Kawaakibi Foundation

is creating headaches for tyrants and terrorists




We are an accelerator for thinkers and doers with a focus on the future of liberty in Arab and Muslim communities. Our dream is a world free from tyranny, terrorism, and foreign intervention.

What Do We Do?

  1. Publish platforms. As we launch, we have two platforms. The Arab Tyrant Manual deals with global authoritarianism and the struggle for liberty, with a special focus on the Arab region. Islam & Liberty deals with the clash between authoritarianism and liberty within Islam. A platform focused on strategic nonviolence is also in the works and is scheduled to go live later in 2019.
  2. Organize activism campaigns. We are proud of our political analysis, but we’re activists at heart. Our team contributed to the #StopFII boycott campaign against Mohammad bin Salman’s “Davos in the Desert” - this is an example of the kind of campaigns we will be involved in. We will only escalate from here on, with two major projects set to launch in 2019.
  3. Provide consultancy and training on topics related to the future of liberty in Arab and Muslim communities - including activism, social movements, political analysis, the Arab public sphere, democratization, governance, and reform. We also carry out independent research and prepare in-depth reports related to these focus areas.
  4. Unite our movement. As a fellow Arab activist once said, there’s an army of Arab and Muslim voices for liberty and human rights, but they are isolated from each other and scattered around the world, forced to deal with their unique situations and trauma. Kawaakibi Foundation will work on uniting our movement through collaborations and events, and through working with partners from beyond the Arab region.
  5. Support at-risk civil society activists. We are constantly monitoring, identifying, and reaching out to at-risk civil society activists and sharing our expertise, network, and resources with them. We will scale this up - with your support - with an eye to start allocating some of our Patreon income to providing breakthrough financial support to key activists and groups.

Our Current Projects

Our immediate priorities are the launch of our platforms, the Arab Tyrant Manual and Islam & Liberty. At the same time, we continue to work on our other projects behind the scenes, until it's time to announce their launch.

In January 2019, we are launching a project in memory of Jamal Khashoggi's journalism career. The project will comprise 5 in-depth investigations related to Saudi Arabia's transition under Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman and the direction he's taking the country towards. Most of these investigations have already started, and will be published on the Arab Tyrant Manual in 2019.

For more details, please contact us.

Who Are We?

Kawaakibi Foundation was founded by Iyad El-Baghdadi and Ahmed Gatnash. For more about our history, our story, and how we came about, check this podcast (or this illustrated blogpost).

Iyad El-Baghdadi (Twitter) is an intellectual, activist, and writer who came to prominence during the Arab Spring uprisings of 2011. Iyad became a political refugee in 2014, and was ultimately granted asylum in Oslo, Norway where he is now based. He is a fellow at Civita, Norway's leading liberal think tank; and also sits on the board of The Munathara Initiative, the Arab world's leading society-run debate platform & TV show. His first book is due for release later this year.

Ahmed Gatnash (Twitter) is an Arab-British activist and writer who had teamed up with Iyad on this intellectual project since 2013. He is co-founder and VP of Operations at Kawaakibi Foundation, host of the Arab Tyrant Manual Podcast, and is also a frequent contributor to our research and activism projects. He is co-writer (with Iyad) of the upcoming book, “The Vicious Triangle: Terrorists, Tyrants, and the West”, due for release in 2019. Ahmed is based in the United Kingdom.

We are supported by an awesome (and hopefully expanding) technical and creative team.

Watch this list, because it will grow as we announce a number of exciting collaborations with awesome activists, writers, and artists. If you want to propose a collaboration, please contact us directly.

Why Patreon?

Over the years, we have watched how activists who fail to institutionalise burn out and quit, and how new platforms and think tanks often lose independence and credibility because of who funds them. We’ve also noticed how detrimental it is to get addicted to institutional funding sources.

We therefore resolved to creating a truly independent organization, not beholden to any agenda other than liberty and human rights. A direct audience-funded model is perfect for us. We want you - our audience and supporters - to be the backbone of this organization, forever.

In addition to financial support, we are open to volunteers, and regularly send out messages for help. If you have something specific you can bring to the team, let us know.

How Are Your Dollars Going To Work?

Every dollar donated on this Patreon will go to our Norway-registered non-profit organization. The organization’s mandate is the promotion of liberty and human rights in Arab and Muslim communities, and the “What We Do” section above encompasses all of its current activities. None of your dollars will be used for anything else.

If you want to make a larger one-time donation, or if you want to inquire about tax-exempt donations, please shoot us an email.

What Next?

We’re launching this Patreon on New Year’s Eve. We envision two phases:

Phase 1: From launch, until we hit 350 supporters, we’ll continue to work on our platforms at our current rate. When we hit 350 supporters is when we are fully sustainable at our current size.

Phase 2: 350 supporters to 1000 supporters we start to expand. When we hit 1000 supporters, we’ll institute our planned perk structure which will provide you with access to our behind-the-scenes “second timeline”, forum-style discussions, and in-progress work, as well as options for direct access to our experts and team members.

We consider ourselves to have completed our launch successfully once we’ve hit 1000 supporters. Your support determines how fast we get there.

We will always reach out to our supporters for feedback and insights on our plans as they progress and evolve. You will shape this project as we build it together.
160 of 350 patrons
Once we hit 350 supporters, the Arab Tyrant Manual and Islam & Liberty platforms are sustainable!
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By becoming a patron, you'll instantly unlock access to 19 exclusive posts
Audio releases
By becoming a patron, you'll instantly unlock access to 19 exclusive posts
Audio releases

Recent posts by Kawaakibi Foundation

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