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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Star Academies – Tauheedul Islam or Tauheedul Neoconservatism and Neoliberalism?

 A report last month triggered some consternation in Muslim circles. On the 26th of November, Star Academies – formerly, Tauheedul Educational Trust – was reported in the Times as having started an army cadet force at Tauheedul Islam Boys’ High School (TIBHS). It recorded a celebratory statement from the Star Academies chief executive Hamid Patel:

“They have recently been reflecting on the 400,000 Muslims who fought alongside the British Army for freedom during World War I…. So the launch of the cadet unit at TIBHS will be particularly poignant… We are excited that this will be the first cadet unit in the country established by a Muslim faith school.”

The report added that “local mosque leaders” had “given their blessing” to the militarisation of children and was being supported by parents and governors.

On the same day, a companion leading article with the subtitle “Cadet forces at Islamic schools could help to make the army more diverse” was also published in the same paper.  Both articles framed the news with three themes:

  1. “improving relations with Muslim communities”
  2. Selective history where Muslims are only seen to die for a dying British empire
  3. The army’s inability to “recruit from the Muslim community”.

The report was reproduced in a regional media outlet and the Asian ImageThe latter report usefully shared tweets from Star Academies and TIBHS’s Twitter accounts. Star Academies stated that they were “proud that [TIBHS] had become the first Islamic Faith School in the UK to start an army cadet force”.  TIBHS’s tweet claimed it was a “milestone”. The report also showed a Tweet from the racist Home Secretary Sajid Javid sharing the Times report declaring it to be “wonderful”.

There are deeply problematic issues with the activities of Star Academies and the psychological projects it is subjecting Muslim children to.  Pertinently, the Trust exemplifies a dangerous concoction of neoliberal and neoconservative policies.

In this piece, we will examine how the Star Academies has formed this troubling trajectory which has led to a disconcerting endpoint.

The trend is seeded in the period of 2011/12 when submissions were made to turn TIBHS into an academy. This was followed by waves of free school submissions. The submission forms reveal an insight into how Tauheedul has been pandering to detrimental policies from the outset.

Tauheedul states that it is “inspired by Deobandi Sunni Muslim values”. What will become apparent is that these set of values are not the only ones touted.

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Controlling Muslim Discourse: The Neoconservative Epistemology in Sara Khan’s Hope not Hate Piece

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 The last piece analysing Hope not Hate’s (HnH) report State of Hate 2017, engaged the question of Sara Khan’s circles of influence.  Her links to notorious members of the counter-Jihad movement would, at the very least, cast doubt on what was produced in the report. One of the structural flaws noted in my last piece was that Khan’s operating framework was the highly discredited PREVENT policy. The policy is based on neoconservative assumptions and promoted by those who intermingle with the worst of the far-right counter-Jihad movements.

This piece will take an epistemological account of Khan’s writing and elaborate the way in which destructive neoconservative assumptions permeate it, leading to the perpetuation of structural prejudice against the Muslim minority and control of Muslim discourse.

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A Review of the Louise Casey Review (3) – A Supremacist Far-Right, Neoconservative Screed of Double Standards and Muslim Minority Stigmatisation

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Part 1 (Introduction): A Review of the Casey review (1)

Part 2: A Review of the Louise Casey Review (2) – A Paper Influenced by the Transatlantic Neocon Hate-network

Having established the influence of the transatlantic neocon hate network in the Casey Review, and in order to better appreciate the content of the report, it is worth better understanding the neoconservative narrative which underpins the Casey Review.

The Far-Right/Neocon Eurabia Conspiracy Theory

The reduction of the “white population”, Muslim population growth, and Muslims living together in areas, are sinisterised constituents of a particular narrative which states there is an existential Muslim “takeover” threat to Europe aided by a secretive deal between Arabs and Europeans. This narrative was first promulgated by conspiracy theorist Gisèle Littman, better known by her pen-name Bat Ye’or.  The myth has been heavily criticised as a conspiracy theory and debunked by prominent scholars including Professor Arun Kundnani, who has likened its evidentiary credentials to the Protocols of Elders of Zion.

The conspiracy theory, however, has been adopted by neoconservatives and the far-right, including prominent actors of the Islamophobia industry Robert Spencer, Daniel Pipes and Pamela Geller.  It has been advocated by supremacist neoconservatives, fanned by the far-right “counter-jihad” movement, and adopted by paranoid, mass-murdering neo-Nazi terrorists. For full details of this myth and its promoters see here.

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Justin Welby’s Neocon Proclamations and the Civilizational Clash with Islam

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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.

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The Dark Shoddy “Science” Behind PREVENT

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In July of this year, I posted a blog asking the question in relation to the revelation that PREVENT was underpinned by a theory (Extremist Risk Guidance – ERG22+) formulated by British psychiatrists, What would these US psychologists make of Britain’s PREVENT Strategy? The American professors bluntly stated that the Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) agenda was “at best misguided, and at worst, vicious.”

The Pseudo-Science of PREVENT

CAGE’s devastating expose – The Science of Pre-Crime: The ‘Secret’ radicalisation study underpinning Prevent’– proves that Britain’s CVE – PREVENT – really is indeed, misguided, resulting in decisions which are vicious. The report exposes a 2010 study authored by two psychologists who are linked to the national security industry, Monica Lloyd and Christopher Dean, and used to formulate the pre-crime intervention model ERG22+.  Shockingly the authors themselves admitted that the research was lacking. Below are key quotes taken from the study:

“The current lack of demonstrated reliability and validity remains the main limitation of the ERG at this time. It remains essentially a qualitative tool that requires a level of professional judgment and experience to be effectively used.”

““The ERG is work in progress…”

“There remain important questions to be explored, most notably around reliability and validity,”

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Have ‘we’ forgotten about Prevent?

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CROSSPOST: Tait Coles

Student well-being and mental health is now high on the agenda of most schools; as it should be. The idea of students requiring support, advice and time to discuss their feelings of possible loneliness, depression and alienation is a positive one. Creating opportunities in schools to address students’ perceived stress and emotional well-being is an honourable and much-needed intervention. But, do we have the same approach for all of our students?

Well, we don’t if they’re subjected to Prevent. Prevent is a Government initiative to, “prevent people from being drawn into terrorism”. However, it is far more than that. As Arun Kundnani describes, it has become, “the basis for one of the most elaborate programs of surveillance and social control attempted in a Western state in recent decades” An excellent brief history of the Prevent agenda and how Counter Terrorism has infiltrated the state, by Dr. Maria Norris, can be found here.

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