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Maajid Nawaz and Quilliam: The Money Trail Behind the Propaganda

By J. Spooner and Jono Stubbings

”The crimes of the Israel people! I want to ask you all a question! Who is it, the Israelis or the Palestinians who break the bones of children? WHO BREAKS THE BONES OF CHILDREN!? WHO BREAKS THE BONES OF CHILDREN!? WHO BREAKS THE BONES OF CHILDREN!? WHO BREAKS THE BONES OF CHILDREN!? Who destroys the houses upon the heads of people? Who destroys the houses upon the heads of people? WHO DESTROYS HOUSES UPON THE HEADS OF MEN, WOMEN AND CHILDREN!? Who invades and occupies every single piece of land from around us? ”

– A supposedly then deradicalised Maajid Nawaz, Al Quds Day, London 2006

As Trump and Netanyahu double-tapped the two-state solution with all the cruelty and clinicism of the IDF commando who murdered the defenseless human-rights activist Furkan Dogan aboard the Mavi Marmara, the supposed two-states advocate Maajid Nawaz was silent. Markedly silent.

His ten-year odyssey which began in 2006 with calling for the destruction of Israel had by 2016 morphed into whitewashing Israel’s apartheid wall, attacking BDS and mirroring precisely the WUJS Hasbara Handbook in lambasting UN Resolution 2334 which condemned the illegal Israeli settlements.

Nawaz attributes his own dramatic metamorphosis to his discardment of Islamism. This is nonsensical. Israel has broken children’s bones. Israel has ”destroyed the houses upon the heads of people”. Israel has ”invaded and occupied”. To conflate all objections to these horrendous crimes with an irrational and anti-semitic Islamist ideology is disingenuous. The ”deradicalisation” of Maajid Nawaz from Islamist propagandist to ”friend of Israel” can be explained by amorality and by the pandering to the vested interests whose donations are keeping the Quilliam Foundation in existence and Maajid Nawaz in three-piece-suits.

To understand the full-cycle evolution of Nawaz from anti-Israel Islamist to first class Israeli PR monger, one must deconstruct his transformation by identifying key factors throughout this decade of deception.


Pro-Israel/Right-Wing Funding: £0

UK Government Funding: £0

Hizb ut-Tahrir Funding: Unknown

According to the official Maajid Nawaz (his) narrative, Maajid has undergone a radical transformation in his Egyptian prison. He has rejected Islamism and embraced secularism and democracy. He explains away his post-release return to Hizb ut-tahrir as a vain attempt to deradicalise his former brothers in the organisation. The reality contradicts this. Upon his release Nawaz held a press conference and proudly declared to all in attendance that “I have become more convinced of the ideas that I went into prison with.” On a July 1st 2006 rally outside the American Embassy in London he demanded the destruction of Israel and its replacement with an ”Islamic State”.


Maajid Nawaz splits from Hizb ut-Tahrir


Pro-Israel/Right-Wing Funding: £0

UK Government Funding: £675,000

Gulf Funding: Unknown

Quilliam launches in April of 2008. It is initially bankrolled by unknown private donors in the Gulf. Funding is pulled in the first (and last) time Nawaz goes firmly against the agendas of his benefactors. Lesson learned. The UK Government plugs the hole with a 675,000 grant covering 2008/2009.

In its founding statement Quilliam laud Shaikh Ali Goma, a Hezbollah supporter, as a “scholastic giant”.

With a language and tone which echoes Nawaz’s Al-Quds day speech but would be altogether alien to it now (”hugely disproportionate killing”, ”murdering Palestinians en masse ”, ”Israeli atrocities ”, ”inhumane operations”) The Quilliam Foundation release a fiery press-release demanding not just the end of Israeli bombing but also the end of the siege of Gaza.


Pro-Israel/Right-Wing Funding: £0

UK Government Funding: £390,000

Having now received the bulk of its Government funding Quilliam begins reaching out to private donors. On two occasions it falls apart at the last moment. Once due to the ”credit crunch” and secondly due to the ”Arab Spring”. This is possibly in relation to the rumoured potential funding of Quilliam by the Gadaffi family who had been violently dethroned.  As Israel’s Operation Cast Lead rolls into January of 2009 Maajid Nawaz signs an open-letter to British Prime Minister Gordon Brown urging the immediate punishment of Israel unless their military offensive ceases.

In June of this year, Nawaz pens an opinion piece in the Guardian insisting that Israel cannot and must not be a Jewish State,


Pro-Israel/Right-Wing Funding: £0

UK Government Funding: £159,000

Quilliam issues a (now suspiciously deleted) press release calling for the banning of Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s from Britain on the grounds that he ”promotes hatred and violence in support of his religious beliefs”.

In what would be regarded as heretical today by his fans Nawaz argues for the motion that ”Islam is a religion of peace” against his current anti-Muslim fellow-travelers Douglas Murray and Ayaan Hirsi Ali

In December, the Government announces they will be pulling Quilliam’s funding.

Later that month Quilliam announces it has already secured new funders for 2011, the year Quilliam’s official stances on Israel-Palestine will begin to change.


Pro-Israel/Right-Wing Funding: $250,000 ( Quilliam US) / $245,000 (Stuart Family Foundation) / $174,000 (Templeton Foundation) **

UK Government Funding: £27,000

As Government funds dry up and with no successes of note to speak of, the Quilliam Foundation is facing an existential crisis. Having been uniformly rejected by the Muslim community they’ve become devoid of legitimacy. In March the Labour MP Paul Goggins lobbies Parliament for emergency funding of £150,000. Goggins stresses that Quilliam will ”fold” without the injection of cash. The former Director of the Conservative Friends of Israel Robert Halfon also tables a motion requesting continued Government funding of Quilliam.

Ultimately, Quilliam is only offered £40,000. Nawaz says this will only cover his salary and rent for three months. Meanwhile, Quilliam has branched-out into warmongering; tirelessly pushing for regime-change in Libya.

Seemingly doomed, Quilliam seems to have been pulled back from the brink with the registering of ”Quilliam US” as a charity in this year. The US based Quilliam appears to only exist on paper. It’s founding Directors include three Republicans – including war on terror profiteer Chad Sweet of the Chertoff Group – alongside Quilliam’s co- founder Ed Husain. Their registered address has been adopted into the offices of wealthy Makarechian family’s Gen Next – Hardline Republicans who have financially supported the campaigns of Schwarzenegger, Bush McCain and Romney – Schwarzenegger repaid their generosity by appointing Hadi Makerachian to the University of California’s Board of Regents; from where he attempted to strangle criticism of Israel on campus.

Gen Next’s registered charity, the Gen Next Foundation has donated overwhelmingly to the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD). The ISD is a London-based think tank which collects and organises a variety of the elite policy planning activities of the late Lord Weidenfeld. Lord Weidenfeld was a former Vice-Chairman of the EU-Israel Forum and Political Advisor and Chef de Cabinet in Israel to Dr. Chaim Weizmann in 1949. Weidenfeld was accused by New Statesman writer Dennis Sewell in his 2002 article, ‘A kosher conspiracy?’ of being “’a serious operator at the level of government, editors and media proprietors,’ often used his influence to try and prevent critical media coverage of Israel.” Weidenfeld was a renowned staunch supporter of Israel and has been described as an “adamantine Zionist“. The many pro-Israel causes he laboured for include the Jerusalem Foundation (which helps violate international law by carrying out building projects in the illegal settlements of East Jerusalem) and he even sat on the Board of Advisors for the Israeli intelligence front, MEMRI.

When Quilliam’s Managing Director Haras Rafiq was challenged by MP’s in December 2015 on these unhealthy right-wing affiliations he assured the enquiry that Quilliam US was a separate entity with no association with his own organisation. He was explicit in his denials.

“Quilliam US is a separate entity – it is not a UK entity, it has no trustees or directors sitting on it from the UK”

– Haras Rafiq

Rafiq’s claims were false. 2015’s Tax Filings for the US-based Quilliam show Maajid Nawaz is registered as their Chairman. Interestingly enough and raising suspicions even further, Quilliam US appears to be not only associated with Quilliam UK, but seemingly acting as a conduit for a large part of it’s funding.

According to these annual tax filings, every year since its registration as a charity in 2011, Quilliam US has forwarded on all money they have raised, in the form of a grant “to a foreign charity which has been officially recognised as a charitable entity in the UK for a number of years”, for the purpose of “help(ing) fight counter extremism”. This smoke and mirrors routine from Quilliam appears, on the surface, an act of simple deception, as the ‘UK counter extremism entity’ who is the recipient of these hundreds of thousands of dollars per year from Quilliam US, is never specifically named on the tax filings. In fact, bizarrely, every year’s tax filing shows the ‘Name of organisation’ section is conveniently left blank. To simplify, every year Quilliam US give all their money away to an anonymous charitable organisation in the UK to help fight counter extremism.

This then leads to the inevitable, $300,000 question – where is Quilliam US getting all it’s money from?

There are a lot more unknowns here, mainly due to the fact that there is simply much less public documentation regarding Quilliam US donors. However, it is safe to say that wherever the money is coming from, it suits both parties for them to remain anonymous. This desire for anonymity can be seen, ironically, in the one public organisation that names itself as a donor to Quilliam US, that of the Schwab Charitable Fund. Schwab Charitable Fund is a donor advised fund which preserves the anonymity of donors by not disclosing individual donor names. This fund works hand in hand with Schwab Advisor Services, a business segment of The Charles Schwab Corporation. Forbes has reported that Charles Schwab is a billionaire businessman who, among other things, is an active Republican that has contributed heavily to the Party and individuals, the most recent of which being Jeb Bush.

The Schwab Charitable Fund has proven itself a reliable ally of pro-Israel lobbying groups, donating in excess of half a million dollars to the American Jewish Committee between 2009-2013, as well giving to others such as International lobbyists, the Friends of Israel Initiative. Tax filings show that since 2012, Schwab Charitable Fund has given Quilliam US close to $30,000 per year.  

Curiously, in this year of transition, Quilliam and Maajid Nawaz can be seen to have hedged their bets on Israel-Palestine with precious little being published by either on the conflict.

Importantly, this is also the year that Quilliam begins a vital friendship with arguably it’s most consistent and loyal donor. The Stuart Family Foundation donated close to $250,000 in 2011 to Quilliam, and has continued to give between $150-260,000 annually ever since. Quilliam received $260,000 in 2015 – making it the Foundation’s highest recipient of funds. The website Powerbase describes the Stuart Family Foundation as a “conservative foundation” set up in 1986 which “gives to a range of conservative causes”, and that “According to the Philanthropy Roundtable, grants given by the Foundation are ‘diverse, but … an ideological current … underlies each donation.’”. Over the years, the Stuart Family Foundation has made it perfectly clear which direction it’s ‘ideological current’ is flowing, with previous donees including the likes of far-right, Muslim hating Frank Gaffney’s Center for Security Policy, or the John Bolton promoting, war mongering outfit, The Institute of World Politics.

The Stuart Family Foundation has also sponsored former IDF Lieutenant Colonel (Res.) Amos Guiora. A former commander of the IDF’s School of Law turned Utah University scholar, Guiora has worked tirelessly to defend the illegal and inhumane tactic of targeted assassination, his wikipedia page quoted him stating that:

“targeted killing absolutely is the implementation, the manifestation of aggressive, preemptive self-defense based on Article 51 of the United Nations Charter.” Inasmuch as going into Gaza, for example, to arrest a notorious terrorist is “a highly dangerous military operation that would put more IDF soldiers in harm’s way”, he said, “International law does not require Israel to carry out high-risk arrests.”


Pro-Israel/Right-Wing Funding: $265,875 (Quilliam US) / £79,000 (Eranda Foundation) / $250,000 (Stuart Family Foundation) / $331,000 (Templeton Foundation) **

UK Government Funding: £ 0

In 2012, the Eranda Foundation come to the aid of Quilliam to the tune of £79,000. The Eranda Foundation is run by the Jewish billionaire Evelyn De Rothschild whose family were key in the creation of the Israeli State and whose present loyalties can be demonstrated through his generosity to The Friends of The IDF and the neoconservative Henry Jackson Society.

This is the year that Nawaz embarks on his first Liberal Democrat Friends of Israel junket to Israel. Asa Winstanley, investigative journalist at Electronic Intifada explains the purpose of these trips:

Generally what these kinds of delegations will do, increasingly these

days, is they will include a token Palestinian or two in their

overwhelmingly pro-Israel meetings. This will usually be either a

Palestinian Authority representative, or something from a ‘coexistence’

type group, which sounds all warm and fuzzy but which does nothing to

end the violence of Israeli occupation and apartheid.

“These visits are intended to give the delegations a pretence of

‘balance’. However, it is clear that the delegations are very

pro-Israel, and are mainly focused on meeting establishment Israeli

figures, such as the racist leader of the Israeli Labor Party Yitzak

Herzog. This is even admitted by the Israeli organisers themselves –

they state that they purpose of the delegations is to promote ‘Brand

Israel’ and for the members of these delegations to become ambassadors

for Israel back in their home countries.

“But this often backfires, such as most recently with the NFL delegation

to Israel which an Israeli minister intended to ‘present the beautiful

face of Israel’ — due to such blatant propaganda intentions, many of

the players pulled out.

On this LDFI delegation to Israel, Nawaz met the IDF Colonel who designed the illegal apartheid wall that has been constructed on stolen Palestinian land and is larger than the Berlin Wall (or Berlin Fence). However, Nawaz regurgitates the IDF propaganda of the Colonel he speaks with and informs his readers that this racist monstrosity should merely be referred to as a ”fence”.

Disgraced and expelled Israeli official Shai Masot, who was exposed by Al-jazeera earlier this year planning the ‘taking down’ of Pro-Palestinian British MP’s, can be seen here giving his infamous ‘support’ to LDFI at their 2015 Annual General Meeting.


Pro-Israel/Right-Wing Funding: $282,994 (Quilliam US) / £94,500 (Eranda Foundation) / $75,000 (Bradley Foundation) / $175,000 (Stuart Family Foundation) **

UK Government Funding: £ 0

The ultra-Conservative and anti-LGBT Bradley Foundation was identifiied by the Center for American Progress as central wealthy kingmakers in the ”Islamophobia Industry” and appear as a new donor in 2013 follows a similar pattern to Quilliam’s other financiers.

2013 also marks the year of the Tommy Robinson-Quilliam debacle. Robinson is a convicted violent criminal, convicted fraudster, football hooligan, ex-member of the Neo-Nazi British National Party and ”proud Zionist” but is best known for terrorising the British Muslim population as the leader of the EDL. When Quilliam announced his departure from the far-right organisation to much fanfare it was widely considered a coup and Quilliam’s first serious success. Journalist Owen Jones was sceptical; Robinson had targeted a journalist for harassment only the week before, publishing what he believed was his name and home on the internet in a thinly-veiled threat. Jones warned  “My fear is that Quilliam is facilitating the mainstreaming of his bigotry. He hasn’t renounced his views.”

Jones’ fears were shown to be well placed by Robinson himself who following his release from prison established his new anti-Muslim street army with Pegida UK and stabbed  Quilliam in the back by releasing the hidden terms of their arrangement.

Nawaz was shamelessly taking personal credit for deradicalising the far-right extremist but Robinson’s revelations exposed what Robinson describes as a ”You scratch my back; I’ll scratch your’s” PR stunt where in exchange for his household expenses being paid by Quilliam for the entire duration of his pending incarceration he would allow himself to be paraded around by Quilliam to the media as a success-story. Quilliam even recruited the Archbishop of Canterbury to write a character reference letter on his behalf and trained him on how to fundraise. Though perhaps most outrageous of all was Maajid Nawaz’s attempts to have the British taxpayer fund this ”deradicalisation”

A Vice News reporter requests a copy of Quilliam’s annual reports. She is told “there is only one print copy and that that has gone missing”.


Pro-Israel/Right-Wing Funding: $282,994 (Quilliam US) / $20,000 (Sam Harris) / £318,017 and $53,371 (John Templeton Foundation) / $150,000 (Stuart Family Foundation) **

UK Government Funding: £ 0

The ability of the Quilliam Foundation to attract funding in the same year from anti-theist kook Sam Harris and pro-theist kooks of the Templeton Foundation is truly astounding.This Chameleon-like capability of theirs to pander to whoever is signing the cheques, reflects Nawaz’s own business persona and exposes arguably his one true talent.

The emergence of Templeton Foundation heavily investing in Quilliam is bizarre. Ostensibly Quilliam advocates both secularism and liberalism while Jack Templeton was an ultra-Conservative Christian and member of the Christian-Supremacist CNP who spent heavily defending Bush’s illegal war.

The Templeton Foundation has pumped money into anti-LGBT campaigns while bankrolling  the Christian Right Evangelicals the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) a Talibanesque movement whose ex-members warn of an impending ”Christian Jihad”. The Templeton Foundation has also been donors to anti-Islam hate-groups such as Frank Gaffney’s CSP and Zionist Organisations like the Herzl Institute who honoured Jack Templeton’s passing and Michael Oren’s neocon Shalem Center of Jerusalem

In June Nawaz jets off on his second Liberal Democrats Friends of Israel Junket. On this delegation he is present just prior to Operation Protective Edge, whose onslaught results in over 2,000 dead Palestinians; including over 500 children. Seemingly moved, he returns home to attend an anti-semitism rally and attributes responsibility to Hamas for these deaths.

In a stark and strikingly illustrative departure from his 2009 open-letter to Gordon Brown (pre-pro-Israel funding stage) Nawaz attacks and hints at the antisemitism of Baroness Warsi for resigning from Government in protest at the the UK’s lack of intervention as Israel bombed a defenseless Gaza from the skies.


Pro-Israel/Right-Wing Funding: $370,000 (Quilliam US) / / $ Unknown (John Templeton Foundation) / $260,000 (Stuart Family Foundation) **

UK Government Funding: £ 0

Quilliam’s Usama Hassan and Maajid Nawaz are signatories to a Gatestone ad published in the New York Times

Zuhdi Jasser sits on the boards at Nina Rosenwald’s Gatestone Institute and the Clarion Fund and has the unique dishonour of being the only Muslim on earth to be both cited in Breivik’s manifesto and a member of Steve Bannon’s secretive Christian-Supremacist organisation the Council For National Policy (CNP).

Gatestone is a pro-Israel/Neocon think-tank founded by Nina Rosenwald, the heiress who has been dubbed The Sugar-Mama of anti-Muslim hate.” To understand their agenda consider that the Zionist terrorist Anders Breivik’s Manifesto mentions twenty-five of their listed authors. Most notably the Gatestone anti-Islam author “Fjordman,” whom Breivik had been in contact with prior to his terror attacks and was named by Norwegian Police as “an essentially central witness”.

In an apparent act of duplicity Haras Rafiq, the MD of the supposed counter-extremist think-tank Quilliam denied all knowledge of the overt anti-Muslim agenda at the heart of the Gatestone Institute. When presented with evidence by the Home Select Committee (see:  2011) of their blatant Islamophobia he vowed never to allow Quilliam to be entangled with Gatestone again. However, just days later Quilliam’s own Usama Hasan was flanking Zuhdi Jasser and Asra Nomani, on a DC platform “reforming” Muslims.

If there is daylight beyond the superficial between the Clarion Fund and fundamentalist “Jewish Extremists” Aish Ha Torah, it’s not apparent. See:here, here and here. Aish is a pro-Jewish-settler movement backed by the Israeli Government whose members run sites advising on how to “prevent intermarriage”.  Clarion’s founder Rabbi Raphael Shore is a former employee of Aish and is a colleague of Maajid Nawaz at the Times of Israel. The Clarion Project has described Nawaz as “wonderful” and the Clarion/Gatestone/Quilliam  mutual flirtation continues up to the present.

In June, Netanyahu “declared war” on BDS and Zionist billionaires Sheldon Adelson and Haim Saban pledged “tens of millions” to combat BDS. Paul Makarechian, a Regent of the University of California and member of the Makarechian family funding Quilliam urged the “punishment” of BDS activists as without it “we’re just stating a lot of stuff on paper.”

By October, Maajid Nawaz had already signed an open-letter in The Guardian denouncing BDS.


Pro-Israel/Right-Wing Funding: Unknown (Tax filings not available as yet)

UK Government Funding: £ 0

In June of this year Nawaz enters into a working relationship with pro-Israel billionaire Seth Klarman’s Times of Israel. Through his Klarman Family Foundation he has paid numerous grants to various anti-Islam/Zionist causes including MEMRI, The Middle East Forum, Friends of The IDF and WINEP.

The Washington Institute of Near East Peace (WINEP) is a radical offshoot of AIPAC that once advocated a ”False-Flag” attack to initiate a war with Iran are most notable here as their website lists Maajid Nawaz as one of their ”experts.”

In September, Nawaz uses his newly acquired platform as radio presenter for LBC to make “a very important point about Israel and anti-Semitism” in which he sneakily implies that “Israel’s right to exist” and the “Jewish…right to self-determination” are one in the same. Remember that language matters, as Nawaz himself constantly reminds us.

A couple of months later, he then promises his Neve Shalom audience that he plans to bring Israeli Arabs to the UK to combat BDS and the prestigious SLPC designates him an “anti-Muslim extremist”.

As the year drew to a close Nawaz railed against the passing of UN Resolution 2334 which condemned the illegal colonialist settlements in the West Bank. Slamming the UN’s actions as “deeply biased” and America’s abstention as “despicable,” his article serving the purpose of changing the subject from the actual contents of the Resolution. Nawaz had come full circle. When pressed by Kyle Kulinski of Secular Talk, he obfuscated, refusing to be drawn into giving a public opinion on the Resolution, seemingly wary about who his opinion would be seen by. Nawaz had taken up the baton of the Israel-Lobby’s UN Watch, a pressure-group tasked with silencing all United Nations criticism of Israel.

UN Watch merged with the American Jewish Committee (AJC) in 2001. Nawaz is promoted by the AJC and has spoken at their events. The AJC honoured Quilliam’s generous patron Jack Templeton Jr in 2010 while  Nawaz sits on a board with UN Watch’s Chief Executive Hilell Neuer; who echoed Nawaz’s attack on Obama and UN Resolution 2334 in Nawaz’s Times of Israel.


Pro-Israel/Right-Wing Funding: Unknown (Tax filings not available as yet)

UK Government Funding: £ 0

The year is young but Nawaz has already attached himself tighter to the spine of the formal Zionist narrative. In January, he conflates anti-Zionism with anti-semitism, rendering Jewish anti-Zionists invisible in the process. This is in stark contrast to his Government funding era when he was explicit – “criticism of Israel is not antisemitic”. His most recent Times of Israel effort is bizarre. He advocates an Israeli peace deal with the Wahabbi House of Saud to counter jihadism and cynically reduces horrendous Israeli crimes to crimes of which Israel is merely “accused of.”

The rapid transformation of Maajid Nawaz from Islamist screaming for the destruction of Israel to moderate and then devolving into a Zionist apologist correlates closely with the sources of his funding. Only Nawaz knows if he holds positions because he is paid or if he is paid because he holds positions. Either way, he is incentivised to drift further right and has been well rewarded for doing so until now. Millionaires and billionaires don’t make donations; they make investments and investing in a secular and liberal Muslim willing to push your propaganda has tremendous payoffs.

** Totals for funds donated to Quilliam from ‘Pro-Israel/Right-Wing’ organisations, are based mostly on publicly available, tax 990 form documents. It is unknown if there are any further donors which either donate privately or from outside the US/UK to Quilliam. Therefore the stated amounts are the minimum totals of funding that are known, and not necessarily entire amounts.  

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    • Tanveer Wan Khanobi

      That’s a lotta upvotes.

    • Fred Perry

      they get a native informant. he allows them to express islamophobic tropes with impunity.

    • I’m late to this threat because this is the first chance I’ve had to sit down and give this proper attention.

      Excellent research. Really shows how we absolutely can “follow the money” to Maajid’s magical transition.

      I think the groups sponsoring him have more money than sense. He isn’t making any significant difference among Muslims. He is widely despised and no one listens to him. I think now he’s ore marginalized than ever. What is it they think they’re getting for their $$$?

    • GaribaldiOfLoonwatch

      Steve King doesn’t want his country invaded by people who have contempt for his culture and people! No one is invading the US BUT the US actually has invaded nations whose people and cultures it hates and is contemptuous of, like Iraq and Afghanistan.

    • Khizer

      That clears a few things.

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