It is that time of the year: a hectic month as the British people recover from their frenzied Christmas shopping, briefly punctuated with the peace of the annual family get together, only to be followed by scrambling over various items thanks to the hype produced by corporations eager to increase the debt through boxing day “sales”. As the recovery from these activities begins and the damage to the bank accounts dawn, we take advantage of this lull for some customary reflection.
This year has been a particularly unsettling one; the sordidly racist campaign which ultimately culminated in Brexit; the far-right terrorist attack claiming the life of Jo Cox – the first killing of an MP in 26 years; the B-movie being played in the US starring Donald Trump, the West-wide rise of the far-right and unleashing of political and social xenophobia, security globalisation via totalitarian measures like the Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) agenda; Britain passing one of the world’s widest and intrusive surveillance laws; the list goes on. Sadly, it is the Muslim minority, either through scapegoating or being subjected to the fruits of this dangerous concoction of nationalism, disenfranchisement through the global neoliberal order, and neoconservative domestic and foreign policies, which has by and large, bore the brunt.
I was experiencing some hesitation in writing on Louise Casey’s review into opportunity and integration, for there is no theme or narrative in the report which I have not deconstructed and then exposed as being underpinned by fascist, neoconservative ideas. However, bar a few incisive comment pieces on the report, many articles have barely scratched the surface in terms of articulating just how repulsively dangerous the content of this Review really is. This requires documentation.
The drums of “integration” have been beating for years as minorities, and in particular the Muslim minority, have been objectified as convenient fodder for political exploitation; they are the glutton for systemic policy failures and the problems flowing from an ever widening economic (and reality) gap between the establishment and broader society. The review into integration by Louise Casey however, has a more explicitly sharper ideological slant, which can be traced to David Cameron’s reign and in turn, his circle of psychotic neocons.
I have been avoiding the “burkini” debacle for a while as I have posted on the topic of veiling and the French colonialist fetish for denuding women before. But as France continues to embarrass itself by bullying women into stripping in a public spectacle, red herrings about Islam, women and “morality” have dominated the discourse. The aim of these discourses is not protecting women from such harassment, but undermining the very tenets of Islam.
The French comedy-cum-horror show reached a head with the now familiar image of a woman being forced by four courageous male police officers to remove her “burkini”. Reports state that her daughter cried and bystanders cheered. In perhaps what is the most perverse of ironies, the 34-year-old woman was fined for not wearing “an outfit respecting good morals and secularism”. Good morality, the implication is, baring all – a point I will explore further below in my discussion on morality.
Last week, Nice’s deputy mayor described the “burkini” as a “provocation from Islamists”. The hypocrisy of the French mayor requires little attention; Muslims are frequently lectured about the freedom to offend. Perhaps the deputy mayor should attend them instead.
What can I say that I haven’t already?
British twenty year-old Michael Steven Sandford attempted to grab an officer’s gun at a Donald Trump rally with intention to shoot the prospective Presidential candidate. Reports state that he had been preparing for a year, had even gone to a shooting range to learn how to handle a weapon and had convinced himself that it was a suicide mission. His motive is unclear, however his target and his preparation gives plenty to speculate – if the media applied their standards equally.
Once again, we have another white, non-Muslim “terrorist” from Britain where reports fail to label him speculatively (as per the standard with Muslims) a terrorist, does not mention his ethnic or religious affinity, nor even hint at “radicalisation” and “extremism”. Plus ça change, mental illnesses (OCD and historic anorexia (?!)) are highlighted, whilst the discussion of the prevailing Western “ideology”, which, premised on individualism produces a culture that encourages a selfish “exceptionalist” attitude, is eschewed. Sandford, after all, like Thomas Mair, was a “loner” – an individualistic indication as opposed to a collectivist one.
There are certain things in life which you simply do not do. Reducing the benefits of the most vulnerable in society, like the disabled. Taking a country to war based on lies. Abusing children as the BBC and powerful elites turn a blind eye. And, of course, working with those linked to the notorious Quilliam Foundation.
ISB’s senior leadership, whilst leaving their former president Ahtsham Ali hanging as yet another victim in Michael Gove’s war on Islam, has had no qualms about liaising with and even defending deformists like Quilliam’s Usama Hasan, for instance. Connected to this group of individuals are people like Dilwar Hussain, former ISB president and a deformist who is listed among the personnel at the pro-Israel, neoconservative Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD), which influences the global Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) imperial agenda.
The past week saw a chummy deformist get together to discuss the neocon-cherished topic of “British Islam”. Organised by Hussain’s New Horizons in British Islam, speakers in attendance provided for a who’s who list of opportunist spin-doctors and deformists. Thus speaking at the seminar was ISD “senior researcher” Rashad Ali, known for is dubious contortions of Islam, subversion of Muslim communities, his close relationship with anti-Muslim propagandist Andrew Gilligan and promoting Zionist propaganda. The state-approved Fiyaz Mughal, Usama Hasan of the Quilliam/neocon, far-right linked Muslim Reform Movement, and his newly acquired colleague Salah al-Ansari also made an appearance.
Is Kant better than the Koran? The Dark Secrets of Immanuel Kant’ Ethics
In the article linked above, Muslim researcher Abdullah Andalusi responds to a piece laden with arrogance, and discusses the German philosopher Immanuel Kant.
It triggered a point which I have been meaning to address in the context of neoconservatives. Specifically, Andalusi notes in his conclusion that
“[s]ome Liberals may hurried respond ‘Kant was a man of his time’ however this does not remove the problem that Kant wasn’t merely stating his personal opinions and tastes, but producing ethical rulings derived from the ethical system he had constructed.”
It can be legitimately argued that Kantian foreign policy is the root of neoconservative propensity for perpetual war. The neoconservative Project for New American Century outlined a militarist vision of American global dominance, or Pax Americana, where American values are to be projected internationally. Bosnia, Iraq, Afghanistan and the trail of violence and destruction which has culminated in the present situation in the Middle East to the battle cries of freedom, democracy and Western values are the bitter fruits of this poisoned tree.
“We could favour the birth of a new Islam, more inclined towards compromise and tolerance of Europe; to encourage the young generation of ulama who are working in that direction…” ~ French Colonialist, Edmond Douttee,  1901
“It is the modernists whose vision matches our own. Of all the groups, this one is the most congenial to the values and the spirit of modern democratic society.” ~ (Former) wife of US neocon Zalmay Khalilzad, Cheryl Bernard, 2003
“We’re now going to actively encourage the reforming and moderate Muslim voices.” ~ British PM David Cameron, Speech on Extremism, 2015
Slogans based within particular parlance and values often provide the veil for an agenda of a different kind. During the 1970s, the human rights industry was used as official US imperial policy. Prior to this, the enlightened liberalism of the west was driving colonisation of the world to bring it out of “darkness” – a psychological projection of its own “dark” past. Today, neoconservatives have taken much of the above, tweaked the rhetoric and driven a strategic policy which has now begun to gain international traction. Today, the “cure” for “backward” and “violent” Muslims remains one grounded in the European, supremacist experience. However, this prescription is administered through the now pressing lens of security and specifically the counter-extremism agenda. In other words, neocons have successfully managed to securitise human rights, allowing them to foster closed societies domestically whilst pursing their doctrine of pre-emption objectives on a global scale through war – both physical and ideological. The vehicle which provides the language set and values for this culturalist war is the Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) agenda.
In a previous article, I noted how the underlying neoconservative “clash of civilisations” assumptions about Islam have premised the counter-extremism discourse. In the British context, we now a have state-coerced effort to deconstruct Islam piece by piece in order to assimilate, as opposed to integrate, Muslims. When we understand that Britain through its neocon “think-tanks” and pseudo-liberal “reformers” are at the centre of defining the counter-extremism ideology transnationally, we can appreciate, or rather, be perturbed by the extent of the influence of this dangerous thinking.