Approaching the weekend, news reports have focussed on the attacks in Tunisia, France and Kuwait. At the time of writing, the attack in Kuwait which targeted a Shia mosque killing 27 worshippers, has been claimed by ISIS. In France, the perpetrator decapitated his boss, and caused an explosion at a gas factory. His motivation is not yet ascertained. In Tunisia, a lone-gunman rampaged a beach killing 15 British nationals. He is believed to be linked to ISIS.
Innocent people have been killed and my heart sincerely goes out to the bereaving families.
The politics, however, sadly continue. Those who committed these atrocious acts had a motive and an agenda to fulfil. Such tragic events are also exploited by those who can trace their ideological inspiration to the architects of the disastrous Iraq War, which has undoubtedly escalated the violence and instability in the Middle East. David Cameron in his address in response to the attacks, like George Bush, stated that the terrorists opposed “peace, freedom and democracy”, thus directing the attack on “British values” and therefore the nationalism that has been aggressively architected over the past year. The rhetoric, once again, draws heavily upon Michael Gove’s book, Celsius 7/7, along with its false assumptions: just as Bush was patently wrong in his characterisation of the motivations Al-Qaeda (they hate our freedom), so too is Cameron. Boris Johnson notably urged London to be “vigilant” on the Underground as Parliament prepared to pass a motion for airstrikes targeting ISIS back in September 2014. And just as there is a conspicuous absence of 7/7-style terrorist attack in Britain before the Iraq war, foreign policy, will continue to play its part in exacerbating violence.
Crosspost: Seumas Milne
The anti-Muslim drumbeat has become deafening across the western world. As images of atrocities by the jihadi terror group Isis multiply online, and a steady trickle of young Europeans and North Americans head to Syria and Iraq to join them, Muslim communities are under siege. Last week David Cameron accused British Muslims of “quietly condoning” the ideology that drives Isis sectarian brutality, normalising hatred of “British values”, and blaming the authorities for the “radicalisation” of those who go to fight for it.
It was too much for Sayeeda Warsi, the former Conservative party chair, who condemned the prime minister’s “misguided emphasis” on “Muslim community complicity”. He risked “further alienating” the large majority of Muslims fighting the influence of such groups, she warned. Even Charles Farr, the hawkish counter-terrorism mandarin at the Home Office, balked. Perhaps fewer than 100 Britons were currently fighting with Isis, he said, and “we risk labelling Muslim communities as somehow intrinsically extremist”.
Click on image to enlarge
In an earlier piece on the impact of PREVENT and the implication of “terrorist toddlers”, I drew attention to the fascist neoconservative impulse permeating the policy and the pervasiveness of the securitisation of public services. Under PREVENT and the Channel deradicalisation programme, public service employees would spy on people for signs of radicalisation and refer them to a PREVENT officer, effectively creating a modern police-state primarily for Muslims.
I likened this to the authoritarian East Germany of the 80s and 90s which popularly became known as the Stasi state. I noted that there were multiple levels of surveillance: those who were “officially” employed and those who spied in an unofficial capacity. At that time I had focussed on the “unofficial” spies: those who were employees of schools, hospitals and most public services tasked to monitor ideological leanings of people.
Crosspost: Professor Arun Kundnani
From 1 July, a broad range of public bodies – from nursery schools to optometrists – will be legally obliged to participate in the government’s Prevent policy to identify would-be extremists. Under the fast-tracked Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015, schools, universities and health service providers can no longer opt out of monitoring students and patients for supposed radicalised behaviour. Never in peacetime Britain has national security surveillance been so deeply embedded in the normal functioning of public life.
Even as those measures come into effect, the government is drafting another round of counter-terrorist legislation, reviving a set of still more authoritarian proposals first floated last year.
There was more than a tinge of déjà vu with the Prime Minister’s speech in Slovakia. Cameron’s infamous Munich speech was notable in that, at a time when the EDL were spewing their alcohol-slurred and cognitively impaired hatred of all things Muslim in the city of Luton, Cameron spoke of “core British values”, and the threat of “Islamist extremism”. If anything, Cameron’s words were taken as credence by the EDL.
Cameron’s latest comments, which now swaps “Islamist” for “Islamic”, come against the backdrop of a terrorist attack committed against black Church-goers by a young white supremacist in the US who wanted to start a civil war. The timing of the two incidents could not have been more coincidental. I will refer back to this later on in my piece.
“New York white youth were killing victims; that was a ‘sociological’ problem. But when black youth killed somebody, the power structure was looking to hang somebody.”
~ Malcolm X
A white man, Dylann Roof, aged 21, on the 17th of June at 9.00pm rampaged into a historic African-American Church in Charleston, South Carolina and committed a terrorist attack, shooting dead nine congregants and leaving a woman behind to “tell his story”.
This does seem like a case of rinse and repeat on my part when it comes to writing about such horrific incidents. When one witnessed the reporting of the killing of three Muslims by a white atheist at Chapel Hill, and compares them to say, the Charlie Hebdo shooting, or the attempted shooting of UK-banned hate preacher Pamella Geller more recently, there is a consistent disparity in the categorisation and language of the assailants. This disparity trend is an entrenched one in Western State structures and the complicit media.
There are determinate conclusions which can be derived from the above. The first is that when a Muslim commits a violent attack, the word “terrorism” is almost invariably used somewhere in the context of the reporting. When a white, non-Muslim individual engages in a similar act, with ideological motivations, the crime is rapidly disseminated in a depoliticised construction. Most papers reported the shooting as a “hate crime” devoid of ideological motivations. Mayor Riley called it a “horrible act”, and Police Chief Mullen pronounced it a “hate crime” from the outset. A large spectrum of the media engaged in the same. The following papers in the UK, at the time of writing, had not a single reference to the terms “terrorism”, “terrorist”, or “radical” in them:
During the height of the Trojan Hoax debacle which unfolded in Birmingham mid-last year, corroborated sources, who named their own source, confirmed to me that among the many hands involved in drafting the fabricated “Operation Trojan Horse” letter, were a number of evangelical Christians connected to the controversial Riverside Church.
Among the anti-Muslim heads, was Tim Boyes, the current head teacher of Queensbridge School in Birmingham.