Last year, the hate-financed Henry Jackson Society published a report on how to spin away criticism of PREVENT. One of its suggestions was to recast the public surveillance programme as “safeguarding”. There has been an amplification of this spin by most government-paid PREVENT practitioners, promoters and careerists since then. This claim both from a historic and conceptual point of view, is woefully inaccurate and a continued demonstration of how the PREVENT industry is deceptively manipulating narratives.
Ignoring History? PREVENT’s Discriminatory “Influence Campaign”
As I have explicated in some detail, the counter-productive pre-crime approach to countering terrorism was not based on empirical evidence but the paradigmatically neoconservative military doctrine of pre-emption. McCulloch and Wilson (2015), in their book exploring “pre-crime” intervention state,
“The declaration of the “war on terror” was the catalyst for a more pre-emptive approach to threats.”
With the War on Terror aimed at Muslim countries, PREVENT’s focus from its very inception has been to control Islam and Muslims through what Ruth Kelly once called the “winning of hearts and minds” – a punch line which inherently denoted propaganda warfare and which usually accompanies hot war. The fundamental difference to normal propaganda warfare during military campaigns and the PREVENT Strategy is that PREVENT is being waged against Britain’s own Muslim citizens. In 2007, PREVENT funds were directed to those local authorities in England with 5 per cent or more of their population identifying as Muslim. In other words, funding was allocated based on the number of Muslims as opposed to risk. This discriminatory focus on Muslims has continued through the years, with the Guardian last year reporting that PREVENT was being prioritised to target mainly Muslim areas.
A study published in the Journal of Neuroscience some years ago provided insight into learning and in particular, learning from one’s mistakes. The study found that good learners demonstrated greater neural activity and would use feedback not only to check their past performance, but also to adjust their next performance accordingly.
From an Islamic perspective, of course, this not exactly a ground-breaking discovery. The Qur’an encourages believers to take stock of history in an admonitory fashion:
“Has the news of those before you not reached you – the nation of Nuh, Aad, and Thamud?”
Well before Foucault was exploring the concept of the “technologies of the self”, Islam had encouraged individual spiritual accountability by pondering over one’s deeds and actions. Reflection is key to forging ahead in a manner where mistakes are not repeated. It contextualises the succinct narration of the Prophet, peace be upon, found in Bukhari,
“The believer is not stung from the same hole twice”.
This brings us neatly to recent events involving the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB). The MCB’s behaviour has been somewhat strangely masochistic, enjoying an impending second sting with open arms.
My Article: Deformist Subversions: “British Islam” Architects and Shaista Gohir
Shaista Gohir’s Response: 50 Shades of Extremism – Muslims Policing Other Muslims
A few days ago, self-proclaimed Muslim feminist Shaista Gohir took to the Huffington Post to respond to a piece I had written on this blog over a week ago where I critiqued her views on Islam, highlighted her suspect timings of reports in which she was involved in, and exposed her connections to the global Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) agenda.
And no, this is not an “Islamist lie” like Maajid Nawaz seems to have informed you. It is however, a neoconservative conspiracy, which spans the inception of the War on Terror.
David Cameron’s doublespeaking speech was incessant in its assertion that there is no conspiracy to “destroy Islam”.
Increasingly, it seems that practically any argument, however well referenced, even academically-backed, is to be rapidly brought into the sphere of “extremism” or “Islamism” and suppressed through State apparatus. They have become the terms through which the government is censoring counter-narratives.
For neocons, “active opposition” to their civic religion of secular liberalism and its symbols – “British values” of democracy, rule of law and human rights – is equivalent to “undermining” it. It is “an attack” no less. To protect it, the state has effectively deployed the counter-extremism and terrorism industry. However, the double-standards applied by neocons means that any effort to undermine Islam, as understood from the time of the Companions of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, and explained and refined through the past fourteen centuries by thousands of Ulama – scholars of impeccable learning and piety – cannot be seen as an “attack on Islam”. Nay, for David Cameron and his colonialist brown-sahibs, it is part of the “Islamist” narrative. Presumably the “extremism” policy, which imposes an extreme interpretation of secular liberalism on Muslims and an opposition to it seen as “undermining our values”, is also part of the “Islamist” narrative.