In the previous piece, I established an intertwining set of connections between PR companies involved in the Iraq war, the Islamophobia industry, the comical Commission for Countering Extremism and the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change (“Institute”).
Whilst the Institute’s report – “Narratives of Division – The Spectrum of Islamist Worldviews in the UK” – should not be taken seriously on account of it being advocated by the degenerate Blair, the issue remains that the framework outlined in the report will most likely influence the evolution of the “extremism” discourse. The report’s method is not disconnected from PREVENT. It is in fact a consistent set of ideas employed by neocons and followed by some Muslim organisations also.
It is important, therefore to critique the proposed methodology and outline its draconian trajectory.
NOTE: Since writing the last piece, which garnered thousands of hits, Facebook has locked my coolnessofhind account. The only way Facebook allows me to unlock it is to provide a photo id – a passport, driving license or a marriage certificate. I find this very strange, and refuse to provide these highly personal details especially to a dubious corporation like Facebook. I have therefore set up a second FB account. Please add/join me there.
Tauheedul Islam Boys High School, run by Star Academies, was reported in the Times as having started a cadet force, to the strange glee of Star Academies Chief Executive Mufti Hamid Patel. This piece is the second in a series examining Star Academies, how it got to a point where it is celebrating an agenda to militarise young Muslim children, and what it is subjecting Muslim children to.
In the previous piece, it was shown how Star Academies – previously known as Tauheedul Educational Trust – had entrenched neoliberal and neoconservative policies from the outset of their free schools journey. Hamid Patel, had passionately defended the free schools neoliberalisation agenda, supported Michael Gove when he departed as Secretary of State for Education, and maintained what seems like a mutually beneficial relationship between neoliberal elements of the government and Star Academies.
In this section, I will continue to examine Star Academies to better understand the Trust’s recent moves.
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:
- “improving relations with Muslim communities”
- Selective history where Muslims are only seen to die for a dying British empire
- The army’s inability to “recruit from the Muslim community”.
The report was reproduced in a regional media outlet and the Asian Image. The 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.
Part 1: A Review of the Casey review (1)
As the introductory part of this series showed, a timeline of events and the PM’s proclamations had pretty much predetermined the outcomes of the Casey Review. The government now needed a person who could see this agenda through to its toxically racist end. Casey, based on her history, was the right person to get this done.
Louise Casey – Violently Averse to Evidence-Based Policy
Casey is referred to as a “Tsar”. A 2009 Commons Select Committee noted that a “Tsar” differs from a civil servant in two respects; “first the direct appointment by the minister or Prime Minister and second a degree of public personal identification with a particular policy or piece of work which would not normally be expected from a civil servant or special adviser.” In effect, the process shuns Parliamentary parties, and therefore potential opposition in the formulation of a policy in favour of individuals that operate as cronies. In written evidence submitted to the Committee, Professor Martin Smith of Sheffield University highlighted that Tzars like Casey “are not morally neutral; they have an explicit function to achieve particular government objectives”.
I was experiencing some hesitation in writing on Louise Casey’s review into opportunity and integration, for there is no theme or narrative in the report which I have not deconstructed and then exposed as being underpinned by fascist, neoconservative ideas. However, bar a few incisive comment pieces on the report, many articles have barely scratched the surface in terms of articulating just how repulsively dangerous the content of this Review really is. This requires documentation.
The drums of “integration” have been beating for years as minorities, and in particular the Muslim minority, have been objectified as convenient fodder for political exploitation; they are the glutton for systemic policy failures and the problems flowing from an ever widening economic (and reality) gap between the establishment and broader society. The review into integration by Louise Casey however, has a more explicitly sharper ideological slant, which can be traced to David Cameron’s reign and in turn, his circle of psychotic neocons.
Those promoting PREVENT are getting desperate, it seems. Sources in Birmingham forwarded a letter from Waverley School (Birmingham) directed to parents, stating that the school will participate in a BBC Panorama documentary promoting PREVENT. The letter reads that the BBC programme will “showcase some of the excellent work we do around Safeguarding and the Prevent Duty”. The film crew will be in the school tomorrow (25th November) and requests the parents to fill in a consent form.
Letter to parents
BBC Consent Form
1st Knight charity founder Andy Linihan
An undercover investigation by the BBC Scotland found that a military charity which raises funds for military veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, was selling anti-Islamic and Nazi-themed items.
According to the report, the founder of 1st Knight Military Charity, Andy Linihan, was selling a Velcro badge which is designed to be placed on uniforms or baseball caps. Underneath the picture of an assault rifle were the words “72 Virgins Express”, which meant, according to Linihan, the shooting of suicide bombers. One T-shirt had a picture of two naked women, a pint of beer and a pig. It read: ‘Pork-eating, beer-drinking, womanising infidel’. The charity volunteer explained:
“They’re not allowed to eat it are they? These Muslims. Pork-eating, beer-drinking – basically it’s against their religion. Womanising – they’re not allowed to womanise, are they? And yet they call us infidels.”
Other merchandise included Nazi-themed T-shirts and hooded jumpers emblazoned with neo-Nazi emblems.
Alton Sterling on the ground before he was fatally shot.
CROSSPOST: Ibrahim Mohamoud
FIGURES FROM America reveal that young black men were killed by police at five times the rate of white men of the same age in 2015. In 97% of police shootings, the officers involved were not charged with a crime.
On July 6, Alton Sterling was arrested, pinned down and then shot several times at point blank range by police officers in Louisiana. Before Americans and the rest of the world had fully comprehended this killing, the next day another man, Philando Castile, was also shot dead by police while his partner and her four-year-old daughter were in the car with him in Minnesota.
The killing of Alton Sterling and Castile were both recorded and posted online and stunned black communities. Black lives were once again shown not to matter. After the shock comes grief, then protests and vigils.
But a minority react violently. These people may have untreated mental health issues or a history of violence, but the trigger for their revenge is the perception that such a wrong can only be righted with violence. To say the trigger is real, the anger justified and the concerns valid, does not however negate the fact that the violence is criminal.
But instead of focussing on these very real grievances, existing power structures shift the focus to ideology.
CROSSPOST: Alastair Sloan
Writer Francis Beckett has an interesting piece in the Guardian this morning regarding his fathers prominent role in Britain’s fascist movement. He reveals that from 1945 to 1955 his home was under MI5 surveillance, and states that he believes the government played a role in maintaining and even increasing his fathers radical beliefs.
My father came out of prison far more racist – and, in particular, antisemitic – than we went in: a phenomenon familiar to those who have studied wartime detention.
After the war, the constant surveillance, which he knew was there but could never pin down, made him just a little mad. He was noisy and entertaining, he could tell a good anecdote, but there was something strange about him. And sometimes he would say something about a race – about Jews or about black people – so gross and offensive that, even as a child in the 1950s, it made me start and stare.
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.