Tell Mama is Nearing its Sell-by Date


Crosspost: Dilly Hussain

In light of the new recording of Islamophobia law coming into effect in April, controversial anti-Muslim hate monitoring organisation Tell Mama will inevitably be made redundant, writes Dilly Hussain.

Muslims across the UK are eagerly awaiting the publication of the much-anticipated Counter Extremism Bill.

Prolific Government statements throughout 2015 set out its intent to tackle the “extremist ideology” that apparently lurks behind “Islamist extremism”, and the justifiable counter-concerns about yet further encroachments on Muslim civil liberties, makes this as significant a political struggle as the Counter Terrorism and Security Bill at the start of 2015.

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Discriminatory David Cameron’s Message to Britain: Either You are with Us, or Against Us

DavidCameronWhen George Bush infamously announced to the world that “either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists”, it set policies in motion which have detrimentally impacted the landscape of Western politics and law. The thinking representing the group of men who advised disastrous foreign policies and civil liberties-eroding domestic policies, slowly but surely permeated across the Atlantic to Britain through Tony Blair and later, Michael Gove under the auspices of neocon/pro-Israel advocates. That original, reductionist, warring “us and them” narrative, courtesy of neoconservatism, has since become the normalised discourse around Islam, Muslims and foreign wars.

There is a little-known but important indication to the type of politics being played upon hearing the terms “violent and non-violent extremism”. Indeed these terms have crystallises under the previous and current British neocon regimes. The terms can be traced to the rhetoric of zealous neoconservatives. During Bush’s second term, neocon architect of the Iraq war Donald Rumsfeld promoted a change in wording from War on Terror to “global struggle against violent extremism” or GSAVE. Those familiar with the neocon-linked, pro-Israel global counter-extremism complex will recognise the “AVE” acronym often employed to denote this politicised, agenda-driven, hegemonic effort.

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Fiyaz Mughal and the State-Approved Regressive “Progressive” Muslims

nickcohenfiyazmughalquilliamtellmamaThe neocon propaganda machine is at full tilt as the government reveals its ultimate legislative weapon to excise active Muslim political activists from civil society under the dissent-suppressing counter-extremism discourse. Andrew Gilligan has already taken a swipe at Muslim organisations through his trademark blend of Muslim “extremists”, spin and lies. Even Peter Oborne could not help but notice that his article contained “a number of unsubstantiated claims” and “a number of factual errors”.

Elsewhere, David Cameron apparently likes Muslims. Well *some* Muslims would be more accurate.  In what must be the most sterile PR stunt ever, he has lent his approval to a head-scarf wearing Muslim contestant of the TV show, the Great British Bake Off.  One can understand why:

  1. Is her politics reflective of a Muslim who needs to prove her “Britishness”? Check.
  2. Does the Muslim belong to a gender group which needs to be saved from Islam? Check.
  3. Does the show have the word “British” as part of its title? Check.
  4. Are the general public supporting her? Check.

It sure is a safe bet. Previously, in Eid messages, Cameron has spoken of the “good Muslims” who fought for “our freedoms” off the back of the brutal colonialism of the Muslim world. Later, in his Birmingham speech, he would go onto proclaim that he was going to “actively encourage the reforming and moderate Muslim voices.  These voices incidentally belong to “progressive Muslims” who also happen to be primed by key neoconservative officials and who support their key policies, from the discourse on Muslims and global democracy-spreading to Trident. Such promotion and support is key to maintaining the neoconservative assumptions around the Muslim context.   The fundamental impediment is garnering legitimacy from the mainstream Muslim community.

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

BMYFaithMattersAVE

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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