Anas Altikriti

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Anas Altikriti
Native name أنس التكريتي
Born (1968-09-09) 9 September 1968 (age 47)
Baghdad, Iraq
Religion Sunni Islam
Relatives Osama Tawfiq al-Tikriti (father)

Anas Altikriti (Arabic: أنس التكريتي‎; born 9 September 1968 in Iraq) is the CEO and Founder of The Cordoba Foundation,[1] a UK-based independent Think Tank which examines and comments on the relationship between the Muslim World and the West. The Cordoba Foundation (TCF) was founded in January 2005 and has since become one of the most important academic and research platforms which studies and analyses changing formations and trends throughout the Middle East, and the impact that has on Muslim-Western relations on the political, ideological, cultural and economic levels. TCF was established to confront the Huntington theory 'Clash of Civilisations', and instead assert that cultures and civilisations are in a constant state of dialogue, unless efforts are exerted mutually or exclusively to create a climate of conflict and clash. TCF draws upon the golden era of Andalusian times, when Muslims, Christian and Jews managed not only to live and co-exist side by side for many many decades, but to actually create one of Europe's most stunning and progressive ages, the remnants of which till this day draw tens of millions from around the world. TCF espouses the culture of dialogue, and has worked tirelessly to understand and address the problems of conflict, war, terrorism, extremism and discrimination, and has attempted to build peace wherever and whenever the chances allowed. Anas Altikriti himself is a hostage negotiator, who has successfully negotiated the release of 18 hostages from various conflict zones around the world, between November 2005 and October 2015.

The Cordoba Foundation has attracted numerous detractors and adversaries over the years due to the nature, location and dynamics of its efforts. In 2009, David Cameron, then leader of the opposition, made a statement during a Parliamentary Prime Ministers Questions, in which he alleged that TCF was a front for the Muslim Brotherhood. He went on within the same breath to make the grave error of stating that the founder of TCF was Azzam Tamimi, rather than Anas Altikriti, demonstrating the shoddiness of the research that had been presented to him. Since then, TCF has attempted to press David Cameron on qualifying his statement and outlining his evidence for such an allegation. No response has ever been forthcoming from the now Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. In late 2014, The Cordoba Foundation was listed as a terrorist group by the United Arab Emirates,[2] along with the more than 75 various other international Muslim organisations which operate in a variety of fields. The British government has rejected this designation and asked the government of the UAE for a clarification on this matter.

Early life[edit]

Anas Altikriti was born into a Muslim family; his father Dr Osama Tawfiq Altikriti is a retired Consultant Radiologist who attained his Fellowship in Radiology from London in 1978. A well known opposition figure to the Ba'th regime which came to power in Iraq in 1968, he eventually came to head the Muslim Brotherhood in Iraq for a number of years until the fall of the Saddam Hussein regime in 2003 at the hands of the US led invasion.[3][4][5] In 2003, he retired from medicine and moved back to Iraq and served for 2 terms as a member of the Iraqi Council of Representatives on behalf of the Iraqi Islamic Party.

Professional activities[edit]

Anas Altikriti holds an MSc in Translation and Interpreting.[6] He teaches translation and interpreting on part-time basis at Leeds University.

Anas Altikriti became involved with the UK's Stop the War Coalition protests against the 2003 invasion of Iraq,[7] becoming the movement's vice-president.[8] He headed the Respect Yorkshire and Humberside slate for the European elections in 2004.[9] Altikriti also served as president of the Muslim Association of Britain between 2004 and 2005.[6][9]

After the 7 July 2005 London bombings, Altikriti found himself increasingly at odds with the Muslim Association of Britain, many of whose members wanted a retreat from activism including involvement in the Stop the War Coalition in favor of educational/community development programmes. By December that year, Altikriti together with Azzam Tamimi had effectively lost control of Muslim Association of Britain policy; in response, Altikriti helped form the British Muslim Initiative to maintain high-level political activism.[10]

Media appearances[edit]

As a commentator in the International and Arab media (including BBC, CNN, ABC, SKY and Al-Jazeera)[citation needed] on Muslim and current affairs, he has appeared on HARDtalk and the Doha Debates (both with Tim Sebastian), Lateline on Australian ABC and BBC’s Newsnight as well as a number of prominent programs on a variety of international channels.[11] Altikriti has contributed a number of articles to The Guardian, Al-Ahram Weekly and Islam Online.[citation needed] He currently fronts a weekly debate show Sharqun Wa Gharb (East and West) on the Arab TV satellite station 'Al-Hiwar' (The Dialogue).[5] In late 2005 and 2006 he made a number of trips to Iraq in efforts to release British hostage Norman Kember,[12] who was eventually released in March 2006 by UK special forces.

Support for Syrian opposition[edit]

A supporter of the Arab Spring which spread throughout the Middle East and North Africa in the final days of 2010 and throughout the subsequent 3 years, Altikriti has been a consistent supporter of the Syrian revolution since it broke out in February 2011. Although consistently calling for the fall and legal prosecution of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, Anas Altikriti has opposed Western military intervention as well as the meddling of Iran and its regional proxies in propping the regime in Damascus. Of late, he has declared his condemnation of the Russian military intervention in Syria. His efforts in supporting the Syrian people focused on the emergency relief, education and health sectors, while offering strategic training and media advice to various factions of the Syrian political opposition entities. Despite numerous invitations, Altikriti has refused to meet with or cooperate with any of the opposition military or armed factions.

Support for the Muslim Brotherhood[edit]

Altikriti has been a vocal supporter of the policies of Muslim Brotherhood parties across the Middle East and has been described as one of the shrewdest UK-based Brotherhood activists.[13] Despite this reputation, Altikriti claims not to be a member of the Muslim Brotherhood.[14] Of note, Anas Altikriti's father Osama Tawfiq al-Tikriti currently heads the Iraqi Islamic Party, the largest Sunni Islamist political party in Iraq which evolved from the Muslim Brotherhood.[4] He has descrıbed himself how he has tried to encourage Western support for Islamists in the wake of the Arab uprisings.

"'I was asked at a recent meeting with some of Washington’s wheelers and dealers about what the American government should do with the Islamic movements gaining prominence and claiming the limelight across the Arab world, I answered simply: support them … unless we encourage them and offer them an incentive, their own crop of hard-liners will have been proven right".[15]

This has been interpreted as a new iteration of Altikriti’s previous lobbying strategy, which has sought to persuade Western governments that they should fund Brotherhood groups as moderate alternatives to al-Qaeda. Altikriti has been accused of using the Arab Spring as a new opportunity to leverage the Muslim Brotherhood into positions of power and influence, and perhaps even to acquire new funds from Western sources, through arguing that Western support for the Muslim Brotherhood parties can undermine and moderate more extremist Islamist elements.[13]

Support for Hamas[edit]

Altikriti has openly stated his and the Muslim Brotherhood’s support for Hamas.[14] Hamas is listed as a foreign terrorist organization by the United States government.[16] He has close ties to Hamas leadership and co-founded a group called the British Muslim Initiative with a senior commander in Hamas, Mohammed Sawalha, and a Hamas “special envoy,” Azzam Tamimi.[14]

Closure of bank accounts[edit]

Altikriti’s UK bank accounts were closed by HSBC in August 2014 along with those of a number of Muslim organizations, including the Cordoba Foundation. According to the BBC, "the bank said it was applying a programme of strategic assessments to all of its businesses after a $1.9bn fine in 2012 over poor money-laundering controls." The only reason given for closure was: "the provision of banking service ... now falls outside of our risk appetite". The Charity Commission stated that it was not investigating any of the Muslim organizations with whom HSBC terminated its relationship.[17]


  1. ^ "". 20 June 2007. Retrieved 27 February 2013. 
  2. ^ "UAE Cabinet approves list of designated terrorist organisations, groups". WAM Emirates News Agency. 15 November 2014. 
  3. ^ "Account Suspended". Retrieved 27 February 2013. 
  4. ^ a b ar:أسامة التكريتي
  5. ^ a b Altikriti, Anas (3 June 2008). "Full profile |". London: Guardian. Retrieved 27 February 2013. 
  6. ^ a b "Anas Altikriti – FOSIS". Palestine Week. Retrieved 6 February 2012. 
  7. ^ "Advisory Board. European Muslim Research Centre.". University of Exeter, UK. 18 November 2010. Retrieved 6 February 2012. 
  8. ^ Bloodworth, James (28 June 2013). "Why is the left so blinkered to Islamic extremism?". London: The Independent. Retrieved 16 June 2014. 
  9. ^ a b Anas Altikriti Profile The Guardian
  10. ^ Sophie Gilliat-Ray Muslims in Britain. Cambridge University Press, 2010. p. 76
  11. ^ Altikriti, Anas (3 June 2008). "Full profile |". London: Guardian. Retrieved 6 February 2012. 
  12. ^ "UK | Kidnap envoy meeting Iraqi Sunnis". BBC News. 4 December 2005. Retrieved 6 February 2012. 
  13. ^ a b "UK Islamists and the Arab Uprisings". Current Trends in Islamist Ideology. 22 June 2012. Retrieved February 2014. 
  14. ^ a b c "How the Muslim Brotherhood fits into a network of extremism". The Telegraph. Retrieved 2015-08-03. 
  15. ^ "Western Fear of the ‘Islamist Other’ | Fair Observer°". 23 October 2011. Retrieved 27 February 2013. 
  16. ^ "Foreign Terrorist Organizations". Retrieved 2015-08-03. 
  17. ^ Laurie, Dominic. "HSBC closes some Muslim groups' accounts". BBC. Retrieved 16 October 2015. 

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