The War on Terror breathed life into morbid industries. Those who were the fundamental cogs in the illegal, immoral and strategically catastrophic neoconservative war machine profiteered. Over the years it has also spurned another industry at the soft end of the War on Terror: counter extremism. Pimping the discourse of rights, and using it as a stick to beat a minority with, the language has shifted from rights to one of security.
Having observed over the past decade or so the recycling of the calls to “reform” or rather, deform Islam through various charlatans like Ziauddin Sardar, Ed Husain, Taj Hargey et al, the need to freshen the line up to resurge the desperate call is necessary. This is mainly because deconstructing Islam has been a somewhat difficult affair; Muslims understand the meticulous nature of their Book, belief and disbelief, and the fact that the calls to deform conveniently serve the neoconservative War on Terror agenda. Those who force a deformation of Islam using superficial and spurious argumentation do so often incredibly poorly, without any intellectual rigour and to the wine-sipping neo-colonial glee of the unctuous neoconservatives and their supporting, superficial Twitterati.
One of the most evident and prominent issues of self-proclaimed “reformist” deformists often guided by the malicious neoconservative discourse on Islam is that just a like a deformity, the arguments promulgated are often malformed, incongruent and inconsistent. With materialism and unfettered desires replacing a heart nurtured by spirituality, the claims of such individuals are as erratic as their egos. Be it “feminists” like Sara Khan using women as “weapons” in the fight against extremism, or “reforming liberal Muslims” who use post-modernist malarkey to give justification to their lifestyles devoid of Islam, oxymoron and desperation does not begin to describe these efforts to deconstruct Islam and the Muslim identity rooted in within the Islamic paradigm.
Maajid Nawaz is no different in avoiding these contradictions. Whether it is bemoandefing “hatchet-jobs” against him while feverishly tweeting blatant propaganda from the Daily Mail, happily receiving funding from “extremists” to counter-extremism, or attacking journalists and academics who have criticised him for their “privileged elite” backgrounds whilst simultaneously acting as a significant conduit in delivering a neoconservative, colonialist campaign of “reforming” Islam to the glee of hate preachers like Douglas Murray and Sam Harris, (and blatantly ignoring his own Western liberal privilege when lecturing Muslims about the need to reform Islam to conform to ethereal liberal ideals), there is a clear display of the hallmarks of one riddled with internal conflicts devoid of a stable moral-compass. Indeed, this moral compass, in his own words do not require “Hadith to set… morality”, the second foremost scriptural set of texts which form the basis of Islam.
David Cameron, it seems, is on a mission to prove to the world that Britain is rapidly losing its humanity. And I am not just referring to Cameron’s frankly abhorrent reluctance in responding to the mounting refugee crisis to which Britain has a hand in due its unethical and ill-conceived foreign policy.
Cameron, who is hypocritically jostling “British values” like human rights and democracy down the throats of Muslims, is also set to host the racist Benjamin Netanyahu for talks this month. A petition which has already reached 100,000 seeks his arrest for war crimes due to the Gaza massacre of 2014.
Crosspost: Sarah Hussain
Teacher Sarah Hussain tells the story of how a Sixth Form College in East London got involved in a dispute with its students about a prayer room and then called in the Quilliam Foundation’s Usama Hasan to sort it out.
Given that I’m a teacher and that I have a 17 year old sister currently doing her A-levels, it came as a surprise to me to see people from The London Academy of Excellence in East London on the list of guests to The Quilliam Foundation’s summer gala, as 5Pillars recently reported.
This led onto an interesting conversation with my sister (not a pupil of LAE) and her peers who do attend the Sixth Form College. I asked them if they were familiar with the controversial organisation, knowing full well that there’s a large intake of Muslim students at LAE and Quilliam aren’t exactly wildly popular among the Muslim community.
It was soon brought to my attention that during the summer term there had been a huge controversy at the school after students were refused a place to pray Jumaah prayers.
Apparently LAE had outright refused to cater to the needs of the Muslim students who wanted to pray Jumaah every Friday – citing “lack of space” as a reason.
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.
The last blog I wrote was originally an introduction to this piece. It was meant to provide the context so that one could fully comprehend the gravity of what is to be outlined here. Please do take a read of that first (see here).
I had noted that the model of promoting “moderate Islam” – i.e. an Islam reduced to rituals and subservient to Western interests – was to be promoted using mainly Sufi scholars to give legitimacy to draconian policies. Previously, I have brought to the fact that this model had become resurgent and highlighted Imams Online, which was using traditional/Sufi scholars in a similar fashion to Radical Middle Way: to project a particular narrative of events in the context of Muslims. It was also promoting “scholars” associated with deformation of Islam, such as Khola Hasan, Usama Hasan and Manwar Ali.
Since then, the model has gained further momentum, particularly so with Shaykh Tahir-ul-Qadri’s theatrics in Westminster. Before discussing the event it is worth looking at Shaykh Qadri and his previous endeavours.
Unfortunately, it has become something of a regular occurrence to erroneously attack Islamic principles for the self-declared “reformist” deformist Maajid Nawaz. My prayer has always been for him to forsake the attention of the ephemeral for the pleasure of the One. I will continue with this prayer. Nevertheless, his points need to be exposed.
Maajid Nawaz has been making frequent comments on Twitter and Facebook on the need to “reform” Islam, standing in “solidarity” with the likes of Irshad Manji, Tarek Fatah and even Ayaan Hirsi. In one comment he declares quite clearly his intentions: to remould Islam concordant with a source which is external to Islam itself, as opposed to allowing it to sprout forth from the sources themselves. His post-modernist, deconstructionist outlook can be witnessed clearly in his statement: “there is no ‘correct’ Islam,” apparently, “it is all interpretation”. Quite.
Recently, in a Facebook update Nawaz wrote about a “problematic hadith”, which, according to him demonstrated the need for reform. The status itself was marketing for his contribution to a panel discussion held in a London Synagogue, entitled “Europe and Anti-Semitism: Are we at a civilisational crisis point?” On the panel are Douglas Murray and Alan Mendoza, directors of the Henry Jackson Society.