A comment on Luqman Ali’s “Rebuttal” and NZF Update

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First piece: NZF: “Give Zakat Locally to Counter-Extremists, Deformists and Purveyors of Pro-Israel Activism?

Second piece: NZF: A Clarification that Fails to Clarify

Luqman Ali of Khayaal Theatre published a “rebuttal” to “allegations” that have been made in my article on NZF. It can be found in the comment section of the first piece and as a published note on Facebook. This piece examines his statement.

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The Spectrum of Repression: A look at the Methodology Underpinning the Tony Blair Report

In the previous piece, I established an intertwining set of connections between PR companies involved in the Iraq war, the Islamophobia industry, the comical Commission for Countering Extremism and the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change (“Institute”).

Whilst the Institute’s report – “Narratives of Division – The Spectrum of Islamist Worldviews in the UK” – should not be taken seriously on account of it being advocated by the degenerate Blair, the issue remains that the framework outlined in the report will most likely influence the evolution of the “extremism” discourse. The report’s method is not disconnected from PREVENT. It is in fact a consistent set of ideas employed by neocons and followed by some Muslim organisations also.

It is important, therefore to critique the proposed methodology and outline its draconian trajectory.

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A Summary of the Concerns around Star Academies Schools

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NOTE: I have updated this article with a sample letter than can be used by parents to send to Star Academies in order to highlight their concerns. The sample letter is available at the bottom of this article.


As years progress there does seem to be growing sections of Muslims that uncritically co-opt policies without the level of critical scrutiny usually reserved for endless, centuries old “debates” on the finer points aqida or indeed, in the context of the deformation of Islam brigade, the very essence of Islam itself.

If only this level of concern and hair-splitting was directed to the interactions of certain philosophies, policies and schemes that seek to reconstitute our sense of value of Islam, its place in our hearts and in society at large.

This indifference, or perhaps, plain ignorance of such policies, their aims, and impact on the faith of our future generation, has led many to adopt them. A post War on Terror world saw Muslim organisations and Islamic scholars themselves adopting Muslim-specific, state-defined policies around terrorism and loyalty. They engaged in identity-restructuring topics like integration, selective, British-empire-friendly history, legality of joining the army, and a plethora of assaults on the Islamic regulations. This indifference has a consequence: stripping of agency to develop and prioritise one’s own discourse and internalising a demonised identity, collective guilt and hatred which cyclically reproduces and perpetuates discriminatory treatment.

It is self-destructive.

This attitude to policies and their implications seems to be observed by Star Academies, formerly known as Tauheedul Educational Trust.

With noble intentions, Islamic principles and successful academic outcomes, Taudeedul should be lauded. However, when such schools are repeatedly thrust forth by biased media and the government through an Islam-related, agenda-driven lens to the British population as model success stories, scrutiny is not only inevitable, it is necessary.

In the case of Star Academies, this scrutiny is long overdue.

November last year, the Times reported that the CEO of Star Academies, Mufti Hamid Patel, was excited to launch a cadet unit at Tauheedul Islam Boys’ High School (TIBHS).

Whilst many Muslims expressed consternation over such an overture, what was largely ignored was the shocking trajectory of the Trust over the years. In addition to this, the people involved, and the current activities have also escaped critical scrutiny.

This piece summarises the three detailed pieces which examine these themes and concerns.

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How Star Academies is Subjecting Muslim Pupils to Militarism, PREVENT and Organisations Deforming Islam

The Trust is frankly obsessed with associating with the military to the obscene insensitivity of the countless Muslim victims of British imperialism, both old and new.

In September 2018, the Trust invited Major General Duncan Capps CPE of the British Army as a key note speaker for their annual conference. He provided “many anecdotes from this time leading operations in Iraq and Afghanistan”.

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Part 1

Part 2

Tauheedul Islam Boys High School, run by Star Academies, was reported in the Times as having started a Cadet Force, to the strange glee of Star Academies Chief Executive Mufti Hamid Patel. This is the third and final piece in a series examining Star Academies. Having outlined the background and the views of some of the Star Academies leadership, this piece will focus on ideological activities and individuals young Muslim pupils are being subjected to.

There is a fringe idea emerging within Deobandi circles (and of course, Barelwi/Salafi groups) in the UK that separates politics from the benefits and opportunities that accrue from militarised initiatives like the National Citizenship Service and the cadet force. The argument is that politics should be blamed on the politicians, and the army/cadet force is an innocent mechanism to provide pupils with opportunities to develop skills, experiences and achieve awards. Aside from the fact that these opportunities can be provided without pandering to military programmes, the idea that there that such initiatives are apolitical is extremely naïve.

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Star Academies – Tauheedul Islam or Tauheedul Neoconservatism and Neoliberalism?

 A report last month triggered some consternation in Muslim circles. On the 26th of November, Star Academies – formerly, Tauheedul Educational Trust – was reported in the Times as having started an army cadet force at Tauheedul Islam Boys’ High School (TIBHS). It recorded a celebratory statement from the Star Academies chief executive Hamid Patel:

“They have recently been reflecting on the 400,000 Muslims who fought alongside the British Army for freedom during World War I…. So the launch of the cadet unit at TIBHS will be particularly poignant… We are excited that this will be the first cadet unit in the country established by a Muslim faith school.”

The report added that “local mosque leaders” had “given their blessing” to the militarisation of children and was being supported by parents and governors.

On the same day, a companion leading article with the subtitle “Cadet forces at Islamic schools could help to make the army more diverse” was also published in the same paper.  Both articles framed the news with three themes:

  1. “improving relations with Muslim communities”
  2. Selective history where Muslims are only seen to die for a dying British empire
  3. The army’s inability to “recruit from the Muslim community”.

The report was reproduced in a regional media outlet and the Asian ImageThe latter report usefully shared tweets from Star Academies and TIBHS’s Twitter accounts. Star Academies stated that they were “proud that [TIBHS] had become the first Islamic Faith School in the UK to start an army cadet force”.  TIBHS’s tweet claimed it was a “milestone”. The report also showed a Tweet from the racist Home Secretary Sajid Javid sharing the Times report declaring it to be “wonderful”.

There are deeply problematic issues with the activities of Star Academies and the psychological projects it is subjecting Muslim children to.  Pertinently, the Trust exemplifies a dangerous concoction of neoliberal and neoconservative policies.

In this piece, we will examine how the Star Academies has formed this troubling trajectory which has led to a disconcerting endpoint.

The trend is seeded in the period of 2011/12 when submissions were made to turn TIBHS into an academy. This was followed by waves of free school submissions. The submission forms reveal an insight into how Tauheedul has been pandering to detrimental policies from the outset.

Tauheedul states that it is “inspired by Deobandi Sunni Muslim values”. What will become apparent is that these set of values are not the only ones touted.

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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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Fiyaz Mughal and Tell MAMA: Purveyors of Structural Islamophobia

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There is an entire industry built on the back of Muslim demonisation.  This “counter-extremism” industry utilises the rhetoric of preventing terrorism, but perpetuates structural terrorism against the Muslim minority through policies and rhetoric which have the cumulative effect of producing a “suspect community”. This reinforces Islamophobic stereotypes that Muslims are inherently, potentially violent unless “civilised” (assimilated) into “British values” as defined for everyone by neocons.  Whether victims or criminals, it is their culture and religion which is to blame. It is a demonising narrative that has recently subsumed into its toxic discourse the attacks Muslims are currently enduring.

Muslims have been experiencing an increased intensity of anti-Muslim hate over the years and through various rhetorical and physical transformations, from the Paki-bashing by skin-heads, BNP, EDL and now Britain First and National Action, to the elderly man/woman walking across the road whilst angrily pointing a finger at a veil mumbling – like Sayeeda Warsi – that it has no place here. In recent days, it has been reported that hate crime targeting masaajid more than doubled in the last year.

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