I was experiencing some hesitation in writing on Louise Casey’s review into opportunity and integration, for there is no theme or narrative in the report which I have not deconstructed and then exposed as being underpinned by fascist, neoconservative ideas. However, bar a few incisive comment pieces on the report, many articles have barely scratched the surface in terms of articulating just how repulsively dangerous the content of this Review really is. This requires documentation.
The drums of “integration” have been beating for years as minorities, and in particular the Muslim minority, have been objectified as convenient fodder for political exploitation; they are the glutton for systemic policy failures and the problems flowing from an ever widening economic (and reality) gap between the establishment and broader society. The review into integration by Louise Casey however, has a more explicitly sharper ideological slant, which can be traced to David Cameron’s reign and in turn, his circle of psychotic neocons.
In July last year, then Prime Minister David Cameron made a speech, which I demonstrated at that time, was promulgating dangerous, totalitarian, neoconservative ideas through the discourse of “one nation”. In that Muslim-stigmatising speech, he announced that Louise Casey would be tasked to determine how to “boost opportunity and integration”. Pertinently, he highlighted the elusive and useless term “extremism” which needed challenging, and then linked this to social cohesion:
“The fourth and final part of our strategy must be to build a more cohesive society, so more people feel a part of it and are therefore less vulnerable to extremism.”
Cementing the paternalistic state further, the link between the lack of integration or “cohesion”, and extremism, and then extremism and terrorism established a framework which is faithfully entrenched in the Casey Review.
Against the backdrop of a continued stream of media reports designed to target and demonise Muslim beliefs and practices, David Cameron elucidated the integration aspect as the “conditions” which give rise to “extremism”, thus further shifting the thought and practice regulation courtesy of PREVENT further into communities and minds. Explaining these “conditions for extremism” Cameron would aver that these included,
“Failure to integrate, the dangers of segregation and deprivation, women treated as second-class citizens, communities living side by side but never coming into contact with each other.”
He further outlined new-fangled “duties” for British citizens which demanded, in a rather “illiberal” fashion, conformity to the political religion which enunciated its creed as “Freedom. Tolerance. Responsibility. Loyalty.”
Earlier this year, the seriously dangerous documentary, What British Muslims Really Think, anchored by neocon/Blairite Trevor Phillips, traversed the waves into the digital panels of millions of Britons. Again, the themes of “separation”, “divergent views”, and a concerted agenda to alienate Islam and Muslims from the “mainstream” pervaded the documentary in which Phillips infamously claimed Muslims were forming a “nation within a nation”. As I showed at that time, this precise phrase was coined by the German philosopher Johann Gottlieb Fichte (d.1814), known for his development of the concept of German idealism based on the ethical writings of Immanuel Kant. He referred to Jews as a “state within a state”, which became a commonly laid charge against Jews. The parallels between the treatment of Muslims at the hands of Phillips (and now Casey) are astonishingly similar to the treatment of Jews in the pre-Nazi German era. The documentary, acting as effective state-propaganda, primed the public psychologically for increased regulation against the excuse of the phantom Muslim alien.
Now, we have the publication of the delayed Casey Review.
Casey’s hate-filled articulations ebbed and flowed with dynamic fluidity, gently coaxing and courting far-right narratives on Islam and Muslims, trivialising Muslim concerns, and pathologizing them repeatedly as if Muslims are not fully human. I use the term “Islamophobia” sparingly in my writing and prefer to use specific descriptors like “anti-Muslim discrimination”, or “anti-Islam”. However, I have no hesitation in charging sections of her review as encouraging Islamophobic myths. Instead of drilling into the dynamics of Islamophobia and urging the countering of stereotypes and stigmatisation, it legitimised them. Every section I read raised my eyebrows further and further. Is this seriously a policy paper produced in a country that I was born in, raised in, and cherish as my own? It problematised me, an orthodox Muslim, as “regressive” and backward, in need of release from the shackles of bearded men by the “muscular”, “progressive” white lady. Because of my firm moral, spiritual and political beliefs and religious practices and because of where I live, I am “unintegrated”, despite me holding a number of qualifications and regularly contributing to society in formal and informal ways. Casey claims the likes of me are out of kilter with her idea of “progressive views”, and therefore, extremist. She wants to denude me of my Islamic identifiers, ideally transmutate my privately held beliefs concordant to the monolithic “mainstream” – whatever that is – and ultimately dissolve me and my place of spiritual solitude into the indistinctive background of society. I am to become thus a person who has no unique, individual identity of my own deliberation but one given to me by an increasingly totalitarian state which, incidentally, operates as moral police for the white majority against the Muslim, Pakistani, Bengali and Indian minorities, laughably undermining the grandiose claims of secularism, liberalism and “cohesion”.
It is a deeply disturbing read, and not only because of the content itself – I have read far worse – but because it represents yet another leap in normalising discrimination, racism and supremacy deceptively suited and camouflaged in the euphemistic attire of “integration”, “opportunity and “official review”, which Parliament will most likely sleepwalk into accepting. British society is wounded and in pain, and Casey, instead of sincerely devising a cure, has candidly lapidated it with sodium chloride.
In the coming days, I will further explore the comments and theme briefly expressed above in effort to present a thorough analysis of the Casey Review.