On the 25th of August, Hurricane Harvey struck areas in and around the US leaving 71 confirmed deaths and an estimated economic loss approaching $180 billion dollars – eclipsing Katrina – in its wake. Five days later a tropical cyclone developed into the category 5 “Hurricane Irma”, hitting the Atlantic basin and unleashing destruction. With Irma now weakening as I write, its carnage has taken at least 24 lives, with a further five people perishing in the US. Major cities including Jacksonville, Florida, and Charleston, South Carolina have been flooded, leaving millions without power.
A number of high profile attacks on the Muslim minority have surfaced lately in a relentlessly consistent fashion. The reason for the lack of writing on these events is for the simple reason that I was awaiting a particular checkpoint at which I could interject and proffer an analysis of what is exactly taking place. However the pick axes and pitch forks of the baying neocon mob did not subside and as I write, commentaries on the now infamous Channel 4 documentary (What British Muslims Really Think) continue to percolate and David Cameron slanders a Muslim scholar from the dispatch box.
Whilst macroscopic analyses of the documentary are important, and must be challenged, it is important also to tend to the implications of the subliminal question which the Channel 4 documentary through its various Machiavellian machinations and spin sought to force upon the public.
What exactly are these grand media orchestrations attempting to achieve? Interconnected intimately with this question is, in what direction is Britain heading?
These questions will be the focus of a subsequent parts. In order to better appreciate these questions, a brief recap and analysis of key anti-Islam events are needed.
Fulfilling the annual ritual of attacking the smallest minority within a minority (women in niqab – subject of a follow-up blog) came with an additional twist this year, spearheading Muslims, their beliefs and manifestations across the media spectrum. The right-wing relished in reproducing defunct diatribe of the Yasmin Alibhai Brown variety. The Guardian meanwhile comforted itself in introducing David Cameron to the concept of empathy, whilst asserting he was right to “raise the often unfavourable position” of Muslim women. The additional twist was Cameron dictating to his subjects that learning English reduces susceptibility to extremism. Whilst there have been a fair few commentaries and responses, the blatant elephant in the room has been completely ignored: structural, flagrant discrimination and racism.
The red herrings in this discourse and Cameron’s Cameronialism exhibited in his Times comment – titled We wont let women be second-class citizens – as such requires deconstruction.
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.
PM Cameron goes two for two today following up Ramadan greetings last month with a speech in Bratislava accusing British Muslims of “quietly condoning” extremism, and Eid greetings issued last Friday followed up with a wide ranging speech in Birmingham that demurs little from the ideas articulated in Munich in 2011.
Indeed, James Forsyth, the Daily Mail’s political commentator gave indication of Cameron’s impending speech late last month noting, “Tellingly, this speech is being referred to in Downing Street as ‘Munich 2’.”
British Muslims will be forgiven for reliving a déjà vu moment. Truth is, much of what Cameron had to say today is not ‘new,’ which is perhaps the most disturbing part of the speech delivered. After a term in office, the Government is no better informed about tackling extremism than it was five years ago. Despite promises made in opposition to review the Prevent programme and to ensure that security legislation did not impinge on hard won civil liberties, the Government is beginning to look distinctly like the Blair Government before it: in denial about foreign policy and other factors impacting on radicalisation while using the power and resources of the state to, as former Labour MP Phyllis Starkey put it in her scathing review about the earlier Prevent strategy, “engineer a ‘moderate’ form of Islam, promoting and funding only those groups which conform to this model.”
In a previous blog I set out how government proposals which scrap the Human Rights Act and propose the curtailment of legal expression via the Counter-Extremism Bill are intertwined. I have also in the past explained how the assault on civil liberties is founded in neoconservative thinking.
In this series, we will delve deeper into the views held by our new Justice Secretary, Michael Gove as articulated in his book, Celsius 7/7, with additional commentary explaining the neoconservativism underpinning the statements where appropriate and the impact it has thus far had on the good Britons of this country.
In this first part, we will briefly examine the people who shaped his disturbing worldview.
The country is in pain, it seems. The Conservatives’ return to power has brought forth a reactions from the public and media which is one of mourning. Giles Fraser described democracy post Conservatives-election as a “religion that has failed the poor”. With the party back in power fully through courting the “nastiness” which is the hallmark of the Cons, the coming five years do not bode well. Indeed, this is the party which completely eschewed the “Muslim vote”, completely in favour of other minorities.
Neoconservative Subversion of Democracy
However, the shock should be for far more serious reasons. In yet another incisive article, investigative journalist Dr. Nafeez Ahmed notes that the number of MPs in Parliament directly correlates to the amount of funding received. The Conservatives are a particular concern, with the corporate powers in the City bankrolling the party. Indeed, Tory-donors were financing both UKIP and Tory MPs in the run up to the election, with a UKIP-Conservative voting strategy being endorsed by the Conservative think-tank Bow Group. The Group has on the board of patrons the neoconservative thinker Roger Scruton, so lovingly cited by the likes of Douglas Murray in his book Neoconservatism, Why we Need it. Scruton has been a member of a previous neoconservative think-tank which has in the past hyped the threat of Marxism and left-wing infiltration of universities and schools (now that sounds familiar!). The reports, according to Scruton were “quietly encouraged by 10 Downing Street to concoct an outside pressure group to influence policy.” Furthermore, other members of the think-tank, such as Caroline Cox have been a part of reports on left-wing “radical minorities” published via think-tanks established by British and American intelligence agencies.