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.
The War on Terror breathed life into morbid industries. Those who were the fundamental cogs in the illegal, immoral and strategically catastrophic neoconservative war machine profiteered. Over the years it has also spurned another industry at the soft end of the War on Terror: counter extremism. Pimping the discourse of rights, and using it as a stick to beat a minority with, the language has shifted from rights to one of security.
Having observed over the past decade or so the recycling of the calls to “reform” or rather, deform Islam through various charlatans like Ziauddin Sardar, Ed Husain, Taj Hargey et al, the need to freshen the line up to resurge the desperate call is necessary. This is mainly because deconstructing Islam has been a somewhat difficult affair; Muslims understand the meticulous nature of their Book, belief and disbelief, and the fact that the calls to deform conveniently serve the neoconservative War on Terror agenda. Those who force a deformation of Islam using superficial and spurious argumentation do so often incredibly poorly, without any intellectual rigour and to the wine-sipping neo-colonial glee of the unctuous neoconservatives and their supporting, superficial Twitterati.
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.
In a previous blog I set out how government proposals which scrap the Human Rights Act and propose the curtailment of legal expression via the Counter-Extremism Bill are intertwined. I have also in the past explained how the assault on civil liberties is founded in neoconservative thinking.
In this series, we will delve deeper into the views held by our new Justice Secretary, Michael Gove as articulated in his book, Celsius 7/7, with additional commentary explaining the neoconservativism underpinning the statements where appropriate and the impact it has thus far had on the good Britons of this country.
In this first part, we will briefly examine the people who shaped his disturbing worldview.
One of the recurring themes of “counter-extremism” groups – be it the latent Radical Middle Way (RMW) and ISB, or the more overt Quilliam Foundation, and the puppeteered Humza Arshad – is that it always tracks back to an agenda to undermine Islam, “reform” it, crush dissent and deflect Western foreign policy critique. This is one of the reasons why, I believe, that our “transparent” public bodies are more resilient in disclosing the organisations they are funding from the counter-extremism pot. A link to PREVENT is all that is needed to expose the soul-destroying efforts of whichever organisation is acting as a conduit for neoconservative, anti-Islam agendas.
With the counter-extremism industry growing over the years, a cross-pollination of those neoconservative-based ideas has occurred, primarily between US, UK and Europe. The ideal for the neocons is to mount an ethnocentric, culturalist attack on Islam. History shows us two ways of doing this, as exemplified by Britain’s evolution of the PREVENT Strategy. The current strategy is one of secularisation of Islam through the “British values” social engineering programme. The previous strategy, also designed by the “sophist” (or rather supremacist) minds of neocons is one where apolitical, pacifist readings, usually through the abuse of Sufi Ulama, is posited as the “ideal” Islam. This is a temporary measure only, of course, until the next phase of the neocon agenda of aggressively promoting “progressive Muslims” and “ex-Muslims” is entered, as per the current strategy.
This strategy of promoting “moderate Islam” seems to be returning into vogue, as can be seen by Shaykh Abdullah bin Bayyah and Imam Hamza Yusuf-endorsed ImamsOnline initiative. Another recurrent theme is the Zionist interest and involvement in influencing the counter-extremism discourse, with the likes of Mossad internationally monitoring “moderate”, pacifist Muslim movements, and domestically, organisations like the Board of deputies of Jews contributing to the counter-extremism policy.
Jumping on the deradicalisation VW Camper Van is “Abdullah-X”, a character of a graphic novel aimed at providing the “counter-narrative”. The character in the initial episodes experiences some sort of divine unveiling, all on the topic of “extremism”. He then possesses a “mind of a scholar” and the “heart of a warrior” who proceeds to provide the counter-narrative to the “extremist” discourse. Not exactly Frank Miller’s Dark Knight then.
It is fast approaching that time of year when people engage in the process of democracy to elect their leader of a party which represents the wishes of the electorate. Of course that is the ideal understanding of democracy, however the reality of this non-existent utopia is dominated by corporations and lobby groups.
The neoconservative perversion has pervaded the upper echelons of most parties, as demonstrated most emphatically through the rapid passing of the Counter Terrorism and Security Act. Hook line and sinker, most sections of all big three parties, including the shapeless Lib Dems voted in its favour without batting an eyelid at the incredibly invasive, thought-policing measures being proposed.
After perniciously battering the Muslim minority with a host of further “extremism” measures, where “extremism” continues to entail normative Islamic beliefs, where the Muslim community continue to be treated like a fifth column and where Shari’ah courts are investigated, Theresa May gifted Muslims the penny Mojo chew, just to “sweeten” the taste of blood in the mouth. Five years of harsh rhetoric targeting the Muslim minority, government interference with religion and thought, harassment and “disruption” is meant to be excused because the anti-Muslim hate crime, born in part because of this public treatment against Muslims, will be categorised as a more serious crime.
No. Way. I was touched. No really, I am speaking the truth (in a neoconservative sort of way).
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.