The background to this and subsequent blog to be published are the subtle transformations taking place in the context of pre-crime counter-terrorism policies and their interaction with Muslims. Over the past few years there have been an increasing number of voices which seek to mask gaping criticisms of PREVENT by reviving previously failed strategies. The history, details and identification of events and organisations engaged (inadvertently or otherwise) in this revival will be outlined in a further detailed piece but suffice to say, the aim seeks to develop a “community-based” response to terrorism (and extremism) in order deal with the criticism that PREVENT lacks “community buy-in” and “trust”. From within the community, the argument goes that if Muslims develop their own responses then the significance of PREVENT diminishes and religious rights for Muslims are protected.
In response to this I will proffer some further points of discussion in order to determine whether such exercises are beneficial to the Muslim minority. This piece in particular will focus on restoring pre-crime policies like PREVENT as a method of control firmly within the discourse of colonial power relations. Pre-crime, it will be shown, is an exemplar of the colonial continuity.
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.
This is the second piece in the series exploring the neocon “mode of thinking” based upon Tony Blair’s essay which outlines dangerous policies and provides for a blueprint for perpetual war. The first part can be accessed here.
Deflecting Foreign Policy
For Blair, the elephant in the room, Western foreign policy, has little to do with the violence in Iraq. The previously peacefully coexisting Sunnis and Shia, are now, post-Iraq war, at each other’s throats. Perhaps the incident of 19th September 2005 can shed some light on this. On this day two undercover British SAS operatives, dressed in traditional Arab garb who were planning to set off bombs in the main square in Basra coinciding with a religious event, were caught in the act, imprisoned and then broken out of the police station by the British army.
The leading thinker and linguist, Noam Chomsky, writes,
“By now, Shiites and Sunnis are the bitterest enemies, thanks to the sledgehammer wielded by Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney… and others like them who understand nothing beyond violence and terror and have helped to create conflicts that are now tearing the region to shreds.”