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Press Release: Conflating Islamophobia with 'Islamic extremism' breeds misunderstanding

The Cordoba Foundation (TCF) rejects accusations made by Andrew Gilligan against our organisation in the  Telegraph on 1 June 2013. Neither the TCF nor its partners recognise the picture painted by Mr Gilligan.


We have been accused as a 'front organisation' for the Muslim Brotherhood. Mr Gilligan tells his readers that this allegation was made by the Prime Minister when he was Leader of the Opposition in 2008, a time when hard-right ideologues such as the Policy Exchange (a think tank who was exposed for forging evidence in its report on 'Islamism' in 2007) would advise the Tories on its dealings with Muslims. We wrote to David Cameron in 2008 asking for him to substantiate his accusation. Other than a polite acknowledgement, nothing was forthcoming.


We are not surprised by Mr Gilligan's latest missive against our organisation. The article containing his accusation against us is exactly the kind of cover that far-right extremists need to mask their campaign of hate since the horrific murder of Drummer Lee Rigby on 23 May. While mosques and British Muslims have been attacked and abused, Mr Gilligan has deployed Stalinist double-speak to play down these incidences. Mr Gilligan plays down these incidences even though Drummer Lee Rigby's family and regiment has been moved to caution against reprisal attacks, in addition to showing their gratitude for the massive show of support given to the family by the Great British Public.  


Just as the rest of the British Muslim community, we too condemn the murder of Drummer Lee Rigby. There is no cause that should justify his killing. It is a real shame that Mr Gilligan has deployed these underhand tactics to further his own divisive agenda. As before, we are in no doubt that the far-right will use Mr Gilligan's words for their own messages of hate. We, on the other hand, will continue to to promote dialogue and understanding between cultures and civilisations, as well as fostering discussion with our collective efforts to stop this violence ever happening again.


TCF works to promote dialogue and understanding between cultures and civilisations as per its mission statement. Seeking to help resolve conflicts and tensions, TCF has been working (directly and through partner organisations) in Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Middle East and North Africa, Bosnia, Sudan, amongst other places. Dr Anas Altikriti, CEO of the foundation, helped successfully negotiate the release of eleven hostages to date, including Western Christian peacemakers taken hostage in Iraq in 2005.

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The Cordoba Foundation

3rd JUNE 2013