HOME AFFAIRS – FUNDING OF THE QULLIAM FOUNDATION – 15 March 2011
Dr Julian Lewis: The hon. Gentleman [Tom Brake] makes a serious point. However, is it not the case that when taking part in an ideological battle, all groups describe themselves as mainstream? Indeed, even Islamist extremists describe themselves as mainstream, because they are trying to say that everyone who disagrees with them is an apostate. There is nothing unusual, therefore, about Quilliam at one end of the spectrum calling itself mainstream, while other groups at the centre of the spectrum call themselves mainstream, and groups on the radical Islamist end of the spectrum call themselves mainstream. That is not really a valid criticism.
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Dr Lewis: I remember a conversation I had with a senior Minister about the setting-up of RICU. My understanding is that there was an analogy between it and the operation set up at the onset of the cold war to try to counter communist subversion and propaganda. Either such organisations do the work themselves, or they do the research and support other non-governmental organisations that will go on to the front line and fight the ideological battle. I do not think I have seen anything to suggest that RICU is fighting that battle under its own banner on the front line. If it is not doing that itself, why is it not perpetually committed to the support of other organisations such as Quilliam which are prepared to go into the front line?
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[The Minister for Immigration (Damian Green): ... This financial year, the Home Office has provided Quilliam with sifigure funding. It has been invited to submit bids for project funding in the next financial year.]
Dr Lewis: I wish Ministers would stop using the phrase, which has clearly been given to them, of sifigure funding. Sifigure funding can be from £100,000 to £999,000. There are big variations in it.
[NOTE: For Julian's speech in this Debate, click here.]