It is that time of the year: a hectic month as the British people recover from their frenzied Christmas shopping, briefly punctuated with the peace of the annual family get together, only to be followed by scrambling over various items thanks to the hype produced by corporations eager to increase the debt through boxing day “sales”. As the recovery from these activities begins and the damage to the bank accounts dawn, we take advantage of this lull for some customary reflection.
This year has been a particularly unsettling one; the sordidly racist campaign which ultimately culminated in Brexit; the far-right terrorist attack claiming the life of Jo Cox – the first killing of an MP in 26 years; the B-movie being played in the US starring Donald Trump, the West-wide rise of the far-right and unleashing of political and social xenophobia, security globalisation via totalitarian measures like the Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) agenda; Britain passing one of the world’s widest and intrusive surveillance laws; the list goes on. Sadly, it is the Muslim minority, either through scapegoating or being subjected to the fruits of this dangerous concoction of nationalism, disenfranchisement through the global neoliberal order, and neoconservative domestic and foreign policies, which has by and large, bore the brunt.
All this takes a toll on the Muslim mind and body. Indeed many of the policies like CVE, PREVENT, and now assimilationist, racist and discriminatory “integration” policies are designed to force a physical as well as cognitive change amongst Muslims. As the purported secular “advantage” of indifference to religion and beliefs, and liberal values of “freedom” and “choice” suffer hypocrisy-fuelled meltdowns, it is imperative for the Muslim minority to become acutely aware of the threat posed to their Iman (faith) and the various sources they emanate from.
In Britain, as well as other states around the world, imperialism has transitioned from colonialism, through the globalised, epistemologically Western human rights discourse, to its third-incarnation of the security, counter-terrorism and counter-extremism paradigm. Using spurious and academically-debunked securitisation discourses, everything, from merely living in area of Muslims to holding orthodox Islamic beliefs, has been brought within the linguistic and literary smears of the hidden subversive threat – a genuine conspiracy theory advocated by the far-right and neoconservatives and now government “tsars” which has been all but stubbornly ignored by dystrophic liberal/Left intelligentsia. The discrimination against the Muslim minority ranges from the manifestly evident political Islamophobia of the PREVENT Strategy which is a thinly-veiled, structurally Islamophobic propaganda project aimed to socially engineer a compliant, spiritually-eviscerated Muslim, to the “invisible racism” percolating through the discourse of integration, where Muslims are at odds with the “rest of society”, and in the words of Trevor Phillips, forming “a nation within a nation”. The emerging assimilationist “integration” policies aim to further control Islam and the lives of Muslims and their minds, oddly at odds with the liberalism and freedom Muslims are being simultaneously forced to indoctrinate themselves with through the “British values” thought-control project. Muslims, in other words, are to be “emancipated” from their scriptures in favour of ideas handed to them by the state, whilst contending with the logical conundrum of being an “individual” with choice who is forced mentally and physically to be a part of the communitarian, nationalist “mainstream society”.
Politicians and media reports frequently issue statements and statistics all designed to fulfil the neoconservative brief of creating a “repulsion of Islam”, both within society and amongst Muslims themselves – the latter so that Muslims are literally embarrassed into changing their beliefs. These signs are a dangerously impregnated foreboding; the malicious, state-level cognitive games and experiments Muslims are being subjected to like a corpse undergoing an autopsy are indications that were manifest within the scholastic and political spheres of the Weimar republic and which eventually ended with the genocide of the Jewish people in Europe.
Like that period and the treatment of the Jewish people, the reconfiguring of Muslim thought processes is resulting in efforts to disrupt the Islamic communities from within and inhibit collective action and organisation. More importantly, a separation of the Muslim from scriptural texts has geo-political implications: losing the Islamic centrality of Al-Quds, including Jerusalem and the Al-Aqsa Sanctuary to the strategic benefit of Israel. Indeed, the CVE industry, which actively attempts to create a compliant, sedated Islam, has been shaped by neoconservatives and pro-Israel activist groups, with Israel on the international level firmly urging the fight against “extremist ideology”. These developments and movements are closely monitored by Mossad.
I must reiterate this firmly: there is a globalised effort to force, or create coercive conditions for a deformation of Islam. In these last few years, the effort has been increasing in both scope and transparency. The agenda seeks to deconstruct the solidity and stability of Islam into an exploitable, gaseous entity which benefits no-one but tyrannous powers, and which ironically results in a methodology that produces problematic anomalies from quisling organisations like the Quilliam Foundation, to the brutal inordinacy of ISIS. The external effort impacts the internal constitution of the Muslim minority. Whether it is the Russians and Western states courting “Sufi Islam”, or “Salafis” justifying draconian counter-terrorism measures in Britain whilst acquiescing to murderous despots like Sisi; whether it is the “cultural Muslim” whose belief in Islam is non-existent yet still considers him or herself fit to tell people what Islam is; or the pseudo-scholar with dubious qualifications instituting a deformation of Islam under the jurisprudential rubric of urf (custom), maslaha (public benefit) and maqasid (objectives) whilst clandestinely undermining the authority of the Ulama (Islamic scholars) and scholastic tradition; the effort to deconstruct Islam comes from multiple angles and openings, and most fundamentally, employs post-modern deconstructionist philosophies to inculcate uncertainty and chaos into the harmonious, organic Islamic faith. Muslims must become aware of pseudo-scholars whom advocate elaborate but somewhat perfunctorious proposals, which seem to be orthodox, but in reality perpetuate deconstructionism in their approach to Islam, often under smokescreen rubric of “contextualising Islam”, or providing a “British flavour Islam”, which invariably involves shunning the visible manifestations of the Sunnah. Islam’s tradition is based on chains of authority (sanad) and licenses (ijaza) and indeed without these traditional, rigorous verificatory devices, it is bound to be corrupted. These sophisticated doors of inquiry should be in the back of the mind of every Muslim who is absorbing sacred knowledge.
The Islamic sensitivity to local contexts is being twisted to force the exchanging – subtle or wholesale – of particulars of Islam for acceptability. Whilst detailed critical inquiry is urged of Islam’s rulings and theory, the same level of scrutiny is not demanded of the endpoint of such spiritually and intellectually fraught attempts to deconstruct Islam. Indeed, the spiritual edifice of this faith spurred and maintained historically unprecedented levels of moral, ethical and political stability for over a millennium all without the all-encompassing surveillance apparatus and attrition of due process and the rule of law emblematic of the modern state. Those who wish to force the deformation of Islam – the neoconservatives – accept that modernity and its paradigmatically constitutive elements, in particular enlightenment rationalism, has failed to convincingly and coherently produce morality. One does not need to be versed with the works of sociologists and philosophers like Hannah Arendt, Zigmunt Bauman and Foucault to understand the problems: the blind progressivism and narcissistic, amoral individualism coupled with the ethno-nationalisms deceptively garbed in civic nationalisms symbiotically connected to the nation state which violently and/or traumatically, yet “rationally” impose conformity to varying degrees over its minorities, has resulted in a world wrought in chaos, genocides, social disintegration, economic inequality, ecological disaster, and human discontentment. Changing Islam using bogus post-modern decontructionist theories which render meaning itself meaningless, in favour of the modern paradigm dominated by the Kantian Man or Descartes’s subject, which ultimately produces these catastrophic consequences is indeed a raw, decaying deal.
Whilst the brunt of the culturalist attack is on Islam and Muslims, the impact reverberates across society. There is a need for broader society to realise that the source of the attacks and demonization come from fascist, supremacist neoconservatives, whom are in power. Bankrupt economic policies for which the public has to pick up the bill and which has seen the inequality gap increase; Machiavellian ideas which breaks down the rule of law and democratic principles consequently denuding the public of their privacy – and rights – against the state, use of perpetual warfare and destabilisation in far off lands to foster fear and the closed society at home; and harnessing state schools, courtesy of militarisation programmes and the “British values” project to create and re-create the subject and therefore a new scholarly elite, producing the necessary cultural domain which validates and reinforces the Straussian neocon state; the neoconservatives constitute the pervasively real – and immediate – threat to society at every level. There is an urgent need to see past the blusterous regurgitated threats of immigrants, Islam and the evil Other generated by bogus pseudo-academic think-tanks funded by neoconservative and pro-Israel activists and recognise who in reality is formulating the policies that detrimentally affect the lives of the average person, safeguard the corporatists and banksters, and plough taxpayer money into pointless wars which take the lives of our men and women, whilst stripping all citizens of their rights, both civil and social.
The above seems like a page ripped out of a dystopian novel, however, the resistance is alive and well. The fact that Muslims are joining hand with their non-Muslim countrymen in defending the rule of law, due process, civil society as well as the poor and needy against the neoconservative onslaught is a fact which drives a stake into the heart of the binary, warring, clash of civilisations thesis. Where neocons see subversive collusions, Muslims view their duty to benefit the community regardless of race or religion, and uphold the principles of justice without compromising their own beliefs and practices. Indeed, it is a peaceful, harmonious – not homogenous – society, that is sought. Where the contrived nationalism of “British values” seeks to create uniformity at the expense of minorities, the above demonstrates the possibility of people belonging together whilst staying attached to their cherished differences.
Despite the political and often physical battering, and seemingly unrelenting waves of aggressive policies, propped by dubious characters afflicting the Muslim minority, it is imperative for Muslims to maintain the Islamic moral centre as, indeed, it is in this state, that hearts find tranquillity, spurring activism and an overwhelming urge to continue positively benefit society despite the odds. Like the lifeline thrown to a person drowning at sea in a tempest, in this time of confusion and instability, it is the Qur’an which operates as a stabilising force for Muslims, augmented through the righteous inheritors of sacred knowledge – the Ulama – bequeathed to the Ummah through the noble Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, his impeccable Companions, may Allah be pleased with them, and the self-less men and women whom dedicated their lives to studying Islam with sole aim of pleasing their Lord. It is this rich, perpetually verified tradition and legacy which provides the spiritual and intellectual fortification against the incursions upon the faith of Muslims.
Adversity, for certain periods, may seem relentless, but the Qur’an is timeless.
“They want to extinguish the light of Allah with their mouths, but Allah refuses except to perfect His light, although the disbelievers dislike it.” (Al-Qur’an, 9:32)
“If a wound has touched you, be sure a similar wound has touched others. And such days (of varying fortunes) we give to people in turns: that Allah may make evident those who believe, and that He may take to Himself from your ranks witnesses (to Truth). And Allah loves not the unjust.” (Al-Quran 3:140)
“And hold firmly to the rope of Allah all together and do not become divided.” (Al-Quran, 3:103)
“Verily, by the remembrance of Allah, hearts are tranquil.” (Al-Qur’an, 13:28)