I have been monitoring the situation in Birmingham and specifically the Birmingham Central Mosque since early last year.
If we recall, Muslim Labour Councillor and Chair of Birmingham Central Mosque, Muhammad Afzal, called PREVENT racist at a crucial period where Muslim communities were issuing statements up and down the country rejecting the policy with similar rhetoric. The media and political spin machine took action and a campaign was launched to discredit the elderly Councillor. Deformist Shaista Gohir and neocon Khalid Mahmood also contributed to the assault.
Bullied by the Charity Commission?
“Why should they ask me to put on a uniform and go ten thousand miles from home and drop bombs and bullets on brown people in Vietnam while so-called Negro people in Louisville are treated like dogs and denied simple human rights? ~Muhammad Ali on his opposition to the 1967 US military induction for Vietnam.
“If you look close enough at these medals, you can see the reflections of dead Iraqis. You can see the embers of Libya. And you can see the faces of the men and women of the British armed forces who didn’t return and also those who did with lost limbs and shattered souls. I no longer require these medals.” ~ Daniel Denham, Former RAF, 2015
There has been a concerted effort to militarise Muslims. This has ranged from cultivating a militarist, state-worshipping mind-set in schools where the pupils are predominantly Muslim, to parading the Army in mosques, and now, using religion to encourage Muslims to join the army.
Times-assigned “leading Islamic scholars and imams” attended a conference with the military at Sandhurst to encourage Muslims to join the British Armed Forces. The article quotes Qari Asim, the Imam at Makkah Mosque in Leeds, as reportedly saying,
“The armed forces are seen as a noble profession and it follows there are no inherent tensions.”
The report further adds that he said scholars were agreed that Islam does not prohibit Muslims from serving in the British Army.
To better understand the validity of Qari Asim’s reported blanket proclamation, there is a need to understand the idea of violence from the perspective of a neocon state and its political domain.
Neocons relish a good tragedy. In a screed published prior to the 9/11 attacks, a cabal of neocons argued that the US Armed Forces could only be made resurgent through “some catastrophic and catalyzing event – a new Pearl Harbor”. Soon after the 9/11 attack the neocon David Brooks noted how the attack was positive for cultivating “an unconsummated desire for sacrifice and service”. Unsurprisingly, soon after the Westminster attack, the Times took the opportunity to milk the event and direct all narratives towards Islam and Muslims.
Niall Ferguson, a neocon, penned a particularly vitriolic piece, relying on three reports. The opinion piece has also been published in the Boston Globe.
I am currently preparing an article analysing a neocon’s hate against Islam spun as security concerns off the back of the Westminster attacks. That will be out soon, however, I thought I’d share an interesting comment in an article I came across during my research.
Much commentary from the Muslim perspective has been written concerning the condition Muslims are in. The hasty condemnations and apologetic attitude surprised Muslims and even non-Muslims (though it seems some of these vigils by the Ahmadiyya whose leadership has been pivotal in pursuing the neocons agenda). This situation has been further rendered ridiculous by the fact that each new report about the attacker marks another step away from the idea that it anything to do “Islamist extremism”.
Sara Khan in her contribution to the Hope Not Hate report, State of Hate 2017, dedicates a whole page for Imam Shakeel Begg to prove both “Islamist extremism” and her subservient utility before neocons. Imam Shakeel Begg of Lewisham Islamic Centre took the BBC to court after Andrew Neil labelled the Imam an “extremist”. Against numerous positive character references, the court held that the Imam was a “Jekyll and Hyde” character who was in reality an “extremist”.
Scrutinising the case is important. Like PREVENT, a bogus theoretical model to determine whether Islamic beliefs are “extreme” is used to label the Imam an “extremist”. Such cases enable an ideological state to pick and choose “extremist” beliefs based on the prevailing climate of prejudice against the Muslim minority.
The judgment is already being paraded in the neocon media and think-tanks run by hate preachers. It is being used in an McCarthyistic fashion to bully charities that choose to share a platform with the Imam. This sets a dangerous precedent for Islamic scholars of all mainstream persuasions.
The last piece examining Sara Khan’s contribution to the Hope not Hate (HnH) report highlighted the sectarian exploitation by the very policies Khan advocates. In addition to noting the dangerous smearing of whole groups, it was identified that the Ahmadiyya were being used to force a deformation of Islam agenda.
This piece will examine how Khan, continuing the neocon trait of double standards and hypocrisy, has overlooked the “extremism” – as defined by the PREVENT Strategy – within the Ahmadiyya community, reflecting a broader concerted, ideological political effort to attack and subdue orthodox Islam. The Ahmadiyya, therefore, provide a useful example of both HnH’s incoherent approach, and Khan’s selective social-cohesion concerns.
In stark contrast with the Muslim minority as a whole, the politicians and media have given an amplified and prioritised platform to project the Ahmadiyya persecution narrative. Whilst addressing such grievances is important for the state, the Ahmadiyya leadership dynamic in Britain echoes a colonial past where the emergence of the Ahmadiyya movement meshed with the British colonial power structure and aided it against colonial resistance.
To recap, Sara Khan had a written a piece for the anti-fascist group Hope not Hate’s (HnH) report State of Hate 2017. The first piece analysing it, Sara Khan’s connections with neoconservatives and the far-right counter-Jihad movement were established, demonstrating the incoherence of HnH’s decision to incorporate her writing. In the second piece, the PREVENT framework Khan employed was demonstrated to be rooted in a problematic neoconservative epistemology, the consequence of which has been the demonisation of the Muslim diaspora and an effort to control Muslim discourse. This was shown to be evident in Khan’s own writing, indicating to the fact that HnH had been used as a vehicle to promote PREVENT.
In this piece, the hypocritical exploitation of differences in various groups related to Muslims, as a mechanism to further extend the counter-terrorism framework in order to stringently regulate more facets of Muslim discourse, will be explored. Khan’s tendency to exaggerate incidents and distort cases will also be highlighted through the piece.