The deformation of Islam has not always had its roots in what are today clearly identifiable subversive “reform Muslims” and organisations. Traditional Ulama (Islamic scholars) have been politically exploited to provide the means by which neocons can push their agenda to deconstruct Islam. These “moderate” scholars would provide the legitimising face behind which lurked an insidious agenda to deform Islam into what Cheryl Bernard’s RAND corporation publication would call a “democratised Islam”; a postmodernist faith devoid of substance or meaning.
The push for the creation of a “British Islam” during the late 2000s was rooted in an underlying aim to create an “institutionally approved, ‘mainstream’, and ‘moderate’ expression of Islam”, which, through state-funded Muslim organisations (like Radical Middle Way and National Muslim Women’s Advisory Group), would “engineer if not exact power” in the Muslim community. Of course, scholars that had initially given backing to such organisations have now distanced themselves from the counter-extremism policies which these initial projects engendered.
The effort to abuse Sufi Islam into courting a political agenda has seen a resurgence domestically and internationally. These trends and movements are, tellingly, monitored and advocated by Israel due to the somewhat misplaced assumption that it provides for a pliant Islam which is amenable to Western military escapades in Muslim lands.
Recent reports and events demonstrate an evolution of this tired trickery.
This is the final part to a series of blogs analysing the recent Channel 4 documentary titled, “What British Muslims Really Think”
Part 1: An Orchestrated Attack on Islam
Part 2: Brief Profile of Trevor Phillips
Part 3: Trevor Phillips’ Propaganda and Normalisation of Muslim Minority Discrimination
Part 4: Trevor Phillips and the Forging of a Closed Society
Having delved into the Straussian nightmare neoconservatives are dog-whistling to implement for broader society in the previous article, here we will examine the implications of Trevor Phillips’ words for the Muslim minority by drawing parallels with particular events in history.
Evil to Outsiders
Alienating a particular minority in order to achieve neoconservative objectives necessitates an enemy. Further, the Straussian conception of justice of the state, in the words of Shadia Drury, means doing “evil to enemies or outsiders”.
By treating Muslims as the outsiders – “a nation within the nation” – the enemy is conceived and thus, evil unto them is legitimised.
The past couple of weeks have been quite eventful in the context of the “reformist” deformist attack on Islam. There is no longer a need for a smokescreen of social issues behind which to mount the attack. It seems to be the case that the events like the actions of ISIS have provided a sufficient pretext to renew the call to deform Islam. This, despite the fact that scholars from different theological backgrounds have continually expressed their revulsion at ISIS activities, not as a matter of political expedience but through Islamic textual deductions.
The Conveyor Belt to Disbelief
Neoconservatism has been at the forefront of pushing a reformation, or as I call it, a deformation in Islam, particularly after the onset of the Iraq War. Leading neocon and architect of the disastrous US foreign policy, Paul Wolfowitz stated on the eve of the Iraq war,
“We need an Islamic reformation and I think there is a real hope for one”.
The fountains of traditional Islamic learning also came in for neocon smear. In a speech at Georgetown University on the 30th of October 2003, Wolfowitz described madaaris (Islamic schools) as “schools that teach hatred, schools that teach terrorism” while providing free “theologically extremist teaching to ‘millions’” of Muslim children.