It has been ten years since the ripples which reverberated through London changed the world for Britain’s inhabitants. The status quo majority underwent a subtle, but continuous and consistent shift of views under the guiding hand of the neocons elite and a deluge of think-tanks which were established to ensure this. This included moving the public scrutiny away from government actions – domestic and foreign – towards ideology, and specifically, Islam and Muslims. A relentless barrage of negative reporting ensured that Muslims were carved out as the “suspect community” possessing all the hallmarks of a barbaric nation, whilst Western war crimes and excesses were dressed and therefore legitimised in the garb of “national security”. Freedoms were also protected on this basis through suspensions of civil liberties.
In all this, Muslims have felt the War on Terror in various ways: from feeling the rampant anti-Muslim hatred on the streets to discriminatory job prospects, to being viewed through prism of security due for wearing traditional garb. As Mehdi Hasan stated,
“British Muslims have been spied on, stopped and searched, stripped of citizenship, and subjected to control orders and detention without trial. Many were not guilty of any crime…”
The neoconservative impulse has ensured a number of trophies to its name. It has achieved broader public indifference to,
- Profiling of the Muslim minority,
- Muslim minority Discrimination,
- Mass surveillance by the public courtesy of the PREVENT Strategy,
- State interference with religion,
- Subjection to increasingly vague terminology in violation of the rule of law to exasperate the above.
For the Muslim minority, 7/7 marked the acceleration of a level of State persecution which started on the 11th of September. For neocons, it was their moment for drawing the aimless, liberalism-infused West from their vulgar inebriation. The PREVENT Strategy, based on American neoconservative assumptions and discredited radicalisation models (also founded in the US), and which work to the advantage of neocons, became the quietly-enforced set of measures by which the above was further enabled. It pursued the covert aim of shaping an Islam amenable to Western interests and employed tactics of subterfuge and disruption of Muslim activists and scholars reminiscent of the Stasi agents of the authoritarian East Germany and America’s COUNTEL PRO operation. In its latest iteration it has become the most pervasive public surveillance programme yet placed on statutory footing. Whilst those who were instrumental in instituting these policies – Michael Gove, his book Celsius 7/7 which was drafted under the auspices of hateful neocons and agenda-driven Zionists, his think-tank Policy Exchange, Quilliam Foundation, CENTRI and the subsequent Henry Jackson Society – harped on about how religion was not a race. The signs of Muslims, religiosity – which incidentally means the growth of beards, donning of the jilbab and thoub, and the adoption of the niqab – became signs of a vulnerable individual susceptible to radicalisation. The effect of this was and still is to racialise the Muslim minority, making it the subject of “invisible racism”. In the words of Professor Arun Kundnani,
“the more Muslim you look the more of threat you are… what is happening is that being Muslim is being constructed as a kind of race and therefore it connects in with the longer history of racism… and it’s become a new manifestation of that longer racial history…”
What accentuates the enormity of the situation for those who justify their hatred, and their gentlemanly manifestation of it through repulsive policies, is that this month marks the genocide of Muslims in the heart of Europe, who were not racially distinctive, were not overtly religious in appearance, but were mercilessly erased in the most brutal fashion due to their faith.
The counter-extremism movement became a means by which Muslims could be politically pacified and their beliefs assimilated, completely against established human rights norms. Those familiar with the Bosnian genocide know how State propaganda was central to creating an atmosphere of indifference to Muslims. Today, we have a Prime Minister who announces from another country that Muslims quietly condone the actions of ISIS, and media like the Daily Fail which applies Nazi propaganda-style spin producing headlines like “UK Muslims Helping Jihadis”. Both the State and the complicit media thus have been normalising the discriminatory treatment of the Muslim minority, adding to the increasing hatred of Muslims and the resultant violence against them.
Some Muslims have happily contributed to the above brief account of the treatment of the Muslim minority. Muslim organisations were used to deliver PREVENT objectives and initially a number of reputable organisation jumped on the bandwagon to subserviently deliver what were effectively projects to terraform Islam and the Muslim mind towards state obedience, and sever off the connection with the Ummah, by territorialising the faith (“British Islam”).
With the latest iteration of PREVENT, such “community engagement” stopped and funding was withdrawn. The Strategy shifted to promoting fringe Muslims with reformist, or rather, deformist credentials and dubious connections to the far-right and neocon lobbies. Muslim organisations, co-opting traditional Islamic scholars in the past have, inadvertently or otherwise, aided in this oppression, by delivering PREVENT goals without questioning the premises underpinning the demands nor the flaccid terminology permeating their discourses. They promoted division by adopting epithets like “moderate Islam”, which is as vacuous as soul-less neocons and politically prostituted, all the while happily absorbing the funding. In the process they have acted as conduits for intelligence gathering exercises under the watchful eye of GCHQ, whilst crucially providing a stepping stone for the eventual policies which have now come to pass under the neocons, and which was first clearly outlined in Michael Gove’s Celsius 7/7. Despite the blatant connections of the global counter-extremism industry to the far-right, neocons and Zionists, Muslim, as we shall see in upcoming blogs, have not learned from their follies and are pursuing the first version of PREVENT to the further ruination of the Muslim minority.
Today, ten years after 7/7, a policy of aggressive assimilation of Muslims into the government-defined “British values” means that the Muslim, unlike his or her Jewish and Christian friend, is to be gutted of his faith and his sympathies for Al-Quds/Palestine in order to be regarded as not extremist. This, and further invasive, thought-policing measures are set to become law through the Counter-Extremism Bill, potentially paving a future full of further erosion of civil liberties and Muslim minority discrimination.
7/7 is a tragic event. For the innocent people that died on that day. And for the collective punishment meted to the Muslim minority by successive British governments for a crime they did not commit.