Politics

MP Says Groups Involved In Counter-Terrorism Strategy Are "Loathed" By Muslims

Labour MP Naz Shah has expressed concern that counter-extremism groups have not done enough with taxpayer money and should be held to account by the home affairs select committee.

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Two organisations involved in the government's new counter-extremism plans should be called before parliament to justify their use of public money, a Labour member of the home affairs select committee has told BuzzFeed News.

Naz Shah, the Labour MP for Bradford West who was elected to the committee two weeks ago, claimed Inspire, a women's counter-extremism organisation, and Quilliam, a counter-extremism think tank, were "the most loathed organisations amongst Muslim communities" and should face questions.

Quilliam received nearly £1.25 million from the Home Office between 2008 and 2012, while records show that Inspire has received money from local councils to carry out workshops.

She wrote to committee chairman Keith Vaz to raise her concerns. In his response, Vaz told Shah the committee would consider her letter as part of an inquiry into counter-terrorism.

She plans to reiterate her call at a private meeting of the committee on Tuesday, before the panel meets for the first counter-extremism session of this parliament.

Last week, the Home Office released details of a counter-extremism strategy in which it outlined how it would give charities and organisations £5 million to tackle extremism.

Although the government has not named which organisations will receive money, press releases to announce the new measures praised Inspire and cited research carried out by Quilliam.

Representatives from both organisations were also present at the Community Engagement Forum, a cross-faith forum organised by the prime minister to discuss the government's counter-extremism strategy and to think about how best to engage with British Muslims.

Shah said that both Inspire and Quilliam should explain to the select committee exactly how effective their work has been at preventing radicalisation before the government considers giving them additional funds.

Shah was critical of both organisations' records. "They can't be working otherwise we wouldn't have this problem [of people travelling to join ISIS]," Shah said. "They're clearly not working so why are we re-funding them?"

Neither the Quilliam Foundation nor Inspire responded to numerous requests by BuzzFeed News for comment on Shah's criticism.

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Siraj Datoo is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Siraj Datoo at siraj.datoo@buzzfeed.com.

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