For all the talk about the need to “integrate” Muslims through the British values social engineering programme, linguistic imperialism, and the white knights rescuing Muslim women in the name of equality and freedom, the hypocrisy stemming from the upper echelons of government has been brazen. Whilst on this blog I have brought to attention the discriminatory nature of PREVENT, counter-terrorism, and the judiciary, the latent anti-Islam and anti-Muslim attitudes have become increasingly apparent and overt. An assimilationist, extreme interpretation of secular liberalism, whilst being forced upon Muslims and their beliefs, has been notable only by its absence at the state level. In an increasingly, rare, brilliant piece in the Guardian, Jospeh Harker summed it up aptly in his tactful play on the neocon economic policy of choice, “trickle-down hate”:
“Muslims seem a particular target of his divisive and alienating language… Cameron’s dog-whistles matter. They may appear to be mere words – jokes or slips of the tongue; but they set the parameters and the tone of the debate. We could call this trickle-down hate. So if he makes a bold statement about the niqab, or some other aspect of multicultural Britain, it will go to the top of the news agenda, even if it’s in actual fact insignificant or completely wrong – as in the so-called Trojan Horse scandal in Birmingham schools, which a parliamentary committee inquiry ruled to be groundless… Cameron speaks; his entourage pushes further; the media responds; and on the streets, the abuse and attacks kick off. Sadly, Cameron and the Tories seem to believe that the answer to a broken nation is to break it some more.”
Fulfilling the annual ritual of attacking the smallest minority within a minority (women in niqab – subject of a follow-up blog) came with an additional twist this year, spearheading Muslims, their beliefs and manifestations across the media spectrum. The right-wing relished in reproducing defunct diatribe of the Yasmin Alibhai Brown variety. The Guardian meanwhile comforted itself in introducing David Cameron to the concept of empathy, whilst asserting he was right to “raise the often unfavourable position” of Muslim women. The additional twist was Cameron dictating to his subjects that learning English reduces susceptibility to extremism. Whilst there have been a fair few commentaries and responses, the blatant elephant in the room has been completely ignored: structural, flagrant discrimination and racism.
The red herrings in this discourse and Cameron’s Cameronialism exhibited in his Times comment – titled We wont let women be second-class citizens – as such requires deconstruction.
Crosspost: Dilly Hussain
In light of the new recording of Islamophobia law coming into effect in April, controversial anti-Muslim hate monitoring organisation Tell Mama will inevitably be made redundant, writes Dilly Hussain.
Muslims across the UK are eagerly awaiting the publication of the much-anticipated Counter Extremism Bill.
Prolific Government statements throughout 2015 set out its intent to tackle the “extremist ideology” that apparently lurks behind “Islamist extremism”, and the justifiable counter-concerns about yet further encroachments on Muslim civil liberties, makes this as significant a political struggle as the Counter Terrorism and Security Bill at the start of 2015.
In all honesty, I feel for the journalists working at establishment papers who have to churn out desperate and utterly dubious rubbish to protect the state’s totalitarian tendencies. Bills need to be paid, afterall. The Telegraph, with its history of neoconservatism is one such paper. With the likes of Dean Godson, and Charles Moore, the Telegraph was, according to its former editor Martin Newland, effectively a mouthpiece for US and Zionist interests. Today, the standard of journalism – or churnalism – is Andrew Gilligan-level: dubious state-propagandist tripe of the neoconservative variety. And it seems with the stalled and now exhumed and resuscitated Telegraph piece attempting to a) delegitimise PREVENT opposition and advocacy group CAGE, and b) intimidate Muslim charities to not work with them, the neoconservative tradition of spin, deception and outright lies continues.
The Government’s Counter Extremism strategy was published today following reports in the weekend papers about £5 million in funding being put aside to fund groups “to build a national coalition against extremism – in communities and online” and mention of the strategy including measures to ban “hate preachers from using the internet or working with children”.
The strategy published today is much the same in content as the report by the Prime Minister’s Extremism Taskforce which has laid much of the groundwork for what has since followed in policy announcements about tackling extremism. The criticisms levelled at the Taskforce report, about its lack of evidence base to validate assertions made and its overreliance on the notion of “ideology” being at the root of radicalisation are all repeated in the strategy published today.
The strategy also reiterates much of what we have already heard from the Home Secretary, Theresa May and the Prime Minister, David Cameron about the Government’s “crackdown” on extremism, with its conflation of integration policy, on “boosting opportunity and integration”, and racialised, essentialist assumptions about Muslims and “illegal cultural practices” such as forced marriage, honour killings and female genital mutilation.
The references to a review of shari’ah tribunals in the UK sits uneasily in a strategy supposedly about championing British values and celebrating the “vibrant, buoyant and diverse” British society that has been cultivated over the years.
More strange is a citation which presents evidence submitted to Baroness Caroline Cox as evidence of “extremism” – this is the same Baroness Cox who invited Geert Wilders to the UK and said of Muslims, “Islam is using the freedoms of democracy to destroy it”. There is a certain irony in making mention of individuals with extremist connections in a strategy about “counter-extremism”. Odd too that the Extremism Analysis Unit which is supposedly the holy grail in identifying “extremists” missed the likes of Baroness Cox and her association with the notoriously Islamophobic Gatestone Institute. A case of civil servants asleep on the job?
My intention was to cover this aspect in the second part of my analysis of Theresa May’s anti-Muslim, discriminatory, hypocritical speech. However, given the outrageous Muslim minority discrimination exhibited by the Home Office, the issue needs to be separately.
May announced that Shari’ah courts are to be investigated, because she “knows there is a problem”. As an example she states that,
“there is evidence of women being “divorced” under Shari’ah law and left in penury”
However, there is also “evidence” of Jewish women being left in marriage limbo due to the abuse by the husband issuing a “get” (divorce). The Beth Din courts govern Halacha (Jewish law). A “get” is required for either of the couple to remarry. Where the husband refuses a “get”, the wife is left in the status of “agunah”, or “chained woman”. If the wife then remarries in this state, her subsequent children (“mamzer”), which are religiously regarded as illegitimate, are treated as outcasts as they cannot marry a fellow Jew and the stigma remains down the line.
John Ware’s content suggests he is an establishment journalist who makes the facts fit the government agenda. However, in order to grasp an idea of his political outlook one needs to examine some of his work.
In an article for the Jewish Chronicle (JC), Ware praises Douglas Murray as a “titan of the commentariat”, and defends his trivialisation of Islamophobia, who calls it a “crock” to the sharp criticism of another JC writer, David Aaronovitch. Douglas Murray needs no introduction. An ardent neocon, he has called Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, a “very bad man”, and Islam along with the Qur’an, “bad”. He translates this hate into calls for special negative treatment of Muslims, by making conditions for them in Europe “harder across the board”. According to Murray, even “universal” human rights are tiered, with the rights of “West’s people [overriding] those of the Islamist’s in their midst.”
His Henry Jackson Society is funded by a transnational Islamophobia-pumping industry. In the discussion between Aaronovitch and Murray, Ware sides with Murray and echoes him in “rationalising” away his exceptional treatment of Muslims, justifying his position by stating that anti-Semitism is “entirely irrational” whilst Islamophobia is “reactive”. He then attempts to give credence to his position by highlighting that Jewish integration has been a “success story”. The success of “Jewish integration” has been addressed in previous articles, and it is not entirely as it is made out to be. Muslims are demarcated, however, because they,
“cite foreign policy as the reason for terrorism here, which suggests they identify more closely with other Muslims in far-off lands than with fellow Britons.”