A Muslim community group has blasted Hounslow Council for not turning to its own community after it emerged an anti-extremist group – founded by former radicals –was invited to train staff.

Hounslow Muslim Forum (HMF) said it “strongly objected” to Government think-tank the Quilliam Foundation (QF) training public sector staff on issues of Islam and extremism and said bosses should have asked its own community for answers.

It comes after council leader Peter Thompson tried to stop a Muslim debate night at Lampton School in July, claiming open invites should not be given to those holding extreme religious views.

HMF leader Mohammed Chaudhry said he was disappointed and raised concerns about the training given on Wednesday.

He said: “In the wake of the misplaced and unprecedented complaints made by the leader of the council against HMF’s popular community event staged at Lampton School, Putting Contest 2 in Context, it was with some surprise we noted an invitation had been extended to the Quilliam Foundation.

“Mr Thompson stated at the time that no invitations should be given to those who ‘hold extreme religious, ideological or political views, who aim to create or exploit grievances and community tensions to the detriment of the whole community’. This charge is one that many Muslims would level at the Quilliam Foundation too.

“Why is it that an outfit such as the Quilliam Foundation, whose members have no classical qualifications in Islamic learning, have no links, work-record or standing in the community, should receive taxpayers’ money to deliver programmes that may foster further distrust and misinformation in the minds of attendees?”

QF was founded by former members of radical Islamic political group Hizb ut-Tahrir, Maajid Nawaz and Ed Husain and both have given interviews to a national newspaper defending the foundation.

A QF spokesman said it ran a political workshop and did not needgrassroots in the community because it was an ideological movement.

He said: “We were approached by Hounslow Council to deliver radicalisation awareness training to key individuals within the council.

“We gladly accepted the offer and have now successfully delivered our first training day, which has had a great response.

“We are not a ‘representative’ organisation nor are we a local grassroots movement. We are a think-tank which critiques and analyses the Islamist ideology.

“We have an excellent track record for delivering high quality training to authorities and police forces.”

A council spokesman refused to say why staff were being trained by QF, how much money it cost or what the training entailed.

She said: “If the Quilliam Foundation is good enough for the United States Senate, the Home Office, Foreign Office, Metropolitan Police and a wide range of reputable private and public sector organisations, then it is good enough for our borough. We are pleased to see the strength of support for Quilliam being shown by residents since these mischievous and insubstantial claims arose.”

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