Part 1 (Introduction): A Review of the Casey review (1)
Having established the influence of the transatlantic neocon hate network in the Casey Review, and in order to better appreciate the content of the report, it is worth better understanding the neoconservative narrative which underpins the Casey Review.
The Far-Right/Neocon Eurabia Conspiracy Theory
The reduction of the “white population”, Muslim population growth, and Muslims living together in areas, are sinisterised constituents of a particular narrative which states there is an existential Muslim “takeover” threat to Europe aided by a secretive deal between Arabs and Europeans. This narrative was first promulgated by conspiracy theorist Gisèle Littman, better known by her pen-name Bat Ye’or. The myth has been heavily criticised as a conspiracy theory and debunked by prominent scholars including Professor Arun Kundnani, who has likened its evidentiary credentials to the Protocols of Elders of Zion.
The conspiracy theory, however, has been adopted by neoconservatives and the far-right, including prominent actors of the Islamophobia industry Robert Spencer, Daniel Pipes and Pamela Geller. It has been advocated by supremacist neoconservatives, fanned by the far-right “counter-jihad” movement, and adopted by paranoid, mass-murdering neo-Nazi terrorists. For full details of this myth and its promoters see here.
Ye’or, writing for the virulently anti-Muslim magazine, Frontpagemag, stated in 2004,
“Europe is creating a gigantic Muslim community, or “umma,” which is also inhabited by an anonymous (and precipitously dying) European dhimmi population.”
“It is late in the day, but Europe still has time to turn around the demographic time-bomb which will soon see a number of our largest cities fall to Muslim majorities. It has to. All immigration into Europe from Muslim countries must stop. In the case of a further genocide such as that in the Balkans, sanctuary would be given on a strictly temporary basis. This should also be enacted retrospectively… Conditions for Muslims in Europe must be made harder across the board: Europe must look like a less attractive proposition.”
This theme continued when last year, Murray published a racist piece stating that “white British people” were “losing their country”, whilst London had become a “foreign country” with “white Britons’… now in a minority.” As one journalist noted, for Murray,
“the principal cause of the abolition of ‘white Britons,’ was the ‘startling rise in Muslim infants’”. Thus, it appears that for Murray, the principal threat to white supremacy in London is the astronomical birthrate of non-white Muslims.”
This “Muslims entering Europe” theme has been echoed by other prominent neoconservatives in influential positions. The Charity Commission head William Shawcross has similarly stated,
“Europe and Islam is one greatest most terrifying problems of our future, I think all European countries have vastly, very quickly, growing Islamic populations…”
Geert Wilders, who is banned from the UK and has been recently sanctioned by a Dutch court for inciting discrimination preached to the Dutch Parliament,
“Islam is the Trojan Horse in Europe. If we do not stop Islamification now, Eurabia and Netherabia will just be a matter of time. One century ago, there were approximately 50 Muslims in the Netherlands. Today, there are about 1 million Muslims in this country. Where will it end? We are heading for the end of European and Dutch civilisation as we know it.”
This far-right, neoconservative, clash of civilisations narrative premised white supremacist terrorist Anders Behring Breivik’s views who frequently cited Bat Ye’or, Geller, Spencer, Pipes, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and Wilders and who considered himself a knight dedicated to stemming the tide of Muslim immigration into Europe.
A final dynamic to consider in the culturalist attack on Islam and Muslims is that of “color blind racism”. Renowned professor of sociology Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, elaborates the dynamic where “contemporary racial inequality is reproduced through ‘new racism’ practices that are subtle, institutional, and apparently non-racial.” Bonilla-Silva elucidates,
“…whites enunciate positions to safeguard their racial interests without sounding “racist”. Shielded by color blindness, whites can express their resentment toward minorities; criticize their morality, and work ethic, even claim to be victims of “reverse racism”.
With the above narratives and dynamics in mind, we turn to the Casey Review.
The Casey Review paints a bleak picture of the impact of immigration in the UK. Whilst social and economic considerations are important and not to be shunned, the theme professed in the Review pulsates with racist, white supremacist leanings. There is a consistent narrative throughout the report which protects the white population from culturalist scrutiny and social blame meted out to the Muslim minority, and comparatively ignores issues of “separation” in the “white” British community. The semantic moves in fact perfectly fit Bonilla-Silva’s explanation of “new racism”.
This “new racism”, which permeates the deepest recesses of the report, hinges on a particular definition of “integration”, which is highly problematic and totalitarian in nature. This will be covered in more detail in a subsequent piece, however, here it is appropriate to mention that the integration is reconstituted into an ideological, nationalist theology which demands “respect” for various contrived beliefs. This ideological notion of integration, which echoes neocon David Goodhart’s “mental integration”, drives the Review and allows for the ostracising of immigrants and in particular, Islamic beliefs and practices.
White Blind Spots and White Interests
Non-white population growth is one of the central pillars of the entire report. The report goes into the levels of concentration and segregation across Britain. It claims that levels of segregation among Pakistani, Bangladeshis and Muslims is highest among racial and religious minorities with the exception of the Chinese. It is, however, pertinent to note that no further mention of the Chinese minority, or the Jewish minority where the concentration exceeds 41%, is made. A point to be made here is that the Muslim minority as well as the South Asian nationalities which make up the Muslim minority are significantly larger than any other religious minority (at 2.8million compared the next smallest, Hinduism at 0.8million) or racial group (Asian at 4.4 million, with the black community 1.9million). Comparisons between faith and racial minorities are therefore meaningless given the impossibility of determining how demographics and levels of dispersion would change if they were of a similar number.
This point is all the more important given that a comparison is not made with the majority populations – white and Christian. As the Runnymede Trust’s submission to the Casey Review noted,
“One issue that is widely discussed but poorly understood is the geographic distribution of ethnic groups across Britain. As outlined in the CoDE briefing More segregation or more mixing, ‘the White British population is the only group that lives in relative isolation from others’.”
Professor Jonathan Portes similarly notes,
“Most non-whites live in fairly diverse areas; it is whites who don’t. This is generally accepted by geographers and demographers, and isn’t exactly surprising.
If this is not surprising in the white context, why is there such a shock in South Asian or Muslim contexts?
Casey takes a similar Muslim minority-targeting approach in the context of schools. She is keen to highlight that “children from Pakistani and Bangladeshi ethnic backgrounds were more segregated in their schooling than other ethnic minorities.” Again, the Runnymede Trust submission to the Casey Review is pertinent in this regard:
So whereas White British students are only 28% of the students attending London Schools, 49% of White British students attend White British-majority schools, suggesting that parental school choice drives segregation
The dissimilarity index for data on various ethnicities between 2008 and 2013 also shows that segregation of communities identified as Bangladeshi, Pakistani, and Indian fell more than White British. Overall, the trends demonstrate that segregation in schools is in fact falling.
Casey is not interested in delving into the reasons why White people are more segregated as communities and in their choice of schools. She touches on “white flight” once in the whole report, but fails to delve into potentially uncomfortable reasons for this behaviour. Why is there a “reluctance to discuss”  in the words of Casey, white flight? Is there an attempt to mask the fact that some white people do not want to integrate with people of colour? Why are they moving away from ethnic minorities into areas more homogenously white ones? Is there a current of racism in this dynamic? Or is it simply that white people feel more comfortable amongst their own?
On the contrary, Casey ensures that white folk are the victims of invading brown people, and remains fixated with “minorities”. In discerning one of the causes of segregation she notes that “people from similar backgrounds may make similar choices and there is some evidence that people look for alternatives to their nearest schools if their child would be in a minority”. As an example, she highlights a school in Oldham with a majority Bangladeshi cohort situated in a majority white area. As expected, the reasons for white people choosing to send their children elsewhere are not deliberated upon.
Casey goes out of her way to explain “problems” associated with Muslims/Pakistanis/Bangladeshis as being intrinsic to their culture to the point of guesswork, whilst the white population remains aloof from such treatment. Take for instance, the following sentence:
Their review of research suggests that ethnic concentration… limits labour market opportunities for some groups, notably women of Pakistani or Bangladeshi background (probably because concentration reinforces traditional norms)…
This sort of conjecture which firmly underhandedly attacks traditional norms, is not applied to the white population. Discussing social contact, the report acknowledges that despite wide ethnic distribution, “white British and Irish ethnic groups are least likely to have ethnically mixed social networks”. There is absolutely no interrogation as to why white folk are not likely to be mixing socially with their coloured compatriots. In fact, at times Casey urges caution when statistics seem to portray white people in a negative light. On the topic of social cohesion, the review highlights that by ethnicity, the 2008 Citizenship Survey noted that white people were less likely and other ethnic groups more likely to mention equality of opportunity, respect for all faiths and respect for people from different ethnic groups. Furthermore, by religion, Sikh (68%), Muslim (61%) and Hindu (47%) respondents in the 2008 Citizenship Survey were more likely than Christians (32%) to mention respect for all faiths as an important value for living in Britain. With these statistics, Casey advises caution because the sample sizes “tend to be small” and the results are “influenced by different wording for the questions”. Caution is not advised, however, regarding studies targeting Muslims anywhere in the report, clearly indicating to the downplaying and effective protection of white supremacist attitudes. Why aren’t such nuanced caveats made in the context of Muslims, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis and Indians? Again, silence ensues on statistics which demonstrate overwhelmingly that white British victims of domestic violence constitute by far the largest group. Absolutely nothing is proffered to explain the factors which “exacerbate their experience of domestic violence” among white women – an analysis which is only tendered by Casey in the context of “ethnic minority women”. The connection with alcohol is particularly prevalent in domestic violence (as well as general violence and sexual assault) cases. Given Casey believes ministers should be do work whilst “pissed”, it is understandable that this is an avenue she does not want to explore.
When it comes to increasing educational attainment, white children remain Casey’s focus. The Review recognises that white pupil attainment is low. It also acknowledges that pupils of Pakistani and Black ethnicity have an attainment gap of more than 5 percentage points lower than white British pupils, whilst Black Caribbean pupils placed less emphasis on the need for higher education than white pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds. However, her focus on providing a solution to this problem is limited to white pupils, with suggestions being made to raise the aspiration among white working class children. Black and other ethnic minority children are not even mentioned. Instead, she attacks Muslim pupils for having skewed perceptions.
The Review states that they were “particularly struck” by the results of a survey of pupils in a non-faith secondary school with “a high Asian population”. Pupils had been asked to identify the percentage Asian population of Britain and their estimates ranged from 50% to 90% with the actual figure being 7%. This she claims “presumably” reflects their experience in the local community, and a “relative lack of knowledge about the country as a whole”. The utterly repulsive, colonialist implication is that minorities lack knowledge because they live together as minorities. But what excuse is there for the rest of the country? Polls have repeatedly showed that European adults overestimate the population of Muslims. The recent most poll demonstrates that British respondents put the current Muslim population at 15%, three times the 2010 figure, while they overestimated the projected 2020 population by an even greater margin (22% versus an actual projection of 6%). Casey is worried about the perception of young Muslims, whilst the rest of the country escapes Casey’s colonialist contumelies.
Empowering the Far-Right Narrative
The Review continues to operate on a subtle white supremacist assumption, echoing Douglas Murray, that white majorities with the odd sprinklings of inert brown are a “norm” or constitutive of the “mainstream”. Before highlighting that ethnic minorities are growing, and the “white population is shrinking”, echoing Murray’s white supremacist concerns, she states:
With such notable and rapid change, it is not surprising that many communities are feeling the impact of immigration to a greater extent and that this is playing out in wider public attitudes towards immigration.
Implying that “wider public attitudes”, which invariably includes racism and rising anti-Muslim sentiment, is understandable due to changes in demographics is precisely the sort of “semantic moves” which Bonilla Silva labels new racism, and which protects the “normalcy” of white supremacist interests.
The courting of far-right narratives is more expressly demonstrated in the context of mosques where suspicion, stigmatisation and stereotypes are tacitly acknowledged as valid. Attacking mosques has been a central strategy in far-right activism, with calls to ban minarets, ban mosques from being built and “invasions” of mosques by far-right groups like Britain First. Casey not only entertains this prejudice but goes further and notes “concerns” about traditional Islamic attire, couching it and the distinctive Islamic architecture of mosques in terms used by the far-right like Wilders above – “Islamification of Britain”:
“Others express concern about an increase in signs and symbols of religious fundamentalism or, as some described it, the ‘Islamification’ of Britain (including, for example, concerns about the growth in the numbers of mosques and traditional Islamic forms of dress)… There has been a reluctance to discuss or acknowledge the impact that this is having on long-standing communities, akin to the sensitivity we have seen over immigration. In turn, this can cause disaffection and it has been seized upon by far right extremists to pull people towards their agenda… The growth in the number and visibility of mosques, madrassas and other Islamic buildings has proven an issue of particular contention in some communities.
Not only is the far-right discourse legitimised, opposition to it is likened to “sensitivity” over immigration. The freedom to offend brigade sound awfully silent when religious rights as well as individual freedom to wear traditional dress is being threatened through Islamophobic rhetoric. Going fully neoconservative, Casey explains that this “anxiety” by some communities is caused by “more rapid growth” of Muslim population, “geographical concentration among Muslims”, the decrease in Churches, “the distinctive architectural style and features of mosques”, and the attention on mosques as “breeding grounds for radicalisation and terrorism”.
The “anxiety” is caused, in other words, because Muslims are being Muslims and establishing their places of worship, and is exacerbated by the sight of empty, decreasing Churches. Social Islamophobia and anti-Muslim sentiment, in other words, is being treated as legitimate.
At this point, it is worth highlighting that Casey has omitted any role played by the media in stoking these anxieties. Interestingly, the Review contains a section called “The Media”, and cites academic research which concludes that “evidence shows an overwhelmingly negative picture, where threat, otherness, fear and danger posed or caused by Muslims and Islam underpins a considerable majority of the media’s coverage”. Yet Casey struggles to link this to increased “anxiety”, in a way which makes Joseph Goebbels irrelevant to the demonisation of the Jewish people. Instead, she dismisses this topic due to want of time and resources:
“The role of the media and the internet in integration is a vast topic and we have not had the time or capacity to do it justice in this review”
There are plenty of resources to pursue the alienation of Muslims agenda, however.
The UK has the largest strictly Orthodox population in Europe and is growing fast. If tomorrow, “some communities” expressed “anxiety” over the growth of the Orthodox Jews, their kippa, tall hats and curls, and Synagogues decorated with distinctive symbols like the Star of David and the menorah outside their places of worship, would they also be entertained by Casey? Or would it be rightly criticised as a case of xenophobia and steps initiated to combat it concordant to international minority rights standards?
Casey adopts the complete opposite approach, again endorsing suspicion towards Muslims dressed up as “concerns” and effectively condoning xenophobia:
“The public mood was described to us as having changed from acceptance and curiosity about a small number of buildings that seemed rare, to a concern about an unknown culture increasingly dotting the British skyline and highlighting difference.”
On the basis of “fear of the unknown” Casey endorses Sayeeda Warsi’s ill-thought suggestion that mosques architectures be made to reflect a “contextualised Islam in the 21st century” reflecting a “British flavour of Islam”. In other words, the type of Islam being called for by Casey because of xenophobia is one which is deconstructed, assimilated and indistinct to the point nothingness. In other words, purportedly unknown culture should become even more unknown. Otherwise, the implication is, the community is not “integrated”. This spin conveniently absolves the government in its failure in dispelling stereotypes and combatting prejudice. The UN Human Rights Council Resolution 16/18, to which the UK has shown support to, highlights that it is, “concerned about actions that wilfully exploit tensions or target individuals on the basis of their religion or belief” and “notes the negative projection of the followers of religions and the enforcement of measures that specifically discriminate against persons on the basis of religion or belief”. It further,
“Expresses deep concern at the continued serious instances of derogatory stereotyping, negative profiling and stigmatization of persons based on their religion or belief, as well as programmes and agendas pursued by extremist organizations and groups aimed at creating and perpetuating negative stereotypes about religious groups, in particular when condoned by Governments.”
Casey, however, ratifying the concerns of the far-right actively pursues an agenda to demonise and stigmatise Muslims based on their religious beliefs. This stigmatisation will be covered in the next part of this series.
The Review promotes myths about Muslims which in turn reinforce the Eurabia conspiracy theory. Casey dedicates a whole section on the Trojan Horse hoax incident of 2014. As I have demonstrated in sufficient detail, the reference to Muslims as a “Trojan Horse” is a far-right trope advocated by the worst of the far-right and neoconservative Islamophobia network. The hoax was disproven by the Education Select Committee last year. The claims, however, have persisted into the Review through references to a report produced by neoconservative associate of Michael Gove, Peter Clarke, investigating the Trojan Hoax. This report has been heavily criticised by academics and educationalists, none of which is addressed in the Review. Interestingly, though, the Review actually acknowledges that the claims were in fact “allegations”, denoting that they are in fact unproven. The review also cites panel hearings where Muslim teachers accused of “extremist” practices underwent sham inquisitions. These hearings have been overturned by the High Court, and the kangaroo panels slammed for their lack of fairness and procedural impropriety.
Pertinently, claims of school takeover plots regarding evangelical Christians have also been made by officials. Sir Albert Bore has written,
“I have a case in a very white area of the city where evangelical Christians tried to do something very similar – tried to change the ethos of the school from within by putting governors in there. But Christians aren’t being castigated by the media, education secretary or Ofsted for infiltrating school governing bodies. Muslims are.”
The Review, per form, completely ignores this.
Casey also promotes myths regarding the true motives of Muslims who request accommodation for particular religious needs. She baselessly states,
“While such ‘requests’ are made on the basis of accommodating religious and cultural needs of Muslim children, they are often about sustaining the power of self-appointed community leaders…”
No evidence is furnished to support the claim that requesting the accommodation of religious/cultural needs of Muslim children are about “sustaining power”. What it does do is reinforces the insidious far-right/neoconservative stereotype that Muslims are a subversive Trojan Horse.
When Nigel Farrage and Tommy Robinson praised the Review, they did so with good reason. The Casey Review is saturated with neo racist, supremacist rhetoric, double standards and even conspiracy theories which fantastically reinforce white privilege and extreme far-right rhetoric and ideas about Muslims. On this ground on alone, this Review must rank amongst the most dangerous social policy papers in recent memory.
 Casey Review, Para.3.69
 Para. 3.74
 Para. 3.5
 Para. 8.14
 Para. 3.82
 Para. 4.11
 Para. 71.5
 Para. 6.20
 Para. 6.26
 Para. 6.27
 Para. 3.89
 Para. 3.42
 “Islamification of Britain” is often used by far-right groups, like the BNP, EDL, Britain First and Gatestone Intitute:
 Para. 8.13-14
 Para. 5.24
 Para. 7.42
 Para. 7.45