It is that time of the year: a hectic month as the British people recover from their frenzied Christmas shopping, briefly punctuated with the peace of the annual family get together, only to be followed by scrambling over various items thanks to the hype produced by corporations eager to increase the debt through boxing day “sales”. As the recovery from these activities begins and the damage to the bank accounts dawn, we take advantage of this lull for some customary reflection.
This year has been a particularly unsettling one; the sordidly racist campaign which ultimately culminated in Brexit; the far-right terrorist attack claiming the life of Jo Cox – the first killing of an MP in 26 years; the B-movie being played in the US starring Donald Trump, the West-wide rise of the far-right and unleashing of political and social xenophobia, security globalisation via totalitarian measures like the Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) agenda; Britain passing one of the world’s widest and intrusive surveillance laws; the list goes on. Sadly, it is the Muslim minority, either through scapegoating or being subjected to the fruits of this dangerous concoction of nationalism, disenfranchisement through the global neoliberal order, and neoconservative domestic and foreign policies, which has by and large, bore the brunt.
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.
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.
There are certain things in life which you simply do not do. Reducing the benefits of the most vulnerable in society, like the disabled. Taking a country to war based on lies. Abusing children as the BBC and powerful elites turn a blind eye. And, of course, working with those linked to the notorious Quilliam Foundation.
ISB’s senior leadership, whilst leaving their former president Ahtsham Ali hanging as yet another victim in Michael Gove’s war on Islam, has had no qualms about liaising with and even defending deformists like Quilliam’s Usama Hasan, for instance. Connected to this group of individuals are people like Dilwar Hussain, former ISB president and a deformist who is listed among the personnel at the pro-Israel, neoconservative Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD), which influences the global Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) imperial agenda.
The past week saw a chummy deformist get together to discuss the neocon-cherished topic of “British Islam”. Organised by Hussain’s New Horizons in British Islam, speakers in attendance provided for a who’s who list of opportunist spin-doctors and deformists. Thus speaking at the seminar was ISD “senior researcher” Rashad Ali, known for is dubious contortions of Islam, subversion of Muslim communities, his close relationship with anti-Muslim propagandist Andrew Gilligan and promoting Zionist propaganda. The state-approved Fiyaz Mughal, Usama Hasan of the Quilliam/neocon, far-right linked Muslim Reform Movement, and his newly acquired colleague Salah al-Ansari also made an appearance.
It has been ten years since the ripples which reverberated through London changed the world for Britain’s inhabitants. The status quo majority underwent a subtle, but continuous and consistent shift of views under the guiding hand of the neocons elite and a deluge of think-tanks which were established to ensure this. This included moving the public scrutiny away from government actions – domestic and foreign – towards ideology, and specifically, Islam and Muslims. A relentless barrage of negative reporting ensured that Muslims were carved out as the “suspect community” possessing all the hallmarks of a barbaric nation, whilst Western war crimes and excesses were dressed and therefore legitimised in the garb of “national security”. Freedoms were also protected on this basis through suspensions of civil liberties.
In my previous blog, I elucidated upon the overt strategy of deforming Islam. In short, individuals, Muslims and non, demand a change in Islam, either by removing parts of the Qur’an, or by post-modernist deconstructionism vis-à-vis free-for-all interpretations of the texts. In this piece I intend to cover another method of pushing deformation and control: through the subterfuge of fronting traditional scholars for the counter-extremism agenda.
The desire for a deformation in Islam, if it wasn’t clear from my previous blog, is to control/shape Muslims and/or their thinking. At the geopolitical level, Muslim movements deemed “moderate” are being closely monitored by Western governments and their agencies. A digital leak published by Al-Jazeera shows the Zionist intelligence agency, Mossad, tracking government-sponsored movements promoting “moderate Islam”. It notes that Arab and North African states are abusing Islamic scholars to push a “moderate Islam” in order to effectively ensure government compliance. The Egyptian government, for instance, has “harnessed” Al-Azhar institute and the Waqf bureau by sending their scholars on “indoctrination missions” to Sinai at the behest of the regime. As another example, the top secret document records that a new association of scholars has been set up and tasked to disseminate “moderate Islam based on the Maliki School in the accepted Sahel states and considered moderate compared to other schools of Sunni Islam.” It carries out “propaganda” work to prevent radicalisation and violence. In essence, Islam and traditional scholars are being abused to instantiate state control, all to the glee of Mossad.
The question is what is this “moderate Islam” which excites Mossad?
The neocon-compliant John Ware referenced the below event with some quick footage in his propaganda Panorama documentary about “British Islam”. The question did cross my mind as to why he didn’t play some snippets from talks at this event, against a backdrop of sinister music and darkened composition knocked together by a seemingly over-zealous amateur working with Adobe After Effects. After all, he did refer to the journalist in the below video, Muhammad Dilwar Hussain, as a “mouthy young Islamist”. What must have twiddled his whiskers to such an extent that he had to copy and paste cheap-shots from Harry’s Place?
Upon watching it, I realised his latent tension. Had he had done so, he would have exposed himself and the very strategy targeting the Muslim minority which he tried (and failed) to prop: the PREVENT Strategy.