Muslim Prison Chaplains and the Neoconservative Attack on Islam

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A couple of years ago, I noted that the substantive content in the campaign of attacks against Shaykh Haytham al-Haddad designed to smear him as “extremist” were in fact normative Islamic beliefs which cut across the theological spectrum. Shaykh al-Haddad was the proxy for the attack on Islam.

Since then, David Cameron himself has interfered with religion, attacking Islamic beliefs and practices, promoting deformists as the face of Islam, all the while employing doublespeak and urging the Muslim minority to shun the “conspiracy theories” that Islam is under attack. Looking from the colonialist, Eurocentric lens, all manner of denigration has been hurled at Islam, as “mutual tolerance” and “respect” is simultaneously preached to the Muslim community.

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Playing the sectarian card: Britain’s Ministry of Justice is unfairly targeting Muslim prison chaplains

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Crosspost: Yahya Birt

Yesterday, news came of a soon-to-be-released Ministry of Justice (MOJ) report, which will argue that Muslim chaplains are part of the problem of radicalisation in UK prisons. Given that the government has trailed the report in the Sunday Times (“Most jail imams teach anti-western values”, 07/02/2016, p.7) and the Mail on Sunday (“Majority of prison imams are ‘teaching anti-western’ values that promote gender segregation, study claims”, 07/02/2016) and played the sectarian card, it is a highly premeditated political intervention. Pointing fingers at chaplains of the Deobandi Sunni persuasion, who are said to make up 140 of 200 Muslim prison chaplains, a senior Whitehall official is quoted as saying that, “It is of great concern that the majority of Muslim chaplains in prisons propagate a fundamentalist interpretation of Islamic scripture which is contrary to British values and human rights. Such imams are unlikely to aid the deradicalisation of Islamists in prisons and could potentially even make them more firm in their beliefs.” And in his major speech on prison reform today, the Prime Minister promised that he was prepared to make major changes if necessary on the basis of the recommendations of the MOJ report. The appointment of Peter Clarke as HM Chief Inspector of Prisons this month, Scotland Yard’s former head of counter-terrorism whom the government has previously deployed as a counter-extremism troubleshooter in the education and the charity sectors, signals the MOJ’s intent to construe prisons in the same light: as a hotbed of “extremist entryism”, with the potential to look at Muslim inmates without terrorism offences and Muslim chaplains in the same light as convicted terrorist offenders.

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Noble Lies: Mission Creep in Syria as British Democracy is Undermined

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“They [the neocons] really have no use for liberalism and democracy, but they’re conquering the world in the name of liberalism and democracy.” Shadia Drury

Lying and deception as tools of war have been used for centuries.  Sun Tzu in his The Art of War elaborates its utility in the context of war.  The book makes the reading list for the US army.  However, where a government lies and deceives its own people who put them in power, this is sabotaging democracy.  The manipulation of opinion, deception and the promulgation of great lies is often used by totalitarian, fascist regimes to maintain their power and pursue their agendas against the will of the people.

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JCHR announces inquiry into Counter Extremism Strategy and Prevent

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Crosspost: MEND

Following the recommendation of the terrorism watchdog that the Government initiate an independent inquiry into the Prevent strategy, the Joint Committee on Human Rights yesterday announced the launch of an inquiry into counter-extremism strategy and its human rights compliance as part of the legislative scrutiny of the forthcoming Extremism Bill.

The JCHR has announced that it is to undertake a “sharply focused inquiry into the Government’s counter extremism strategy” noting that the remit will cover its “compatibility with religious rights and freedom of expression under the European Convention on Human Rights.”

The announcement continues, “The Committee also takes interest in the operation of the Prevent Duty in the education sector.”

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The settlement that killed the Palestinian state

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Image Source: Middle East Eye

Crosspost: CJ Werleman

Last week UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon called Israel’s settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem an “affront” to not only the international community but also to Israel’s commitment to a two-state solution.

What does this mean for those who pay scant attention to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? Not much.

Not much because typically most casual observers of the conflict, particularly in the West, are befuddled by pro-Israel propaganda (hasbara) that by design is meant to mislead and confuse, and there’s hardly a more misleading word in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict lexicon than the word “settlements”.

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Andrew Gilligan and Neoconservative Extremists’ Campaign to Undermine fight against Draconian PREVENT

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“Journalists need to check basic facts and ask simple questions about the identity and motivations of the people making these claims…”

So says Hannah Stuart of the Henry Jackson Society in Andrew Gilligan latest article attacking those critiquing the PREVENT Strategy.  The irony could not be more profound.

It has been a while since I have given some space here on the blog to our favourite neocon propagandist, Andrew Gilligan.  Perhaps it is because his role has been lately filled by David Daily Mail Cameron.

It seems the momentum against the civil-liberties violating, discriminatory PREVENT Strategy which has roused Muslims up and down the country to reject it outright, has unsettled some in the Home Office.  RICU, its propaganda department has gone into over drive and the right-wing press have been all too happy implement the Henry Jackson Society’s spin bible for damage limiting the reputation of a failed policy.

He certainly delivered the trademark Gilligan goods: spin, distortion and unconvincing attempts to smear.  His target this time is a relatively new organisation which has been documenting abuse cases resulting from PREVENT, Prevent Watch (PW).

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Counter-Extremism Strategy “Really is a Counter-Islamic Strategy”

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For all the talk about the need to “integrate” Muslims through the British values social engineering programme, linguistic imperialism, and the white knights rescuing Muslim women in the name of equality and freedom, the hypocrisy stemming from the upper echelons of government has been brazen. Whilst on this blog I have brought to attention the discriminatory nature of PREVENT, counter-terrorism, and the judiciary, the latent anti-Islam and anti-Muslim attitudes have become increasingly apparent and overt. An assimilationist, extreme interpretation of secular liberalism, whilst being forced upon Muslims and their beliefs, has been notable only by its absence at the state level. In an increasingly, rare, brilliant piece in the Guardian, Jospeh Harker summed it up aptly in his tactful play on the neocon economic policy of choice, “trickle-down hate”:

“Muslims seem a particular target of his divisive and alienating language… Cameron’s dog-whistles matter. They may appear to be mere words – jokes or slips of the tongue; but they set the parameters and the tone of the debate. We could call this trickle-down hate. So if he makes a bold statement about the niqab, or some other aspect of multicultural Britain, it will go to the top of the news agenda, even if it’s in actual fact insignificant or completely wrong – as in the so-called Trojan Horse scandal in Birmingham schools, which a parliamentary committee inquiry ruled to be groundless… Cameron speaks; his entourage pushes further; the media responds; and on the streets, the abuse and attacks kick off. Sadly, Cameron and the Tories seem to believe that the answer to a broken nation is to break it some more.”

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