Centre for Social Cohesion
The Centre for Social Cohesion (CSC) was a British think tank with its headquarters in London. Founded in 2007 as part of another London think tank, Civitas, it became independent in 2008 and was eventually subsumed into a separate London think tank, the Henry Jackson Society, in April 2011.
Foundation and constitution
CSC was established with funding of circa £275,000 from Civitas. The organisation was constituted as a company limited by guarantee. It was incorporated and registered with Companies House in June 2008. Companies House records indicate that, as of 5 January 2009, the company's directors were Baroness Cox, former Professor of the private University of Buckingham, Dr John Marks, and author Dr Ruth Dudley Edwards. Cox and Marks are also directors of the Educational Research Trust.
CSC shared its Clutha House premises in London with The Pilgrim Trust, Civitas, and Policy Exchange. Unlike similar think tanks, including its stablefellows Civitas and Policy Exchange, the Centre for Social Cohesion is not registered with the Charity Commission for England and Wales. According to Companies House, the Centre for Social Cohesion was dissolved on 15 January 2013.
Activities and director
The CSC's web site indicated that its aims were to foster new attitudes to help bring Britain's ethnic and religious communities closer together, while strengthening British traditions of openness, tolerance, and democracy. It researched ethnic and religious communities and organisations in the UK and published analyses.
The Centre's Director was Douglas Murray, author of Neoconservatism: Why We Need It, and the CSC's web site indicated that its researchers were trained in journalism, philosophy, and Islamic affairs, and include speakers of Arabic, Bengali, Urdu, and other Asian and European languages. The CSC web site indicated that it studied challenges to liberal society, secular democracy, and religious pluralism. The CSC took the position that Islamism represents a threat to social cohesion, and analysed its impact in this context. The Centre published regular reports, produces media releases, held seminars, and explored how best to promote tolerance, civic values, and greater cohesion in Britain.
The CSC said that it had no political affiliations and aimed to be impartial and non-partisan in carrying out its work. A frequently referenced media source, the CSC was labelled by parts of the media such as the BBC and The Guardian as "right leaning", its research has been described as "controversial" and it attracted criticism from the National Assembly Against Racism, the National Union of Students and the Scottish-Islamic Foundation, whose chief executive Osama Saeed described the CSC, along with the Policy Exchange, as a "right-wing 'stinktank'". By contrast, the CSC's findings were more favourably received by other media outlets, most notably the British right-of-center press such as The Daily Mail, The Spectator and Daily Telegraph. Melanie Phillips of The Spectator described the Centre as "invaluable", and the Telegraph's Damian Thompson described Murray as the Centre's "brilliant young director" in his Daily Telegraph blog.
Murray robustly defended his February 2010 open invitation to post Irish jokes on his blog. A number of people questioned whether Murray would invite jokes about Pakistanis or Israelis.
When focus increased on the Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki after the Fort Hood shootings and 2009 Christmas Day bombing attempt, Alexander Meleagrou-Hitchens, a research fellow for the Centre, said: "For well over a year now, organisations such as ours have repeatedly warned about the dangerous influence of this man, with most of our warnings falling on deaf ears".
- Isaby, Jonathan. "Douglas Murray and staff from the Centre for Social Cohesion join the Henry Jackson Society". Conservative Home. Retrieved 31 January 2013.
- Civitas Ltd Audited Accounts and Financial Statement for the year ending 31 December 2007 (see pg. 8). Accessed 19 January 2009
- Companies House records relating to the Centre for Social Cohesion Accessed 19 February 2009
- University of Buckingham in the news June 2008 update. Accessed 25 February 2009
- Details of the lease of Clutha House by Kensingtons Chartered Surveyors on behalf of GM Investment Trustees (a financial services company) Accessed 19 February 2009
- Charities Commission Register Accessed 19 February 2009
- "Companies House Records for Centre for Social Cohesion". Companies House. Retrieved 31 January 2013.
- "Radical books in London libraries". BBC. 5 September 2008.
- Doward, Jamie (29 June 2008). "Radical Islam gains ground in campuses". London: Guardian. Retrieved 28 April 2010.
- National Assembly Against Racism Accessed 19 February 2009
- "Damned for trying to do some good". The Sunday Herald. 27 July 2008.
- "Salmond backs first state-funded Islamic school for Scotland". Edinburgh: The Scotsman. 27 June 2008.
- Daily Mail articles making reference to the Centre for Social Cohesion Accessed 19 February 2009
- "A Caledonian caliphate?". The Spectator. 25 June 2008.
- Thompson, Damian (2009-01-23). "Gutless LSE bans Islam critic Douglas Murray for 'security reasons'". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2012-05-01.
- "Heard the one about stupidity?". Irish Independent. 15 February 2010.
- Townsend, Mark (3 January 2010). "How a radical student joined the global terror network". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 28 April 2010.
- Think tank: Betrayal of Muslim reformers, Moderate voices are denied official support, Douglas Murray, Sunday Times, 23 November 2008
- A third of Muslim students back killings, Radicalism and support for sharia is strong in British universities, Abul Taher, Sunday Times, 27 July 2008
- Radical Islam gains ground in campuses, Poll attacked over claim that a third of Muslim students think killing in the name of religion is justified and 40 per cent support sharia law in the UK, Jamie Doward, The Observer, 27 July 2008