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Christmas, it seems is another issue which annually crops up to force the “Muslim Question”, whilst curiously obviating the uncomfortable issue of religious rights to hold, and by implication exclude particular beliefs and practices. Of course, this discriminatory focus on Muslims (the Jewish minority, for instance, are comparatively absent from this discourse) has consequences. Over a week ago, it was reported that a Muslim woman in Australia was subjected to a brutal verbal and physical attack after she replied “happy holidays” to the attacker’s “merry Christmas”. Incidentally, I doubt Louise Casey would regarding uttering “merry Christmas” as a sign of vulnerability to “extremism” and consequently, “violent extremism”.
There are milder but still manifestly detrimental consequences here in Britain too. Last year, Police Commander Mak Chishty moronically stated that children who regarded Christmas as religiously prohibited were subscribing to an “Islamist” view. They were therefore not “moderate”. As I highlighted at that time, this absurd notion was discriminatory as other religious groups, such as orthodox Jews and Jehovah’s Witnesses, whom regard Christmas as deriving from pagan customs, held similar views, but were not tarnished with the rhetoric of securitisation. It seems however, that this dangerously irresponsible statement is seeing some manifestation in the education context.
Following the recommendation of the terrorism watchdog that the Government initiate an independent inquiry into the Prevent strategy, the Joint Committee on Human Rights yesterday announced the launch of an inquiry into counter-extremism strategy and its human rights compliance as part of the legislative scrutiny of the forthcoming Extremism Bill.
The JCHR has announced that it is to undertake a “sharply focused inquiry into the Government’s counter extremism strategy” noting that the remit will cover its “compatibility with religious rights and freedom of expression under the European Convention on Human Rights.”
The announcement continues, “The Committee also takes interest in the operation of the Prevent Duty in the education sector.”
When I wrote barely over a week ago that the impact of the resistance to the PREVENT Strategy by the Muslim communities of Newham and Waltham Forest will “reverberate across the UK and into the faces of neocons”, I did not expect the ripple effect to materialise so soon.
Joining Newham Muslim religious leaders and Waltham Forest Council of Mosques in their rejection of discriminatory PREVENT Strategy and defying the desperate, pitiful attempts of neocons to spin opposition to PREVENT as being “silent on terrorism”, are a plethora of major Muslim organisations and individuals in the north of UK.
Earlier in the month I exposed how government plans to regulate supplementary schools (with the context of these proposals emphatically set as madrassas) were a cover to push the PREVENT social engineering programme into the private religious sphere, amounting to undue state interference of religion.
*Update: The YouTube video I linked to this blog which showed the Sky News report about the “eco-terrorism” PREVENT case has been curiously removed, in fact the whole account has been deleted. An interesting development. The video can still be viewed here. Sky News report which contains the video, here.
A 14 year old child was mocked and interrogated by PREVENT officers which has resulted in the child becoming “shook up” and “really scared”. He is now resorting to self-censorship. This is child abuse.
Further reading: Muslim Children Through PREVENT: Victims of the War on Terror
The pervasion of the counter-extremism apparatus in British society is now unprecedented. Co-opted professionals across disciplines which normally would be founded upon trust and confidence have been zombified into spying rings for the state as people are purged from the civil sector through the States direction of what constitute unacceptable views. The impact continues to shake up the education sector as children are being subjected to child abuse, Muslim teachers are suspended for their views expressed in the private sphere, and Ofsted continues its political agenda at the expense of the Muslim minority and their faith. Indeed, the shaping of thoughts and political views continues to broaden. A recent report revealed a non-Muslim child was bullied by counter-terror police for planning a protest outside David Cameron’s constituency office.
The agenda ploughs on, however, and the next step in ensuring that there are “no ungoverned spaces” for the authoritarian state, is direct state interference in the religious affairs of faith groups.
This third and final part directly continues from the Part II:
Deforming Faith and History to Serve a Neocon Agenda Part I: Rashad Ali
Deforming Faith and History to Serve a Neocon Agenda Part II: Sara Khan
Also operating within the well-oil neocon counter-extremism machine is the Quilliam Foundation, which brings us to Adam Deen’s rather expected (see here also) announcement of joining the cold war-era style state-validator organisation. In his blog piece announcing the squandering of his faith, Deen convolutedly explains why he wants to fight “extremism” but fails to convincingly explain why he would join an organisation born in the lap of another extremism – neoconservatism – which continues to legitimise neoconservative policies.
This equivocation-ridden nucleus in his piece indicates to the pseudo-intellectualism which comes head way in the second paragraph. Deen is, like Sara Khan, a fan of the deconstructionist, Khaled Abou El Fadl. The fanboyism, though, is taken to a new level. He writes,
“It may not be coincidence that al-Hakim al-Jishumiyya al-Bayhaqi (a Hanafi Mu’tazili jurist from the 12th century) in his book ‘Satan’s Epistle’ asks: “if Satan were given the chance to speak on the Day of Judgment, whom would he pay tribute to?” Al Bayhaqi concludes that Satan would end up praising and thanking every Muslim who adapted ideas that attributed to God things that were irrational, unjust or hideous.”
This is lifted from Abou El Fadl’s The Search for Beauty in Islam: A Conference of Books almost verbatim:
Source: Twitter, @CityNews
Whilst the impassioned feelings after the attacks in Paris against civilian targets are one of sadness followed by rage, it would be safe to say that for the Muslim minorities in the West, the overall reaction is one of shock followed by continued anxiety.
This anxiety has varying sources and manifests itself in different ways. From Muslims feeling compelled to apologise for crimes they neither condone or have any part in, to being publically compelled to condemn such attacks. The anxiety is exasperated when Muslims witness the hypocrisy in such calls and take a principled stand in order to avoid political exploitation. Muslims are witnesses to similar atrocities against people of other faiths, geography and race, yet privileged elite in Parliament are not seen to issue a condemnation against such regular terrorism – as a matter of principle, why should public and vocal condemnation be forcibly extracted on certain violence as the state eye is rendered blind when the violence is born from Western policy? I am yet to see mass condemnatory statements for Palestinian babies being burned to death by Jewish settler terrorism, or Palestinian civilians shot to death “intentionally and unlawfully” by IDF terrorists (who also happen to run over two year old toddlers), from the Cameron government or the various state-authorised counter extremism organisations for that matter. And indeed, I do not see the Jewish community being asked to condemn or apologise. This suggests such calls are ideologically and politically driven rather than rooted in humanity. Only white/Westernised power-structures are worthy of solidarity.