The former oil executive and Etonian Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, recently stated that there was a need to move away from the notion that ISIS has “nothing to with Islam”:
“If we treat religiously-motivated violence solely as a security issue, or a political issue, then it will be incredibly difficult – probably impossible – to overcome it… A theological voice needs to be part of the response, and we should not be bashful in offering that… This requires a move away from the argument that has become increasingly popular, which is to say that Isis is ‘nothing to do with Islam’, or that Christian militia in the Central African Republic are nothing to do with Christianity, or Hindu nationalist persecution of Christians in South India is nothing to do with Hinduism.. Until religious leaders stand up and take responsibility for the actions of those who do things in the name of their religion, we will see no resolution.”
The argument seems ostensibly balanced. After all, the theological element is mentioned as a factor (albeit a defining one) and Welby highlights the Christian militia in CAR, as well as the Hindu nationalist persecution, though, limiting it to Christian persecution whilst ignoring the rape and killing of Kashmiri Muslims by an army overseen by the fascist PM of India, Narendra Modi. However, the reporting, language and timing of his statements, upon closer inspection, reveal a smokescreen for a continued agenda to target Islam.
In a word we must segment Islam… weaken Islam, make it restless, numb it, and render it forever incapable of great awakenings. ~ French liberal colonialist Edmond Fazy
I have often highlighted that neoconservative assumptions about Islam have driven much of the counter-extremism discourse. The implementation of the doctrine of pre-emption by neocons means that orthodox Muslims are purged from public sector jobs, and Muslim children for instance, are now the subject of counter-extremism measures for requesting prayer space, or campaigning for Palestine.
Whilst outrageous to the reasonable mind, and condemned by hundreds of leading academics, the neocons have successfully engineered an atmosphere where Islam and Muslims have become despised, thus allowing for secular interference of private religion to produce a secularised, government-compliant Muslim whose connection to Islam is merely incidental and historic. Whilst Orthodox Jews are engaged with by the government freely and have yet to attract the label of extremism for their manners and mores which are at odds with the secular liberal status quo, Muslims have only government-produced, neocon-connected individuals as the “approved” representatives of Islam. Gone are the days when MCB was consulted, or the Sufis were used and abused as tools to deal with “fundamentalist” Muslims. Today the attack on Islam is wholesale and open thanks to the counter-extremism agenda, and neocon-co-opted, state-funded individuals and organisations, officially supported and promoted by the head of state. It seems the failure in instigating a deformation of Islam means that the weight of the state is now being used to force it.