More and more media outlets are starting to report about the real Trojan Hose of neoconservatism within the government. Michael Gove’s ideological push, which is against British values, is being exposed for what it is, “an anti-Islam agenda”. The catalyst for this materialisation is the public tussle between Theresa May the extremist, and anti-Muslim Gove, with both criticising each on the failure to act on “extremism”, a term whose meaning is dependent on the bigotry of the person applying it. Both have been engaged in battle to bolster their anti-Muslim credentials. Mixed in the party-leadership-aiming, point-scoring blusters of the apparent divergent neocons, were the ingredients for the strenghtening of the PREVENT policy and the Channel Programme.
“The publication of a code of practice for supplementary schools was an agreed Extremism Task Force commitment and we agreed at the conclusion of the ETF’s work that the code should be voluntary. However… there have been serious allegations of extremism in some Birmingham schools and accusations about the inability of local and central government to tackle the problem effectively …I believe it would be sensible to include the option of developing a mandatory code in your consultation document.”
As highlighted previously in a blog, standards and codes which are voluntary in nature only require a false, albeit widely propagated, pretext to justify a “mandatory” intrusion. And based on a fabricated plot, reinforced by an Ofsted which is ideologically drive to attack Islam, and propagandized by Michael Gove and his ilk, May is willing to make changes to policy. Governance shortfalls have suddenly morphed into extremism issues. Who needs evidence?
Neocon Michael Gove
Gove meanwhile has been using the Trojan Horse pretext to widen the definition of extremism, as if it wasn’t wide enough to include most Muslims as well as the Home Secretary Theresa May herself. As one report highlights,
“[Whitehall sources] suggested that he has used allegations of a plot to “take over” a number of schools in Birmingham to press the Prime Minister to agree tough new measures to secularise schools in Muslim areas.”
Regarding Gove’s repugnant, bigoted views, one Whitehall official said,
“Michael Gove’s views are so incredibly black and white. It’s either his way or no way. He seems to think that anybody who strictly follows Islam is not really integrated… And he thinks anybody who holds conservative Muslim views is a bit of an extremist. He has been using Birmingham to pursue an ideological agenda that he’s had for many years.”
As if this was not already known, but a tilt of the hat to the source who came out with the elephant in the room. However, Gove’s antics and his attempts at broadening the definition has solidified the existing meaning of extremism, which is already problematic.
Crawling out of the Woodwork: Quilliam
What has come forth from this debacle is the realisation of the difference of opinion on the definition of extremism and how it should be tackled. The irony of this discussion, will be shown towards end.
Supporting the Govian definition is the Quilliam Foundation, an organisation which has served the government well, but not necessarily the Muslim minority of Britain. Despite Maajid Nawaz publicly disagreeing with neoconservative philosophy, ironically much of the work conducted by Quilliam, their associations and the narratives they have pushed are in-line, and docile to their neocon paymasters.
Losing its funding from the Home Office, Quilliam has now been funded to the cool tune of £120,000 by Gove’s Department for Education (DfE), according to the Newsnight report on 4th of June 2014. And why wouldn’t they get the funding; former Quilliamite Ishtiaq Hussain is an employee of the DfE, sweetly placed to ease the deal. Interestingly, the neocon peddler, Sufi Muslim Council-failure, PREVENT pushing, former director of CENTRI, Haras Rafiq made a return to the media spotlight to perpetuate his spin. In the Newsnight report, he stated,
“Youngsters can be brainwashed at a young age and can be taught to dislike and dehumanise the other, this in essence may not be seen to become a terrorist or a jihadi but from there to going and actually committing a terrorist act is a very, very short step and it has the potential to drive somebody towards an action in a much more efficient manner for the recruiters.”
Evidence? Studies? Substantiation? How exactly has Rafiq measured this “very very short” step to terrorism? In part, he is iterating the “conveyor-belt to terrorism” model. This is widely discredited and contradicts established notions that there is no set profile to becoming a terrorist, something even the Mi5 has shown. A lot “can” happen. But then to use that discredited hypothesis as a motive to support the likes of Gove and his “illiberal” interventions, is ridiculous.
Rafiq has exaggerated and lied before, so this statement is not exactly out of kilter with his standards. Rafiq is ideologically driven and prejudiced. Those that know him testify that he has a dangerous hatred for Muslims with a Salafi background and has taken his understanding from the neocon-serving Hisham Kabbani.
Maajid Nawaz’s “Extremism”
In the Newsnight report, Maajid Nawaz went on to define “extremism” for us. Extremists according to PREVENT are those who actively oppose “British values” – a definition which has its own ambiguity issues. Now we have the likes of Maajid Nawaz telling us it is in fact “a desire to impose any given interpretation through law”. No one has called for an imposition of an “interpretation” in the UK. Citing the “Sharia zones”, perpetrated by a handful of individuals who lacked basic Islamic knowledge as examples, and ignoring the fact that it was widely condemned by all Muslim scholars and leaders, including those linked to Salafi backgrounds, is disingenuous. Incidentally, these mainstream Muslim communities also prefer living under the guidance of the Sharia, if an Islamic government existed. To then conflate this example with the Islamic rulings pertaining to Hadd punishments, is erroneous, and a typical example of smear by association.
The real irony is however, by confronting Ibrahim Hewitt and asking him to condemn “chopping limbs” and “stoning people”, inadvertently, Nawaz, “in principle” imposes an interpretation of Islam on Hewitt and the rest of the Muslim minority, and in the process smears a majority with the perception that such beliefs and those who hold them, are “extreme”. He then proceeds to plead with Hewitt: “please come out and say that you stand for human rights and liberal values,” further identifying what he regards to be the valid “interpretation”.
Having highlighted examples which constitute extremism, and what does not, and then having supported policies which restrict and curtail such thought, Maajid Nawaz has classified himself as an extremist, since he has “imposed his own interpretation through law” on Hewitt and the rest of the Muslim minority. More fundamentally, Nawaz has further drafted his own definition of “extremism”, broadening the remit of the PREVENT version of “extremism” and imposing it on Muslims. Maajid Nawaz the double-extremist?!
Another glaringly fallacious analysis on the part of Nawaz is his comparing the notion of racism with extremism: racism is definitively established in terms of its remit and meaning whereas extremism, quite clearly, is “open to interpretation”. It is logically absurd too: by me desiring to live under the guidance of the Shari’ah does not make me prejudicial to anyone else. It is like saying, if you prefer the American legal system over the English legal system then you are like a racist. It is a ridiculous notion.
Maajid Nawaz is challenging the notion of interpretations in the Islamic context within the domain of political discourse, and yet ironically, he is enforcing his own interpretation of Islam and liberalism, to the detriment of the Muslim minority at large who do not necessarily agree with his position.
Despite the above discussion, the real crux matter is that “extremism” (pick your own meaning) is not an issue within the Birmingham schools. Not having a policy on preventing extremism is not the same as schools being extremists, yet both have been confused and a hammer brought in to fix a non-existent issue. Indeed extremism prevention policies Ofsted have asked for were not evident in one particular “Christian school”, as one teacher confirmed in Birmingham.
The continued recognition of the threat to British values in the form of the dangerous neoconservative philosophy as espoused by the fanatical Gove, is welcomed. The funding of Quilliam by the DfE is not however. It reinforces my postulation that public bodies have been compromised by neoconservatism and are being used as political weapons in the ideological war against Islam and Muslims in the UK, evidenced now by Gove’s desire to broaden the already draconian definition of “extremism”.
I continue to urge other MPs, journalists and upright reasonable human beings to root out the threat of neoconservatism from the government and associated think-tanks and work towards maintaining the tradition of tolerance and respect Britain so proudly asserts.