A series of blogs analysing the recent Channel 4 documentary titled, “What British Muslims Really Think”
Part 1: An Orchestrated Attack on Islam
Part 2: Brief Profile of Trevor Phillips
Part 3: Trevor Phillips’ Propaganda and Normalisation of Muslim Minority Discrimination
In the last article, we saw how Phillips used spin and dubious extrapolations to conclude, in an expressly discriminatory fashion, that the survey on Muslim opinion showed “a nation within the nation.” What the implications are in specifically the Muslim context will be the subject of my next and final piece. Here the focus will on the ramifications resulting from Phillips’ proclamations and accompanying neoconservative chorus.
Phillips, based off his exclusionary conclusion, moves to providing a (semi-final?) “solution” to this artificially constructed “Muslim problem” saturated in hypocrisy:
“It’s clear to me that we have to discourage the many Muslims who want to live a separate life according to values that are at odds with non-Muslim Britain. But that’s not a responsibility for government, to stand a chance of success the whole of Britain may have to set aside the live and let live philosophy that’s paved the way for separate and reassert the liberal values that served our society for so long.”
Phillips then calls for “active integration” which is made up of the notion that there are some things “society” will not compromise on, and the strategy that liberal trends in all parts of society are to be supported. In order to achieve, this, the already anti-Muslim, draconian, and civil-liberties-eroding measures implemented by neocons and David Cameron “do not go far enough”. “We need”, we are instructed, “a much more muscular approach”.
In my previous set of blogs (here and here), we saw how those groups connected to “foreign influences” – the sophisticated pro-Israel lobby and neoconservative “think-tanks” – have bullied through unethical policies and laws which have deteriorated civil liberties. Characteristic amongst these lobby groups which have unquestioned loyalties to a foreign belligerent state is the use of threat and intimidation; not toeing the pro-Israel line means no “donations”, as accurately demonstrated by Ed Miliband’s condemnation of the 2014 Gaza massacre. And no donations means a lesser likelihood of attaining power. It is similar to how these behavioural traits manifest in other areas of politics. In place of diplomacy, neocon like to utilise “Hard Wilsonianism” urging the benevolent bombing of “peace” and “freedom” into the hearts of (mainly) Muslim communities throughout the Middle East in concert with Zionist strategic interests. At home, bullying has been used effectively against those who politically dissent against government policies by being hounded by a press using strategies devised by neocons. There is also, of course, using the law to force compliance to state ideology and policies through PREVENT. In the words of Machiavelli, approvingly quoted by the “godfather of neoconservatism” Irving Kristol:
“for neither conscious nor shame ought to have any influence upon you… those who obtain great power do so either by force or fraud, and having got them they conceal under some honest name the foulness of their deeds”.
There is a darker side to this bullying and intimidation. Wrongdoing over the years, like donation scandals and buying or selling influence, which would result in a cacophony of press coverage accompanied by vigorous laws and regulation if the perpetrators were Muslim, barely attracts a slap on the wrist where individuals involved have been linked to pro-Israel lobby groups.
Crosspost: Nafeez Ahmed
Last week, leading Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump provoked global outrage with his call for a ‘temporary’ ban on all Muslim immigration to the United States.
His remarks also sparked enthusiastic support from neo-Nazi white supremacists, triggered a spike in campaign donations, and maintained his 35% lead in the Republican campaign race.
In Britain, Prime Minister David Cameron described Trump’s proposal as “divisive, unhelpful and quite simply wrong.”
The media outlets have relayed their dismay at the outpourings from the pucker-mouthed, flame-headed Republican candidate Donald Trump. From closing down mosques, and requiring all Muslims to register onto a database, to banning Muslim immigration, Donald Trump is, in the one words of one journalist, “at war with Muslims”, thoroughly exploiting the growing anti-Muslim sentiment in the West. The media has painted his views as fringe, however, could not be further from reality, at least at the policy level. Trump is tip of an iceberg of narratives rooted in neoconservatism and its proponents.
It is worth noting that American neoconservatives like David Frum have openly backed Trump in the past. At that time, too, Trump was on the train of hype and demagoguery, obsessively attacking Obama through “birther” allegations, fuelling the architecting of the “other” and feeding the far-right claims that Obama was a “closet-Muslim”.
His current campaign continues the theme of fear-mongering of the “outsider”. It began with Mexican immigrants being stereotyped by Trump as “drug dealers, criminals and rapists”. His focus has, over the course of the year, transitioned to Islam and Muslims.
The piece continues from the first part:
Deforming Faith and History to Serve a Neocon Agenda Part I: Rashad Ali
Whilst Ali is known amongst Islamic scholarly circles for twisting texts and now history to suit the views his paymasters demand of him, there are other characters who are willing accomplices in this project.
Sara Khan seems to have been on a bit of a mission to shake off the negativity surrounding her involvement as a human rights-touting feminist who confusingly promotes the human rights-violating PREVENT Strategy through the incredibly feminist “weaponisation” of Muslim women. The Guardian’s Alex Preston penned a piece late last month looking at Khan and her work. Of pertinence is the exploitation, like her human rights and feminism discourse, of Islam.
Ignoring the fact that Islam guides on all facets of life, Khan homes in on the “fascination” of “Muslim clerics and preachers” with women’s clothing. For her, removing the veil “was about removing the authority of religious clerics”. Of course, with statements like that, considering that the Prophet of Islam was a man who designated the status of the Ulama as “heirs of the Prophets”, she might as well absolve herself of the authority Allah, and His Messenger, peace be upon him.
The country is in pain, it seems. The Conservatives’ return to power has brought forth a reactions from the public and media which is one of mourning. Giles Fraser described democracy post Conservatives-election as a “religion that has failed the poor”. With the party back in power fully through courting the “nastiness” which is the hallmark of the Cons, the coming five years do not bode well. Indeed, this is the party which completely eschewed the “Muslim vote”, completely in favour of other minorities.
Neoconservative Subversion of Democracy
However, the shock should be for far more serious reasons. In yet another incisive article, investigative journalist Dr. Nafeez Ahmed notes that the number of MPs in Parliament directly correlates to the amount of funding received. The Conservatives are a particular concern, with the corporate powers in the City bankrolling the party. Indeed, Tory-donors were financing both UKIP and Tory MPs in the run up to the election, with a UKIP-Conservative voting strategy being endorsed by the Conservative think-tank Bow Group. The Group has on the board of patrons the neoconservative thinker Roger Scruton, so lovingly cited by the likes of Douglas Murray in his book Neoconservatism, Why we Need it. Scruton has been a member of a previous neoconservative think-tank which has in the past hyped the threat of Marxism and left-wing infiltration of universities and schools (now that sounds familiar!). The reports, according to Scruton were “quietly encouraged by 10 Downing Street to concoct an outside pressure group to influence policy.” Furthermore, other members of the think-tank, such as Caroline Cox have been a part of reports on left-wing “radical minorities” published via think-tanks established by British and American intelligence agencies.
Napoleon once said that there are only two factors which unite men: fear and self-interest
In an interview with the Standard and returning from his tour from Malaysia, Boris Johnson seemed to present a slightly moderate demeanour to the discourse on immigration. But as they say the devil is in the detail. Britain should have a welcoming policy towards working migrants he suggested, but it is part of human nature to be xenophobic and that those who were afraid of foreigners were “not bad people”.
Without getting into a debate as to whether xenophobia is intrinsically innate, it is well established that the usual motivators for xenophobia are among other things economic distress, increased nationalism and nativism, and of course pressures related to immigration. These are external factors, not innate ones, incidentally which are in the control of the present government. Furthermore, xenophobia is a tendency which can be very easily triggered.
The attempt at normalising xenophobia (xenophobes are not “bad people”) glosses over the seriousness of the phenomenon itself. Xenophobia is “bad”. To understand the gravity of normalising xenophobia, one needs to grasp the potentially violent manifestation of it.
Xenophobia is a phenomenon which involves prejudicial treatment experienced by the “alien”. It is an irrational fear in the context of people who are different in some way. In the present British context, the manifestation of this irrational fear towards the Muslim minority has become most acute. With reports of increased attacks on Muslims (in particular Muslim women), the discriminatory targeting through government officials and organs, coupled with research which highlights the Muslim minority as the most discriminated when it comes to job opportunities, it would be no exaggeration to say that xenophobia, epistemologically irrational and inherently, usefully deflective of “real issues” (corporate tax havens, government corruption/cover-ups, poverty), is most visible in the experiences of the Muslim minority of Britain.