Parkfield Community School: A Look at the Spin Designed to Undermine Parents

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The previous detailed pieces analysing what is being taught as part of No Outsiders demonstrate there are fundamental problems with the programme. A summary of the issues with Andrew Moffat and his civilising mission can be found here.

Much of the mainstream media response to parents questioning the materials being taught at Parkfield Community School in Birmingham has entailed spin and ultimately, a dismissal of parental rights and concerns. These concerns include PREVENT underpinning contentious teaching material that is mainly aimed at Muslim children, and the fact that the material itself seeks to actively reconfigure the religious beliefs of not only Muslim children but the whole community.

The elephant in the room is conveniently ignored: state-backed interference into the private sphere.

What dominates is spin designed to frame Muslims as backward, intolerant and bigoted.

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The Muslim Question (3): Trevor Phillips’ Propaganda for Neocon Policies and Normalisation of Muslim Minority Discrimination

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A series of blogs analysing the recent Channel 4 documentary titled, “What British Muslims Really Think”

Part 1: An Orchestrated Attack on Islam

Part 2: Brief Profile of Trevor Phillips

We now turn our attention to the Channel 4 documentary.

There has been much discussion on the survey from the perspective of methodological issues, with some commentators even edging on the patronising as the insinuation is made that “conservative views” are the preserve of “deprived areas” that house “Pakistani or Bangladeshi” people.

More troubling criticisms relate to the loaded question fallacies inherent in the survey, the applicability of questions to the control group, and the subsequent spin which Trevor Phillips applies. These aspects will be will be touched upon through this piece.

Accompanying the neocon propaganda documentary was a piece authored by Trevor Phillips himself in the Daily Mail. Both were a master class in spin constituted of a number of red herrings.  These will be deconstructed to reveal a concerted effort to excommunicate the Muslim minority from society, rendering them the alien upon which neoconservative policies can be predicated.

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The Homosexuality Smokescreen, Personal Interpretations and the Reformation Agenda

 

BBC Three Free Speech aired on 25/03/2014

BBC Three Free Speech aired on 25/03/2014

Many contemporary and normative Muslim writers have brilliantly discussed the issue of homosexuality. A nuanced, intellectual answer is certainly in order and has been provided to the emotional topic. This discussion however differs from the above. It is to ascertain the “why” behind the discussion. To understand this, we need some context.

Christian/Jewish Reformation

During the 1500s the reformation movement began challenging the papacy. It was a response to nationalism, the Vatican’s rigidity with philosophical thought and the abuses of power by the Church. Calvin and others promulgated the separation of Church and State in an effort to protect the citizens from abuses of power. It was thus a response to societal and authoritarian degeneration and the lack flexibility to deal with advancements. It was a unique European paradigm. Christian religion began to be reduced to a private sphere and with this came the notion of a “personal” understanding of Christian texts in effort to reconcile it with changing attitudes and societal norms.

The Jewish faith underwent the same reformation with the Jewish Haskalah, a movement which sought revision within the faith which allowed easier assimilation, through the adoption of the culture in Europe and resultant survival from the onslaught of persecution by the Europeans.

The experience of the Jews and Christians, thus was unique to their conditions.

Islam as a faith did not suffer these problems because the jurisprudence emanating from the Islamic sources of Law did not allow for abuse of power and economic inequity. Nor did it hinder intellectual development. Conversely Islam provided the catalyst for the European Enlightenment which forced Christian scholars to rethink their sciences. St. Thomas Aquinas derived much of his thought from the Andalusian Muslim Maliki scholar Ibn Rushd’s understanding of precedent, logic and physics for instance.

Subjecting it to a European-style reformation thus, is illogical due to the distinct paradigms of “reformation” on the one hand (being Euro-centric) and Islam on the other (theologically flexible and universal to the whole of humanity).

Nevertheless, a Western desire to reform Islam into an indistinct set of rituals has been strong, especially to break the connection with the Qur’an, which provides the protection mechanism necessary for a distinct Islamic society unique in its practices. It also, at a geopolitical level, provides for the Muslims globally, the spiritual connection to al-Quds, which hinders Western Zionist and neoconservative aims.

RAND’s “Democratic Islam”

Which neatly brings us to the neoconservative think tank RAND’s report on reforming Islam. To understand the contemporary debate on homosexuality and the complimentary positing of modernists and progressive “Muslims” there is a need to study the father of the current UK Government’s PREVENT policy, the RAND Corporation policy document ethnocentrically entitled “Civil Democratic Islam”. In it, the methodology suggested to deconstruct Islam into something but Islam is mentioned in some depth by its author Cheryl Bernard. She states that her approach,

“seeks to strengthen and foster the development of civil, democratic Islam and of modernization and development.” (p.47)

 

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