Twitter talk and feverish Facebook frenzy over the newly announced Commission for Counter Extremism (CCE) has continued for the past few days, but perhaps disproportionately for the wrong reasons. The government’s announcement of the Commission came alongside the announcement of the lead commissioner Sara Khan of Inspire, a self-styled feminist who counters “extremism” has triggered vociferous responses in the media. MEND led a petition against her appointment and whilst it opens with a question as to why the Commission is necessary, it goes onto attack Khan on the condition of it existing, rendering the opening statement somewhat incidental. Mend CEO Shazad Amin also centred on Khan, reinforcing this perception.
There are certainly problems with Khan (these will be elaborated upon in a subsequent, detailed piece), however, they are an extension of far more important concerns that need to be raised.
How ironic. When doing some background reading on emotional and psychological child abuse for an earlier article on PREVENT, one of the websites I visited was that of NSPCC’s. It provided definitions for signs of psychological child abuse. Those signs were based on the Home Office’s guidelines on safeguarding, which I then used to demonstrate how PREVENT was in fact resulting in children suffering from abuse.
Earlier today, it was revealed that the charity NSPCC had implemented the counter-extremism screed on “extremism”. Chief executive Peter Wanless said:
“The fact that a young person might hold extreme or radical views is not a safeguarding issue in itself. But when young people are groomed for extremist purposes and encouraged to commit acts that could hurt themselves or others, then it becomes abuse.”
Parents can now ring the charity to obtain information from “trained” counsellors to determine whether their child is becoming an extremist as adjudged through “signs”.
These reports on NSPCC raise deep concerns.
In a world dominated by a fast-paced environments denoted by the maximisation of profits, the tendency to enter into “cruise-control” upon the pathway of life is inevitable. The often spiritually devoid nature can take its toll. For Muslims, the month of Ramadan operates as the nudge which forces the Muslim psyche to recognise the spiritual state and take steps through the obligatory fasting (sawm) and associated worship to reform the soul.
Sawm is not just merely a ritual; it’s an obligation which is central to Islam to the extent that it is referred to as a pillar of this religion. To unshackle the understanding of modernity imposed upon Islam, it is not simply a ritual relegated to the private sphere but operates as an act which imbues the soul with Islamic morality which is defined by its quality of transcendentalism – i.e. its implications are not limited to the temporal but far more importantly, beyond the ephemeral. For a believer it is sine qua non for the purposes of discharging one of the most fundamental obligations in Islam.
Recent reports however, have taken to delegitimising fasting in the month of Ramadan in the context of schools.
The following question has maintained a concious presence generally for years but particularly so in the last few days: are we, the British people allowing ourselves to be governed in a totalitarian fashion?
A set of reports and leaks from the Guardian (here and here) and CAGE (“We are Completely Independent”) revealed that this totalitarianism had now become all too pervasive: a substantial body of information exposes an intertwining propaganda network which implicates private PR companies, the state and knowing or inadvertent civil society groups.
The details though loosely known, were still shocking to read in black white. I have speculated that the Home Office propaganda unit, RICU (Research Information and Communications Unit), may have been involved in last year’s documentary on “extremism” pumped out by neocon propagandist John Ware. I also brought to attention the connection between Sara Khan and her sister Sabin Khan who was alleged to be working in RICU. This connection since was highlighted in the home affairs select committee as being a source of potential conflict of interest, with Sabin being confirmed as deputy chief of RICU.
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.
Click on image to enlarge
In an earlier piece on the impact of PREVENT and the implication of “terrorist toddlers”, I drew attention to the fascist neoconservative impulse permeating the policy and the pervasiveness of the securitisation of public services. Under PREVENT and the Channel deradicalisation programme, public service employees would spy on people for signs of radicalisation and refer them to a PREVENT officer, effectively creating a modern police-state primarily for Muslims.
I likened this to the authoritarian East Germany of the 80s and 90s which popularly became known as the Stasi state. I noted that there were multiple levels of surveillance: those who were “officially” employed and those who spied in an unofficial capacity. At that time I had focussed on the “unofficial” spies: those who were employees of schools, hospitals and most public services tasked to monitor ideological leanings of people.
The Trojan Hoax fiasco had a number of parties involved to pull it off. Some were merely pawns in the “Great Game”, whilst others were the ones moving the chess pieces. The sledgehammer which the neocon, anti-Islam Michael Gove smashed onto the Muslim minority of Birmingham was casted some years ago by the infamous and much discredited Quilliam Foundation. In a leaked 2010 memo addressed to Charles Farr of the OSCT, and signed off by Ed Husain and Maajid Nawaz, Quilliam outlined its plan in “dealing” with the terror threat. The contents despite it being made public, has been remarkable in its implementation and achieving the resultant targeted discrimination the Muslim minority now faces.
In the context of the education of the sphere,
“With the appointment of Michael Gove MP, who has previously spoken out on topics related to the Prevent agenda and has shown a good understanding of the issues relating to it, to the position of Secretary of State for Education, it looks as though Prevent at DfE will continue to develop and focus on the vital counter-ideological work necessary to prevent terrorism.”
Of course, in November 2009, this “good understanding” presumably referred to an embarrassing series of blunders, when Gove helped David Cameron set up a question to the Prime Minister on “Islamic extremism”, making false claims regarding funding and inspection of Islamic schools.