After a year of writing articles refuting and exposing the lies, spin and hypocrisy of right-wing/neoconservative politicians and media outlets, the latent bigotry of secular liberal proponents who propound “equality” at (primarily) the expense of the Muslim minority, one may conclude that xenophobic hypocrisy is a firm part of British policymaking. Muslim minority discrimination has become all but a norm in Western societies, which pride themselves on the notions of due process and human rights. A change in condition is required in line with the international legal status of a minority. Let this not be spun into what secularist extremists like to call, “special treatment”. No. The Muslim minority needs to be freed from political point-scoring, smearing and scapegoating, and free to practice the Islamic faith like other Orthodox communities. It must be freed from government intervention into religion architecting the “right” beliefs which suit government foreign policy objectives, and free from labels of “extremism” being applied to our manifestations to signify “wrong” beliefs. Yes we agree with the secular liberals. We don’t want this special treatment.
As other media outlets like to review the previous year highlighting what has passed, I will take a different approach. There has been a grand orchestration by the government to push for power at the expense of principles which safeguard the man from state abuses. This I have consistently argued has philosophically stemmed from the neoconservative persuasion adopted by key officials as a matter of policy. Let us briefly go through the key events which I think have been crucial in perpetuating Muslim minority discrimination in 2014.
Leading up to 2014, Britain switched its focus on Syria from Bashar Al-Assad who has killed 200,000 civilians since the start of the uprising and has tortured men, women and children. This it seems occurred when British security services met with Assad’s security forces in 2013. The policy switch effectively meant that the focus of officials, and by extension their media, turned to demonising rebel groups, suppressing Assad’s crimes, whilst heavily restricting humanitarian aid work conducted by Muslim charities in Britain. Charities ever since have come under disproportionate scrutiny, with organisations and individuals feeling the attack through various government organs thanks to the web of neoconservatives scattered in Government. The shocking refusal by Britain to negotiate the release of non-Muslim Britons captured by ISIS and the media accentuation of the crime, combined with the comparative silence of another British citizen, Dr. Abbas Khan who was killed by Assad’s forces can only mean it was a set of political moves which aided the ultimate outcome of what the government wanted. The murders allowed the government to demonstrate the maniacal tendencies of ISIS and hence justify a series of policy decisions which followed.
Domestically, with political activist Moazzam Begg conveniently detained allegedly under Theresa May’s orders and out of the way, Birmingham became the theatre of war vis-à-vis the Trojan Horse plot. It provided for a healthy pretext to justify a series of measures which would look comfortable in an authoritarian, Orwellian regime. As a person who was able to obtain information from various sources in Birmingham as the anti-Islam, neocon Michael Gove’s war panned out, I was able to see how a policy justification was forcibly created, how facts and lies were being spun into “Islamist takeover plots”, how schools in Muslim areas were solely targeted, and how the accusations against Muslim teachers were only ever given due weight by Gove’s friends conducting investigations.
In parallel, British retinas were bombarded with hourly reports of ISIS brutality. Officials added to the hype by asking the public to “remain vigilant”. Peppered alongside these two main lines of propaganda was the other Muslim “criminalities” furthering the dehumanisation which fitted quite well with the government’s policy goals. The laughably stupid “halal scare” which has become a cyclical affair, ensured the anti-Muslim sentiment remained buoyed. Sexual abuse became a Muslim trademark whilst the (white) elephant in the room, state paedophilia which has consistently been fobbed-off by Theresa May, was not ascribed any faith, race or class.
Neither were far-right excesses sufficiently “condemned”. We saw white, (Christian?) nutters attacking Muslim places of worship, defacing and “invading” masaajid regularly. We witnessed a Muslim woman, Nahid Almanea, brutally stabbed 16 times to death purely for wearing Islamic clothing. These examples did not cause round the clock news reports broadcasted across British airwaves, triggering “national debates” and calls of “integration” on the part of white people from officials. In fact far-right/neocon-inspired terrorism has not even been classed as such. Whilst Muslims have been sentenced on spurious grounds of terrorism, similar actions by white perpetrators have attracted lesser sentences. The rise of the far-right in the UK, in fact Europe in general, has gone comparatively unnoticed, with minimal measures and media coverage having taken place. When one sees that the likes of Anjum Choudhry come out in the gigantic tens to spew their provocation and the far-right come out in their tens of thousands to attend their anti-Islam demonstrations, then it is understood that proportionality and rationality has made way for xenophobia and demagoguery, two sides of a track which last time stopped at the Srebrenica massacre.
With the threat of “hard-line Islamist takeovers” looming over the necks of Britons locally, and the imminent, but then not-so imminent threat of a “blowback” from Syria, the neocons in government obtained what they wanted to achieve: the aggrandised airstrikes against militias fighting Assad’s dictatorship which will eventually open the door to ground troops, and the quiet assent of the PREVENT strategy into legislation alongside more powers creating a police state in-the-waiting.
The Bill is still passing through Parliament, but all the signs look as though it will get through without much change and the impact on the Muslim minority will be felt from “cradle to grave” as chillingly noted in the original CAGE critique. War and public body securitisation alongside increased powers and eroded, undermined rights. The impact of this will be upon every citizens who requires protection from the State, be he or she a Muslim detained without charge and unceremoniously released after several months, or a journalist exposing government wrong-doing and holding the executive to account.
For Muslims, this year then has been a year of Muslim minority discrimination – a not-so-subtle continuation of supremacist colonialist legacy. The reality is no one will fight this blatant discrimination. No one, except Muslims themselves. I envisage the following year to be a dire, difficult one. The onslaught on the Muslim minority and the Human Rights Act will harden and become more frequent as the three major parties try to outdo each other in order to be seen “looking tough”. As the situation rapidly deteriorates into a social environment reminiscent of Nazi Germany, we will be required to adopt one of two responses: fight for our religious identity or sit idly by as, paraphrasing notorious neoconservative hate-preacher Douglas Murray, conditions become increasingly harder for Muslims across the board.