10 Themes the Tony Blair Report on Extremism Censors

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The previous two pieces have established the following:

  1. Tony Blair is ideologically-motivated to impose his worldview and toolset that he has tested with despotic, authoritarian regimes.
  2. The report produced by the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change (henceforth “Institute”) has Blair’s neocon ideology shaping its poor methodology, from the way it targets Muslim organisations, to how it establishes, in a deeply totalitarian fashion, its categories or “spectrum of extremism”.

In this piece, examples from the report will be used to demonstrate how the various “extremism” categories identified in the report come together to protect elements of the state and associated actors from scrutiny and police the views of citizens by rendering them potentially terroristic.

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Fiyaz Mughal and Tell MAMA: Purveyors of Structural Islamophobia

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There is an entire industry built on the back of Muslim demonisation.  This “counter-extremism” industry utilises the rhetoric of preventing terrorism, but perpetuates structural terrorism against the Muslim minority through policies and rhetoric which have the cumulative effect of producing a “suspect community”. This reinforces Islamophobic stereotypes that Muslims are inherently, potentially violent unless “civilised” (assimilated) into “British values” as defined for everyone by neocons.  Whether victims or criminals, it is their culture and religion which is to blame. It is a demonising narrative that has recently subsumed into its toxic discourse the attacks Muslims are currently enduring.

Muslims have been experiencing an increased intensity of anti-Muslim hate over the years and through various rhetorical and physical transformations, from the Paki-bashing by skin-heads, BNP, EDL and now Britain First and National Action, to the elderly man/woman walking across the road whilst angrily pointing a finger at a veil mumbling – like Sayeeda Warsi – that it has no place here. In recent days, it has been reported that hate crime targeting masaajid more than doubled in the last year.

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Racist Mugs: Rising Anti-Muslim Hatred is the Tip of a Neoconservative Iceberg

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It goes without saying that I have been experiencing some manifestation of anti-Muslim hatred on a weekly basis for some years now.  I often return it with a smile, or a peace sign, or, in the rare case where I am not in a particularly good mood, a retort like “how many GCSE’s did you pass again?” By the Grace of Allah, I have yet to experience a violent version of this simmering hatred.

Recently, witnessing comments made by two ladies against two women donned in niqabs brought to sharp attention the internationalisation of the alienation of Islam and Muslims.  Seeing the veiled women who were tending to their little ones, the faces of two passing ladies crumpled into a frown and the skin colour took on a bruising red as they, clutching their prams, uttered the now ubiquitous slogan heard by Muslims of all stripes: “you do not belong in this country”, before scurrying off into a tram.  They had German accents.

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Islam is Not the Problem, Neoconservatism is.

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A report commissioned by 5Pillarsuk.com reveals some interesting insights into the beliefs and views of Muslims in Britain.  One hundred and fifty “influential” Muslim respondents across the Islamic spectrum were queried. The results demonstrate a problematic curve ball for neoconservatives and their endless efforts to target Islam and Muslims.

The questions revolved around normative Islamic beliefs, and across the board a generally high level of agreement with these beliefs was achieved. Participants rebutted dominant propaganda against Islam and Muslims. For instance, 100% agreed or strongly agreed that forced marriages are forbidden, and 100% agreed or strongly agreed that British Muslims are an “integral part of the UK”. It also established a high rate of agreement upon those beliefs and practices which are typically attacked by politicians in concert with the media, analysts and commentators:

  • Segregation of men and women in closed public, or religious settings – over 80% agreed or strongly agreed
  • There is no compulsion in Islam, no one can be forced to become Muslim – over 95% agreed/strongly agreed
  • Hijab is an obligation in Islam – over 95% agreed or strongly agreed
  • Niqab is a legitimate piece of Islamic clothing – over 90% agreed or strongly agreed (chart 16 is somewhat unclear)
  • Islam is a holistic comprehensive way of life – over 97% agreed or strongly agreed
  • Jihad as is mandated in the Qur’an is used to maintain or restore order, peace and security or to remove oppression and injustice – over 95% agreed or strongly agreed.

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To be, or not to be; what is feminism?

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Guestpost: Jamshed Javed

Allow me to begin by clarifying I am not female. I’m a man. And that’s OK, because no definition of feminism I could find necessitates me to be a woman to be a feminist. And whilst biology has spared me the monthly cramps and other assorted challenges women normally endure, I have a lifetime of gained vicarious experience from powerful women and the struggles they have been and continue to go through, primarily due to their gender.

My mother worked incredibly hard to ensure I always had the best opportunities in life, the finest education she could afford, and she always made time to give me her personal attention. My aunts all run successful businesses, creating jobs in and around Wales, whilst simultaneously raising their families, not easy, but a testament to the efforts of my grand-mother in raising all her children to be successful after the early passing of my grand-father, despite not being able to speak much English.

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Inverting the Culturalist Anlaysis, Focus on Ideology and the Argument “it has *Something* to with Islam”

Source: Twitter, @CityNews

Whilst the impassioned feelings after the attacks in Paris against civilian targets are one of sadness followed by rage, it would be safe to say that for the Muslim minorities in the West, the overall reaction is one of shock followed by continued anxiety.

This anxiety has varying sources and manifests itself in different ways.  From Muslims feeling compelled to apologise for crimes they neither condone or have any part in, to being publically compelled to condemn such attacks.  The anxiety is exasperated when Muslims witness the hypocrisy in such calls and take a principled stand in order to avoid political exploitation. Muslims are witnesses to similar atrocities against people of other faiths, geography and race, yet privileged elite in Parliament are not seen to issue a condemnation against such regular terrorism – as a matter of principle, why should public and vocal condemnation be forcibly extracted on certain violence as the state eye is rendered blind when the violence is born from Western policy? I am yet to see mass condemnatory statements for Palestinian babies being burned to death by Jewish settler terrorism, or Palestinian civilians shot to death “intentionally and unlawfully” by IDF terrorists (who also happen to run over two year old toddlers), from the Cameron government or the various state-authorised counter extremism organisations for that matter. And indeed, I do not see the Jewish community being asked to condemn or apologise. This suggests such calls are ideologically and politically driven rather than rooted in humanity.  Only white/Westernised power-structures are worthy of solidarity.

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Andrew Gilligan’s PREVENT-Infused Anti-Muslim “Journalism”

Attacks because of one’s faith or race, or any other identifying feature is unacceptable. It is dehumanising, and very often for the victim, traumatising. The perpetrators too, can be victims; victims of their own ignorance which is exasperated by stereotypes reinforced in the media and government officials.  Instead of fighting stereotypes, and challenging xenophobia, our government has institutionalised xenophobia, a necessary ingredient for hate-crimes and manufacturing consent for draconian policies.

As such I was happy to see Theresa May and other neocons mourning the increases in attacks against the Jewish community, even though the claims which prompted Theresa May’s reassurance were from a study which the Institute of Jewish Policy Research slammed as “littered with flaws”, with the conclusions being “dubious”, “irresponsible” and “incendiary”. Nevertheless, it was befuddling to see the comparative silence on the rise of attacks against the Muslim community, not just in the UK, but across Europe.  Instead, the rhetoric around the Muslims continued to assign blame to the Muslim community, calling on them to “do more”, and therefore reinforcing the far-right narrative that the Muslim minority is inherently to blame for every and any attack perpetrated anywhere in the world. It abhorrently played Muslims off the Jewish community, in a similar fashion to the political opportunism displayed in David Cameron’s Chanuka speech.

Key senior figures are clearly not interested anti-Muslim hate crime.  Tell MAMA, headed by the opportunistic Fiyaz Mughal, was set up as a government initiative.  Once the Foreign Office had published its 2013 report on Human Rights and lionised the fact that the Muslim minority had a comforting arm of the government cuddling the Muslim minority, Tell MAMA’s funding was promptly pulled.

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