A Review of the Louise Casey Review (4) – The Deformation of Islam and Minority Rights

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The interrogation and assault on Muslims and their faith is uniquely focussed, with most of the distinctly colonialist, alienation rhetoric directed towards orthodox Islam.  This is ironic given that the Review claims social interaction is good because it results in “a better understanding of differences”.[1] Further “mutual respect” (a quality which Muslims fair better than their Christian peers in the context of faiths according to the Review) is also considered by Casey as a value “integral to a cohesive nation”.[2]  Yet Casey then speaks of a “growing concern” about a “divergence of attitudes and values among minority communities”, which she then categorises as “extremist” and “regressive”.[3] Surely, if there is conviction in the value of respecting differences, “divergence of attitudes and values” should not be problem? Not so. Whilst demanding respect of for “quintessentially British” things like queueing and the Queen, Casey weaponises the alternate beliefs of Muslims in order to render the Muslim minority an alien community.

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“English Islam” and the “Wahaabi” Scapegoat

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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.

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Recent reports and events demonstrate an evolution of this tired trickery.

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A Response to Shaista Gohir’s Huff Post Piece

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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.

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Islam is Not the Problem, Neoconservatism is.

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A report commissioned by 5Pillarsuk.com reveals some interesting insights into the beliefs and views of Muslims in Britain.  One hundred and fifty “influential” Muslim respondents across the Islamic spectrum were queried. The results demonstrate a problematic curve ball for neoconservatives and their endless efforts to target Islam and Muslims.

The questions revolved around normative Islamic beliefs, and across the board a generally high level of agreement with these beliefs was achieved. Participants rebutted dominant propaganda against Islam and Muslims. For instance, 100% agreed or strongly agreed that forced marriages are forbidden, and 100% agreed or strongly agreed that British Muslims are an “integral part of the UK”. It also established a high rate of agreement upon those beliefs and practices which are typically attacked by politicians in concert with the media, analysts and commentators:

  • Segregation of men and women in closed public, or religious settings – over 80% agreed or strongly agreed
  • There is no compulsion in Islam, no one can be forced to become Muslim – over 95% agreed/strongly agreed
  • Hijab is an obligation in Islam – over 95% agreed or strongly agreed
  • Niqab is a legitimate piece of Islamic clothing – over 90% agreed or strongly agreed (chart 16 is somewhat unclear)
  • Islam is a holistic comprehensive way of life – over 97% agreed or strongly agreed
  • Jihad as is mandated in the Qur’an is used to maintain or restore order, peace and security or to remove oppression and injustice – over 95% agreed or strongly agreed.

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Deforming Faith and History to Serve a Neocon Agenda Part III – Adam Deen

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This third and final part directly continues from the Part II:

Deforming Faith and History to Serve a Neocon Agenda Part I: Rashad Ali

Deforming Faith and History to Serve a Neocon Agenda Part II: Sara Khan

Also operating within the well-oil neocon counter-extremism machine is the Quilliam Foundation, which brings us to Adam Deen’s rather expected (see here also) announcement of joining the cold war-era style state-validator organisation. In his blog piece announcing the squandering of his faith, Deen convolutedly explains why he wants to fight “extremism” but fails to convincingly explain why he would join an organisation born in the lap of another extremism – neoconservatism – which continues to legitimise neoconservative policies.

This equivocation-ridden nucleus in his piece indicates to the pseudo-intellectualism which comes head way in the second paragraph.  Deen is, like Sara Khan, a fan of the deconstructionist, Khaled Abou El Fadl.  The fanboyism, though, is taken to a new level. He writes,

“It may not be coincidence that al-Hakim al-Jishumiyya al-Bayhaqi (a Hanafi Mu’tazili jurist from the 12th century) in his book ‘Satan’s Epistle’ asks: “if Satan were given the chance to speak on the Day of Judgment, whom would he pay tribute to?”  Al Bayhaqi concludes that Satan would end up praising and thanking every Muslim who adapted ideas that attributed to God things that were irrational, unjust or hideous.”

This is lifted from Abou El Fadl’s The Search for Beauty in Islam: A Conference of Books almost verbatim:[1]

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Deforming Faith and History to Serve a Neocon Agenda Part II: Sarah Khan

 

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The piece continues from the first part:

Deforming Faith and History to Serve a Neocon Agenda Part I: Rashad Ali


 

Whilst Ali is known amongst Islamic scholarly circles for twisting texts and now history to suit the views his paymasters demand of him, there are other characters who are willing accomplices in this project.

Sara Khan seems to have been on a bit of a mission to shake off the negativity surrounding her involvement as a human rights-touting feminist who confusingly promotes the human rights-violating PREVENT Strategy through the incredibly feminist “weaponisation” of Muslim women.  The Guardian’s Alex Preston penned a piece late last month looking at Khan and her work. Of pertinence is the exploitation, like her human rights and feminism discourse, of Islam.

Ignoring the fact that Islam guides on all facets of life, Khan homes in on the “fascination” of “Muslim clerics and preachers” with women’s clothing. For her, removing the veil “was about removing the authority of religious clerics”.  Of course, with statements like that, considering that the Prophet of Islam was a man who designated the status of the Ulama as “heirs of the Prophets”she might as well absolve herself of the authority Allah, and His Messenger, peace be upon him.

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Deforming Faith and History to Serve a Neocon Agenda Part I: Rashad Ali

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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 SardarEd HusainTaj 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.

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