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Quilliam: Social media react to the closing of British think-tank

Critics have accused Quilliam of Islamophobia and mislabelling UK Muslim groups as 'extremists'
Maajid Nawaz, co-founder of Quilliam, announced the organisation's closure on 9 April (AFP)

People took to social media to celebrate the closure of British "counter-extremism" organisation Quilliam, which has long been accused of Islamophobia.

Quilliam co-founder Maajid Nawaz announced in a statement on Twitter that the decision to shut down the organisation was due to "the hardship of maintaining a non-profit during Covid lockdowns".

Critics of the group have accused Quilliam of Islamophobia, fraternising with the far-right, and mislabelling Muslim groups in the UK as "extremists". 

The organisation, founded in 2008, was named after the 19th century Muslim convert Abdullah Quilliam, who founded Britain's first mosque. 

Scores of social media users took to Twitter to criticise the organisation and celebrate its closure.

Many have questioned how the organisation can claim to be closing due to lack of funds given that the group won $3.375m in a settlement with the US-based Southern Poverty Law Centre (SPLC) in 2018.

The legal case took place after the SPLC had listed Nawaz as an "anti-Muslim extremist" in one of its reports. 

Meanwhile, some users were surprised by the speed with which Quilliam disappeared from all platforms. The Quilliam website and Twitter account have now been taken down.

Those who saw Quilliam as pushing damaging narratives about minorities are relieved. In 2018, the group published a report that claimed that 84 percent of sexual grooming gangs in the UK were Asian. The report was denounced for lacking evidence and true research. 

The Twitter page belonging to British left-wing political blog Another Angry Voice alluded to the death of the UK's Prince Phillip on Friday, writing "one death we can celebrate today is the demise of the Quilliam Foundation".

However, one user claimed that celebrating the end of Quilliam was "naive" as now the "enemy" has "diversified". 

 Maajid Nawaz continues to host a radio show on LBC, which is broadcast every Saturday and Sunday.