The background to this and subsequent blog to be published are the subtle transformations taking place in the context of pre-crime counter-terrorism policies and their interaction with Muslims. Over the past few years there have been an increasing number of voices which seek to mask gaping criticisms of PREVENT by reviving previously failed strategies. The history, details and identification of events and organisations engaged (inadvertently or otherwise) in this revival will be outlined in a further detailed piece but suffice to say, the aim seeks to develop a “community-based” response to terrorism (and extremism) in order deal with the criticism that PREVENT lacks “community buy-in” and “trust”. From within the community, the argument goes that if Muslims develop their own responses then the significance of PREVENT diminishes and religious rights for Muslims are protected.
In response to this I will proffer some further points of discussion in order to determine whether such exercises are beneficial to the Muslim minority. This piece in particular will focus on restoring pre-crime policies like PREVENT as a method of control firmly within the discourse of colonial power relations. Pre-crime, it will be shown, is an exemplar of the colonial continuity.
And 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.
The Trojan Hoax fiasco had a number of parties involved to pull it off. Some were merely pawns in the “Great Game”, whilst others were the ones moving the chess pieces. The sledgehammer which the neocon, anti-Islam Michael Gove smashed onto the Muslim minority of Birmingham was casted some years ago by the infamous and much discredited Quilliam Foundation. In a leaked 2010 memo addressed to Charles Farr of the OSCT, and signed off by Ed Husain and Maajid Nawaz, Quilliam outlined its plan in “dealing” with the terror threat. The contents despite it being made public, has been remarkable in its implementation and achieving the resultant targeted discrimination the Muslim minority now faces.
In the context of the education of the sphere,
“With the appointment of Michael Gove MP, who has previously spoken out on topics related to the Prevent agenda and has shown a good understanding of the issues relating to it, to the position of Secretary of State for Education, it looks as though Prevent at DfE will continue to develop and focus on the vital counter-ideological work necessary to prevent terrorism.”
Of course, in November 2009, this “good understanding” presumably referred to an embarrassing series of blunders, when Gove helped David Cameron set up a question to the Prime Minister on “Islamic extremism”, making false claims regarding funding and inspection of Islamic schools.