The effect of fascist neoconservatives subverting and controlling the discourse on Muslims into a distinctly populist and discriminatory one is something which will be recorded in history and frequently recalled as a dark chapter in Britain’s history. However, history will also recall that some of the key turning points in opposing policies which erode the civil liberties of all in Britain were significantly led by Muslims who were prepared to stick their head above the parapet and sought the reinstatement of shared principles like accountability, rule of law and due process – principles which neoconservatives have systematically decimated over the past decade.
When Muslim advocacy group CAGE successfully challenged Zionist neocon William Shawcross’ Charity Commission in the High Court for pressuring charities funding the organisation, the increasingly nervous third sector welcomed it as a form of relief from a bullying regulator. Third Sector’s Stephen Cook wrote at that time,
Cage is not a charity, but it has done the charity sector an important service by applying for and, earlier this month, obtaining leave for a judicial review of the actions of the Charity Commission…
A similar critical action is taking place more specifically in the context of “extremism”.
We live in an age where those who work towards realising idealised principles of the rule of law, transparency and due process are smeared by their governments and press.
Julian Assange is the most recent case in point. In the face of the categorical UN ruling that Assange was being subjected to arbitrary detention, the British press has been focussed on his rape allegations. David Cameron has deflected that Assange “should stand trial in Sweden, a country with a fair reputation for justice” so there could be an “end to the sorry saga”. What has been forgotten is that the Swedish prosecutor refused to go to London to interview Assange for more than four years before being questioned by a Swedish court for her failure to progress investigations into what Helena Kennedy QC said was “unlikely to lead to conviction”. Then of course there is the ever so minor detail that Sweden refuses to issue safety guarantees to the Wikileaks founder which would prevent extradition to the US to face potentially the death penalty.
Edward Snowden is another prominent example of a smear campaign. Western security agencies have strongly tried to associate his actions of accountability with the secular blasphemy that is the threat to national security. Incidentally, he also exposed previously unknown British activity with regards to bulk surveillance, and now there is an attempt by Theresa May to ex-post facto legalise the gross invasion of privacy via the Investigatory Powers Bill and in particular the recent, criticised investigatory powers tribunal ruling on GCHQ bulk surveillance.
Crosspost by: Asim Qureshi
Living in the western world, we sometimes fall into the trap of thinking of rights and due process only within the context of an international framework established through key documents such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Often by doing so, we miss the history and importance that other cultures, communities and societies have brought to these modern day formulations.
Currently the Muslim community in the UK has become the victim of a number of policies where due process has been removed completely. The cases of the five men who were extradited to the US, including Babar Ahmad and Syed Talha Ahsan; those men facing deportation, such as Abu Qatada; and finally those who have their citizenships removed, such as Mahdi Hashi – all have in common that the fundamental guarantees of due process have been denied to them.