Barelwi and “Salafi-Islamist” “Extremism” – Sara Khan, Securitisation of Minorities and the Deformation Project


To recap, Sara Khan had a written a piece for the anti-fascist group Hope not Hate’s (HnH) report State of Hate 2017. The first piece analysing it, Sara Khan’s connections with neoconservatives and the far-right counter-Jihad movement were established, demonstrating the incoherence of HnH’s decision to incorporate her writing.  In the second piece, the PREVENT framework Khan employed was demonstrated to be rooted in a problematic neoconservative epistemology, the consequence of which has been the demonisation of the Muslim diaspora and an effort to control Muslim discourse.  This was shown to be evident in Khan’s own writing, indicating to the fact that HnH had been used as a vehicle to promote PREVENT.

In this piece, the hypocritical exploitation of differences in various groups related to Muslims, as a mechanism to further extend the counter-terrorism framework in order to stringently regulate more facets of Muslim discourse, will be explored.  Khan’s tendency to exaggerate incidents and distort cases will also be highlighted through the piece.

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Cameron, Cromer and Colonialism: Yes Mr Cameron, It is a Colonialist-Style Attack on Islam

DavidCameronAnd no, this is not an “Islamist lie” like Maajid Nawaz seems to have informed you.  It is however, a neoconservative conspiracy, which spans the inception of the War on Terror.

David Cameron’s doublespeaking speech was incessant in its assertion that there is no conspiracy to “destroy Islam”.

Increasingly, it seems that practically any argument, however well referenced, even academically-backed, is to be rapidly brought into the sphere of “extremism” or “Islamism” and suppressed through State apparatus. They have become the terms through which the government is censoring counter-narratives.

For neocons, “active opposition” to their civic religion of secular liberalism and its symbols – “British values” of democracy, rule of law and human rights – is equivalent to “undermining” it. It is “an attack” no less.  To protect it, the state has effectively deployed the counter-extremism and terrorism industry. However, the double-standards applied by neocons means that any effort to undermine Islam, as understood from the time of the Companions of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, and explained and refined through the past fourteen centuries by thousands of Ulama – scholars of impeccable learning and piety – cannot be seen as an “attack on Islam”.  Nay, for David Cameron and his colonialist brown-sahibs, it is part of the “Islamist” narrative. Presumably the “extremism” policy, which imposes an extreme interpretation of secular liberalism on Muslims and an opposition to it seen as “undermining our values”, is also part of the “Islamist” narrative.

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Is ISB Living Islam or Reforming Islam?

livingIslamReformationIt is interesting to note that those who compromise normative Islam or demonstrate a modernist tendency suddenly become “leading Sunni” Imams. The epithet was applied by the Times to former ISB President Ahtsham Ali who spoke at ISB’s Living Islam event, presumably because his statements fit in with neocon policy of attacking normative Islamic stances.

Claiming that the separation of the sexes is absent in the Quran, he iterated a statement which I would expect to see from modernist reformationists of the Usama Hasan variety,

“Stay in your houses and do not display yourselves like [women used to] in the time of ignorance [before Islam],” was intended specifically to the prophet’s wives, Ali said.

Aside from the obvious irrationality of ignoring principles of exegesis, like where a command is addressed to the wives it is for all women unless specifically stated otherwise, the validity of this statement can be determined by a perusal of a multitude of exegeses written on this verse which clearly indicate that the application of this verse is ‘aam (generic, to all Muslim women) as opposed to khass (specific).  The preceding verse which states that the mothers of the believers are “unlike other women” indicates to their special, raised status over other women by virtue of being the blessed wives of the Prophet (peace be upon him), not towards the specificity of the command (as claimed by proponents of Ali’s position).  (Tafsir Ibn Kathir – specifically states that these verses are an example for other women, Tafsir Alusi – also quoted supporting this view is Zamakhshari, Tafsir BaydawiTafsir Ma’ariful Qur’an).

There are more problems with Ali’s words.  By focussing solely on the Qur’an to unsuccessfully refute a mainstream understanding in Islam, he side-steps an entire corpus of hadith and usul al-fiqh (principles of jurisprudence) which is also used, in addition to the Qur’an, to extrapolate rulings.  It smacks of a Taj Hargey statement who uses similar reductionist diatribe to give justification to strange, un-Islamic views. One wonders how Ali would reconcile is position with the following hadith:

 Aisha (RadiyAllahu ‘anha) says that a woman from behind a curtain gestured a letter to the Prophet (peace be upon him). The Prophet (peace be upon him) withheld his hand. The woman said, “O Prophet of Allah, I extended my hand to you with a letter and you did not take it?” He said, “I could not know if this is a man’s hand or a woman’s”. She said, “It is a woman’s hand.” The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “If you were a woman you ought to have changed your fingernails with henna.” (Sunan An-Nasa’i)

The attack however continues with the emulation of the Prophet with his incredibly misleading statement:

“You don’t emulate except what [the Prophet] asked us to emulate. Wasn’t he allowed to have the culture of his time in 7th century Arabia?”

This is a grossly incorrect, reductionist statement. Emulation without an express command formed the basis of many rulings. Furthermore, emulation without exhortation was an expectation:

‘Aisha said, “The Messenger of Allah did something as an example in order to make things easier for people but some people still refrained from doing it. When the Prophet heard about that, he praised Allah and said, ‘what do you think of people who refrain from anything that I myself do? By Allah I am the greatest of them in knowledge of Allah and the strongest of them in fear of Allah”. (Bukhari wa Muslim)

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When Government Focus Shifted from British Automotive Engineering to Engineering British Islam

Engineering British Islam

Government is focussing on the wrong engineering industry

Alex Moulton (hyrdagas suspension system), Alec Issigonis (original Mini-designer), Gordon Murray (veteran F1 designer and the brains behind the legendary Mclaren F1) – these are the names of some of the best engineers in the world.  But successive governments over the past few decades have not supported this industry.  From the Rover debacle, to allowing some of the most emotive marques in British history, like the MG, TVR, Triumph, Land Rover, Lotus, and Mini, fall into foreign hands, the British car industry has been let down.

The British government has not completely divorced itself from engineering however.  With the assistance of the extremism “experts” industry, and the highly contentious, neocon-driven Iraq and Afghan invasions, the UK government was able to divert its focus to engineering a government-compliant, government-serving, “British Islam”.

Nick Clegg’s Strategy for “Extremism”

With the seemingly assimilationist comments coming from David Cameron premised on the fabricated, completely rejected Trojan Hoax plot and rooted in the anti-Muslim, neocon Michael Gove’s attack on Islam and Muslims, Nick Clegg has given off his view on the matter of “British values” and Muslims.

Michael Gove’s position has been one of focussing on Islam and conflating increased religiosity with extremism, as Whitehall officials themselves have stated.  He has said that all extremists should be confronted regardless of whether they support violence, and described the Home Office approach to “just beating back the crocodiles that come close to the boat rather than draining the swamp”.

Referring to Islam and Muslims as a “swamp” says a lot about Gove and his thoughts on the Muslim minority.  In contrast Clegg does come off, at first, a lot more nuanced and with less Gove-ian seething hate:

“Muslims in Britain are the best antidote to extremism and much more effective than any number of decisions from Whitehall. The deputy prime minister believes moderate Muslims in Britain are key to safe and happy communities, and should be praised not singled out in an attempt to gain headlines.”

I would like to commend and extend my thanks to Clegg for taking (the delayed) steps to counter to some degree, the narrative of the neocons being pushed down the throats of compromised government bodies, which surely he is aware of, and the Muslim minority of Britain.

The “Moderate Muslim”, Labour’s PREVENT and Radical Middle Way Continue reading

The New Neocon Subversion of Islam: Undermining the Islamic Obligation of Amr and Nahy

The concept of ‘amr bil ma’roof wa ’nahy ‘an ‘l-munkar– commanding the good and forbidding evil – which has its roots in the Qur’an as well as the Sunnah and has been expounded in some detail by pious scholars of the past – is one of the most critical aspects of Islam which ensures the spiritual maintenance of the Muslim nation.

The following verse of the Qur’an establishes the obligation,

“You are the best nation produced for mankind. You enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong and believe in Allah.” (3:110)

The following hadith is staple in this regard,

Abu Said (radiyAllah ‘anhu) said, “I heard the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) say: Whoever sees in an evil let him change it with his hand, and if he is unable to then let him change it with his tongue, and if he is unable to then let him reject it with his heart, which is the weakest level of faith” (Imam Nawawi, Sharh Sahih Muslim)

Well over 1400 years of traditional scholarship in Islam has elucidated upon the meanings contained within the above hadith and the various ahadith and verses of the Qur’an pertaining to concept of amr (enjoining) and nahy (forbidding). From these sources the Ulama have extrapolated a framework for discharging this obligation.

The Henry Jackson Society and “ Coercive Enforcement of Sharia”

The Henry Jackson Society recently held a seminar entitled Coercive Enforcement of Sharia in the UK and in Europe: An Assessment, with Dr Lorenzo Vidino, to discuss “Hisba”. He is a former researcher at the American neoconservative think-tank, RAND Corporation, which pedalled the proposal authored by Cheryl Bernard to reform Islam and which formed the basis for many of the policies (including PREVENT) implemented by the UK government (see here). He is currently a Senior Fellow at the Center for Security Studies, ETH Zurich and a policy adviser at the European Foundation for Democracy (EFD).  Interestingly, the “experts” which serve at the EFD include the following:

  • Irshad Manji – belonging to the Ismaili religion, she authored a book called The Trouble with Islam, claiming herself to be a Mujtahida reformist of Islam. She believes herself to be a “Refusenik”; she refuses “to join an army of automatons in the name of Allah,” which incidentally refers to most Muslims who do not agree with her reformist outlook.   She also believes most Muslims regard women as inferior. For a lesbian Mujtahida, the bigoted claims are grand indeed.
  • Tehmina Kazi – is the director of British Muslims for Secular Democracy, an organisation which previously had anti-Muslim, Ismaili Taj Hargey, Hijab-hater Yasmin Alibhai-Brown who was the director and who is now currently vice chair, and Ghayasuddin Siddiqui, another reformist who believes Islamic laws are outdated.
  • Ahmad Mansour – another born-again, “I used to be an Islamist therefore believe me” anti-Islamist, who attributes most of normative Islam to a “Salafist” understanding, believes that those Imams who pay “lip service” to democracy should in essence, not be trusted. Normative Islamic beliefs, according to Mansour, lead to violence:

“This is where the delusion begins. Violence doesn’t only occur when people are ready to kill in the name of religion. Problems in education and marriage also lead to violence, as does propaganda about gender-discrimination, the claim of exclusivity of one’s religion, the declining state of democracy, or the belief of having to save others from a godless life – all represent facets that can incite violence.”

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