The previous two pieces have established the following:
- Tony Blair is ideologically-motivated to impose his worldview and toolset that he has tested with despotic, authoritarian regimes.
- The report produced by the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change (henceforth “Institute”) has Blair’s neocon ideology shaping its poor methodology, from the way it targets Muslim organisations, to how it establishes, in a deeply totalitarian fashion, its categories or “spectrum of extremism”.
In this piece, examples from the report will be used to demonstrate how the various “extremism” categories identified in the report come together to protect elements of the state and associated actors from scrutiny and police the views of citizens by rendering them potentially terroristic.
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.
The 22nd May Manchester Arena bombing has etched a particularly traumatic experience into the people of Britain. The attack in Manchester has claimed the lives of young teenagers, including an eight-year old. My sympathies go out to the victims of this atrocity.
I delayed writing on this topic for two reasons; the first being in respect of the lives lost; the second because so little had been established concerning the motive. With the Westminster attack, if we recall, there was a significant internalisation of blame by the Muslim minority without establishment of key facts – a dynamic that was fully exploited by neocons. Indeed, once the motive was established, it pointed to an uncomfortable motive, which is increasingly being marginalised in the discourses that seek to analyse the “causes” of terrorism: Western violence.
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.
Read my previous analysis on the HASC Radicalisation report: Home Affairs Select Committee Radicalisation Report is an Effort to Dissipate Momentum against PREVENT and a Dangerous Script for a Closed Society
The Home Affairs Select Committee report on radicalisation referred to two key organisations which have been close to the establishment and have directly or indirectly supported the lambasted PREVENT social engineering programme targeting the Muslim minority: Fiyaz Mughal’s Faith Matters which runs Tell MAMA, and Inspire, run by Sara Khan and Kalsoom Bashir.
Critiques of PREVENT raised by Faith Matters (FM) are reproduced in the Committee report. A comment piece on FM’s submission to the Committee has been published here on the blog already. I highlighted the fact that Mughal himself engages in the very issues his submission criticises. Pertinently, I revealed that the seemingly two-faced Mughal did in fact support PREVENT but believed the “brand” had become “damaged”. Moreover, the way in which Tell MAMA was being used was a cause for consternation. Far from merely recording anti-Muslim attacks, it was actively controlling Muslim discourse by indirectly defending Quilliam Foundation employees and facilitating attacks on Muslims authored by pro-Israel activists through the subtle construction of Muslim discourse as extremist – a neoconservative strategy to suppress dissent.
Under the cover of purporting to measure anti-Muslim attacks, Mughal’s organisation continues to engage in the very practice of attacking Muslims it disagrees with alongside pro-Israel outfits like Community Security Trust (CST), and gutter papers like the Daily Mail. When the pro-Israel, Mossad-linked organisation CST published a piece in which the political ideology of Zionism was dangerously conflated with anti-Semitism, credible Muslim journalist Dilly Hussain and Mend, an organisation respected in the Muslim community, were attacked, Tell MAMA tellingly Tweeted it out as a “brilliant blog”.
In the previous piece, we saw how despite an ostensible opposition furnished against PREVENT, the likes of Fiyaz Mughal has no qualms with the Muslim-demonizing policy of PREVENT aside from its “brand” being damaged. It is therefore even more of a concern that Mughal is increasingly operating Tell MAMA as vehicle to establish neocon government-compliant “norms” for Muslims. Further, there are indications which suggest that Mughal is using Tell MAMA as a screen to protect those who are advocating the securitisation of the Muslim minority through the rhetoric of Islamophobia and racism.
Blind MAMA and “House Muslims” Spin
In a piece published on its website September last year, Tell MAMA moved beyond its remit to judge what are acceptable labels used by Muslims, ironically, chastising the “moral guardians of the internet”. I say ironically because firstly, Mughal, as already highlighted, perpetuates the CVE (Countering Violent Extremi) agenda that is all about labels (Islamism, extremism etc.), and secondly, the piece was published in favour of someone who hyperventilates litanies of “extremist”, “Islamist” and “regressive-Left” at any given opportunity (see below).
On the 8th of March, Fiyaz Mughal’s Faith Matters submitted written evidence to the Home Affairs Committee’s countering extremism inquiry. Written in an interestingly critical style, it certainly hit all the high notes from the perspective of the Muslim community.
For instance, it drew attention to the current Counter Extremism Strategy as having disproportionately focussed on the Muslim community “leading to claims that it renders Muslims a ‘suspect community’.” It highlights the problem of Home Office holding disproportionate power in defining “extremism” and that the definition should be the “product of scholarly debate”. Even the label “Islamism” comes in for criticism, noting it leads to McCarythism and alienation of partners that can “support the fight against violent extremism”.
A superficial reading certainly makes for a promising one.
But then we recall that this is a submission by Faith Matters, whose head is Fiyaz Mughal. If anything, this submission only further exposes his hypocrisy, political opportunism and the complete discrediting of his pet project Tell MAMA.