Last year, the hate-financed Henry Jackson Society published a report on how to spin away criticism of PREVENT. One of its suggestions was to recast the public surveillance programme as “safeguarding”. There has been an amplification of this spin by most government-paid PREVENT practitioners, promoters and careerists since then. This claim both from a historic and conceptual point of view, is woefully inaccurate and a continued demonstration of how the PREVENT industry is deceptively manipulating narratives.
Ignoring History? PREVENT’s Discriminatory “Influence Campaign”
As I have explicated in some detail, the counter-productive pre-crime approach to countering terrorism was not based on empirical evidence but the paradigmatically neoconservative military doctrine of pre-emption. McCulloch and Wilson (2015), in their book exploring “pre-crime” intervention state,
“The declaration of the “war on terror” was the catalyst for a more pre-emptive approach to threats.”
With the War on Terror aimed at Muslim countries, PREVENT’s focus from its very inception has been to control Islam and Muslims through what Ruth Kelly once called the “winning of hearts and minds” – a punch line which inherently denoted propaganda warfare and which usually accompanies hot war. The fundamental difference to normal propaganda warfare during military campaigns and the PREVENT Strategy is that PREVENT is being waged against Britain’s own Muslim citizens. In 2007, PREVENT funds were directed to those local authorities in England with 5 per cent or more of their population identifying as Muslim. In other words, funding was allocated based on the number of Muslims as opposed to risk. This discriminatory focus on Muslims has continued through the years, with the Guardian last year reporting that PREVENT was being prioritised to target mainly Muslim areas.
The former oil executive and Etonian Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, recently stated that there was a need to move away from the notion that ISIS has “nothing to with Islam”:
“If we treat religiously-motivated violence solely as a security issue, or a political issue, then it will be incredibly difficult – probably impossible – to overcome it… A theological voice needs to be part of the response, and we should not be bashful in offering that… This requires a move away from the argument that has become increasingly popular, which is to say that Isis is ‘nothing to do with Islam’, or that Christian militia in the Central African Republic are nothing to do with Christianity, or Hindu nationalist persecution of Christians in South India is nothing to do with Hinduism.. Until religious leaders stand up and take responsibility for the actions of those who do things in the name of their religion, we will see no resolution.”
The argument seems ostensibly balanced. After all, the theological element is mentioned as a factor (albeit a defining one) and Welby highlights the Christian militia in CAR, as well as the Hindu nationalist persecution, though, limiting it to Christian persecution whilst ignoring the rape and killing of Kashmiri Muslims by an army overseen by the fascist PM of India, Narendra Modi. However, the reporting, language and timing of his statements, upon closer inspection, reveal a smokescreen for a continued agenda to target Islam.
CROSSPOST: Jonathon Cook
Palestinian politicians in Israel have found an unexpected ally inside the government against a new bill banning mosques from using loudspeakers to broadcast the call to prayer.
The so-called Muezzin Bill – named after the person who calls Muslims to prayer – was approved by a ministerial committee on Sunday, on the grounds that it is needed to reduce “noise pollution” from mosques.
A first vote in the Israeli parliament on the legislation – due on Wednesday – had to be delayed, however, after a small Jewish religious party raised objections.
Discriminatory Michael Wilshaw’s Problem with Islam and Muslims
Treatment of Jewish Religious Schools Evidences Muslim Minority Discrimination
Why is the Extremism Label not being Applied to the Orthodox Jewish Community?
Gilligan, Jewish Schools and the Discriminatory Treatment of the Muslim Minority
Corporal Punishment in Jewish School – No Major News Spread Like Muslim Schools
The issue of “unregistered schools”, at least the political and media spheres, has focussed largely on Muslims. More specifically, this has been peppered and spiced, particularly by Ofsted’s Michael Wilshaw with the rhetoric of pupil “vulnerability” to “extremism”. As I have previously catalogued, this accompanying rhetoric is nearly always focussed on the Muslim community and swift action is seen through various, thoroughly publicised communiques between Ofsted and the Department for Education. The issue of unregistered schools in the Haredi community, despite the religious group holding views clearly violating the PREVENT-based “British values”, is never coloured with the brush of possible terrorism. The same is also true of Christian “unregistered” set-ups.
The official state social engineering policy of muscular liberalism remains flexed when it comes to Muslims. But only for Muslims.
There has been a flurry of commentary and articles on both sides of the pond seeking to fathom and comprehend the somewhat diabolical outcome over in the US. Donald Trump, the orange hued caricature of the volatile white supremacy movement, is to step into the Whitehouse to take the reins of a country which has for over a decade defined itself by secular creedal beliefs like freedom and democracy which have been militarily imposed upon the rest of the peoples of the world.
The reaction from the commentariat and Twitterati has been one of shock, followed by attempts to understand the rise of Trump. From disenchantment of the people with the elite, to the interconnected rise of neoliberalism and globalised greed, to even questioning liberal democracy itself (PREVENT anyone?), the reasons have been varied. A further explanation is that this is historic white supremacy reasserting itself – a racist institution recalibrating in the aftermath of a black president and excessive equality. For this reassertion, however, here has had to be a catalyst.
Culture wars are a neoconservative forte which is born from neoconservatism’s societal prescription of nationalism of the type which actively creates enemies, Otherises “aliens”, courts the religious/nationalist fanatic, and champions wars abroad. This is done under the overarching aim of creating an authoritarian closed society based on fascist principles, which is for neocons the solution for America’s liberalism-based cultural decline. To facilitate the “enemy” aspect of neocon policies, the clash of civilisations thesis is used along with the military doctrine of pre-emption to normalise the culture war against Islam and Muslims within the upper echelons of government. It is pumped through a multi-million-dollar, sophisticated network of hatemongers, think-tanks, propagandists and “alt-right” racist papers. Neoconservatives, in other words, are key in fostering the climate in which people have chosen Trump.
The atmosphere of political Islamophobia, anti-Muslim hatred and media stigmatization of Muslims and Islam, is something that has become normalised today. Interference with Islam, its beliefs and practices has reached such heights that one wonders whether the vaunted secular distinction of the public and private sphere actually exists. It increasingly represents an arbitrary distinction which moves with the prejudices and hatred of those in power of an increasingly penetrative state.
We now have non-Muslim judges that have become Mujtahid Imams, formulating fatwas on the basis of a single reading of the Qur’an, Sayyid Qutb’s Milestones and a dossier compiled by a half-baked “expert” concerning which beliefs are regarded as “extreme”. The courts have, in other words, regulated the beliefs of Muslims without expressly doing so through the notoriously nebulous “extremism” discourse.
The regulatory colonialism continues into the final bastion of Islam in a post-colonial, legally fictitious world of nation states: the area of Muslim “personal law”. Muslims who wish to accord their faith a centrality in the arena of civil matters often desire to have their marital issues overseen by Islamic precepts. Given the varying conditions for a marriage, intricate regulation of the types of divorce and annulment, as well as the need for a neutral, learned arbitrator(s) when matters become grey or sour, Muslims also seek recourse to Islamic scholars, or panels of Islamic scholars. These panels advise couples concordant to Islam. On the face of it there is no problem with this. Bata’i Din, or Halachic arbitration “courts” have been set up for some three centuries. In fact, according to the London Beth Din website, it is forbidden for Jews to seek a remedy from “secular civil courts”. Yet Jews, far from being framed within the far-right “Trojan Horse” trope of setting up a “parallel legal system”, are welcomed as being an integration success story.
Why are Muslims being treated differently?
1st Knight charity founder Andy Linihan
An undercover investigation by the BBC Scotland found that a military charity which raises funds for military veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, was selling anti-Islamic and Nazi-themed items.
According to the report, the founder of 1st Knight Military Charity, Andy Linihan, was selling a Velcro badge which is designed to be placed on uniforms or baseball caps. Underneath the picture of an assault rifle were the words “72 Virgins Express”, which meant, according to Linihan, the shooting of suicide bombers. One T-shirt had a picture of two naked women, a pint of beer and a pig. It read: ‘Pork-eating, beer-drinking, womanising infidel’. The charity volunteer explained:
“They’re not allowed to eat it are they? These Muslims. Pork-eating, beer-drinking – basically it’s against their religion. Womanising – they’re not allowed to womanise, are they? And yet they call us infidels.”
Other merchandise included Nazi-themed T-shirts and hooded jumpers emblazoned with neo-Nazi emblems.