A report commissioned by 5Pillarsuk.com reveals some interesting insights into the beliefs and views of Muslims in Britain. One hundred and fifty “influential” Muslim respondents across the Islamic spectrum were queried. The results demonstrate a problematic curve ball for neoconservatives and their endless efforts to target Islam and Muslims.
The questions revolved around normative Islamic beliefs, and across the board a generally high level of agreement with these beliefs was achieved. Participants rebutted dominant propaganda against Islam and Muslims. For instance, 100% agreed or strongly agreed that forced marriages are forbidden, and 100% agreed or strongly agreed that British Muslims are an “integral part of the UK”. It also established a high rate of agreement upon those beliefs and practices which are typically attacked by politicians in concert with the media, analysts and commentators:
- Segregation of men and women in closed public, or religious settings – over 80% agreed or strongly agreed
- There is no compulsion in Islam, no one can be forced to become Muslim – over 95% agreed/strongly agreed
- Hijab is an obligation in Islam – over 95% agreed or strongly agreed
- Niqab is a legitimate piece of Islamic clothing – over 90% agreed or strongly agreed (chart 16 is somewhat unclear)
- Islam is a holistic comprehensive way of life – over 97% agreed or strongly agreed
- Jihad as is mandated in the Qur’an is used to maintain or restore order, peace and security or to remove oppression and injustice – over 95% agreed or strongly agreed.
Quite a furore has been stirred by proposals which check for “extremism” in toddlers (yes, read that sentence again – it is absolutely ridiculous). According to the new PREVENT-on-steroids Strategy, teaching staff must have training which gives them knowledge and confidence to identify children as young as three, at risk of being drawn into terrorism and challenge “extremist ideas”. They must also know where and how to refer children to the Channel panel for “deradicalisation”. Though Home Office likes to placate the people with the spin that they do not expect “unnecessary intrusion into family life”, a proper examination of the reveals otherwise. As Asim Qureshi of CAGE notes,
“the CTS Bill is presented as a consent based system where those… under 18… [must obtain] consent of their parents. However, the devil is in the detail, and where the consent is not gained, then the panels established to review each individual case of risk, will be able to consider models within the health and social services. In other words, the threat of having your children taken away, should you not provide consent, will be used as a form of coercion, so the very idea of a consent based approach will be completely neutralised.”
I have already written extensively about the fundamental problems of the PREVENT strategy (see links in this blog). Over the past decade, the Muslim minority have been the test bed for the impending statutory roll-out of PREVENT. Much injustice has be done. Lives have been disrupted, families harassed, and an entire community has been made to feel targeted and circumspect. If there is any doubt that these measures are primarily aimed at the Muslim minority, then one needs to simply peruse the daily reports in neocon papers about “extremist” Muslims. Even in the those reports discussing this absurd proposal targeting toddlers, quotes of examples of children at risk of radicalisation from the Home Office are in the context of Muslims only (see the Telegraph and the Independent coverage as examples). The references to “far-right terrorism” are tokenistic at best.
Establishing a multi-agency public surveillance programme conducted by the public, the PREVENT Strategy is simply put, a refined Stasi strategy. This near replication of authoritarian and fascist regimes is not incidental.