CROSSPOST: Dr Hatem Bazian
Three of Edward Said’s books are as timely today as the day they were published almost 40 years ago: Orientalism (1978), The Question of Palestine (1979), and Covering Islam (1981). The three constitute Said’s trilogy that focused on literary and artistic representation in the service of empire, colonial dispossession, and the media shaping and reproducing Orientalist tropes. Said’s contributions are an invaluable source for anyone attempting to deconstruct the ebbs and flows of events and development in the Arab and Muslim worlds. At the same time, the three books offer a strong critique of Western policies and public discourse that purport to cover the “East” as a separate and mysterious place filled with irrationality.
Observing the daily events in the Arab and Muslim worlds, one is at a loss to comprehend the sheer destruction and the snuffing out of hope faced by a multitude of peoples – 1.4 billion, to be precise. Said’s writing intuitively de-constructed the racialized lens used by Western academics, press, and policymakers to justify their continued disregard of the needs and well-being of the Arab and Muslim worlds.
When it comes to instituting inquiries which examine the actions of the government, the lethargy is yawningly apparent. The Chilcot inquiry has been postponed so many times one refuses to believe that after seven years, subsequent to warring in Libya, Iraq and now Syria, the due date (6 July 2016) will actually see the report published.
Theresa May’s inquiries into the alleged Westminster paedophile allegations saw similar deferrals. With documents related to the investigation spontaneously going missing from within the Home Office, inquiries being stalled and those linked to accused political figures being placed as chairs of the inquiry, towards the end of the 2014, the inquiry itself had become a scandal.
When it comes examining Islam and Muslims, however, our government is on form.
Much commentary has been written on the Counter-Extremism Bill. The journalist Dilly Hussain has done a comprehensive article addressing the key points of the Bill. CAGE has published a blog which neatly highlights the excessive, hypocritical, dangerous and completely unnecessary nature of the proposals. The organisation has further published a point by point breakdown of whatever ambiguous information has been thus far provided.
There are few articles which delve into the noxious nature of the Extremism measures on this blog too:
A Critical Overview of the Counter Extremism Strategy
Counter Extremism Strategy “Really is Counter-Islamic Strategy”
On Extremism Disruption Orders
Will the UK Government’s Counter-Extremism Programme Criminalise Dissent? (Arun Kundnani)
In this blog, I would like to elucidate some additional noteworthy points and arguments on the measures. I will also focus on other proposals, which seem at first to be disconnected to the Extremism Bill, yet also foster the neoconservative closed society.
Mark Sykes, 1917
“I want to see a permanent Anglo-French entente allied to the Jews, Arabs, and Armenians which will render pan-Islamism innocuous…” – Mark Sykes, 1917
The Middle East is experiencing convulsions as the vicious cycle of violence continues and the boundaries which were once drawn upon ignorance and arrogance remain in a state of uncertainty. The continued Western violence in the Muslim world and the destructive responses of individuals in Europe too are also not disconnected from history and historic politics. Indeed, the upheavals in the Middle East are not an isolated phenomena, as is often made out to be.
The source of this great distress for Muslims has been in no part due to the intrigues and “great games” which have played out over the past century.
The tranche of information provided by the Guardian and CAGE regarding the black propaganda network constituted of Home Office propaganda unit RICU, PR companies and ostensibly “independent” civil society organisations has certainly gotten the ball rolling. Information now, I suspect, will begin to percolate through various mediums and quarters exposing willing and unknowing partners in a distinctly totalitarian project.
In the past I have written extensively about Shaista Gohir’s Muslim Women’s Network (MWNUK), her links to PREVENT, her timely media interventions which propped the neoconservative government narrative against the Muslim minority, her positive association with sectarian neoconservative enablers Khalid Mahmood and her involvement with the persecutory, imperial globalised CVE agenda. The funding granted to her organisation from government after her public antics only served to represent the sour icing on a distinctly rotten cake.
MWNUK and Breaththrough Media Connection
The following question has maintained a concious presence generally for years but particularly so in the last few days: are we, the British people allowing ourselves to be governed in a totalitarian fashion?
A set of reports and leaks from the Guardian (here and here) and CAGE (“We are Completely Independent”) revealed that this totalitarianism had now become all too pervasive: a substantial body of information exposes an intertwining propaganda network which implicates private PR companies, the state and knowing or inadvertent civil society groups.
The details though loosely known, were still shocking to read in black white. I have speculated that the Home Office propaganda unit, RICU (Research Information and Communications Unit), may have been involved in last year’s documentary on “extremism” pumped out by neocon propagandist John Ware. I also brought to attention the connection between Sara Khan and her sister Sabin Khan who was alleged to be working in RICU. This connection since was highlighted in the home affairs select committee as being a source of potential conflict of interest, with Sabin being confirmed as deputy chief of RICU.
This is the final part to a series of blogs analysing the recent Channel 4 documentary titled, “What British Muslims Really Think”
Part 1: An Orchestrated Attack on Islam
Part 2: Brief Profile of Trevor Phillips
Part 3: Trevor Phillips’ Propaganda and Normalisation of Muslim Minority Discrimination
Part 4: Trevor Phillips and the Forging of a Closed Society
Having delved into the Straussian nightmare neoconservatives are dog-whistling to implement for broader society in the previous article, here we will examine the implications of Trevor Phillips’ words for the Muslim minority by drawing parallels with particular events in history.
Evil to Outsiders
Alienating a particular minority in order to achieve neoconservative objectives necessitates an enemy. Further, the Straussian conception of justice of the state, in the words of Shadia Drury, means doing “evil to enemies or outsiders”.
By treating Muslims as the outsiders – “a nation within the nation” – the enemy is conceived and thus, evil unto them is legitimised.