Ed Husain

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Person.png Ed Husain   Amazon Powerbase Sourcewatch WebsiteRdf-icon.png
(Writer, Senior Fellow)
BornMohamed Mahbub Husain
1974-12-25
Mile End, Tower Hamlets, London, England
NationalityBritish
Alma materTower Hamlets College, Newham College, SOAS, University of London, University of Damascus
Known forAuthor of The Islamist
ReligionIslam
SpouseFateha Husain
Founder ofQuilliam Foundation

Ed Husain is the co-director of the Quilliam Foundation, author of The Islamist and a member of the Labour Party.[1] Ed Husain has also worked for the British government's cultural propaganda body, the British Council, in Syria and Saudi Arabia from 2003-2005.[2]

Ed Husain's real name is Mohammed Mahbub Husain. He was born on 25 December 1975 and raised in Tower Hamlets, East London. According to his own account he was formerly involved with political Islamic organisations such as the Jamat-e-Islami, the Muslim Brotherhood and Hizb ut-Tahrir.

In his initial Quilliam Foundation biography that has now been altered[3], it was stated that Ed Husain was a ‘campus recruiter’ for Hizb ut-Tahrir who ‘laid the ideological seeds for much of the contemporary Islamism’s manifestations in Britain’.[4] According to his own analysis of his own activism, Ed Husain stated that he had ‘radicalized [his] entire college [because] ‘there were Muslim women walking around in veils and face covers [and] Muslim men going around putting up posters’. [5]

Hizb ut-Tahrir has rejected the claim made by Ed Husain that he was a member of the organisation. Taji Mustafa, the Media spokesperson for Hizb ut-Tahrir stated that ‘Ed Husain was never a member of Hizb-ut-Tahrir. We need to have our facts very clear.’[6] In response to Taji Mustafa’s claims, Ed Husain stated that he had ‘attended cell structure meetings for two years’, but failed to clarify whether he was an official member or not. [7] Despite this though, Ed Husain has continuously claimed that he was a member of Hizb ut-Tahrir and went onto write the Islamist, which is based on his experience of being a member of the organisation.


Ed Husain & Neo-Cons

Ed Husain has been repeatedly accused of being a neo-conservative and a Zionist sympathiser. In response to these claims, Ed Husain and Maajid Nawaz co-authored an article entitled 'Putting the Record Straight' on the Guardian's Comment is Free blog and argued that they were being accused by Islamists for being neo-conservatives and Zionists, whilst they were being accused by Zionists for being ‘Islamists’ and ‘soft-Jihadists’.[8] In order to prove the pair were not neo-cons or zionist sympathsisers, they argued:

We have...spoken out publicly and privately against the government's 42-days detention of terrorist suspects...We also criticised the government when it hesitated to call for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. We condemned Israel's disproportionate reaction when it was unfashionable to do so in Westminster. We are not afraid to speak our minds, even if that means upsetting allies and foes alike. In our personal capacities, we signed a letter to the PM, with other prominent Muslim individuals, highlighting the failures of current UK foreign policy towards the Middle East, and the lack of a clear stance in Israel's offensive.[9]

But the questions relating to Ed Husain’s alleged links with a Neoconservativism have emerged from the fact that the Quilliam Foundation had close associations with author of ‘Neo-Conservativism: Why we Need it’ and Director of the Centre for Social Cohesion, Douglas Murray and on the Quilliam's advisory board is Michael Gove. Moreover, the members of the Quilliam Foundation have been jointly working on the attack blog, the Spittoon in trying to discredit and smear any individual that has attempted to expose any such links or connections.

Ed Husain, until a recent falling out and public display of personal attacks,[10] earned widespread acclaim and applaud from Melanie Phillips the right-wing columnist and staunch Zionist. In her review of the Islamist, she stated:

Ed Hussain should be applauded for his courage in writing this. It should also serve to wake people up to a truth they are continuing to deny, that fanatical ideas can kill — and that if we in Britain are serious about halting the scourge of Islamist terrorism, the government must ban the fanatics of Hizb ut Tahrir who do so much to propel impressionable young people towards mass murder. Ed Hussain displays intellectual honesty and guts. The British government displays neither.[11]

Fall out with Melanie Phillips

Earlier a key backer of Ed Husain, Melanie Phillips went on to denounce him after he wrote an article critical of the Israeli assault on Gaza (Operation Cast Lead). She called Ed Husain's article 'stupid and ignorant' and 'poisonous' which placed him on the wrong side 'in the great battle to defend civilisation against barbarism'.[12]

In response to Melanie Phillips', Ed Husain wrote that he was frightened of Phillips's 'zealotry and ignorance' and asked the question 'how did we produce a public commentator filled with such anger, venom and hatred?'

Interestingly, in the article Husain defends the Islamic Society of Britain and the Muslim Council of Britain and its spokesman Inayat Bunglawala (whom he has previously tarnished as an extremist) against Phillips's attacks. He added:

'The Israel First test, which she seeks to impose on British Muslims (as well as an American president), reeks of racism. Why is Israel more important than any other country in the world? With leading British Muslims increasingly supporting a secular state, democracy, women's rights, gay rights and liberal pluralism, and opposing Islamist extremism – then still be attacked as "extremists" or "Islamist" because they don't support Likud's plans for Israel is bullying and uncompromising in the extreme [...] But do fairness and humanity matter to Phillips? [...] To that demented mindset, whatever Muslims do, right or wrong, principled or otherwise, we will always be subject to Robert Spencer's brigade of trolls who will shout "taqiyya" to our supposed hiding of Islamist loyalties.[13]

Opinions on Contest & Counter-Terrorism

When the widely controversial and wide-sweeping Contest 2 British counter-terrorism strategy was announced, Ed Husain in a Telegraph article stated:

Hazel Blears, the gutsy Communities Secretary, supports a tough approach. But she is being undermined repeatedly by the Muslim advisers who surround her and who have a major stake in ensuring the new strategy goes in a different direction. Let us be clear: Contest 2 is about ensuring Britain's security, uprooting terrorism and creating a proud, pluralist nation at home with liberal, secular democracy. It is about shifting the current lethargic thinking that surrounds Islamist extremism. It is not about appeasing activist Muslim men who lobby for Hamas. The Contest 2 White Paper must be more courageous than what we have seen from this Government to date. It should disregard the findings of focus groups, the self-serving advice of "community experts", and name the monster that we face: Islamist extremism.[14]

In the same article, he continued his calling of the Muslim Council of Britain 'extremists'. he concluded by stating - 'We cannot defeat terrorism by hugging extremists. As Charles Colson, chief counsel to President Nixon, once said, if you grab them by the balls, the hearts and minds will follow'. [15]

Preventing Violent Extremism

In October 2009, when a report produced by the Institute of Race Relations suggested that the Preventing Violent Extremism programme was being used as a cover by the Police and Intelligence Services for collating intelligence and information on the Muslim community in Britain,[16] Ed Husain argued that if the intelligence being collated was for the purpose of stopping 'people getting killed and committing terrorism, it is good and it is right'. He also added that 'It would be morally wrong of a taxpayer-funded programme designed to prevent terrorism if it was not designed to gather intelligence in order to stop that terrorism from happening'. [17] He also suggested that any individual who gave the impression, or did put forth extremist views should not only be challenged in a civic way, but also handed over to the Police and investigated. [18] Ed Husain also beleives that the gathering of intelligence outweighs civil liberty concerns - 'That's the name of the game. It's not about doing the right thing by Islamists or by liberal do-gooders, it's about creating a society where liberal do-gooders survive freely.'[19]

Darfur

On August 10 2009, Ed Husain wrote an article in The Independent entitled 'Where is the Muslim anger over Darfur?' in which he accused Muslims of being silent over the death of 400,000 Darfuris.[20] But the 400,000 figure is an exaggerated figure and used by proponents of military intervention despite the fact that a panel of 12 experts convened in 2006 by the US Government Accountability Office unanimously found it least credible after evaluating six separate mortality figures. The most reliable estimate according to the panel was by a WHO-linked Belgian research lab Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED) which put the mortality figure at 118,142, of which less than 30 percent were due to violence. [21][22]. After admitting that 'pollster James Zogby found 80 per cent of those questioned in four Arab countries were concerned about Darfur and felt it should have more media attention' and that 'some commentators in Muslim-majority countries are questioning their leaders' support for Bashir', Ed Husain went onto denounce 'Muslims' amnesia about Darfur', which according to him, is 'symptomatic of the malaise affecting the public face of a faith that lacks the confidence to engage in constructive debate or renewal'.[23]

Criticisms

Ed Husain has faced a vast array of criticisms from a range of individuals. Here are some excerpts which indicate how critics perceive Ed Husain and his efforts:

Yvonne Ridley:

When his phone stops ringing and he’s no longer invited as the token Muslim to cocktail parties by the Notting Hill set or the even more fickle Islington crowd, maybe then he will have time to reflect on the damage he’s done to the Muslim community. And I’m not talking about Muslims like myself who can usually stand up for themselves. I’m talking about those quiet, timid brothers and sisters who are afraid as they turn every street corner for fear of being confronted by some Islamophobic thug with hate in his eyes … a hate inadvertently fuelled by the likes of Ed Hussain and his ilk.[24]

Seumas Milne:

Rarely a TV debate goes by without Ed Husain, one-time member of Hizb ut-Tahrir and now a British neocon pinup boy, or Hassan Butt, formerly of the banned al-Muhajiroun group, insisting that this is all about people with identity crises who are "hell-bent on destroying the west", denouncing Ken Livingstone for engaging in dialogue with Islamists, or calling for a harsher crackdown on their former fellow enthusiasts for the restoration of the caliphate. They are championed by politicians like the Tory [[Michael Gove and New Labour's Denis MacShane, who this week argued that all Islamists, from the liberal Muslim academic Tariq Ramadan to al-Qaida terrorists, had to be confronted without exception.[25]

Ziauddin Sardar:

When he finally realises his folly, and bids farewell to Hizb, Husain continues to be a reductive extremist. Now, the entire blame for the radicalisation of Muslim youth is placed on multiculturalism - the very idea that gave Husain all the opportunities he had in life! Terrorists, he tells us, are a product of sexual frustration. So we ought to provide them with generous doses of sex to usher them towards peaceful directions. Hizb ut-Tahir should be banned so that they can take their nefarious activities underground and become even more difficult to tackle. Muslim organisations are secret terrorist sympathisers. Husain doesn't tell us what we should do with them. But I suspect he wants everyone locked up, leaving the terrain open for his brand of neocons to run amok.[26]

Riazat Butt:

By diligently charting his involvement with Hizb ut-Tahrir, Hussain has employed a simplistic and back-pedalling narrative that will be seen by many as the definitive portrait of fundamentalist Muslims. He is happy to reinforce stereotypes and justifies this by saying he knows what inspires terrorists - the likely inference being that his book is an educational tool. But Husain was not a terrorist and his account is dated and misleading. The groups he mentions, and their modus operandi, are more fluid and sophisticated now. Husain provides no new answers and no fresh information. The activities of Hizb ut-Tahrir and their ilk have been well documented already. I have to ask why, when his experiences are firmly based in the 1990s, this book is being published now and is being greeted with an adulation that is both embarrassing and unwarranted.[27]

[[Display born on::25 December 1974| ]]


References

  1. Screengrab of Ed Husain's biography, but no longer available on the Quilliam Foundation website. Captured on 23/02/10. Original available at http://web.archive.org/web/20080123101606/http://www.quilliamfoundation.org/Quilliam/People.html Retrieval record available at http://web.archive.org/web/*/http://quilliamfoundation.org/Quilliam/People.html
  2. Ed Husain Biography - accessed 24/02/10
  3. The revised version says he was 'Formerly an activist of Hizb ut-Tahrir (HT) and Jamat-e-Islam front organizations in the UK': Ed Husain Biography - accessed 24/02/10
  4. Screengrab of Ed Husain's biography, but no longer available on the Quilliam Foundation website. Captured on 23/02/10. Original available at http://web.archive.org/web/20080123101606/http://www.quilliamfoundation.org/Quilliam/People.html Retrieval record available at http://web.archive.org/web/*/http://quilliamfoundation.org/Quilliam/People.html
  5. CNN Newsroom Transcript Aired 4 May 2007, transcript accessed 23/02/10
  6. CNN Newsroom Transcript Aired 4 May 2007, transcript accessed 23/02/10
  7. CNN Newsroom Transcript Aired 4 May 2007, transcript accessed 23/02/10
  8. Ed Husain & Maajid Nawaaz, Putting the Record Straight, the Guardian, 9 January 2009 accessed 23/02/10
  9. Ed Husain & Maajid Nawaaz, Putting the Record Straight, the Guardian, 9 January 2009 accessed 23/02/10
  10. Mehdi Hasan, 'Ed Husain versus Melanie Phillips' NewStatesman, 31 October 2009 - accessed 24/02/10
  11. Melanie Phillips, 'Another Brave Muslim Speaks Up', MelaniePhillips.com - accessed 24/02/10
  12. On the other side from civilisation, Melanie Phillips, The Spectator (Blog), 30 December 2008 accessed 24/02/10
  13. Ed Husain, The Personal jihad of Melanie Phillips, The Guardian, 31 October 2009 accessed 24/02/10
  14. Ed Husain, We must stop appeasing Islamist extremism, The Daily Telegraph, 14 March 2009 - accessed 24/02/10
  15. Ed Husain, We must stop appeasing Islamist extremism, The Daily Telegraph, 14 March 2009 - accessed 24/02/10
  16. Arun Kundnani, Spooked: How Not to Prevent Violent Extremism Institute of Race Relations, October 2009, - accessed 25 November 2009
  17. Vikram Dodd, Government Anti-Terrorism Strategy Spies on Innocent, 16 October 2009, the Guardian - accessed 24 February 2010
  18. Reactions to Prevent Programme Spying on British Muslims, the Guardian, 16 October 2009 - accessed 24/02/10
  19. Vikram Dodd, Government Anti-Terrorism Strategy Spies on Innocent, 16 October 2009, the Guardian - accessed 24 February 2010
  20. Where is the Muslim Anger over Darfur?, Ed Husain, The Independent, 10 August 2009 accessed 24/02/10
  21. Mahmood Mamdani, Darfur: the Feelgood Conflict, Le Monde Diplomatique, August 2009 - accessed 24/02/10
  22. Debarati Guha-Sapir & Olivier Degomme, 'Darfur: Counting the Deaths; Mortality Estimates from Multiple Survey Data', CRED, Brussels, 2005
  23. Where is the Muslim Anger over Darfur?, Ed Husain, The Independent, 10 August 2009 accessed 24/02/10
  24. Yvonne Ridley, Well another year over short-sword fighting in defence of Political Islam, 3 January 2008, yvonneridley.org accessed 24/02/10
  25. Seumas Milne, Denial of the Link with Iraq is Delusional and Dangerous, the Guardian, 5 July 2007 accessed 24/02/10
  26. Ziauddin Sardar, 'The Islamist by Ed Husain; Journey into Islam by Akbar Ahmed', The Independent, 1 June 2007 accessed 24/02/10
  27. 'How Mohammed became Ed', Riazat Butt, the Guardian, 9 May 2007 accessed - 24/02/10