PREVENT, Pre-crime and the Colonial Continuity


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.

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Their Violence, Our Values: A History of European Responses to Political Dissent


Crosspost: Asim Qureshi

Terror, Ideology and Fear: A Very European Story

The latest terrorist attacks in Brussels, widely-believed to be the work of Islamic State, have reignited the debate about how Europe should deal with the threat of political violence domestically and internationally. Since the attacks of 11 September 2001, the prevailing narrative has been to place this struggle within the context of an ideological war – a war based on conflicting value systems. This notion was epitomised the morning after the Paris attacks by Jacques Reland, of the Global Policy Institute, who, commenting to the BBC, stated:

I see it as a continuation of the war against the values of the West. I see it as an attack on French society, French way of life, French culture, on more than that, on European values, democracy and freedom.

In a similar vein, Bruno Tertrais, of the French thinktank Fondation pour la Recherche Stratégique, was quick to reiterate the line that, “This is a war of ideas”, explaining how:

“…what was targeted on Friday night was, once again, about the very identity and soul of Paris, the ‘capital of abominations and perversions’, according to Islamic State. Most French people were surprised to see their uber-secular country described as the one that “carries the banner of the Cross” by Isis’s vengeful communiqué. The point here is that French policies in the Middle East are a secondary rationale for armed jihadists. President Hollande said as much in his short Saturday morning address: we are targeted for what we are.”

Such statements are not unique. Rather, these sentiments have formed as part of a consistent narrative that places such moments of brutality within a larger continuum, one that requires an ideological response to a supposed fundamental clash in values, rather than to politically-motivated violence anchored in real-world grievances.

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Cameron, Cromer and Colonialism: Yes Mr Cameron, It is a Colonialist-Style Attack on Islam

DavidCameronAnd 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.

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