My sources in Birmingham actually attended this event and confirm the statements of CAGE. I quote directly from what the person had to say. The attendee felt he was personally attacked by these “ridiculous comments” because he found the event confidence-inspiring:
“I actually attended thinking it as a community event, and looking at the number of people in attendance (there were a lot of people) the community considered it as an important community event also. We regarded it as a community event because the community in Birmingham is still sore from the Trojan Horse lies. The event came as a breath of fresh air, and instilled confidence. For the journalist to raise the “locking of the door” jest speaks more about the level of journalism at Telegraph. The fact that parts of the audience responded with laughter should be self-explanatory. This type of journalism is either uninformed or maliciously deliberate: if the Trojan Horse smears are anything to go by, I am inclined to perceive it’s the latter.”
Neoconservatism’s subversive nature is characteristic of the fascist ideology. While the neocons like Michael Gove and their associates in the far-right have pushed the myth of “Eurabia”, the Muslim Trojan Horse in the West, hell-bent on taking over Europe, the neocon Trojan Horse in Whitehall has permeated policy largely unnoticed. Indeed, the basic premise of the hyperventilating “counter-Jihad movement” which neoconservatives often provide oxygen too, is of an impending take-over by Muslims who wish to impose “Shariyah”.
Maajid Nawaz dog-whistled Michael Gove’s Trojan Horse fetishes as late as last year, explaining his then new buzzwords “tadarruj” or gradualism as “parlance for entryism & Islamisisation from within”. This has now of course translated into Quilliam’s counter-extremism proposal which mainly focusses on “counter-entryism”. The “counter-extremism experts” at Quilliam have, though, typically failed to address the greatest threat that are the neocons running the government in their discriminatory proposals.
Reflection has become a unicorn in today’s post-modern, entertainment-driven age. News reports flood our social network streams, emails, and news channels conjure up spin-infested reports providing little to absorb, analyse and reflect on the direction such reports are heading society towards. In this information-overloaded era, our minds have become acclimatised to binging on information, with our fingers manipulating pieces of glass, sending or receiving information packets restricted to 160 characters.
In the past week reports have surfaced which should be sending alarm bells ringing, forcing the wider population to sit up and ponder over the implications of the policies our government is pushing. We need to take a step back a moment.
In January, absurd proposals which implicated children as young as three being on the path toward terrorism, were revealed and understandably criticised for being unworkable, and heavy-handed. I also took the opportunity to explain how fascist neoconservatism was driving the policy, drawing chilling parallels with the authoritarian East Germany’s Stasi security apparatus, where professionals were required to monitor the thoughts of those they worked, thus creating a state in which ideas were restricted and curtailed by the state. Totalitarianism, in other words.
And no, this is not an “Islamist lie” like Maajid Nawaz seems to have informed you. It is however, a neoconservative conspiracy, which spans the inception of the War on Terror.
David Cameron’s doublespeaking speech was incessant in its assertion that there is no conspiracy to “destroy Islam”.
Increasingly, it seems that practically any argument, however well referenced, even academically-backed, is to be rapidly brought into the sphere of “extremism” or “Islamism” and suppressed through State apparatus. They have become the terms through which the government is censoring counter-narratives.
For neocons, “active opposition” to their civic religion of secular liberalism and its symbols – “British values” of democracy, rule of law and human rights – is equivalent to “undermining” it. It is “an attack” no less. To protect it, the state has effectively deployed the counter-extremism and terrorism industry. However, the double-standards applied by neocons means that any effort to undermine Islam, as understood from the time of the Companions of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, and explained and refined through the past fourteen centuries by thousands of Ulama – scholars of impeccable learning and piety – cannot be seen as an “attack on Islam”. Nay, for David Cameron and his colonialist brown-sahibs, it is part of the “Islamist” narrative. Presumably the “extremism” policy, which imposes an extreme interpretation of secular liberalism on Muslims and an opposition to it seen as “undermining our values”, is also part of the “Islamist” narrative.
David Cameron in his speech said that in order to defeat extremism, the extreme ideology which underpins it must be confronted head on. I will confront an ideology which is already in power in Britain, and perpetuates fascism and violence in the name of values it does not believe in.
Looking back over the past decade, we witness the damage wrought by neconservatism in the US; the War on Terror which bequeathed us endless violence in Iraq and Afghanistan, civilian causalities amounting to genocide, torture, and the steady attrition of civil liberties thanks to legislation like the unconstitutional PATRIOT Act, which paved the way for unchecked power and increased surveillance. Muslim communities became the target of counter-subversion strategies and, what Professor Arun Kundnani calls, “COUNTELPRO 2.0” tactics:
“…the extensive surveillance of Muslim-American populations; the deployment of informants; the use of agents provocateurs; the widening use of material support legislation to criminalize charitable or expressive activities; and the use of community engagement to gather intelligence and effect ideological self-policing of communities. Significantly, such practices have been encouraged, organized, and legitimized by the radicalization models that law enforcement agencies adopted in the first decade of the twenty-first century.”
Over a period of time, certainly in the US, the neocons have become almost taboo for the crimes they perpetrated, and the destruction they brought to civil liberties. As one American writer notes, “Neoconservative dreams of creating a hard-edged, neo-imperial American hegemony over the world died in the rubble of Iraq and Afghanistan.” Obama’s recent diplomatic agreement with Iran has further pained the neoconservatives, who have been consistently calling for a war against Iran.
PM Cameron goes two for two today following up Ramadan greetings last month with a speech in Bratislava accusing British Muslims of “quietly condoning” extremism, and Eid greetings issued last Friday followed up with a wide ranging speech in Birmingham that demurs little from the ideas articulated in Munich in 2011.
Indeed, James Forsyth, the Daily Mail’s political commentator gave indication of Cameron’s impending speech late last month noting, “Tellingly, this speech is being referred to in Downing Street as ‘Munich 2’.”
British Muslims will be forgiven for reliving a déjà vu moment. Truth is, much of what Cameron had to say today is not ‘new,’ which is perhaps the most disturbing part of the speech delivered. After a term in office, the Government is no better informed about tackling extremism than it was five years ago. Despite promises made in opposition to review the Prevent programme and to ensure that security legislation did not impinge on hard won civil liberties, the Government is beginning to look distinctly like the Blair Government before it: in denial about foreign policy and other factors impacting on radicalisation while using the power and resources of the state to, as former Labour MP Phyllis Starkey put it in her scathing review about the earlier Prevent strategy, “engineer a ‘moderate’ form of Islam, promoting and funding only those groups which conform to this model.”
I have already given a brief response to Cameron’s speech in a prior piece exposing the original venue and those connected to the event. My detailed perspective on the speech will be drafted soon and it will convey dismay at the completely oblivious reaction of people (bar some) to what is happening. If people still do not realise that a closed-society is being formed courtesy of neoconservatism, then they will be like those who fell asleep in the Weimar Republic and woke up in the Third Reich. And before readers think this is hyperbole, read the philosophy of those running the country to understand what they aspire to.
For now, let us take a look at a couple of reports, one which is in direct response to David Cameron’s ideology-focussed Birmingham speech (in addition to an already growing body of academic thinking).