The “Independent and Impartial” Thought-Policing Counter Extremism Commission

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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.

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Pre-crime: Countering Terrorism/Extremism with Muslim Communities?

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Given the toxicity of the PREVENT label, the Muslim minority is all too familiar with its problems. Its name results in an anxiety which now simply cannot be dismissed. As the highly problematic report “The Missing Muslims” published by Citizens UK recognised, the “Prevent Strategy on Muslim communities came up in most of the hearings across the country”.[1] To deal with this breakdown, there is now a reversion to a “community-based” approach to tackling extremism and terrorism.

The “community response to terrorism” approach seeks to mask the issue that “buy-in” and trust of the community is absent and therefore the policy is not being co-opted by the community.  The solution therefore operates on the assumption that PREVENT, or more accurately, a pre-criminal intervention is not necessarily the problem, and where there are problems, these are simply implementation detail which can be rectified.  This is further supplemented by a co-existing effort to produce a response developed by the community in the hope that PREVENT would be rendered obsolete. Both however, posit the community and its exploitation central to the promulgation of pre-crime interventionism.

In this piece, I intend to outline a brief history of this resurgent “community-driven response” trend and highlight some of the organisations that seem to be pursuing this course of action.

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Have ‘we’ forgotten about Prevent?

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CROSSPOST: Tait Coles

Student well-being and mental health is now high on the agenda of most schools; as it should be. The idea of students requiring support, advice and time to discuss their feelings of possible loneliness, depression and alienation is a positive one. Creating opportunities in schools to address students’ perceived stress and emotional well-being is an honourable and much-needed intervention. But, do we have the same approach for all of our students?

Well, we don’t if they’re subjected to Prevent. Prevent is a Government initiative to, “prevent people from being drawn into terrorism”. However, it is far more than that. As Arun Kundnani describes, it has become, “the basis for one of the most elaborate programs of surveillance and social control attempted in a Western state in recent decades” An excellent brief history of the Prevent agenda and how Counter Terrorism has infiltrated the state, by Dr. Maria Norris, can be found here.

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Andrew Gilligan and Neoconservative Extremists’ Campaign to Undermine fight against Draconian PREVENT

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“Journalists need to check basic facts and ask simple questions about the identity and motivations of the people making these claims…”

So says Hannah Stuart of the Henry Jackson Society in Andrew Gilligan latest article attacking those critiquing the PREVENT Strategy.  The irony could not be more profound.

It has been a while since I have given some space here on the blog to our favourite neocon propagandist, Andrew Gilligan.  Perhaps it is because his role has been lately filled by David Daily Mail Cameron.

It seems the momentum against the civil-liberties violating, discriminatory PREVENT Strategy which has roused Muslims up and down the country to reject it outright, has unsettled some in the Home Office.  RICU, its propaganda department has gone into over drive and the right-wing press have been all too happy implement the Henry Jackson Society’s spin bible for damage limiting the reputation of a failed policy.

He certainly delivered the trademark Gilligan goods: spin, distortion and unconvincing attempts to smear.  His target this time is a relatively new organisation which has been documenting abuse cases resulting from PREVENT, Prevent Watch (PW).

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Tell Mama is Nearing its Sell-by Date


Crosspost: Dilly Hussain

In light of the new recording of Islamophobia law coming into effect in April, controversial anti-Muslim hate monitoring organisation Tell Mama will inevitably be made redundant, writes Dilly Hussain.

Muslims across the UK are eagerly awaiting the publication of the much-anticipated Counter Extremism Bill.

Prolific Government statements throughout 2015 set out its intent to tackle the “extremist ideology” that apparently lurks behind “Islamist extremism”, and the justifiable counter-concerns about yet further encroachments on Muslim civil liberties, makes this as significant a political struggle as the Counter Terrorism and Security Bill at the start of 2015.

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Fiyaz Mughal and the State-Approved Regressive “Progressive” Muslims

nickcohenfiyazmughalquilliamtellmamaThe neocon propaganda machine is at full tilt as the government reveals its ultimate legislative weapon to excise active Muslim political activists from civil society under the dissent-suppressing counter-extremism discourse. Andrew Gilligan has already taken a swipe at Muslim organisations through his trademark blend of Muslim “extremists”, spin and lies. Even Peter Oborne could not help but notice that his article contained “a number of unsubstantiated claims” and “a number of factual errors”.

Elsewhere, David Cameron apparently likes Muslims. Well *some* Muslims would be more accurate.  In what must be the most sterile PR stunt ever, he has lent his approval to a head-scarf wearing Muslim contestant of the TV show, the Great British Bake Off.  One can understand why:

  1. Is her politics reflective of a Muslim who needs to prove her “Britishness”? Check.
  2. Does the Muslim belong to a gender group which needs to be saved from Islam? Check.
  3. Does the show have the word “British” as part of its title? Check.
  4. Are the general public supporting her? Check.

It sure is a safe bet. Previously, in Eid messages, Cameron has spoken of the “good Muslims” who fought for “our freedoms” off the back of the brutal colonialism of the Muslim world. Later, in his Birmingham speech, he would go onto proclaim that he was going to “actively encourage the reforming and moderate Muslim voices.  These voices incidentally belong to “progressive Muslims” who also happen to be primed by key neoconservative officials and who support their key policies, from the discourse on Muslims and global democracy-spreading to Trident. Such promotion and support is key to maintaining the neoconservative assumptions around the Muslim context.   The fundamental impediment is garnering legitimacy from the mainstream Muslim community.

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Gilligan smears more Muslim organisations – Mend Responds

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For a complete list of articles exposing Andrew Gilligan’s propaganda masquerading as journalism, please see the following archival link here.

Crosspost: Mend

As the conference season gets underway,Andrew Gilligan in the Sunday Telegraphprovides another demonstration of his obsession with undermining British Muslims who legitimately engage in politics and public life.

The Prime Minister in his ‘Munich 2’ speech singled out those who perpetuate lies about a “secret Muslim conspiracy to takeover Government”. You only need to look at the dubious links and nonsensical associations unearthed by Gilligan to understand the lengths ‘conspiracy theorists’ will go to in their efforts to tarnish the reputation of British Muslim organisations, such as the Muslim Charities Forum and MEND.

Gilligan rehearses the usual half-truths about the Muslim Charities Forum and its alleged links to Union for Good despite The Guardian revealing in an article published in July that the sources behind the unverified allegations were Israeli sources. Akin to the allegations levelled by the Israeli Defence Minister, Moshe Ya’alon, that Islamic Relief was funnelling funds to “Hamas-controlled organisations”, which were proven to be without foundation, Gilligan repeats accusations against the Muslim Charities Forum with no regard for the facts.

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