Student Rights legitimacy was dealt a blow back in June when Tom Brake MP of the Liberal Democrats decided to resign and disassociate himself from the group at the same time as he quit its parent organisation, the Henry Jackson Society think tank.
His place on the Student Rights advisory board was swiftly filled and his replacement was the Ghaffar Hussain of the Quilliam Foundation (QF being the organisation which embraced Tommy Robinson for formally leaving the English Defence League despite the apparent continuity of his views about Muslims).
Hussain recently gave what the site Islamophobia Watch describes as ‘a friendly interview’ to an organisation called the Clarion Project. This U.S.-based outfit was formerly called the Clarion Fund and one of the most notorious things it did with its funds was put $17 million towards the distribution of ‘Obsession’. The film Obsession was a landmark piece of Islamophobic propaganda.
Islamophobia Watch speculates that Quilliam may be short of funds and FOI requests showing a dramatic downturn in its government funding lend this theory credence. If it is courting funding from the hard-right ‘counter-jihad’ network in the U.S., it begs the question of whether Student Rights and its parent organisation the Henry Jackson Society will also be looking to such sources for donations.
Meanwhile, Student Rights other advisory board members hardly have a squeaky clean record either. Jim Fitzpatrick MP (Labour) felt compelled to issue leaflets denying that he was Islamophobic for fear of losing a previous election campaign in his multicultural East London constituency.
Alan Mendoza, another of Student Rights advisers and director of the Henry Jackson Society has interpreted increased European criticism of Israel in overtly ethnicised terms, attributing it to a rise in the Muslim population.