During the period of colonial devastation, there was an extensive use of PR to spin harmful schemes and sell them to Muslims with objectives which ultimately served colonial ends.
You must be the right type of Muslim with the right type of mindset to be allowed into the political arena. A Sajid Javid/Maajid Nawaz-type whose practice of Islam is non-existent and politically kow-tows to the neocons and pro-Israel lobby, would be ideal.
Are you a confident Muslim who asserts mainstream Islamic and political views that do not pander to the aforementioned circles? Forget democracy and all that British Values nonsense and prepare to have the weight of the establishment bear down on you and your livelihood targeted.
A recent orchestrated furore exemplifies this.
On the 15th of March 28-year-old Brenton Harrison Tarrant walked into two mosques and murdered men, women and children, killing 50 and injuring numerous. This was particularly shocking for a country that, according to the Global Peace Index, is ranked as the second safest place in the world. Much commentary has followed since particularly on proposals for new gun-control measures, with various images of the New Zealand leader Jacinda Ardern hugging of Muslims and speculating on whether her response was genuinely “intuitive” , or crafted for grief competitions.
The response most curious, however, has come from the neocons.
In the previous piece, I established an intertwining set of connections between PR companies involved in the Iraq war, the Islamophobia industry, the comical Commission for Countering Extremism and the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change (“Institute”).
Whilst the Institute’s report – “Narratives of Division – The Spectrum of Islamist Worldviews in the UK” – should not be taken seriously on account of it being advocated by the degenerate Blair, the issue remains that the framework outlined in the report will most likely influence the evolution of the “extremism” discourse. The report’s method is not disconnected from PREVENT. It is in fact a consistent set of ideas employed by neocons and followed by some Muslim organisations also.
It is important, therefore to critique the proposed methodology and outline its draconian trajectory.
Tony Blair has an impressive resume. The man hoodwinked an entire nation into pushing its men and women towards death into a pre-planned war that has now precipitated chaos and destruction in the Middle East, including the deaths of two million, and the rise of IS. It is expected, then, that propaganda and spin are a mature part of his skills matrix.
This skill is usefully deployed into ensuring the reputations of unhinged, power-hungry, murdering despots are palatable to global audiences.
Of significance is how the disgraceful Iraq war’s poison courses through the Tony Blair Faith Foundation (TBFF – now renamed as the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change – henceforth “Institute”) and into the Commission for Countering Extremism (CCE).
NOTE: I have updated this article with a sample letter than can be used by parents to send to Star Academies in order to highlight their concerns. The sample letter is available at the bottom of this article.
As years progress there does seem to be growing sections of Muslims that uncritically co-opt policies without the level of critical scrutiny usually reserved for endless, centuries old “debates” on the finer points aqida or indeed, in the context of the deformation of Islam brigade, the very essence of Islam itself.
If only this level of concern and hair-splitting was directed to the interactions of certain philosophies, policies and schemes that seek to reconstitute our sense of value of Islam, its place in our hearts and in society at large.
This indifference, or perhaps, plain ignorance of such policies, their aims, and impact on the faith of our future generation, has led many to adopt them. A post War on Terror world saw Muslim organisations and Islamic scholars themselves adopting Muslim-specific, state-defined policies around terrorism and loyalty. They engaged in identity-restructuring topics like integration, selective, British-empire-friendly history, legality of joining the army, and a plethora of assaults on the Islamic regulations. This indifference has a consequence: stripping of agency to develop and prioritise one’s own discourse and internalising a demonised identity, collective guilt and hatred which cyclically reproduces and perpetuates discriminatory treatment.
It is self-destructive.
This attitude to policies and their implications seems to be observed by Star Academies, formerly known as Tauheedul Educational Trust.
With noble intentions, Islamic principles and successful academic outcomes, Taudeedul should be lauded. However, when such schools are repeatedly thrust forth by biased media and the government through an Islam-related, agenda-driven lens to the British population as model success stories, scrutiny is not only inevitable, it is necessary.
In the case of Star Academies, this scrutiny is long overdue.
November last year, the Times reported that the CEO of Star Academies, Mufti Hamid Patel, was excited to launch a cadet unit at Tauheedul Islam Boys’ High School (TIBHS).
Whilst many Muslims expressed consternation over such an overture, what was largely ignored was the shocking trajectory of the Trust over the years. In addition to this, the people involved, and the current activities have also escaped critical scrutiny.
This piece summarises the three detailed pieces which examine these themes and concerns.
The Trust is frankly obsessed with associating with the military to the obscene insensitivity of the countless Muslim victims of British imperialism, both old and new.
In September 2018, the Trust invited Major General Duncan Capps CPE of the British Army as a key note speaker for their annual conference. He provided “many anecdotes from this time leading operations in Iraq and Afghanistan”.
Tauheedul Islam Boys High School, run by Star Academies, was reported in the Times as having started a Cadet Force, to the strange glee of Star Academies Chief Executive Mufti Hamid Patel. This is the third and final piece in a series examining Star Academies. Having outlined the background and the views of some of the Star Academies leadership, this piece will focus on ideological activities and individuals young Muslim pupils are being subjected to.
There is a fringe idea emerging within Deobandi circles (and of course, Barelwi/Salafi groups) in the UK that separates politics from the benefits and opportunities that accrue from militarised initiatives like the National Citizenship Service and the cadet force. The argument is that politics should be blamed on the politicians, and the army/cadet force is an innocent mechanism to provide pupils with opportunities to develop skills, experiences and achieve awards. Aside from the fact that these opportunities can be provided without pandering to military programmes, the idea that there that such initiatives are apolitical is extremely naïve.