The neocon government wants the Muslim to be resilient from “extremism”. Over the years, despite the Muslim apologia, pronouncements of condemnations, Stasi-esque policies, government associations with anti-Islam organisations, rampant anti-Muslim hatred from the media to the intellectually challenged supremacist thug on the street, and judicial rulings relegating Muslims to second-class citizenry, Muslims have certainly developed a resilience. A resilience to neoconservatives and their blustering anti-Muslim doublespeak and a firm resilience to the designs of neoconservative extremism.
The script for the neocons is like clockwork. Governmentally pressure Muslims throughout the year, consorting with the media to demonise Muslims treating them as suspect communities. Use arms of the state to effectuate this goal by using ambiguous words like “extremist” which are only ever to be applied to Muslims and not Christians and Jews. Feed the Eurabia myth pedalled by the far-right and neocons that Muslims are “taking over Europe”, with unfounded Trojan Hoax plots and (discriminatory) Shari’ah courts fear mongering (and let’s not forget the dreaded halal meat!). Announce draconian security measures which discriminatorily target and profile the Muslim minority. If these measures face opposition, then await an atrocity to heavily spin and exploit. Make announcements that the Muslim community needs to “do more” to tackle radicalisation, ignore belligerent foreign policy and police-state actions and push through more measures, all the while profiling Muslims and eroding civil liberties for all.
This cyclical minority battering is really getting old.
Fully exploiting the buoyant emotions, the rabid media hounds are let off their leashes to let rip their inner hatred of Islam too. This was demonstrated to spectacular effect by Max Hastings’ vitriolic piece for the Daily Fail. It was a signature mix of closed-society policy promulgation and propagandising the “clash of civilisations” enemy: Islam. In the latter regard, Hastings does his utmost to use equivocations to attack Islam and Muslims. According to Hastings, among the Western responses are calls for “men and tanks to be deployed” and warnings articulating that “we are plunged into a historic confrontation with Islam” (who exactly said this?).
Continuing the theme of Islam as the “other” and therefore perpetuating an “us and them” narrative (which, according to the PREVENT Strategy, makes Hastings a vulnerable individual susceptible to radicalisation) he states that the GCHQ represents,
“our best hope of keeping British society at least relatively safe from murderous Islam.”
There is no smokescreen demarcation of “Islamism” here. Shockingly, the faith of one fifth of the world’s population is casually being described as “murderous”. Imagine the uproar if Judaism was in the dock and similar language was used after the Zionist slaughter of Palestinians last year. Islam and Muslims, as is current with the times, is a glutton for anyone’s hate, without much of an inkling of disconcert.
In typical fashion, sweeping generalisations are made:
“Many Islamic communities around the world are infected by the plague virus of fanaticism”.
The nonchalant way in which such repugnant, broad sweeping comments made are emblematic of the state’s attitude towards Islam and Muslims, which exacerbates the context for such slack language to be published in the papers.
More broadly, the article provides a textbook neocon propaganda piece for an attack on civil liberties. As I have covered before in detail, neocons philosophically regard a closed society morally superior to an open one. Hastings tellingly states,
“In open societies, such attacks are easy.”
What then ensues is an attack on the Guardian, Edward Snowden the “traitor” and a poor justification for “closed-society” measures, this despite admitting that GCHQ could not have actually stopped the pretext upon which such abhorrent proposals are propounded:
“[GCHQ] cannot pinpoint ‘lone-wolf’ attackers such as the Tunisian killer appears to have been”.
In the Charlie Hebdo attack (which Hasting cites) and the Lee Rigby murder, the security services in France and Britain had monitored the suspects. He also attacks David Anderson QC’s recommendation for judicial oversight on the basis that “rogue judges” are “naïve”. What we have with Hastings’ piece is a justification for not using encryption and invading the privacy of all citizens to mask over the potential lapses on the part of the security services – a government body which already has fickle scrutiny. If any body can go “rogue”, it is one which has powers beyond conventional law enforcement with unfettered access to the private lives of citizens.
“Full Spectrum Response”
The process of exploiting the attack has already begun with the Guardian revealing that Theresa May’s counter-extremism strategy will form a part of David Cameron’s “full spectrum response” in which “difficult things” will be said to Muslims.
Cameron has then gone onto state that, “Islamist extremists”,
“…have declared war on Britain and they are attacking our people at home and overseas”
This, despite the fact that Theresa May said there was no evidence to suggest that the Tunisian attacker specifically targeted British nationals.
In a BBC Radio 4 interview (29/06/2015) Cameron elaborated that the “extremist” narrative which is shared with ISIS includes the belief that their “ought to be a Caliphate”, thus forcing Muslims to jettison an aspect of their faith in order to be regarded as what supremacist neocons define as “normal”.
Cameron would do well to heed the words of Theresa May’s most senior counter terrorism adviser, Charles Farr, who has warned against portraying Muslim communities as “intrinsically extremist”.
We also have Hizb-ut-Tahrir (HT) and other “extremist” organisations being the target of new measures which will see such organisations being banned. In other words, previously legal organisations who do not violate hate laws nor preach violence will be banned based on beliefs which are allowable in a democracy but are disliked by Cameron and his neocon retinue. The irony is that the ideological difference between HT and ISIS could not be wider; HT have even been mocked by ISIS. It is ludicrous to assume that banning an organisation like HT will somehow magically temper those who wish to join ISIS. The ill-conceived measure also demonstrates how desperate the government is in criminalising mainstream Islamic beliefs beneath the dissimulative rhetoric of “Islamist extremism”.
Other measures which Cameron has put “weight” behind is the McCarthyite Extremism Analysis Unit, which according to Theresa May, is already informing the government’s engagement with the public, and is developing an aggressive “counter-entryism” role, pretexted upon the unfounded Trojan Hoax plot. As ever, neoconservative assumptions about Islam will ensure that those who espouse mainstream Islamic beliefs will be counted among “extremists”.
Still pedalling the discredited Conveyor-belt theory of radicalisation, Cameron also wants everyone to believe that that “non-violent extremists” could provide a “gateway” to terrorism. He has said that it was time public bodies and civil society refused to engage with “anyone whose views condone the Islamist extremist narrative”. I have previously demonstrated how, using this logic, neocons like Cameron, Michal Gove and William Shawcross condone the narratives pedalled by far-right terrorists. Ideally, the aforementioned neocons and other extremist ideologues like Douglas Murray would be castigated as “extremists”. Indeed the government will be criminalising elements of its own government creating a paradoxical situation in which public bodies will be unable to engage themselves! We know however, that a uniform application of such aggressive, authoritarian, thought-policing measures, which discriminate large swathes of the Muslim community based upon beliefs, will simply not happen.
More pertinently, given the extremism strategy’s commitment to human rights and rule of law, how will such measures square with a freedom which is increasingly peremptory in character: freedom from discrimination based upon beliefs?
Still Quietly Condoning Far-Right Terrorism?
We can see the systemic discrimination in the contrasts between Cameron’s outburst on “Islamist extremists” and his complete silence on the continuously growing far-right terrorism. Peter Bone in textbook white-privilege fashion arrogantly declared that “there is absolutely no-one in Britain who is condoning them.” This failure to recognise a threat which is similar to the threat of terrorism posed by Al-Qaeda-inspired violence is a reflection of the continued pursuit of state-sponsored Muslim minority discrimination.
Cameron has yet to pour forth piping rhetoric of rectitude about “our” freedoms over the Charleston shooting, in which the basic freedom to live was denied based on race and a world view which wanted to get rid of the “other”. Closer to home, the news of the attack by far-right terrorist Zack Davies has caused a furore the size of a fruit fly. Wielding a machete Davies attacked a doctor belonging to the Sikh faith thinking he was a Muslim screaming “white power”. Items associated with white supremacy and Nazism, including Combat 18 stickers, banners and swastikas were found at his home.
Just over a week ago, an 18 year old near a mosque in Coventry was attacked for being a Muslim. The attacker, who is believed to have thrown stones at the mosque, called the victim a “P***” before attacking him from behind and leaving him with a black eye. They also threatened to “cut him up, chop him into little bits”.
A couple of days later, the Independent reported that two white schoolboys in Newcastle plotted a series of terrorist attacks in England, including attacks on Parliament and Buckingham Palace. They also discussed plans to kill families, behead people on camera and sought to purchase material to create pipe bombs and a firearm. Material garnered from the teens also indicated towards a hatred of blacks and Jews.
A squeak from the fascist, white supremacist neocons? Calls for white folks to condemn the above? Proclamations of censuring those narratives shared with white supremacists, including the “Trojan Horse” discourse as “extremist” by the good PM? Will Douglas Murray, Melanie Philips, William Shawcross and other advocates of the Eurabia myth be removed from public/civil posts, and profiled by the Extremism Analysis Unit? Will we witness demands from the white community to “do more” to “root out extremism”? Far from a word, is there even a tittle in response from Cameron and his neocon cabal about far-right terrorism in these recent days?
The statement of Dr Tarlochan Singh Bhambra, the brother of Zack Davies’ victim could not be more apt:
“Sarandev was singled out because of the colour of his skin. We are in no doubt that had the racial disposition of this case been reversed this would be reported as an act of terror with a wider media coverage.”
Indeed the neocon moment has arrived. State structural discrimination has become entrenched from the pulpit of white privilege which only sees an enemy in those who have variant beliefs to the majority. The ideal state of the father of neoconservatism, Leo Strauss, which possesses the principles of the right, “that is, fascist, authoritarian and imperial principles”, is coming to fruition. Cameron has said that he wants to take on the radical narrative like the “battle against communism during the cold war”. The irony is, in outlining his measures – monitoring private beliefs of people, creating blacklists, advocating discriminatory treatment on the basis of beliefs, and banning legal organisations, Cameron has fact become the monster in his communism similitude he wishes to “battle”.