The fostering of the Straussian neocon “closed society” continues to soldier on ahead. The main, but certainly not the only, conduit for this austere vision of society utilises the rhetoric of fear – “safeguarding”, “cohesion” and “counter-extremism”, augmented courtesy of puppets of the neoconservative malignancy within Government.
Despite being utterly baseless academically and broken as pre-crime tool, there has been effort to mainstream PREVENT into society. This normalisation of authoritarian PREVENT-thinking has led to the latest charade; anti-fascist group Hope not Hate (HnH) has been used to spread the tentacles of PREVENT further into civil society by using Sara Khan in its publication State of Hate 2017.
In doing so, HnH comprehensively debilitated its legitimacy.
The founder of HnH, Nick Lowles, has a history of confronting far-right racist individuals and groups. He has also campaigned for the banning of Pamella Geller and Robert Spencer for their anti-Muslim, hate filled rhetoric. The question is of course, how has such a campaign group been hoodwinked into co-opting PREVENT-thinking and allowed itself to be exploited by a cheerleader of discrimination?
CROSSPOST: Jonathon Cook
Palestinian politicians in Israel have found an unexpected ally inside the government against a new bill banning mosques from using loudspeakers to broadcast the call to prayer.
The so-called Muezzin Bill – named after the person who calls Muslims to prayer – was approved by a ministerial committee on Sunday, on the grounds that it is needed to reduce “noise pollution” from mosques.
A first vote in the Israeli parliament on the legislation – due on Wednesday – had to be delayed, however, after a small Jewish religious party raised objections.
In my previous article, I stated that I would focus on the discriminatory aspect of David Cameron’s statements made in his New Year’s messages around terrorism, its politically expedient focus on ideology (extremism), and the “conditions” which foster extremism, namely orthodox Islamic beliefs and practices.
Through the smokescreen of “Islamist extremism”, “integration”, and “isolated communities”, we have been witness to relentless, structural (state-level) culturalist attacks on Islamic beliefs/practices – from sex separation, Shari’ah arbitration and the Islamic conception of roles of men and women, to loyalty to other Muslims through the concept of the Ummah and Caliphate. All of this and more is used to concoct the Machiavellian “fifth column” menace.
There is one particular neoconservative blind spot which is absent not only from Cameron’s speeches, but also the underpinning policy which has been carefully carved by his neocon guides at the Henry Jackson Society and Quilliam Foundation: the counter-extremism strategy. It is the omission of a particular group which not only accentuates the discriminatory aspect of Cameron’s regressive rhetoric, but points to a contributory political hand being played in the carving up the Muslim minority, its beliefs, and practices.
“We will be absolutely clear about the people and groups we will not deal with because we find their views and behaviour to be so inconsistent with our own.”
~ Counter-Extremism Strategy document
Following on from my previous blog, I take brief look at the Counter-Extremism Strategy which has been published to much neocon fanfare and celebration. Most of the measures have been either already implemented unofficially, or announced as upcoming proposals. I have covered these parts in detail in the following blogs:
In short, it’s the usual inevitable neoconservative mix of Machiavellian fear (“dangerous”, “poisonous”, “harmful”, “threat”, “extremists”, “Islamists”!), double speak (protect freedoms by curtailing them/“targeted powers” which are “flexible”/claiming “not about Islam” but advancing only “liberal” Islam), and irrationality (the Strategy is based on the PM’s assertions rather than empirical evidence, whilst conflating crime into the extremism discourse), not to mention implicit association with negative cultural practices with Islam and Muslims (or the phantom menace that are the “Islamists”), adding to the stigmatisation of the Muslim minority.
Any additional points? There are few which twiddled my whiskers as they say. Below is my elucidation of those points.
We have an “imposition of an interpretation of religion” (Maajid Nawaz’s definition of “extremism”) in the justification for the creation of Israel, but no ” Jewish extremism” label is heard.
We have violence erupting thanks to “millenials” stealing land and justifying it through Biblical texts, but no label of “violent extremism” is applied.
We have people joining them from the West, but no Jewish mothers are compelled by the State to spy on their children, no teachers are referring Jewish children to PREVENT Officers to be deradicalised for supporting the Zionist entity, and Jewish practices shared with these “extremists” are not being derided in the media, mocked in public “debates”, and attacked by government officials as “extremist”.
Extremism: a political term to manufacture an enemy for the State.
I felt a tendency to shake my head when I read a recent report highlighting the “equal” application of Ofsted guidelines in promoting “British values” to Christian and Jewish schools.
During the start of the Trojan Hoax attacks, state officials actively demonised Islamic beliefs by mixing orthodox practices with unsavoury acts in their statements, all the while dog-whistling Christian members of the public by suggesting some British values are “Christian”. This was in tune with the broader political landscape at that time. Indeed, it has been strongly alleged that evangelical Christian teachers linked to Birmingham’s Riverside Church had major involvement in the writing of the fabricated “Trojan Horse” letter. Teachers who brought allegations against Muslims included those of evangelical background, and the very same allegations against them were never investigated. Of course, such allegations, including Christian takeover plots (see here, here and here), were of no interest to the anti-Muslim, neocon Michael Gove. To scapegoat the Muslim minority only, while ignoring other schools, and to abuse the Muslim minority as some sort of glutton for punishment upon which the PREVENT Strategy which defines “British values” can be cemented, was nothing short of bullying and minority discrimination.
“British values” had become sacred in the attack against Islam and Muslims, as neoconservatives, scapegoating the Muslims, started to successfully engineer and impose these faux values for their longer-term agenda to court symbols necessary to unify and conform the people of Britain under a nationalist neo-religion which serves neoconservative interests.
Sometime after, though, Christian and Jewish faith schools began to feel some of the heat from the fire started by Michael Gove.
Is this one of the most hypocrisy-filled speeches ever? As I watched the video from Number 10 depicting David Cameron’s Chanuka Speech, I was surprised at seeing the number of bearded, skull-capped orthodox Jews in the presence of the Prime Minister. Compare this to the Eid message for instance in which he psychologically conditioned the “I am sorry” mentality in Muslims. Hardly any of the orthodox Muslim (“extremist”) community were present. On the contrary key discredited counter-extremism figures were visible. It was quite the contrast.
His Chanuka speech was exemplar material in demonstrating state Muslim minority discrimination. In an age of the PREVENT police state, which has resulted in a relentless re-engineering and then criminalisation of Islam in effort to make it devoid of its uniqueness, and shaping it to conform to Government ideals, the hypocrisy of Cameron being present giving a speech commending Chanuka couldn’t be more sharp. As Cameron himself explains, Chanuka celebrates the reassertion of the Jewish religious and cultural identity which was being targeted for erosion. For Cameron though, despite this celebration, the Jewish community have been a “model” community which has integrated with Britain whilst maintaining “important issues of religion and culture”. The message is clear. Jews can have their religious beliefs and culture supported and protected; Muslims are open season for social programming through “British values”.