New Look, Old Tactics: British Muslim Youth and the Counter-Extremism Agenda


Continuing the theme which sees a resurgence of organisations calling for “engagement” and which use and abuse particular scholars in an effort to try and create themselves some space in the already crowded but lucrative counter-extremism industry, is the youth-focussed organisation, British Muslim Youth (BMY).

The Not So Forgotten “forgotten voice”

BMY seems to have been a local organisation which dealt with the Rotherham child abuse scandal and subsequently rebranded and nationalised. Its “CEO”, Muhbeen Hussain comes from a family connected to local politics: his uncle is Mahroof Hussain, Labour councillor for Rotherham.  He and his relative and BMY press officer, Vakas Hussain, are leading the charge to revive the “forgotten” voice of Muslim youth in the context of radicalisation.

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Andrew Gilligan and his Discriminatory Propaganda Piece on Anti-Semitism – A Follow Up

The reports of late around the increases in anti-Semitic reporting have primarily centred on Palestine, with Andrew Gilligan for instance, attempting to forge a link between the rise in attacks and Muslims Islam.

This came to a more emphatic, anti-Muslim assertion made by a Jew amongst the audience on BBC’s Question Time (05/02/2015), who stated that (at 57 minutes),

“There is a strong correlation between the rise of Muslims in Britain, and the rise of anti-Semitism… we don’t how many come from Muslims and how many don’t, but I suspect, there is a very strong relationship.”

The assertion was calmly made as though it was a statement of fact, yet it was admitted that the actual figures were not known. An unsubstantiated attack on the Muslim minority, no less.

In my piece on Gilligan, I highlighted how Gilligan focussed entirely on Muslims and Muslim behaviour. He also dragged in Muslim organisations and individuals in what was a Salafi-bashing piece, a nod to RICU directives, presumably. After reading Gilligan’s propaganda material, it would be understandable why the gentlemen in the audience relayed his anti-Muslim thoughts in the manner he did.

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Andrew Gilligan’s PREVENT-Infused Anti-Muslim “Journalism”

Attacks because of one’s faith or race, or any other identifying feature is unacceptable. It is dehumanising, and very often for the victim, traumatising. The perpetrators too, can be victims; victims of their own ignorance which is exasperated by stereotypes reinforced in the media and government officials.  Instead of fighting stereotypes, and challenging xenophobia, our government has institutionalised xenophobia, a necessary ingredient for hate-crimes and manufacturing consent for draconian policies.

As such I was happy to see Theresa May and other neocons mourning the increases in attacks against the Jewish community, even though the claims which prompted Theresa May’s reassurance were from a study which the Institute of Jewish Policy Research slammed as “littered with flaws”, with the conclusions being “dubious”, “irresponsible” and “incendiary”. Nevertheless, it was befuddling to see the comparative silence on the rise of attacks against the Muslim community, not just in the UK, but across Europe.  Instead, the rhetoric around the Muslims continued to assign blame to the Muslim community, calling on them to “do more”, and therefore reinforcing the far-right narrative that the Muslim minority is inherently to blame for every and any attack perpetrated anywhere in the world. It abhorrently played Muslims off the Jewish community, in a similar fashion to the political opportunism displayed in David Cameron’s Chanuka speech.

Key senior figures are clearly not interested anti-Muslim hate crime.  Tell MAMA, headed by the opportunistic Fiyaz Mughal, was set up as a government initiative.  Once the Foreign Office had published its 2013 report on Human Rights and lionised the fact that the Muslim minority had a comforting arm of the government cuddling the Muslim minority, Tell MAMA’s funding was promptly pulled.

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Targeting Women and Mothers – Jan Trust and the PREVENT Policy Push into the Muslim Home

muslim womanEducate a man and you educate an individual; educate a woman and you educate an entire family.”

This beautiful statement of Malcolm X has powerful, empowering implications. Now consider the converse. If you colonise the mind of a man, you colonise an individual; if you colonise the mind of a woman, you destroy the next generation.

An “intervention” of an armed nature to control a minority within the country is political suicide. You can instil fear into them though, by demonising a community and then targeting their beliefs through policies which would criminalise thought, belief in the Shari’ah or preference of an alternate world-view. All this would prevent political dissent and control the beliefs of a minority and by extension the people. Thus the “intervention” is the colonisation of the mind or as Ruth Kelly called it when she presented the plans to place the local authorities as mechanisms to tackle “extremism” – winning hearts and minds. This is the extra-judicial policy known as PREVENT and the Channel programme.

The entire premise of the PREVENT agenda is entirely erroneous and unchallenged. It seeks to challenge a government-defined ideology which happens to also cut across traditional Islamic beliefs and discounts actions which may be caused by political grievances and by extension the foreign policy of Britain (Michael Adebelajo is a case in point). It also conflicts with the MI5’s profile of terrorist. Under the pretext of terrorism, thoughts are being criminalised and at the same time the government’s own dirty politics are being shielded.

Despite such Orwellian characteristics, the erosion of human rights continues unabated. Muslim women have been targeted as tools to propound the PREVENT agenda in the past, however of late there has been a renewed emphasis on this pathway to a more effective invasion of rights and liberties and encouragement of a spying culture within the family.

The Shanaz Network

The PREVENT agenda is increasingly targeting women and mothers with their agenda. The Shanaz Network is a PREVENT initiative and was “established to break down barriers and encourage women to play an active part in the Government’s Prevent agenda.”

Prevent project targeting women as tools.

Prevent project targeting women as tools.

According to the latest Shanaz Network factsheet,

“Women are at the heart of the home and communities and are best placed to notice behavioural changes in their children or in others. This puts them in a position to safeguard those who are potentially vulnerable to recruitment into terrorism… The Network’s objectives include; work to address ideologies which terrorists use to recruit people to their causes; work to support those who may by vulnerable to radicalisation, and work to strengthen institutions which can play a role in Prevent. The Shanaz Network will report on a review progress through an online community forum.”

One must question the behavioural aspect of this purpose. If tomorrow a teenager, refuses to listen to music, changes his attire from a G-Star jacket to a jilbaab or jubba, takes interest in Islamic literature, and audio lectures emphasising the Muslim minority identity and prays through the night, would such a change prompt mothers to start getting concerned and possibly refer them for deradicalisation? Based upon existing, analagous referrals to Channel, it would seem so (see below).

Jan Trust – “Mum’s against Terror” or PREVENT Abusing Mum’s?

Jan Trust is an organisation which was originally associated with commendably dealing with domestic violence and forced marriages. Their history with PREVENT emerged according to the Jan Trust project manager, Sajda Mughal when she “survived” the 7/7 attack, which in turn prompted her to tackle extremism, not by engaging and challenging route anguishes such as the existing foreign policy, demonisation of the Muslim minority and draconian terror legislation which was and still is discriminately targeting the Muslim minority, but by embracing it through PREVENT.

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Tell MAMA’s Reformist Agenda – Measuring Anti-Muslim Attacks or Measured Attacks on Muslims?

fiyaz mughal

Tell MAMA was a government funded project to measure hate-crimes targeting Muslims because of their faith. The latter point is key because what follows by Fiyaz Mughal is the exact act which Tell MAMA seeks to report on.  Before we delve in, it is worth getting some background on Fiyaz.

His previous work was around his interfaith organisation called Faith Matters. On its homepage, the website claims that,

“We understand that minorities face discrimination and hate incidents and attacks in the United Kingdom”

His wife also runs Jan Trust which is another PREVENT cash cow. Before jumping on the more lucrative tackling extremism (reducing Muslim minority rights) bandwagon, during his time as the chair for the Ethnic Minority Liberal Democrats, Fiyaz associated with Azhar Ali and Haras Rafiq attending multi-faith events.  According to sources within DCLG, Fiyaz and Azhar are still good bedfellows (metaphorically of course).  Azhar Ali was an advisor to Hazel Blears regarding extremism in the context of the Prevent strategy and used and abused the “Sufis” in-line with the RAND Corporation policy document, and made them the “moderate” voice, contributing to the splintering of the Muslim community. Haras Rafiq was infamous for pushing the now defunct Sufi Muslim Council and for also making false, anti-Muslim, hate stirring statements, claiming on a Channel 4 documentary, without evidence, that it could take less than two-weeks for one in five Muslims in the UK to become terrorists.  Haras Rafiq was, during the Sufi Muslim council days, exposed as having connections with the neoconservatives and the controversial Shaykh Hisham Kabbani. Since then he has worked with his colleague Rashad Ali and the extremist Douglas Murray as the director of CENTRI, a neoconservative organisation which is dedicated to destroying community cohesion as much as it claims to the contrary.

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