THE FOUNDER of an anti-extremist think-tank has vowed to fight for its survival.

The Quilliam Foundation, set up in 2008 by former Echo paperboy Maajid Nawaz, from Westcliff, and Ed Husain, could shut within days after its funding was axed.

Both men were former Islamic extremists who turned their back on fundamentalism and opted to fight radicalism.

In December, the Government pulled the organisation’s funding of almost £1million a year.

MPs from all parties have pressed the Government for a transitional £150,000 Home Office grant, to allow breathing space while it becomes self-supporting. But the Home Office has only offered £40,000.

Mr Nawaz, a former Westcliff High School for Boys pupil, said: “It looks like we only have a couple of days left. It’s unreasonable for the Home Office to expect us to make the transition to private funding in two months. I’m determined to fight for it.”

Mr Nawaz said the £40,000 offered would only provide his salary and rent for three months and force him to sack all his staff. He highlighted the positive role Quilliam had played in the debate on Islamic extremism in the UK .

It has also helped fight extremism in Pakistan, by launching an anti-fundamentalist movement there.

The Prime Minister even took advice from the group, which influenced his recent controversial speech on multi-culturalism and extremism.

Quilliam has received about £2.7million Government funding over the past three years.

Damian Green, Immigration Minister, told MPs an offer had been made to Quilliam for tens of thousands of pounds to cover the next few months of basic operations.