2016 Reflections: Deformation of Islam and the Neoconservative Threat to Society

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It is that time of the year: a hectic month as the British people recover from their frenzied Christmas shopping, briefly punctuated with the peace of the annual family get together, only to be followed by scrambling over various items thanks to the hype produced by corporations eager to increase the debt through boxing day “sales”. As the recovery from these activities begins and the damage to the bank accounts dawn, we take advantage of this lull for some customary reflection.

This year has been a particularly unsettling one; the sordidly racist campaign which ultimately culminated in Brexit; the far-right terrorist attack claiming the life of Jo Cox – the first killing of an MP in 26 years; the B-movie being played in the US starring Donald Trump, the West-wide rise of the far-right and unleashing of political and social xenophobia, security globalisation via totalitarian measures like the Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) agenda; Britain passing one of the world’s widest and intrusive surveillance laws; the list goes on.  Sadly, it is the Muslim minority, either through scapegoating or being subjected to the fruits of this dangerous concoction of nationalism, disenfranchisement through the global neoliberal order, and neoconservative domestic and foreign policies, which has by and large, bore the brunt.

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School uses PREVENT to Threaten Muslim Parent Who Requested Pupil Removal from Christmas Assembly

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Christmas, it seems is another issue which annually crops up to force the “Muslim Question”, whilst curiously obviating the uncomfortable issue of religious rights to hold, and by implication exclude particular beliefs and practices. Of course, this discriminatory focus on Muslims (the Jewish minority, for instance, are comparatively absent from this discourse) has consequences. Over a week ago, it was reported that a Muslim woman in Australia was subjected to a brutal verbal and physical attack after she replied “happy holidays” to the attacker’s “merry Christmas”. Incidentally, I doubt Louise Casey would regarding uttering “merry Christmas” as a sign of vulnerability to “extremism” and consequently, “violent extremism”.

There are milder but still manifestly detrimental consequences here in Britain too.  Last year, Police Commander Mak Chishty moronically stated that children who regarded Christmas as religiously prohibited were subscribing to an “Islamist” view.  They were therefore not “moderate”. As I highlighted at that time, this absurd notion was discriminatory as other religious groups, such as orthodox Jews and Jehovah’s Witnesses, whom regard Christmas as deriving from pagan customs, held similar views, but were not tarnished with the rhetoric of securitisation.  It seems however, that this dangerously irresponsible statement is seeing some manifestation in the education context.

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A Review of the Casey Review (6) – PREVENT and the Blueprint for a Neocon Closed Society

 

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Part 1 (Introduction): A Review of the Casey review (1)

Part 2: A Review of the Louise Casey Review (2) – A Paper Influenced by the Transatlantic Neocon Hate-network

Part 3: A Supremacist Far-Right, Neoconservative Screed of Double Standards and Muslim Minority Stigmatisation

Part 4: The Deformation of Islam and Muslim Minority Rights

Part 5: The Conveyor-Belt Theory, PREVENT and Project Spin


In this final piece in the series reviewing the Casey Review, the elements of PREVENT, thought assimilation and nationalism will be brought together and the totalitarian implications of Casey’s statements and comments determined.

Reconstituting “Integration”

Whilst noting the variations on the definition of integration such as sharing common values, respect and allowing diverse people to attach to Britain in their own way, Casey homes in on a reconstituted, highly ideological, and profoundly neoconservative understanding of integration “based on the benefits that the United Kingdom has to offer”, echoing neocon David Goodhart’s “mental integration”.  These include:[1]

“our values of democracy, fairness, the rule of law, freedom of speech, inclusiveness, tolerance and equality between citizens regardless of gender, ethnicity, religion or sexuality.

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A Review of the Louise Casey Review (5) – The Conveyor-Belt Theory, PREVENT and Project Spin

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Part 1 (Introduction): A Review of the Casey review (1)

Part 2: A Review of the Louise Casey Review (2) – A Paper Influenced by the Transatlantic Neocon Hate-network

Part 3: A Supremacist Far-Right, Neoconservative Screed of Double Standards and Muslim Minority Stigmatisation

Part 4: The Deformation of Islam and Muslim Minority Rights


The ideological slant of the Casey Review is manifest in its discourse on PREVENT. In this part, the interlinking between social cohesion, extremism and terrorism will be analysed, along with the Review’s determined agenda to manage the negative perceptions of the crisis-stricken PREVENT policy.

Conveyor Belt theory in all but Name

The Casey Review extends the notion of controlling ideas (a topic thoroughly explored in the next part) from potential threats to the state to whole communities which are “not integrated”, by leveraging PREVENT-based “British values” from the Counter Extremism Strategy:

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A Review of the Louise Casey Review (4) – The Deformation of Islam and Minority Rights

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The interrogation and assault on Muslims and their faith is uniquely focussed, with most of the distinctly colonialist, alienation rhetoric directed towards orthodox Islam.  This is ironic given that the Review claims social interaction is good because it results in “a better understanding of differences”.[1] Further “mutual respect” (a quality which Muslims fair better than their Christian peers in the context of faiths according to the Review) is also considered by Casey as a value “integral to a cohesive nation”.[2]  Yet Casey then speaks of a “growing concern” about a “divergence of attitudes and values among minority communities”, which she then categorises as “extremist” and “regressive”.[3] Surely, if there is conviction in the value of respecting differences, “divergence of attitudes and values” should not be problem? Not so. Whilst demanding respect of for “quintessentially British” things like queueing and the Queen, Casey weaponises the alternate beliefs of Muslims in order to render the Muslim minority an alien community.

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A Review of the Louise Casey Review (3) – A Supremacist Far-Right, Neoconservative Screed of Double Standards and Muslim Minority Stigmatisation

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Part 1 (Introduction): A Review of the Casey review (1)

Part 2: A Review of the Louise Casey Review (2) – A Paper Influenced by the Transatlantic Neocon Hate-network

Having established the influence of the transatlantic neocon hate network in the Casey Review, and in order to better appreciate the content of the report, it is worth better understanding the neoconservative narrative which underpins the Casey Review.

The Far-Right/Neocon Eurabia Conspiracy Theory

The reduction of the “white population”, Muslim population growth, and Muslims living together in areas, are sinisterised constituents of a particular narrative which states there is an existential Muslim “takeover” threat to Europe aided by a secretive deal between Arabs and Europeans. This narrative was first promulgated by conspiracy theorist Gisèle Littman, better known by her pen-name Bat Ye’or.  The myth has been heavily criticised as a conspiracy theory and debunked by prominent scholars including Professor Arun Kundnani, who has likened its evidentiary credentials to the Protocols of Elders of Zion.

The conspiracy theory, however, has been adopted by neoconservatives and the far-right, including prominent actors of the Islamophobia industry Robert Spencer, Daniel Pipes and Pamela Geller.  It has been advocated by supremacist neoconservatives, fanned by the far-right “counter-jihad” movement, and adopted by paranoid, mass-murdering neo-Nazi terrorists. For full details of this myth and its promoters see here.

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Aleppo Bleeds

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As tens of thousands of civilians are trapped in Aleppo on an increasingly shrinking patch of land besieged by violence all around and bombardment from the air, the situation is descending into a bloodbath.  Civilian blood merges with the soil of the blessed land of Syria courtesy of Bashar’s vengeance.  Harrowing footage is showing bodies strewn across rubble as reports filter into the press that Bashar loyalists are going door to door and massacring civilians including women and children. One activist on the ground has stated that “more than 180 people have been field executed in the areas that the regime has recently [taken] control of by the Assad gangs and the militias supporting them, ” with rest awaiting their execution or death by airstrikes. Civilians are suffering with innocent men being killed, women becoming homeless, and their children dying due to freezing temperatures.

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