Farooq was singled out and questioned after he was seen reading a book entitled ‘Terrorism Studies’. He was so affected by the incident that he discontinued the course, but felt he should speak out since this could happen to “any Muslim lad”.
David Cameron in his speech said that in order to defeat extremism, the extreme ideology which underpins it must be confronted head on. I will confront an ideology which is already in power in Britain, and perpetuates fascism and violence in the name of values it does not believe in.
Looking back over the past decade, we witness the damage wrought by neconservatism in the US; the War on Terror which bequeathed us endless violence in Iraq and Afghanistan, civilian causalities amounting to genocide, torture, and the steady attrition of civil liberties thanks to legislation like the unconstitutional PATRIOT Act, which paved the way for unchecked power and increased surveillance. Muslim communities became the target of counter-subversion strategies and, what Professor Arun Kundnani calls, “COUNTELPRO 2.0” tactics:
“…the extensive surveillance of Muslim-American populations; the deployment of informants; the use of agents provocateurs; the widening use of material support legislation to criminalize charitable or expressive activities; and the use of community engagement to gather intelligence and effect ideological self-policing of communities. Significantly, such practices have been encouraged, organized, and legitimized by the radicalization models that law enforcement agencies adopted in the first decade of the twenty-first century.”
Over a period of time, certainly in the US, the neocons have become almost taboo for the crimes they perpetrated, and the destruction they brought to civil liberties. As one American writer notes, “Neoconservative dreams of creating a hard-edged, neo-imperial American hegemony over the world died in the rubble of Iraq and Afghanistan.” Obama’s recent diplomatic agreement with Iran has further pained the neoconservatives, who have been consistently calling for a war against Iran.
Continuing the theme which sees a resurgence of organisations calling for “engagement” and which use and abuse particular scholars in an effort to try and create themselves some space in the already crowded but lucrative counter-extremism industry, is the youth-focussed organisation, British Muslim Youth (BMY).
The Not So Forgotten “forgotten voice”
BMY seems to have been a local organisation which dealt with the Rotherham child abuse scandal and subsequently rebranded and nationalised. Its “CEO”, Muhbeen Hussain comes from a family connected to local politics: his uncle is Mahroof Hussain, Labour councillor for Rotherham. He and his relative and BMY press officer, Vakas Hussain, are leading the charge to revive the “forgotten” voice of Muslim youth in the context of radicalisation.
The last blog I wrote was originally an introduction to this piece. It was meant to provide the context so that one could fully comprehend the gravity of what is to be outlined here. Please do take a read of that first (see here).
I had noted that the model of promoting “moderate Islam” – i.e. an Islam reduced to rituals and subservient to Western interests – was to be promoted using mainly Sufi scholars to give legitimacy to draconian policies. Previously, I have brought to the fact that this model had become resurgent and highlighted Imams Online, which was using traditional/Sufi scholars in a similar fashion to Radical Middle Way: to project a particular narrative of events in the context of Muslims. It was also promoting “scholars” associated with deformation of Islam, such as Khola Hasan, Usama Hasan and Manwar Ali.
Since then, the model has gained further momentum, particularly so with Shaykh Tahir-ul-Qadri’s theatrics in Westminster. Before discussing the event it is worth looking at Shaykh Qadri and his previous endeavours.
It has been ten years since the ripples which reverberated through London changed the world for Britain’s inhabitants. The status quo majority underwent a subtle, but continuous and consistent shift of views under the guiding hand of the neocons elite and a deluge of think-tanks which were established to ensure this. This included moving the public scrutiny away from government actions – domestic and foreign – towards ideology, and specifically, Islam and Muslims. A relentless barrage of negative reporting ensured that Muslims were carved out as the “suspect community” possessing all the hallmarks of a barbaric nation, whilst Western war crimes and excesses were dressed and therefore legitimised in the garb of “national security”. Freedoms were also protected on this basis through suspensions of civil liberties.
Over the past couple of weeks, a number of stories, each exceeding the other in the ridiculousness, have surfaced. Imagine the following scenario:
News reports hit media outlets that the government has drafted a policy which was primarily being implemented in the Jewish areas of Manchester and Stamford Hill. The policy threatens to close down Synagogues and ban Jewish speakers for promoting “extremism” – a term which is often conflated with religious conservatism and unpopular/dissenting political viewpoints. Primary school Jewish children are targeted and asked “radicalisation” questions such as, whether they believe their religion to be the correct one. Jewish children as young as eleven are subject to “external agencies” which “educate” about “extremism”, radicalisation and “terrorism”. The parents of four year-olds are invited by Primary schools to workshops on how to “detect” radicalisation. Jewish students who oppose the draconian policy are banned from their college for protesting a decision to cancel an event discussing the policy. Software companies capitalise on the insanity by selling software to schools which filtered for words like “goy”, “Shoa”, “Moshe Ya’alon”, “Benjamin Netanyahu”, “Operation Protective Edge”, and “IDF”. Tens of Jewish-only teachers have been purged from the education sphere. The government funds and utilises unrepresentative and widely rejected members from the community to assist in the attack on schools in Jewish areas and also trots them out to give credence to their policy.
What would the response be to the above? Would not comparisons be drawn to the Third Reich? Would not cries of anti-Semitism and calls for the government to be castigated made? Would we accept the destruction of democratic principles and hypocritical postulations of rule of law and “equal treatment”?