have never had a church that defined all aspects of faith and politics. Muslim scholars have always existed outside of the political sphere and developed diverse traditions, religious and ethical codes outside of political authority.” – Comment – Rashad,, retrieved 21st May 2008
[50] Hallaq, W, “The Origins and Evolution of Islamic Law”, Cambridge University Press, 2005, pp.173-6, 182-7
Salahi, A, “Pioneers of Islamic Scholarship”, The Islamic Foundation, 2006, pp. 51-2
[51] Haddad, M, "Arab Religious Nationalism in the Colonial Era: Reading Rashid Rida's ideas on the Caliphate," Journal of the American Oriental Society, 117.2 (1997) 253-77.
[52], retrieved 22nd May 2008
[53] Civitas’s publication provides a case in question - CIVITAS, "The West, Islam and Islamism",, retrieved 5th June 2008
[54] Kurth, op cit, 1993, p 52
[55], retrieved 9th May 2008
[56], retrieved 22nd May 2008
[57], retrieved 30th May 2008
[58] As commented by a journalist at the Quilliam Foundation launch
[59] “All mod cons”,, retrieved 7th May 2008
[60], retrieved 6th June 2008
Recent revelations claim funding has been termiinated due to the Quilliam Foundation's extreme views and opinions forcing Husain to campaign for further funds -, retrieved 8th June 2008
[61] Osama bin Laden and the jihadists in the field of operations opposing the Russian threat in the 1980s were unaware of the American hand behind their ISI contacts and that they were being used to further American interests in the Cold War.
[62] Taji-Farouki, S, 1996, pp. 130-32
[63] It was created after the 7/7 bombings, reflecting Tony Blair's belief that the Muslim Council of Britain had not done enough to fight the extremists, despite MCB's lifting of its boycott of Holocaust Memorial Day and its acceptance of homosexuals as a respected minority – “Our third way”,, retrieved 4th May 2008
[64] “No way to combat terrorism”,, retrieved 5th May 2008
[65], retrieved 22nd May 2008
[66] “Abandoning Banning”,, retrieved 4th May 2008
[67] “All mod cons”,, retrieved 7th May 2008
[68], retrieved 16th May 2008
[69], retrieved 12th May 2008, retrieved 12th May 2008
[70], retrieved 7th June 2008
[71] “Response from Shaykh Babikr Ahmed Babikr”,, retrieved 11th May 2008
[72], retrieved 15th May 2008
[73] Abdul Hakim Murad
[74]Mawdudi, Qutb and Al-Nabhani cannot be accused in this specific regard of believing and propagating anything but a standard, orthodox belief expounded and endorsed by the jurists throughout time.
Moreover, Husain misrepresents Hamza Yusuf’s statement that there was ‘no such thing as an Islamic state’, because I remember that speech, and Yusuf was simply denying the English word ‘state’ as a way of understanding the khilafah, and it was certainly not a rejection of Islam being the ‘signifier’ of the political order” - “Review of “The Islamist”: Ust. Andrew Booso [complete]”,, retrieved 21st May 2008
[75], retrieved 9th May 2008
[76], retrieved 8th May 2008
[77] Dr Husain’s strategy of not rocking the boat with organisations that invite him have led him to some extreme positions – on his website he commiserates the pain of Christ on the cross, something most Muslims would see as heretical as they do not believe he was crucified.
[78], retrieved 9th May 2008
[79], and!649F4AA3FB0CBA94!2283.entry, retrieved 10th May 2008
[80], retrieved 11th May 2008
[82] Other contributors added very little:
Lord Paddy Ashdown cited the Arab transmission of works of Plato/Socrates/Virgil in a bizarre argument that equated Muslim values with Hellenic Judea-Christian values – freedom, democracy and secularism should be adopted by Muslims as universal values -, retrieved 11th May 2008
Timothy Ash, a staunch secular liberal, told the audience he “couldn’t give a fig for fiqh.” He argued Islam to be an ideology and compared ex-Islamists to ex-Communists - aids to help the West to understand and combat radicalisation. He hoped the Foundation would take western “universal” values forward – no doubt unexpected comments for the Quilliam Foundation. Embarrassingly he added “Faiths are not entitled to respect which curbs freedom of expression when compared to any other ideas”, he said, and more controversially, “faith requires less respect than propositions such as 2+2=4.”
Dr Saleh’s contribution comprised, “do not judge British society – judge oneself.”, retrieved 9th May 2008
Mohammed Hee, yet another ex-Hizb ut-Tahrir member, was provided with a Quran and Hadith texts along with convincing arguments which transformed him from an “unassuming Muslim” into an “Islamist”, from a citizen to a counter-citizen. As a result he argued those who provide such material are extremists and young Muslims must be warned against them – writing off every Muslim in the process -, retrieved 10th May 2008
[83] CIVITAS, "The West, Islam and Islamism",, retrieved 5th June 2008
[84], retrieved 19th May 2008
[85] Last year, David Cameron also went out of his way to praise Gomaa and the Times called him "The Wise Mufti".
[86] "he is a Shahid [martyr], because Palestine is a special case and not the ordinary case existing in the world…", "Al-haqiqa", July 2003; “al-Hayat”, 30th September 2003
[87] “All mod cons”,, retrieved 11th May 2008
[88]The Sufi Muslim Council (SMC) have emerged from nowhere… But hardly anyone knows who they are or what they stand for… worrying links between this new council and the neoconservatives in Washington… The majority of the content is written by neoconservatives that criticise Islamic groups 'Wahhabis', the Muslim Brotherhood, MCB, MAB, Hizb ut-Tahrir…
One of the prominent authors on the SMC website… is Zeyno Baran, a self confessed neocon who works for the ultra right-wing Hudson Institute… She says that Islam should play no role in politics and condemns even the mere mention of Islam in the Iraqi and Afghan constitutions.
Baran has been trying to establish a neocon-friendly Muslim organisation in the UK. She has talked of the need to, "provide money and help create the political space for moderate Muslims to organize, publish, broadcast, and translate their work." She has also held meetings with government officials in the UK, urging them to ban the Muslim Brotherhood and Hizb ut-Tahrir...
The hard right neocon think tank the Nixon Center published a document by Zeyno Baran which encouraged using Sufism as a means to attack Islam. []…
The SMC is closely linked to Shaykh Hisham Kabbani (ISCA). The SMC website and magazine are full of Kabbani's writings and Haras Rafiq has admitted that Kabbani is the spiritual leader of the SMC. Kabbani infuriated Muslims in the US when he gave a clandestine testimony to the State Department in which he claimed 80% of mosques and Muslims in the US were "extremists", Muslims pose a threat to the USA and the US government needs to act quickly and Israeli occupation is legitimate and should be accepted. All the major US Muslim organisations issued a statement condemned the ISCA.
[89] “UK Muslim group to tackle extremism”,, retrieved 15th May 2008
[90] “What turns some Islamists to terror”,, retrieved 15th May 2008
[91] “Saudi Doctorate Encourages the Murder of Arab Intellectuals”,, retrieved 20th May 2008
[92] “Muslim moderates 'face hate campaign'”,
“Extremists target Jemima with death threats”,\04\24\story_24-4-2008_pg1_8, retrieved 13th May 2008
[93], retrieved 5th June 2008
[94], retrieved 15th May 2008
[95] “All mod cons”,, retrieved 7th May 2008
[97] Ibid.
[98], retrieved 13th May 2008
[99], retrieved 14th May 2008
[100] Comments,, retrieved 6th May 2008
[101] “Quilliam's launch manifesto calls on Muslims to take a stand against radical Islamists whose rhetoric "provides the mood music to which suicide bombers dance"”, “Pulling together to defeat terror”, - retrieved 5th May 2008
[102]Ed Husain told Reuters “Most Muslims are still in denial about this cancer of extremism in our midst. Unless we Muslims accept we have a serious extremism problem, then we cannot turn to rejecting it”, “Ed Husain: You Ask The Questions”,, retrieved 11th May 2008
[103] BBC News Online, “EU deplores 'dangerous' Islam jibe,” 27th September 2001,, retrieved 12th May 2008
[104] Khir, B M, “Concept of Sovereignty in Contemporary Islamic, Movements”, Encounters Journal of Inter-Cultural Perspectives, Vol. 1, No. 1, March 1995, pp. 12-13
[106] Salla, M E, “Political Islam and the West: A New Cold War or Convergence?”, Third World Quarterly, Vol. 18, No. 4, Sep 1997, Taylor & Francis Ltd, pp. 730-3
[107] The National Intelligence Council set out the likely scenario the world will face in 2020. It concluded the appeal of Islam is a call to return to where Islamic civilisation was at the forefront of global change under the Khilafah. At the highest levels of US policy planning, preparation is being made for the emergence of the Khilafah. Other reports acknowledge there is a broad based ideological movement seeking its return – Khan, A, “Islamic Reformation – Exposing the Battle for Hearts and Minds”,, retrieved 10th May 2008
[108] Former secretary general of NATO, Willie Claes
[109] Washington Post, “President Bush Delivers Remarks on the War on Terror”, 5th September 2006,, retrieved 14th May 2008
[110] “THE CRUSADER vs. THE CALIPHATE...The Bush Doctrine: Defeat The Radical Islamic Empire”,;, retrieved 14th May 2008
[111] “Poll confirms massive support for the caliphate in the Muslim world”,, retrieved 15th May 2008
[112] Heritage Foundation Speech, 6th October 2006
[113] One of the most influential think tanks on US policy
[114] “Islamists Are Intrinsically Anti-Democratic”,
[115] The US methodological approach to Islamic politics is seen by two camps as either essentialist or contingencist – the former argue that the Muslim world is “dominated by a set of relatively enduring and unchanging processes and meanings, to be understood through the texts of Islam itself and the language it generated” whilst the latter oppose such conceptual frameworks stating, “The challenge today is to appreciate the diversity of Islamic actors and movements to ascertain the reasons behind confrontations and conflicts, and thus to react to specific events and situations with informed, reasoned responses rather than predetermined presumptions and reactions” - Salla, M E, op cit, 1997, pp. 729-31
[116] “Reunified Islam: Unlikely but Not Entirely Radical - Restoration of Caliphate, Attacked by Bush, Resonates With Mainstream Muslims”, 14th January 2006,, retrieved 4th May 2008
[117],filter.all/pub_detail.asp, retrieved 6th May 2008
[118] Ibid.
[119] The fundamentalists are seen to be hostile to belligerent western states like the United States and Britain and Israel, believing post-colonial structures imposed on the Muslim world are the causes of decline and decadence and are pre-conditional to any meaningful change. Traditionalists hold similar juristic views to fundamentalists, however, are less vocal on political matters. Modernists and secularists are seen closest to the West in terms of values and policies. However, they are weaker, lacking theological justification and seen as carrying Western values and culture, often supporting the unpopular status quo.
[120] Banard, C, “Civil, Democratic, Islam: Partners, Resources, and Strategies”, Rand, National Security Research Division, 2003,, retrieved 5th May 2008
[121] Ibid.
[122] Fieschi, C, “Engagement with political Islam is not a question of if, but of how”,, retrieved 7th May 2008
[123] Shepard, W E, op cit, 1966, p. 317
[124] Al-Nabhani, T A, “Islamic Personality”, “Thought”, and “The Islamic System”
[125] Taji-Farouki, 1996, op cit, pp. 45-54
[126] Ali Abd al-Raziq was a senior member of al-Azhar University and in 1925 he wrote, "Islam and the Bases of Government", arguing for the first time that Islam did not lay down any particular political system, nor did Islam have anything to do with the Caliphate. He said the rules the Prophet (pbuh) laid down only related to prayer and fasting. He was expelled from al-Azhar, his books were condemned and he was dismissed from his post as a religious judge. Rosenthall said: "we meet for the first time a consistent, unequivocal theoretical assertion of the purely and exclusively religious character of Islam." - Black, A, "The history of Islamic Political Thought", Edinburgh University Press, 2001, pp. 316-9
[127] Shepard, W E, “Muhammad Said al-Ashmawi and the Application of the Sharia in Egypt”, International Journal of Middle East Studies, Vol. 28, No. 1, Feb 1996, Cambridge University Press, p. 42
[128] Ibid., p. 43
[129] CIVITAS, "The West, Islam and Islamism",, retrieved 5th June 2008, p. 19
[130] Ibid.
[131] Ironically whilst Ali is presenting to a predominantly left-wing audience at the Institute of Ideas
[132] Watt, M W, “Muslim Intellectual A Study of al-Ghazali”, Edinburgh, 1963, pp. 58-68, 164-5
[133]The encounter with this discourse had such a profound impact on the consciousness of Muslim intellectuals that until today their replies to it have been conditioned on its very premises. The elites that took power after independence swore by the ideals of secular reason, not realizing that these ideals were responsible for the loss of identity in their societies and isolated them from the religious consciousness of the Muslim masses” - Hoebink, M, “Thinking about Renewal in Islam: Towards a History of Islamic Ideas on Modernization and Secularization”, Arabica, Vol. 46, No. 1, 1999, Brill, p. 29, 46
[134] Shepard, E, op cit, 1985, p. 307
[135] The first debate developed in response to Western expansion. Influenced by European thought Muslim secularists argued a complete break with religion as a source of legitimacy for social and political life was a precondition for the modernization of society. Their opponents rejected secularism as simply Western domination and an obstacle to Muslim freedom and development. The demand for an Islamic order was not a rejection of modernization, but a rejection of Western cultural hegemony and westernized elites in the Muslim world. The issue of modernization, conditioned on the premise that the Quran is the ultimate source of social legitimacy, takes the shape of a debate on religious renewal and interpretation, a continuation of the classical Islamic debate concerning human moral autonomy and the authority to interpret the Quran - Hoebink, M, op cit, 1999, p. 62
[136] Shepard, W E, op cit, 1985
[137] The Westerners may be kafirs to be resisted by force or to be tolerated as one of the punishments God visits upon his faithful for their sins or one of the trials by which He tests their faith, to some extent the Crusades and the Mongol invasions can offer historical precedents and God may grant kafirs worldly success but reserves the bliss of paradise for the Muslims. The tradition has always had its ways of gradually coping with change. Even if the gate of "absolute" ijtihad had been closed, ijtihad within the framework of tradition has always been possible. The traditionalists have been those who felt that the time-honored ways of change were adequate or, if they became rigid, did so in reaction to the modernizing pressures put upon them.
[138] David, M and Wild, L, “Reform in the Middle East”, Institute for Public Policy Research,, retrieved 2nd May 2008
[139] "Understanding Islamism", International Crisis Group,, retrieved 2nd June 2008
[140] Hoebink, M, op cit, 1999, pp. 61-2
[141] CIVITAS, "The West, Islam and Islamism",, retrieved 6th June 2008
[142] In Jordon the Islamic Action Front (Ikhwan oriented) accept and even defend the Hashemites, as does the PJD in Morocco, the AKP in Turkey and Ikhwan in Egypt – Noyon, J, “Islam, Politics and Pluralism: Theory and Practice in Turkey, Jordan, Tunisia and Algeria”, London, 2004, Ch. 6; "Understanding Islamism", International Crisis Group,, retrieved 3rd June 2008
[143] Gellner, E, “Islam and Marxism: Some Comparisons”, International Affairs (Royal Institute of International Affairs 1944-), 1991 Royal Institute of International Affairs, p. 2
[144] Some Muslim intellectuals play down or even deny legal prescriptions in the revelation but this remains a minority view - Nabih Ayubi, N, “Political Islam: Religion and Politics in the Arab World”, London and New York, 1991, pp. 201-13
[145], retrieved 24th May 2008
[146] CIVITAS, "The West, Islam and Islamism",, retrieved 5th June 2008
[147] Asim Siddiqui of the Guardian, a pro-Quilliamite, writes Islam is a religion and not an ideology – however in the same article he continues to state that Islam can guide a Muslim in how they conduct themselves in their personal, social and political life, but (strangely), their interpretation cannot be imposed on others -, retrieved 13th May 2008
Dr Mustafa al-Shaka of Ayn Shams University includes “man made” to the definition of ideology (thus excluding Islam) whereas Nasr Hamid does not accept this attribute and believes Islam is an ideology - Najjar, F, “Islamic Fundamentalism and the Intellectuals: The Case of Naṣr Ḥāmid Abū Zayd”, British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, Vol. 27, No. 2 (Nov. 2000), pp. 180
[148] and retrieved 3rd June 2008
[149] “Islam: Religion or Ideology?”,, retrieved 12th May 2008
[151] Shepard, W E, op cit, 1996, p. 328
[152] The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. retrieved May 16, 2008, from website:
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[154] St. John, R B, “The Ideology of Mu’ammar Qadhafi:Theory and Practice”, IJMES, Vol. 15, 4, November 1983, p. 471
[156] Hayduk, L A, Ratner, P A, Johnson, J L and Bottorff, J L, “Attitudes, Ideology, and the Factor Model”, Political Psychology, 1995, International Society of Political Psychology, p.479
[157] Abu Hasan Al-Asahri, Maturidi, Ibn Taymiyyah, Abu Jafar al-Tahawi, Ibn Abu al-Iz etc.
[158] Communism for instance informs discussions on theology, science, politics, economics and society. Capitalism informs economics, ethics, politics, society and individual lifestyle choices.
[159] Al-Nabhani, T A, “The System of Islam”, p. 35,, retrieved 22nd May 2008
[160] Hasan al-Banna, Five Tracts of Hasan al-Banna' (1906-1949): A Selection from the Majmu'at rasa'il al-Imam al Shahid Hasan al-Banna, Translated by Charles Wendel, University of California Press, Berkeley, 1978, p. 46.
[161] Shepard, E, 1987, p. 308
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[171], retrieved 22nd May 2008
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[173] "Understanding Islamism", International Crisis Group,, retrieved 2nd June 2008
[174] Shepard, W E, op cit, 1987, p. 308
[175] Ibid., p. 324
[176] Himmelstein, p. 7 -, retrieved 19th May 2008
[177] “Pulling together to defeat terror”,, p. 3 - retrieved 15th May 2008
[178] “Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Fuhrer, One Nation, One State, One Caliph”,, retrieved 22nd May 2008
[179] Wilcox, L and George, J, “Nazis, Communists, Klansmen and Others on the Fringe: Political Extremism in America”, Prometheus Books, 1992
[180] Interestingly, similar results are found when applied to the British Blair government and the US Bush administration.
[181] Hussain says, “The Saudi royal family, close allies of the clerical class, has a moral duty to rein in the bigots who masquerade as ‘scholars’” -, retrieved 30th May 2008
Husain states, “Their (Hizb ut-Tahrir) understanding of membership is idiosyncratic and involves swearing cultish oaths to Arab control-freaks.” Furthermore he states “All this can easily be dismissed as extremist claptrap” -, retrieved 20th May 2008
[182] Hussain argues “Consequently, there is palpable confusion about extremism, jihadism, Wahhabism, terrorism, Islamism, and ‘Islamofascism’.” -, retrieved 30th May 2008
Husain’s views are well documented where he labels opponents as extremists, militants, fanatics etc and describes the Arab "psyche" as irredeemably racist
Rashad Ali labels Hizb ut-Tahrir’s episteme to be “left-wing multi-culturism” and “intuitively wrong” -, retrieved 22nd May 2008
[183]Everything about your life is HT, you marry within HT, you hope your children will be with HT, your friends are HT…” -, retrieved 22nd May 2008
Husain describes the Arab "psyche" as irredeemably racist, rejects Western policy in the Muslim world make terror attacks in Britain and elsewhere more likely, argues penal sharia punishments to be barbaric, inhumane and outdated and dismisses the idea of Islamophobia.
Hussain states, “Muslim extremists with petrodollars seek to impose a new, bastardised, soulless, rigid religiosity on the world's Muslims.” -, retrieved 30th May 2008
[184] No or scant proof is provided for the Foundation’s positions on philosophy, politics, history, law and reform
[185] Nightclubbing, affairs, drinking, stolen vehicles, girlfriends etc. contradicting Islamic norms, 21st May 2008
Challenging Hizb ut-Tahrir to a public debate and then refusing to debate when presented with opportunities nor responding to challenges despite issuing them to others (see section “Challenges” for details)
[186] Husain’s description of Hizb ut-Tahrir is compared to the evil German Nazi party - “Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Fuhrer, One Nation, One State, One Caliph”, op cit and says, "Call them jihadists, Islamists, but I wouldn't call them Muslim. Being Muslim is not enough for them. They make politics seems religious…"
Nawaz supports this line saying, “Force is sometime necessary. We had to resist Hitler, for example…” -, retrieved 8th June 2008
[187] Ibid. - The Quilliam Foundation sees those as pro-“western universal values” or against, i.e., Islamists. Furthermore, Husain argues, “it’s as simple as some people being wrong, and some being right”,, retrieved 22nd May 2008
[188]We can wait for their state to come about and then confront them as we did the Nazis, at a very late stage and at a high human cost, or we can stop appeasing Hizb ut-Tahrir and its offshoots and demand: either change, or perish.” - “Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Fuhrer, One Nation, One State, One Caliph”, op cit
‘Sometimes it’s as simple as some people being wrong, and some being right. I’ve better things to do than argue with these people. He went on, ‘I suppose you’ll be asking the British National Party on next’. ‘We did just that last year’ I replied.” -, retrieved 22nd May 2008
[189] The Foundation defines itself in relation to Islamists – it is everything and anything other than Islamism.
Ali at the IDeA conference explains how Islamist ideology exploits grievances and political concerns, manipulating them to meet and foster their own warped ideological and political agenda -, retrieved 10th June 2008
Nawaz states, “I regret being in Hizb ut-Tahrir. It is not a terrorist organisation, but it shares the ideological foundations that inspire the terrorist movement, in that it believes Islam is a political ideology that must dominate the world.” -, retrieved 7th June 2008
[190]…university authorities should actively monitor which Muslim faction controls the Islamic society and content of Friday sermons.” “Pulling together to defeat terror”, op cit
Husain justifies his handing in members of Hizb ut-Tahrir studying in Damascus to the dictatorial regime’s secret police – Husain, E, “The Islamist”, Penguin. Rashad Ali argues, “It is nonsense that it [views of Islamists] is all good…” -, retrieved 22nd May 2008
Husain states, “There is no quick fix to the problem of home-grown terrorism, but banning Hizb ut-Tahrir would be an excellent first step…” -, retrieved 3rd June 2008
[191] The Foundation makes use of numerous clichés including: violent extremists, fanatics, moderate Islam etc
[192] Islamists must be educated that the first group of people that called for the equivalent of ‘political sovereignty belonging to God’ (as Islamists do) were the Khawarij, who killed Imam Ali, son-in-law of the Prophet” - “Pulling together to defeat terror”,, p. 2 - retrieved 5th May 2008
Husain argued, “‘it’s as simple as some people being wrong, and some being right. I’ve better things to do than argue with these people’”,, retrieved 22nd May 2008. Furthermore he states, “I did not, however, expect to hear the same facile argument repeated by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, former Dutch MP, author, and ex-Muslim. She should know better.” -, retrieved 3rd June 2008
[193] Husain’s handing in members of Hizb ut-Tahrir to the dictatorial regime’s secret police. Op cit
[194] Rashad Ali argues, “It is nonsense that it [views of Islamists] is all good…” op cit Husain argues “We can wait for their state to come about and then confront them as we did the Nazis” op cit
Husain states “All this can easily be dismissed as extremist claptrap” -, retrieved 20th May 2008
[195] Azzam, A A, “The Eternal Message of Mohammed”
[196] Glazer, S, “The Future of Culture in Egypt”, trans. Washington, D.C.: American Council of Learned Societies, 1954, p. 21
[197] Western academics use the term “Islamism” instead of "fundamentalism" to refer to Islamic anti-secularism. This term is also used by Islamic anti-secularists to refer to themselves. Muhammad 'Amara thus uses it (islamiyyan) referring to those who, opposing secularism and Western hegemony, are "committed to the Islamic colouring and the Islamic standard." - Burgat, F, “Islamic Movement”, pp. 39-41, 67-71, 309
Abu Zayd’s analysis conceptualises Islamists of: (1) blending human thought and religion, eliminating the distance between subject and object; (2) explaining all phenomena, natural and social, by attributing them to a primary principle or cause; (3) reliance on the authority of the ancestors (al-salaf) or the heritage (al-turath), investing secondary texts with the sacredness reserved for primary texts; (4) rejection of any intellectual disagreement with their own views, claiming to have a monopoly on truth; (5) ignoring the historical context. - Najjar, F, “Islamic Fundamentalism and the Intellectuals: The Case of Naṣr Ḥāmid Abū Zayd”, British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, Vol. 27, No. 2, Nov 2000, pp. 185; Abu Zayd, Naqd, pp. 67-8
[198] Berman, S, “Islamism, Revolution, and Civil Society, Perspectives on Politics”, Vol. 1, No. 2, Jun 2003, American Political Science Association, p. 258
[199] Shepard, W E, op cit, 1996, p. 40
[200] Burgat, F, “Islamic Movement”, pp. 39-41, 67-71, 309
[201] "Understanding Islamism", International Crisis Group,, retrieved 3rd June 2008
[202] Ibid.
[203] Policy Exchange
[204] Ibid.
[205] Fazlur Rahman says, "Secularism in Islam... is the acceptance of laws and other social and political institutions without reference to Islam, Islamic modernism... means precisely the induction of change into the content of the Shari'a" - "Islamic Modernism", p. 311; Shepard, W E, op cit, 1987, p. 309
[206] Including but not limited to: Sayyid Ahmad Shahid (India 1786-1831), Mirza Hasan Shirazi (Iran 1815-94), Imam Shamil (Central Asia, 1796-1871), Amir Abd al-Qadir (Algeria, 1808-83), Mohammed ibn Abdille Hasan (Somaliland 1864-1920), Mahdi (Sudan, 1885), Uthman Dan Fodo (Nigeria, 1754-1817), Mohammed Iqbal (Pakistan, 1877-1938), Abul-Kalam Azad (India, 1888-1958), Mawlana Husain Madani (India, 1879-1957) and Mawdudi (Pakistan, 1903-79)
[207] John Esposito analyses what Islamism might actually mean in his book, retrieved 15th May 2008
[208], retrieved 24th May 2008
[209] Husain, E, “My qualm is with Islamism and not with Islam”, retrieved 10th May 2008,
[210] Berman, S, op cit, 2003, p. 258
[211] "Understanding Islamism", International Crisis Group,, retrieved 3rd June 2008
[212] Ibid.
[213], retrieved 5th June 2008
[214] Ibid.
[215] Contained in publications including: “Islamic Personality” (in three volumes), “The Ruling System in Islam”, “The Economic System in Islam”, “The Social System in Islam”, “The Concepts of Hizb ut-Tahrir”, “The Islamic State”, “Political Concepts of Hizb ut-Tahrir”, “Introduction to the Constitution” and “The Khilafah” -, retrieved 28th May 2008
[216] The Quilliam Foundation’s theological basis was refuted in a response to Maajid Nawaz’s first paper – despite Maajid stating he would undertake a point by point refutation, the most that appeared on his site in response comprised some paragraphs written by Rashad Ali reiterating a misinterpreted secondary source in reply to the full quote from the a primary source -,, retrieved 5th May 2008
[217] “Review of “The Islamist”: Ust. Andrew Booso [complete]”,, retrieved 21st May 2008
[218] Dr Taji-Farouki in her doctoral research dedicates only a few pages to the subject – op cit, 1996
[219] Islamic scholarship historically reached an equilibrium in legal and theological thought with two positions – in the Sunni world at least – comprising a Shaffite/Asharite or Hanafite/Baqilinite fusion which have been accepted as mainstream - Hallaq, W, “The Origins and Evolution of Islamic Law”, Cambridge University Press, 2005, pp. 150-77; Taji-Farouki, S, op cit, pp. 45-63
[220] Shepard, W E, op cit, Feb 1996, pp. 40-1
[221] Quran Al-A'raf 7:11-27
[222] Rousseau, J J, “The Social Contract and Discourses” - French political philosopher (1712 - 1778)
[223] Euben, R L, “Comparative Political Theory: An Islamic Fundamentalist Critique of Rationalism”, The Journal of Politics, Southern Political Science Association, 1997, p. 28
[224] Skeat, W W, “An Etymological Dictionary to the English Language”, Oxford, 1882, p. 576
[225] Knolles, R, “The Six Books Of Commonweal”, Cambridge, 1962, Book 1, ch. 9, p. 94
[226] Khir, B M,op cit, 1995, pp. 7-8
[227] Ibn Khaldun, A R, “al-Muqaddima”, tr. Franz Rosenthal, London 1958
[228] Akhavi, S, op cit, 1997, Cambridge University Press, p. 386
[229] Whether this was proven rationally or through divine text however was contested.
[230] Mawardi, “Al-ahkam Al-Sultaniyah”; Nawawi, “Mughni Al-Muhtaj”, volume 4; Qalqashandi, “Subul Al-Asha”, volume 9; Ibn Hazm, “Al-Muhalla”, volume 9; Al-Sharani, “Al-Mizan”, volume 2; Al-Mughni fi abwab Al-Tawheed, volume 20; Abdul Jabbar, “Al-Fiqh Alal-Mathahib Al- Arba’a”, volume 5; Al-Jozairi, “Al-Fasl Fil-Milal”, volume 4; Abu Yala, “Al-ahkam Al-Sultaniyah”; Qurtubi, “Tafseer ul-Qurtubi” 264/1; Al-Ghazali, “al Iqtisaad fil Itiqaad”; Ibn Taymiyah, “Siyaasah Shariyyah”
[231] With increased conflicts in the Muslim world this is seen as important: In Tunisia, Israelis attacked PLO headquarters twice, Libya was bombed by the United States in 1986 and suffered a major military defeat by Chad in 1987; Algerian-Moroccan fought in the 1980s over the Western Sahara; insecurity has been prevalent in Gaza and on the West Bank, Lebanon’s civil war and air raids by Israel culminating in the 1982 invasion and occupation, Indian-Pakistan have gone to war over Kashmir, Iraq has been invaded twice – these are but a fraction of incidents over recent decades - Deeb, M J, “Militant Islam and the Politics of Redemption”, Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, Vol. 524, Political Islam (Nov., 1992), p. 54
[232] Mawardi, “Ahkaam al-Sultaniyyah”, Cairo, 1973
[233] Akhavi, S, “The Dialectic in Contemporary Egyptian Social Thought: The Scripturalist and Modernist - Discourses of Sayyid Qutb and Hasan Hanafi”, International Journal of Middle East Studies, Vol. 29, No. 3, Aug. 1997, Cambridge University Press, p. 386
[234] Ibn Taymiyyah, A, “Al-Fatawa”, al-Ribat, 35, p. 46
[235] Mawardi, op cit, 1973
[236] Al-Nabhani, T A, “The Ruling System”, al-Khilafah Publications
[237] ‘As-Sira’ of Ibnu Kathir, ‘Tarikh ut-Tabari’ by at-Tabari, ‘Siratu Ibn Hisham’ by Ibn Hisham, ‘As-Sunan ul-Kubra’ of Bayhaqi, ‘Al-fasil-fil Milal’ by Ibnu Hazim and "Al-A'kd Al-Farid" of Al-Waqidi
[238] For example the Abbasid revisionism in relation to Umayyad rule or the nationalist revisionism of the Ottoman period
[239]In the social arena, convergence might be reflected in terms of an incorporation, to some extent, of (Islamist) religious norms in the domestic policy-making process. This would suggest that there is an underlying normative framework embodied by religious norms that cannot be ignored by policy makers. In the political arena, there would be an effort to entrench religious norms in the constitutional framework in terms of either explicit clauses 'protecting' religious norms and/or a constitutional mechanism designed to preserve the religious normative framework. And in the economic sphere, a more extensive state welfarism and a more equitable international trading system would be probable normative outcomes… Thus convergence might lead to Western governments taking on reforms that incorporate aspects of the programmes of political Islam; and by taking a more ethical approach to international trading inequities.” - Salla, M E, op cit, 1997, pp. 739-40
[240] Scruton, R, “DEMOCRACY SPECIAL:Tyranny of the majority”,, retrieved 16th May 2008
[241] Legislature, judiciary and executive
[242] Waterhouse, E S, "Secularism" in J. Hastings (ed.), Encycl. of Religion and Ethics, Vol. XI, Edinburgh, NY, 1934, pp. 347-8.
[243] Kurth, 'The Vatican's foreign policy', The National Interest, Summer 1993, p 41.
[244] Hobbes argues for the state, Roussaeau argues for the masses and Austin places it in the hands of their representatives - Khir, B M, 1986, pp. 149-55
[245] Najjar, F, “Islamic Fundamentalism and the Intellectuals: The Case of Naṣr Ḥāmid Abū Zayd”, British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, Vol. 27, No. 2 (Nov. 2000), pp. 180
[246] Husain, E, “My qualm is with Islamism and not with Islam”,, retrieved 15th May 2008
[247] “The flaws of democracy”,, retrieved 23rd May 2008
[248] “All mod cons”,, retrieved 7th May 2008
[249] “The flaws of democracy”,, retrieved 23rd May 2008
[251] The Center for Strategic Studies at the University of Jordan undertook a survey of key Middle Eastern countries in 2005, finding two thirds in central Arab countries felt Shariah should be the sole source for legislation (a key requirement for an Islamic State) and the remaining third felt Shariah should be a source of law. A recent study by the University of Maryland in April 2007 confirmed this trend towards Shariah, "Large majorities in most countries support the goals of requiring a strict application of sharia, keeping out Western values, and even unifying all Islamic countries into a single Islamic state." in addition to greater than 70% support for Shariah and a unifying Caliphate the respondents overwhelmingly rejected the change would come via violence, "Large majorities in all countries oppose attacks against civilians for political purposes and see them as contrary to Islam. Attacks on civilians are seen as hardly ever effective. Politically motivated attacks against civilian infrastructure are also rejected as not justified." The CSS’s survey "Revisiting the Arab Street" in February 2005 in which they interviewed numerous population samples in Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Palestine and Lebanon. In addition to findings that showed support for a greater role of the Shariah and Islamic scholars in the politics and governance of their countries, the findings also suggested that hostility towards the West was largely down to political reasons, such as the foreign policy of the US and Britain towards the Muslim world, rather than religious or theological arguments." – “Radicalisation, Extremism & 'Islamism' - Realities and Myths in the 'War on Terror'”,, retrieved 30th May 2008, pp. 7-18
[252] Hoebink, M, op cit, 1999, pp. 40-43
[253] “Islamists Are Intrinsically Anti-Democratic”,, retrieved 19th May 2008
[254] Prominent neoconservative periodicals are “Commentary” and “The Weekly Standard”. Neoconservatives are associated with foreign policy initiatives of think tanks such as the AEI, the Project for the New American Century (PNAC), The Heritage Foundation and the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA).
[255], retrieved 17th May 2008
[256] "The neoconservatives have been routed", The Times, 13/04/2007, retrieved 17th May 2008
[257] “All mod cons”,, retrieved 7th May 2008
[258] An invitation to British politicians to adopt the ideas of Leo Strauss, Irving Kristol et al
[259] Al-Qadi, H, “Transferable Egos of Ed Husain, Maajid Nawaz and Ziauddin Sardar”,, retrieved 19th May 2008
[260] Murray, D, “Neoconservatism: Why we need it”, 2005, p.160
[261] Grant, J, “Rethinking the Ottoman "Decline": Military Technology Diffusion in the Ottoman Empire, Fifteenth to Eighteenth Centuries”, Journal of World History, Vol. 10, No. 1, 1999, p. 180
[262] Doumani, B, 1995, op cit, p. 12; Fortna writes, “A comparative perspective has helped students of the period recognize that the late Ottoman Empire shared and took action against many of the same problems confronting its contemporaries, East and West. The assertion of Ottoman agency has been critical to finishing off the stereotype of “the sick man of Europe” but the persistent legacies of modernization theories and nationalistic historiography continue to obscure our view of the period.
[263] Itzkowitz, N, Ottoman Empire and Islamic Tradition, University of Chicago Press, London, 1980, p. 63
[264] From across the Balkans (Bulgaria, Rumania, Greece and Serbia) and the Arab world including Turkey
[265] In most textbooks on Bulgarian and Greek history six centuries of Ottoman history barely warrants a chapter and even then, a very dark and hostile one.
[266] Quataert, D, “The Ottoman Empire, 1700-1922”, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2000, p. 192
[267] The Egyptian al-Mashawi argues “The ancient Egyptians were basically monotheists and Muslims in the generic sense in which the Qur'an uses the term. The goddess Maat was a personification of the Muslim values of truth, justice, and uprightness. This view of Idris and the ancient Egyptians is hardly the standard Muslim one, but it does accord with a sense of Egyptian nationalism and a desire to base Egyptian identity partly on the Pharaonic past.” - Shepard, W E, op cit, 1996, p. 51
[268] Poppe, I and Ma’oz, M, 1997, Toledano, E R, “Ottoman-Local Elites”, op cit, p. 145; Sardar, Z, op cit, 2004, pp. 260-75
[269] In countries such as Serbia to Rumania, Turkey to Syria and Iraq - Quataert, D, 2000, op cit, pp. 193-5
[270] Williams, M J, “The Empire Writes Back”, International Affairs, Vol. 83, Iss. 4, Sept 2008, p. 948
[271] For instance, the Crusader and Mongol invasions,
[272] Toledano, E R, 1997, op cit, p. 157
[273] Bonney, R, “Jihad: From Qur’an to Bin Laden”, Palgrave Macmillan, Hampshire, 2004, p. 149
[274] Inalcik, H, 1994, op cit, pp. 44-54
[275] Berkes described the Ottoman economy as a “war economy” where its primary revenue comprised booty from expansion. This idea has been supported by Ottomanists Halil Inalcik, 1994, op cit, and Suraiya Faroqhi - Faroqhi, S, The Ottoman Empire and the World Around it, Library of Ottoman Studies 7, I B Tauris, London, 2004
[276] Inalcik, H and Quataert, D, 1994, op cit, pp. 5-6
[277] Pamuk, S, 1987, op cit, p. 8
[278] Inalcik, H and Quataert, D, 1994, op cit, p. 5
[279] Quataert, D, 2000, op cit, p. 110
[280] None developed uniform economies – the British commercial strength developed around the textile industry with technological innovations being applied to other economic areas. Through diplomacy and a strong navy, they leveraged their cheaply manufactured textiles to penetrate overseas markets.
[281] Ibid., p. 110
[282] The Caliphate Committee in India was established to help the Ottomans and peoples of Anatolia. During 1920 and 1922, members sent financial and spiritual assistance to the Ottomans during the War of Independence. The goal was to display the importance of their ties to the Caliphate as well as to inform and support the Muslims of India. Women and young girls were also involved, gladly handing over their golden bracelets, earrings and other valuables in support. For Indian Muslims, the Ottoman state was a matter of pride and honor – Zaman newspaper, Turkey, retrieved 12th June 2008
[283] Deringil, S, “The Invention of Tradition as Public Image in the Late Ottoman Empire, 1808 to 1908”, Comparative Studies in Society and History, 1993; Lieven, D, “Dilemmas of Empire 1850-1918. Power, Territory, Identity”, Journal of Contemporary History, 1999
[284] Quataert, D, 2000, op cit
[285] Hourani, A, op cit, 1991, pp. 48-9
[286] Al-Nabhani of Hizb ut-Tahrir argues a similar problem in his book “Mefaheem”
[287] Taji-Farouki, S, op cit, 1996, pp. 77-8
[288] In line with Cox’s view, “Decline, though, does not just happen because a major power loses a regional war. It also occurs when other actors either begin to play by a different set of rules... or play by the same set more effectively...” - Cox, M, 2008, op cit, p. 651
[289] Britain had defences in Egypt and Palestine to protect its Indian routes so had little need of the Ottomans – the French were keen on the Levant and North Africa – Quataert, D, 2000, op cit, pp. 56-72
[290] Russia’s policy evolved to perpetuate Turkish weakness, keeping her open to Russian influence. Germany however worked with Turkey to modernize and strengthen her - Milgrim, M R, “An Overlooked Problem in Turkish-Russian Relations: The 1878 War Indemnity”, International Journal of Middle East Studies, Cambridge University Press, Vol. 9, No. 4. Nov 1978, p. 521-24
[291] Germany went from a cluster of insignificant states in the 1850s to the most powerful state in Europe in the period of a lifetime. Under Bismarck, Prussia’s first minister, the sheer speed an extent of Germany’s growth in industrial commercial and military/naval terms was phenomenal and by 1914 put it well ahead of France and Russia and maybe Britain too. It had a well-educated population, an efficient army, a protected and productive agricultural sector and prodigious industrial growth. The dramatic build up of the German navy... (second in the world behind Britain in a decade) was another impressive indication of German capacity. For political reasons the German army was not expanded so dramatically (the elite feared socialist infiltration of the ranks), but after 1910 and 1914 there was a change where it could mobilise and equip millions of reserves and the army’s equipment and training was of the highest standard - Darby, G, Origins of the First World War, Addison Wesley Longman Ltd, Essex, 1998, pp. 3-4
[292] Nasr, V S R, “Legacy of Colonialism”, Oxford History of Islam, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1999
[293] “Critique Of "Evaluating Hizbut-Tahrir's Theo-Political Stance",, retrieved 20th May 2008
[294] Palairet’s work on the Bulgarian positive economic experience during Ottoman rule compared to that since independence is illustrative of the positive Ottoman experience on Europe
[295] “The Exposition of Modernist and Revisionist Thought”,, retrieved 21st May 2008
[296] “Pulling together to defeat terror”,, p. 2 - retrieved 25th May 2008
[297] Muhammad 'Abduh, for example, said a Muslim was obliged to accept only mutawatir hadith, and was free to reject others about which he had doubts - Risalat al-Tawhid, 17th Printing, Cairo: Maktabat al-Qahira, 1379/1960, pp. 201-3; English translation by K. Cragg and I. Masa'ad, The Theology of Unity London: Allen and Unwin, 1966, pp. 155-56.
Ahmad Amin, in his popular series on Islamic cultural history, cautiously suggested that there were few if any mutawatir hadith (especially, Fajr al-Islam, 10th edition Cairo: Maktabat al-Nahda al-Misriyya, 1965, p. 218; see also G. H. A. Juynboll, The Authenticity of the Tradition Literature: Discussions in Modern Egypt (Leiden: Brill, 1969), and my Faith of a Modern Muslim Intellectual, p. 113.
[298] See Quran 4:3 on polygyny, 5:38 on cutting off the hand of the thief, 24:2-5 on whipping for fornication (the provision for stoning for adultery is in the Hadith). On jihad and the treatment of unbelievers, the difficult passages for modernists are the so-called "verses of the sword," such as 9:5 on the Arab pagans and 9:29 on the people of the Book – Shepard, W E, op cit, 1987, p. 330
[299] Ibid., pp. 312-13
[300] Smith's criticism of Farid Wajdi in Islam in “Modern History”, pp. 139-59, and Gibb's complaint about "the intellectual confusions and the paralyzing romanticism which cloud the minds of the modernists of today" - “Modern Trends in Islam”, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1947, pp. 105-6.
[301] In his critique of Husain, Andrew Booso references from Nuh Keller’s translation of the classical Shaffite handbook of Islamic law, “Reliance of the Traveller”:
* A father marrying off a virgin bride ‘without her consent’ where he may ‘compel’ her (m3.13-3.15)
* Offensive jihad (see o9.1), with the objective being to fight ‘Jews, Christians… until they become Muslim or else pay the non-Muslim poll tax’ (o9.8)
* The Islamic state not retaliating against a Muslim for killing a non-Muslim (o1.2).
* It being ‘obligatory for Muslims to rise against’ a leader of the government if he ‘becomes a non-Muslim, alters the Sacred Law … or imposes reprehensible innovations while in office’…
* It being ‘obligatory to obey the commands and interdictions of the caliph… even if he is unjust’ (o25.5).
* ‘Non-Muslim subjects… are distinguished from Muslims in dress… [and] must keep to the side of the street’ (o11.5) - “Review of “The Islamist”: Ust. Andrew Booso [complete]”,, retrieved 28th May 2008
[302] “Centre hosts debate between Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Ed Husain”,, and, retrieved 30th May 2008
[303] “And they will not cease from fighting against you till they have made you renegades from your religion, if they can. And whoso becomes a renegade and dies in his disbelief: such are they whose works have fallen both in the world and the Hereafter." (Quran 2:217) and “But if they turn renegades, seize them and slay them wherever you find them” (Quran 4:89). Baydawi explained this verse as, "Whosoever turns back from his belief, openly or secretly, take him and kill him wherever you find him, like any other infidel.” Furthermore, narrations state, "If somebody (a Muslim) discards his religion, kill him" (Bukhari 4.52.60) and "Whoever changed his Islamic religion, then kill him." (Bukhari 9.84.57)
[304] Dallal, A, “Appropriating the past: Twentieth-Century Reconstruction of Pre-Modern Islamic Thought”, Islamic Law and Society, Vol. 7, No. 3 (2000), Brill, pp. 345-46
[305] Islam is a personal faith and has no say in politics – the system advocated is Western secular democracy
[306] Classical scholarship agreed on the Caliphate model of governance - Mawardi, “Al-ahkam Al-Sultaniyah”; Nawawi, “Mughni Al-Muhtaj”, volume 4; Qalqashandi, “Subul Al-Asha”, volume 9; Ibn Hazm, “Al-Muhalla”, volume 9; Al-Sharani, “Al-Mizan”, volume 2; Al-Mughni fi abwab Al-Tawheed, volume 20; Abdul Jabbar, “Al-Fiqh Alal-Mathahib Al- Arba’a”, volume 5; Al-Jozairi, “Al-Fasl Fil-Milal”, volume 4; Abu Yala, “Al-ahkam Al-Sultaniyah”; Qurtubi, “Tafseer ul-Qurtubi” 264/1; Al-Ghazali, “al Iqtisaad fil Itiqaad”; Ibn Taymiyah, “Siyaasah Shariyyah” etc
[307] Al-Nabhani, T A, “Nizaam al-Hukm – The ruling System”, al-Khilafah Publications
[308] Western countries as well as Muslim dictatorships are deemed to be Islamic (Dar al-Islam)
[309] Classical scholarship deemed a land to be Islamic when the authority and security were in the hands of Muslims who ruled by sharia - Abd al-Qahir al-Baghdadi, "Usul al-Din", Ibn Abideen, "Haashiya ibn Abideen", Sulayman bin Mohammed al-Bujayrimi, "Sharh al-Bujayrimi ala al-Khatib" and "Nihaya al-Muhtaj", Shawkani, "Nayl al-Awtar” and "al-Sayl Jaraar alaa hadaiq al-azhaar", Vol 4, Maawardi, "al-Hawi", Kasani, "Badai wa al-Sanaai", Mardawi, "al-Insaaf fi marifah al-rajih min al-khilaf", Vol 4, Ibn Qayyim, "Kitaab Ahkaam ahl al-Dhimmah", Vol 1, Dusuqi, as well as al-Rafi’I, Ibn Muflih, Ibn Hazm etc
[310] “Methodology of Hizb ut-Tahrir for Change”, al-Khilafah Publications
[311] Existing punishments are barbaric
[312] Abu Hanifa, Abu Yusuf, Shaybani, Ibn Hanbal, Shafii, Ibn Rushd, Nawawi, Shawkani, Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya etc
[313] Al-Nabhani, T A, “The Penal Code” and “The Refutation of the Theory of Liability in Western Law”
[314] The Quranic prescribed inheritance ratios are unfair -
[315] Abu Hanifa, Abu Yusuf, Shaybani, Ibn Hanbal, Shafii, Malik, Nakha’i, Da’ud, Ibn Rushd, Ibn Hazm etc
[316] Al-Nabhani, T A, “Introduction to the Constitution”
[317] The Quranic prescribed inheritance ratios are unfair - Centre for Social Cohesion debate
[318] Muslim, Malik's “Muwatta”, Ibn Hibban, Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi, An-Nassai, Ibn Majah, “Sunan al-Kubraa”, Bayhaqi, Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Abu Ya`laa, Humaidi, Abd al-Razzaq, and Ibn Abi Shaybah, Shafi'i and Baydawi
[319] Al-Nabhani, T A, “Introduction to the Constitution”
[320] The conditions for witnesses are unfair according to Husain
[321] Abu Yusuf, Nawawi, Ghazali, Shatibi, Shawkani etc
[322] Al-Nabhani, T A, “The Rules of Evidences” and “The Refutation of the Theory of Liability in Western Law”
[323] Husain even cites arguments used by Western rulers, “Undoubtedly, foreign policy has some role to play but let's not forget that countries such as Indonesia (Bali), Turkey, Egypt, Algeria and others have also suffered terrorism. Islamist terrorism started long before foreign policy blunders of Western government. The terrorists' targeting of nightclubs last year and talk of killing "slags" while they dance indicates a medieval mindset that cannot tolerate social freedoms.” -, retrieved 19th May 2008
[324] Abu Hanifa, Shafi’i, Malik, Ibn Hanbal, Ibn Taymiyyah, Ibn Rushd, Nawawi, Ghazali, Qurtubi, Shawkani etc
[325] Al-Nabhani, T A, “The Social System”
[326] “I know how these terrorists are inspired”,, retrieved 20th May 2008
[327] Abu Yusuf, Shaybani, Sarakhsi, Shafi’i, Tabari, Nawawi, Izz al-Din, Ibn Taymiyyah, Ghazali, Shawkani etc
[328] Al-Nabhani, T A, “The Islamic State” and “The Islamic Personality”
[329] Banard, C, op cit, 2003, pp. 49-50
[330] These are found in Ahmad Amin's series on Islamic cultural history, Fajr al-Islam (Cairo, 1929 and later editions), Duha al-Islam, 3 vols. (Cairo, 1933-1936 and later editions), Zuhr al-Islam, 4 vols. (Cairo, 1944-1955, and later editions). Such writing undoubtedly contributed to the secularist opinion in educated circles in Egypt - Shepard, W E, op cit, 1987, p. 324, 334
[331], retrieved 24th May 2008
[332] The Quilliam Foundation may not have realised the length of time Islam existed in Spain
[333], retrieved 24th May 2008
[334], retrieved 24th May 2008
[335] notably Abulcasis and Averroes
[336] Hallaq, W, “The Origins and Evolution of Islamic Law”, Cambridge University Press, 2005, p.169 and pp.174-5
[337] The Foundation do not see their call as a political ideology even though it exhibits all the characteristics of one– arguably a Capitalislam or Secularislam.
[338] Said, E, “Orientalism”, Vintage Books, New York, 1979
[339] Dallal, A, “Appropriating the past: Twentieth-Century Reconstruction of Pre-Modern Islamic Thought”, Islamic Law and Society, Vol. 7, No. 3 (2000), Brill, pp. 334-37
[340] El Fadl, K A, “Islam and the Theology of Power”, Middle East Report, No. 221, Winter, 2001, Middle East Research and Information Project, pp. 28-33
[341] The UN, Nato and EU have all tried to find a common definition of terrorism - none getting very far. The Nato-brokered "framework agreement" for a peace settlement in Macedonia says: "The use of violence in pursuit of political aims is rejected completely and unconditionally." An admirable principle, but not to be taken too literally. After all, in bombing Afghanistan, America and Britain are pursuing political aims through the use of violence – “First, the Biography...”,, retrieved 6th June 2008
[342] "Understanding Islamism", International Crisis Group,, retrieved 4th June 2008
[343] Malik, A A, “Importing imams from Pakistan is irrelevant”,, retrieved 12th May 2008
[345] "Understanding Islamism", International Crisis Group,, retrieved 4th June 2008
[347] Hoebink, M, op cit, 1999, p. 51
[348] Bobbitt, P, “Terror and Consent: The Wars for the Twenty-First Century - A manual for our times”, Allen Lane, 2008
[349] Pape, R, 'Dying to Win: The Logic of Suicide Terrorism'
[350] “Radicalisation, Extremism & 'Islamism' - Realities and Myths in the 'War on Terror'”,, retrieved 30th May 2008, p. 15
[351] “Radicalisation, Extremism & 'Islamism' - Realities and Myths in the 'War on Terror'”,, retrieved 30th May 2008, pp. 15-18
[352] The IRA bombing campaign in Britain was nothing to do with integration or religious extremism but an issue of uniting Ireland. However, the government presented it as a Catholic vs Protestant problem in its propaganda efforts. Once political negotiations started, bombings, violence and tensions significantly subsided.
[353] In 1300 the Mongol Ghazan invaded Syria projecting himself as a legitimate Muslim ruler. Ibn Taymiyya argued that although Ghazan appeared to be of be a Muslim, his policies as a ruler proved he remained loyal to Mongol law and belief. By failing to raise Islamic law in his realm, he demonstrated his conversion was a sham. On this basis, Ibn Taymiyya pronounced him an apostate presenting a strong legal case for war on the Mongols.
[354] Al-Qaeda Training Manual 7 allegedly discovered in the house of an al Qaeda operative in May 2000, and introduced as evidence at the trial of the East Africa Embassy bombers -
[355] Doran, M, “The Pragmatic Fanaticism of al Qaeda: An Anatomy of Extremism in Middle Eastern Politics”, Political Science Quarterly, Vol. 117, No. 2, (Summer, 2002), The Academy of Political Science, p. 179
[357] “Pulling together to defeat terror”, - retrieved 5th May 2008
[358] Comment – Rashad,, retrieved 21st May 2008
[359], retrieved 19th May 2008
[360] Another strategy that appears to have been adopted is the use of staged events with loaded agendas. The Doha debates in Qatar is a case in question - where Quilliam Foundation have been asked to speak at events where set questions include, “Are Muslims doing enough to address terrorism?” Inviting only those who do not question the underlying assumptions ensures there is little substantive discussion.
[361]HT is not a terrorist organization, but it can usefully be thought of as a conveyor belt for terrorists. It indoctrinates individuals with radical ideology, priming them for recruitment by more extreme organizations where they can take part in actual operations” -, retrieved 22nd May 2008
[362] Taji-Farouki, S, 1996, op cit
[363] "Hizb ut-Tahrir-The Next al-Qaeda, Really?",,, retrieved 20th May 2008
[364] Radicalisation, Extremism & 'Islamism' - Realities and Myths in the 'War on Terror'”,, retrieved 30th May 2008, p. 15
[365] “George Galloway about the wars on the Arab world”,, retrieved 17th May 2008
[366] “Radicalisation, Extremism & 'Islamism' - Realities and Myths in the 'War on Terror'”,, retrieved 30th May 2008
[367] “Ed Husain: You Ask The Questions”,, retrieved 11th May 2008
[368] Gulam said: “Behold! I have come to you people with a directive that henceforth jihad with the sword has come to an end but jihad for the purification of your souls still remains. This injunction is not from me but rather it is the will of God.” He forbade fighting the Empire due to his favor for British rule and support, in a letter to Queen Victoria he said ‘For the sake of the British government, I have published fifty thousand books, magazines and posters and distributed them in this and other Islamic countries. It is as the result of my endeavours that thousands of people have given up thoughts of Jihad which had been propounded by ill-witted mullahs and embedded in the minds of the people. I can rightly feel proud of this that no other Muslim in British India can equal me in this respect…’' - Khazaen, R, Sitara-e-Qaisaria, Vol. 15, p. 114, Sitara-e-Qaisaria, pp. 3-4, Letter to Queen Victoria, Khutba-Ilhamia
[369] Furthermore, on 1st July 2007 he said, "And that's why the cultural effort - almost similar to what happened in the Cold War in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s, when we had to mount a propaganda effort, if you like, to explain to people that our values represented the best of commitments to individual dignity, to liberty and to human life being taken seriously. And I think that's what we are going to have to talk about in the next few years."
[371] “All mod cons”,, retrieved 7th May 2008
[372] The only exception is the failed attempt by Nawaz to respond to “Islamist” theology prior to the establishment of the Quilliam Foundation.
[373], retrieved 21st May 2008
[374] “Abdullah Quilliam: Shaikh-ul-Islam for the British Isles and Dominions”,, retrieved 15th May 2008
[375] Calling the society to Islam as an alternative way of life, maintaining the Islamic identity of British Muslims and undertaking Islamic political activity, accounting the British government whilst calling for the unity of the Muslim world under the Caliphate system.
[376]O Muslims, do not be deceived by this hypocrisy. Unite yourselves as one man. Let us no longer be separated. The rendevous of Islam is under the shadow of the Khalifate. The Khebla of the True-Believer who desires happiness for himself and prosperity to Islam is the holy seat of the Khalifate…”, W.H. ABDULLAH QUILLIAM, Sheikh-ul-Islam of the British Isles - The Crescent, Vol. VII, No. 171, April 22nd 1896, pp. 681-2
[377] Hizb ut-Tahrir argues, "Our campaign will show the sublime values of Islam and the ability of the Islamic system to solve modern problems. The Muslim world is crying out for Islam… People need to know the real nature of Islam, not the lies pedalled by western politicians and media." - “PRESS CONFERENCE: Hizb ut-Tahrir Britain launches ‘Stand For Islam’ mobilisation campaign”,, retrieved, 15th May 2008
The model for Hizb is the "righteous" Caliphate, a militaristic Islamic state that existed in the 7th and 8th centuries under Mohammad and his first four successors, known as the "righteous Caliphs."”, Cohen, A, “Hizb ut-Tahrir: An Emerging Threat to US Interests in Central Asia”,, retrieved 20th May 2008
Zahra, K A, “The Obligation of Khilafah”, and, retrieved 22nd May 2008
[378] "Call them jihadists, Islamists, but I wouldn't call them Muslim. Being Muslim is not enough for them. They make politics seems religious…" -, retrieved 12th May 2008
Normal Muslims, those not influenced by Islamists, are increasingly more comfortable in rejecting notions of a single Caliphate, ruling by one interpretation of Shari’ah law, and accepting their indisputable British heritage.” and “Moreover, those who uphold the ideas in Syed Qutb’s Milestones or Mawdudi’s books on jihad and believe in an Islamist state with an expansionist army are extreme because of their rigidity in understanding politics” - “Pulling together to defeat terror”,, p. 3 - retrieved 5th May 2008
[379]Know ye, O Muslims, that the British Government has decided to commence military and warlike operations against the Muslims of the Soudan, who have taken up arms to defend their country and their faith. And it is in contemplation to employ Muslim soldiers to fight against these Muslims of the Soudan. For any True Believer to take up arms and fight against another Muslim is contrary to the Shariat…” - The Crescent, March 25th 1896, Vol. VII, No. 167, p. 617
[380] Al-Nabhani, T A, “Shaksiyya Islamiyya”, Vols 1 and 2, al-Khilafah Publications;
Taji-Farouki, S, op cit, 1996, pp. 109-10
[381]Moreover, those who uphold the ideas in Syed Qutb’s Milestones or Mawdudi’s books on jihad and believe in an Islamist state with an expansionist army are extreme because of their rigidity in understanding politics” - “Pulling together to defeat terror”,, p. 3 - retrieved 5th May 2008
“In his recent appearance on Radio 4’s ‘Any Questions’ he announced his support for the occupying British forces in both countries (Iraq and Afghanistan), praising prince Harry’s job for queen and country, while demonising those forces that resist the occupation as evil and against everything British” -, retrieved 20th May 2008
[382] “…Among Muslims none should be known as Turks, Arabs, Kurds, Ajem, Afghans, Indians or English. They are all Muslims, and verily the True-Believers are brethren. Islam is erected on the Unity of God, the unity of His religion, and the unity of the Muslims.” - The Crescent, Vol. VII, No. 171, April 22nd 1896, pp. 681-2
[383] “Now, after flirting with a mixture of nationalism, socialism, corrupt democracies and tyrannical dictatorships this Ummah yearns for a change, and she yearns for that change via Islam." - Hizb ut-Tahrir Britain Delivers Strong Message to Muslim Embassies,, retrieved 3rd June 2008
[384] Nawaz states, “I want to develop a Western Islam that is at home in Britain and in Europe.” - “How I’ll fight against Islamic extremism”,, retrieved 12th May 2008
[385]For any True Believer to take up arms and fight against another Muslim is contrary to the Shariat, and against the law of God and his holy Prophet…” W.H. ABDULLAH QUILLIAM, Sheikh-ul-Islam of the British Isles - The Crescent, March 25th 1896, Vol. VII, No. 167, p. 617
[386] The Quilliam Foundation’s view on such people is, “Radical sermonizers should be actively rejected by Muslim student bodies, and not given succour in the name of ‘Muslim unity’” - “Pulling together to defeat terror”,, p. 10 - retrieved 5th May 2008
[387] The Quilliam Foundation’s view is “The vast majority of mosque imams and congregations cannot distinguish a pious believer from an extremist. Matters are made worse by the fact that organizations that claim to represent British Muslims have at their helm men who believe in foreign political ideologies that seek to usurp Islam for political purposes.” - “Pulling together to defeat terror”,, p. 5 - retrieved 5th May 2008
[388]At the present time union is more than ever necessary among Muslims. The Christian powers are proposing a new crusade to shatter the Muslim powers, under the pretext that they desire to civilise the world. This is nothing but hypocrisy, but armed as they are with the resources of Western civilisation it will be impossible to resist them unless Muslims stand united as one solid phalanx.”, W.H. ABDULLAH QUILLIAM, Sheikh-ul-Islam of the British Isles - The Crescent, March 25th 1896, Vol. VII, No. 167, p. 617
[389]Given that the West is aggressively and violently forcing it's ideas upon the Muslim world, it's claims' to achieving good governance need to be critically examined in two fundamental ways; is democracy the only way of achieving good governance and is democracy really delivering good governance in the first place?” - “The Flaws of Democracy”,, retrieved 21st May 2008
[390]Normal Muslims, those not influenced by Islamists, are increasingly more comfortable in rejecting notions of a single Caliphate, ruling by one interpretation of Shari’ah law, and accepting their indisputable British heritage.” - “Pulling together to defeat terror”,, p. 5 - retrieved 5th May 2008
[391] Quilliam was said to have appeared in court wearing Turkish ceremonial dress - Birt, Y, “Abdullah Quilliam: Britain’s First Islamist?”,
He did not accept the Christian date system completing his documents with, “Signed at the Mosque in Liverpool, England, this 10th day of Shawwal, 1313 (which Christians erroneously in their ignorance call the 24th day of March, 1896); He felt himself to be part of the Muslim Ummah and not British Society – “…verily the True-Believers are brethren. Islam is erected on the Unity of God, the unity of His religion, and the unity of the Muslims.” - The Crescent, Vol. VII, No. 171, April 22nd 1896, pp. 681-682
[392]…believing students and imams should be encouraged to wear clothes that ensure belonging to mainstream society, and not Pakistani ethnic attire designed for a different climate. Islam requires modesty, not Arab or Pakistani clothing” -, p. 9 - retrieved 5th May 2008
[393] Abdullah Quilliam launched a series of attacks on the British government. When the Prime Minister, William Gladstone, was due to give a speech in Liverpool urging action against the Ottoman Empire, Quilliam gathered his congregation at the mosque to make a rival speech, during which he declared the West was quite happy to ignore “Christian atrocities”.
[394] Hizb ut-Tahrir’s view is: "The current smears against Islam and the Shariah, the filthy cartoons defaming our beloved Prophet (saw), and the calls in Holland to ban the Quran - are part of the propaganda used as part of the war on Islam, commonly called the war on terror. It is a supremacist war that aims to force one system - capitalism - and secular liberal values on the whole world." “PRESS CONFERENCE: Hizb ut-Tahrir Britain launches ‘Stand For Islam’ mobilisation campaign”,, retrieved, 15th May 2008
[395] The Quilliam Foundation’s views on British Foreign policy lack any critique preferring to criticize its critics – “Educate Islamists that the first group of people that called for the equivalent of ‘political sovereignty belonging to God’ (as Islamists do) were the Khawarij, who killed Imam Ali, son-in-law of the Prophet.” “Pulling together to defeat terror”,, p. 6 - retrieved 5th May 2008
[396] …clearly borne of a revisionist agenda of Islamic scholarship -
[397] “Abdullah Quilliam: Britain’s First Islamist?”,, retrieved 15th May 2008
[398]; “The twisting of ahadith to justify the abandonment of the Shariah”,, retrieved 7th May 2008
[399] Ahmed, A.S., “Postmodernism and Islam: Predicament and Promise”, Routledge, 1992, pp. 168-69
[400] “Lawyer says ex-militant released in UK”,, retrieved 21st May 2008
[401] Channel 4 News, 21st May 2008
[402], retrieved 21st May 2008
[403] “Critique Of "Evaluating Hizbut-Tahrir's Theo-Political Stance",, retrieved 20th May 2008; “The Exposition of Modernist and Revisionist Thought”,, retrieved 21st May 2008
[404] Ibid.
[405], retrieved 15th May 2008
[406] Ibid.
[407] “Gomaa's Statement on Apostasy”,, retrieved, 25th May 2008
[408], retrieved 14th May 2008
[409] In relation to the question of Jihad in Palestine, when asked about the rule of an Egyptian man illegally entering Palestine and carrying out a 'martyrdom' operation without the express permission of the head of state he replied that "he is a Shahid [martyr], because Palestine is a special case and not the ordinary case existing in the world..." - "Al-haqiqa", July 2003; “al-Hayat”, 30th September 2003
[410] Ibid.
[411], retrieved 12th May 2008
[412], retrieved 15th May 2008
[414], retrieved 24th May 2008
[415], retrieved 11th May 2008
[416] “Qaradawi Threatens Legal Action Against French Hijab Ban”,, retrieved 13th May 2008
[417] Nahdah Masr, Feb. 3, 2008
[418] Haq, F, “Jihad over Human Rights, Human Rights as Jihad. Clash of Universals”, Negotiating Culture and Human Rights, ed. Bell, L S, Nathan, A J, Peleg, I, Columbia University Press, New York, 2001, p. 247
[419] Al-Nabhani, T A, “The System of Islam”, al-Khilafah Publications
[420] Abu-Rabi, I M, “Intellectual Resurgence in the Modern Arab World”, State University of New York Press, New York, 1996, p. 129
[421] The Indian/Pakistani thinker Iqbal was one of the first to emphasize the comprehensiveness of the Islamic world-view and the need for an Islamic state. Referring to the principle of divine unity (tawhid), he claimed Islam demands the recognition of God as the spiritual basis of all aspects of life, among which are also the law and the state. The concept of an Islamic state was particularly elaborated by Muhammad Rashid Rida, a pupil of Muhammad Abdu. For Rida, the establishment of an Islamic state meant in the first place the application of Islamic law - Hoebink, M, op cit, 1999, pp. 147-66; Rida, R, “Al-hildfa aw al-imama al-'uzmd”, Cairo, 1922-3, Mitchell, Society, pp. 234-5
[422] Bonney, R, op cit, 2004, p. 201
[423] Ibid. pp. 203-04
[424] Syed Qutb, “Signposts on the Road - Ma'alim fi al tariq”, Mumbai, India, Bilal Books, 1998
[425] Doran, M, “The Pragmatic Fanaticism of al Qaeda: An Anatomy of Extremism in Middle Eastern Politics”, Political Science Quarterly, Vol. 117, No. 2, Summer, 2002, The Academy of Political Science, p. 180
[426] “Methodology for Change”, al-Khilafah Publications
[427] Shepard, W E, op cit, 1987, p. 314
[428], retrieved 30th May 2008
[429] but maybe more in accordance with its campaign group dimension
[430], retrieved 26th May 2008
[431], retrieved 27th May 2008
[432] As such, it is difficult to take the plethora of Husain’s wild statements seriously: “When as Muslim democrats we can defeat HT with arguments, why should we resort to a ban? I am convinced Maajid's method of open debate is better than driving them underground. It remains for HT to respond.” - “Ed Husain: You Ask The Questions”,, retrieved 11th May 2008
[433] Nawaz, M, “It is ludicrous to dismiss us as neocon former extremists”,, retrieved 13th May 2008
[434] Ibid.
[435] “Radicalisation, Extremism & 'Islamism' - Realities and Myths in the 'War on Terror'”,, retrieved 30th May 2008
[436] Hoebink, M, op cit, 1999, p. 51
[437] Nazih Ayubi, for example, argues it is a combination of failed development policies of state elites, and repression of opposition parties, that is largely responsible for the popularity of political Islam - Ayubi,N, “Political Islam: Religion and Politics in the Arab World”, Routledge, London, 1993, pp 175-77.
[438]Just as Marxism-Lenism drew attention to the deficiencies of unfettered capitalism, and thus provided a cogent theoretical critique that supported the creation of the welfare state and more comprehensive efforts to address the inequities of the global economic system, so too political Islam draws attention to the deficiencies of liberal democracy in the normative sphere, and provides a theoretical way for religious revivalist norms to enter the mainstream of the global body politic” - Salla, M E, op cit, 1997, pp. 739-40
[439] Ibid., pp. 740