Tag Archives: Coolnessofhind

Coolnessofhind – SCHOOL USES PREVENT TO THREATEN MUSLIM PARENT WHO REQUESTED PUPIL REMOVAL FROM CHRISTMAS ASSEMBLY

Christmas, it seems is another issue which annually crops up to force the “Muslim Question”, whilst curiously obviating the uncomfortable issue of religious rights to hold, and by implication exclude particular beliefs and practices. Of course, this discriminatory focus on Muslims (the Jewish minority, for instance, are comparatively absent from this discourse) has consequences. Over a week ago, it was reported that a Muslim woman in Australia was subjected to a brutal verbal and physical attack after she replied “happy holidays” to the attacker’s “merry Christmas”. Incidentally, I doubt Louise Casey would regarding uttering “merry Christmas” as a sign of vulnerability to “extremism” and consequently, “violent extremism”.

There are milder but still manifestly detrimental consequences here in Britain too.  Last year, Police Commander Mak Chishty moronically stated that children who regarded Christmas as religiously prohibited were subscribing to an “Islamist” view.  They were therefore not “moderate”. As I highlighted at that time, this absurd notion was discriminatory as other religious groups, such as orthodox Jews and Jehovah’s Witnesses, whom regard Christmas as deriving from pagan customs, held similar views, but were not tarnished with the rhetoric of securitisation.  It seems however, that this dangerously irresponsible statement is seeing some manifestation in the education context.

My sources have heard from parents that teachers have been overly keen to get Muslim children involved in Christmas celebrations.  Until recently, however, I have not been able to obtain any hard evidence to corroborate this anecdotal evidence.  My sources have now forwarded startling information in the form of a letter which disturbingly issues a PREVENT-based threat to a Muslim parent for effectively requesting that his child be removed from the school Christmas assembly.  The assembly entails singing the Christmas carol called a “Silent Night”, a poem written by the priest Joseph Mohr in 1816. Part of the poem includes the following:

Silent night, holy night
Son of God, love’s pure light
Radiant beams from Thy holy face
With the
 dawn of redeeming grace
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth

My sources in London state that the distraught father, who does not speak English as his first language, simply stated that he did not want his child to join in with Silent Night, as it is for Christians. This however, has been interpreted “intolerance” and therefore contrary to “British values”.

The letter, signed by the head teacher, states that,

“I am writing to you to express my disappointment about the tone of your conversations a number of staff (sic), where I believe you expressed views that do not match the vision and values of the school. As you know we are by law required to uphold out statutory duty to promote British values…”

After citing Department for Education guidance which is irrelevant to the specific case of withdrawing children from religious assemblies, the head teacher highlights the “British value” of “mutual tolerance and respect”.  Noting that assemblies of different faiths are also conducted, the letter continues,

“I believe your comments, which you have now made on more than one occasion in front of others, about Christmas celebrations being for ‘people like us’, by which I believe you to mean teachers and others of a different faith than yours does not show what the statutory guidance terms as:

“An acceptance that other people having different faiths or beliefs to oneself (or having none) should be accepted and tolerated.

The head teacher then iterates various celebrations of different faiths and then states that there is an expectation that “all children… take part in these events whatever the religion they practise out of school in the same way I expect all staff to.”

The head teacher follows this with the threat:

“It is one thing to disagree but quite another to make assumptions about others. This type of behaviour shows, what appears to be, such blatant intolerance of other people’s belief that should this happen again I will have no other alternative but to refer the matter to the authorities. 

Attention for further information is drawn to the “PREVENT Strategy”.

My sources state that the “expressed views” which the head teacher is taking an issue with includes the removal of the child from the Christmas assembly. This is corroborated by the head teachers “expectation” that all children partake in “these events”.

The father feels he is unable to have his child removed.

Parents have a right, enshrined in School Standards and Frameworks Act 1998, section 71, to withdraw their children from religious education lessons as well as acts of collective worship at all schools. Furthermore, parents are not obligated to give a reason why.  This is not exactly controversial. There are Jewish schools where Christmas is banned, and even wrapping of Hanukah presents in paper which represents the Christmas tradition is prohibited. Last year parents at a school in Devon protested over the school taking their children to the mosque, based on their negative perceptions of Islam. Whilst their reasons are questionable, having their children removed is completely in concert with their rights as parents. Would the head teacher threaten these Jewish and Christian parents with a PREVENT referral for exemplifying “blatant intolerance”?  Acceptance and tolerance of different faiths does not mean having beliefs of different religions forced down children. How many orthodox Jewish parents are willing to let their children sing a poem declaring the Prophet Jesus, peace be upon him, as the Son of God? On the contrary, this is a violation of parental rights and coerced indoctrination.

And coercion is a quality intrinsic to PREVENT, which demands mental configuration to the state-defined beliefs.  The broken and blunt predictive toolthat is PREVENT is being used as a weapon of intimidation to bully parents into compliance by seemingly zealous head teachers.

It is yet another demonstration of just how deeply problematic the PREVENT Duty is.


Note: I have, for the moment, deliberately withheld information on the school and the head teacher.  This may change provided consent is obtained from the source.

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Analysing Anti-Muslim Neocon Caroline Cox’s Discriminatory Religious Marriages Amendment

Assalaamu Alaykum,

For those who have not come across it yet, the CoolnessofHind blog offers excellent analysis on the UK governments destructive and counter-productive anti-extremism Prevent Agenda and the host of characters supporting it and is well worth following.

Here CoolnessofHind shows what seems like a small change in the law, which may have been missed by Muslim organisations could actually lead to the criminalization of most Muslim marriages here in the UK.

May Allah reward the brother / sister behind CoolnessofHind and all those involved in taking on the usually thankless, dirty business of combating the Islamophobia of the Government, political parties, the media and wider British establishment, ameen.

Assalaamu Alaykum,

Gingerbeardman

CoolnessofHind

carolinecoxmarriageamendment

The atmosphere of political Islamophobia, anti-Muslim hatred and media stigmatization of Muslims and Islam, is something that has become normalised today. Interference with Islam, its beliefs and practices has reached such heights that one wonders whether the vaunted secular distinction of the public and private sphere actually exists. It increasingly represents an arbitrary distinction which moves with the prejudices and hatred of those in power of an increasingly penetrative state.

We now have non-Muslim judges that have become Mujtahid Imams,[1] formulating fatwas on the basis of a single reading of the Qur’an, Sayyid Qutb’s Milestones and a dossier compiled by a half-baked “expert” concerning which beliefs are regarded as “extreme”.  The courts have, in other words, regulated the beliefs of Muslims without expressly doing so through the notoriously nebulous “extremism” discourse.

The regulatory colonialism continues into the final bastion of Islam in a post-colonial, legally fictitious world of nation states: the…

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CoolnessofHind – PREVENT AND THREAT OF REMOVING MUSLIM CHILDREN

childpreventtakenintocare

https://coolnessofhind.wordpress.com/2016/10/19/prevent-and-threat-of-removing-muslim-children/

It has been my attempt to relate the human cost of the PREVENT counter-extremism programme on this blog.  Whether it is teachers going through the humiliation and stress of being called “extremists” only to be exonerated two years later, or whether it is children suffering effective psychological child abuse upon coming into contact with the PREVENT referral apparatus. The theoretical analysis and argumentation can sanitise the real cost of such decrepit neoconservative policies like PREVENT.

Two years ago, it was suggested by CAGE’s Asim Qureshi that there was a possibility that children would be taken from their parents under PREVENT.  Those PREVENT-milking state-collaborators in the persecution of the Muslim minority were rolled out repeatedly to discredit CAGE using specifically this claim to highlight that CAGE was “fearmongering” and spreading “myths”.  Exactly who is linked to propaganda departments within the Home Office, and who is regurgitating their black propaganda “messaging” is known well-known.  The reality is that the Muslim minority had already anticipated the child-snatching policy. Boris Johnson was foreshadowing the removal of children from “radical” parents as early as March 2014.  The claims by PREVENT-supporters that children will not be taken away through the implementation of PREVENT has proven to be as vacuous and deceptive as their state-prostituted and ventriloquized minds.

CAGE has cited several cases in which ERG22+ – the discredited mumbo jumbo theory underpinning PREVENT – has been employed by judges:

“Through the CTS Act 2015 and PREVENT programmes, the government has sought to intervene in the homes of families where there is a risk of ‘radicalisation’, often forcing removal of children from the home.”

Forcing Compliance: “They are going to make my life difficult”

Two days ago, at a seminar hosted by CAGE’s Asim Qureshi and Professor David Miller on the report “The Science Behind PREVENT”, a distraught Muslim mother of  a baby and four-year-old child was reduced to tears as she described her ordeal at the hands of PREVENT.  In her moving account, she stated that her house was raided by counter-terrorism police the day she had given birth to her child, and despite the father being taken away, the social services came and questioned her, threatening her with the removal of her children on the basis that she could not safeguard them.  Demonstrating the sinister side of PREVENT, she further states that PREVENT was used to threaten and intimidate her, consequently impacting her family and friends:

“PREVENT has said to me that if I don’t work with them, they are going to make my life difficult. They gave me a warning, they called me on Eid day, and gave me that warning… They’ve been constantly on my back… I am scared to even say that I am bringing my children up as a Muslim… Everyone is scared my friends are scared, they said they want to support me but they are scared to support me, because they fear their children may get taken away.”

Based on her account, it seems PREVENT officers are using psychological tactics reminiscent of the German Stasi’s Zersetzung strategy to mentally destabilise individuals into compliance. The climate of fear and intimidation perpetuated by PREVENT is reaching levels of insanity. It is being used as a weapon against Muslims to force compliance. Family courts have even gone to the extent of forcing teenagers to watch television as a prescriptive antidote to “radicalisation”.

EDL? “Neither here nor there”

So far many of the cases concerning the issue of radicalisation and children involve Muslims. There is, however, precedent for judges taking a completely different line of thinking in the context of non-Muslim, white, far-right-linked parents.

In February 2015, it was reported that the council was trying to prevent a father from bringing up his own toddler due to him being an activist with the EDL, which social workers called “barbaric”, that he was immoral, drank too much, smoked cannabis, and had numerous criminal convictions. One social worker argued, “The distorted thinking of those within the EDL is barbaric and their actions inappropriate… therefore the mentality of those involved has to be brought into question”. In other words, he possessed possibly an “extremist” mentality due to his association with a fascist and often violent organisation, or, at the very least demonstrated “vulnerability to radicalisation”.  The social workers further argued that the child should be brought up in an “environment that supports difference, equality and independence”. The judge rejected the arguments stating that courts and social workers were not “moral guardians” and that the parent’s membership with the EDL was “neither here nor there”. The “top” family court judge further warned:

‘We must guard against the risk of social engineering.’

The EDL, which is regarded as perpetuating far-right ideology, is not a risk to the child’s well-being.  In the context of Muslims, the judge’s arguments are defenestrated and social engineering, to the point where mothers are threatened with the removal of their children to force compliance with PREVENT, teenagers are being forced to watch television”, and individuals are subjected to CHANNEL deradicalisation mentors whom teach them the “right” Islam along with truncated Western history, is adopted as a policy wholesale. Discriminatory social engineering, at least in reference to the Muslim minority has become institutionalised thanks to PREVENT. The whole project has echoes of the Nazi Germanization of thousands of kidnapped Jewish children to “cleanse” them of their Jewish heritage. The difference, aside from the war context, is that a bogus ideological counter-extremism premise has been created by neoconservatives to justify the “kidnapping” by the state.

Concluding Remarks

PREVENT is damaging, a point which is increasingly being recognised across the Atlantic.  The US-based “Open Society Justice Initiative”, after examining seventeen PREVENT/CHANNEL referral cases, concluded today that the policy “suffers from multiple, mutually reinforcing structural flaws, the foreseeable consequence of which is a serious risk of human rights violations.” The structural flaws included, “the targeting of ‘pre-criminality’, ‘non-violent extremism’, and opposition to ‘British values’.” The author of report, Amrit Singh, in a separate piece further lambasted PREVENT for “creating a climate of fear”.

These are not exactly new findings. The Muslim minority has known this through experience for a long time.  The distressed mother worried about her children being snatched from her represents the precipice of the various forms of fear PREVENT is manifesting. My question is, how many more mothers and fathers will need to have their children removed from them in a totalitarian fashion before the Muslim community takes an uncompromising, non-negotiable stance against PREVENT?

Coolnessofhind – The Dark Shoddy “Science” Behind PREVENT

Originally blogged by CoolnessofHind on 30th September, 2016 – https://coolnessofhind.wordpress.com/2016/09/30/the-dark-shoddy-science-behind-prevent/

the-science-of-pre-crime

In July of this year, I posted a blog asking the question in relation to the revelation that PREVENT was underpinned by a theory (Extremist Risk Guidance – ERG22+) formulated by British psychiatrists, What would these US psychologists make of Britain’s PREVENT Strategy? The American professors bluntly stated that the Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) agenda was “at best misguided, and at worst, vicious.”

The Pseudo-Science of PREVENT

CAGE’s devastating expose – The Science of Pre-Crime: The ‘Secret’ radicalisation study underpinning Prevent’– proves that Britain’s CVE – PREVENT – really is indeed, misguided, resulting in decisions which are vicious. The report exposes a 2010 study authored by two psychologists who are linked to the national security industry, Monica Lloyd and Christopher Dean, and used to formulate the pre-crime intervention model ERG22+.  Shockingly the authors themselves admitted that the research was lacking. Below are key quotes taken from the study:

“The current lack of demonstrated reliability and validity remains the main limitation of the ERG at this time. It remains essentially a qualitative tool that requires a level of professional judgment and experience to be effectively used.”

““The ERG is work in progress…”

“There remain important questions to be explored, most notably around reliability and validity,”

The study is fraught with further problems, some of which I have summarised and listed below:

  • Data is based discriminatorily on twenty Muslim prisoners convicted of terrorism.
  • Not all those convicted of terror-related offences are violent offenders.
  • The study ignores possibility of response bias (the extent to which prisoners provided answers that they felt the authorities wanted to hear)
  • The authors admit excluding political context as a specific factor
  • The authors, coming from a forensic perspective, leads them to “pathologise and look for explanations at the individual level” which results in applying a “very static and de-contextualised understanding as to why individuals become involved in political violence.”
  • The limited scope of the study which is problematic for specialists to implement is now being extrapolated to children in schools and patients in hospitals.
  • The limited scope of the study has been stretched to “all forms of extremism”

The Dangerous Implications of ERG

Highlighting the manifest danger of PREVENT, Professor Arun Kundnani wrote,

“With hundreds of thousands of public sector workers in Britain now required to absorb the government’s Extremist Risk Guidance and apply it in their work, the dangers of this research have never been greater.”

Also worth noting is that ERG is also being used in child law cases and determining the wardship of children. Remarking on the secretive, untested nature of ERG, Professor Adam Geary is quoted in the foreword of the report as stating,

“The limits of the ERG research used to create state duties raises profound questions about transparency and accountability… Seemingly, a line of recent case law suggests that individuals and families are being brought before secret courts on the basis of definitions derived from classified research, and thus raises immediate concerns in relation to our justice system.”

The clear implication of the above is that shoddy pre-crime science is potentially resulting in miscarriages of justice, with children being removed from families on the basis that their parents pose an “extremism” threat.

The Comical Home Office Spin and the Non-Academic Study!

The thoroughly surgical report has been reviewed by eighteen professors and academics, has forewords penned by noted professors, and is backed by a joint-statement by over 150 professors and academics including Marc Sageman and Noam Chomsky.  In other words, it carries considerable PREVENT-crushing weight.

In the face of this, there is only so much spin the Home Office and RICU – its propaganda department – can issue before it begins to look rather ridiculous.  If the Home Office statement is anything to go by, it seems this farcical state was unavoidable.

The Home Office responded by stating,

“The guidance that is used was based on a peer-reviewed study, carried out to meticulous academic guidelines and published in two publicly available academic journals.”

However, in the very same report, the Guardian sought the views from one of the study’s authors, Monica Lloyd.  According to Lloyd, the original study was “not an academic piece of work” but instead was an internal report by practitioners that was “done to the highest standard it could be done”.

Lloyd’s statement not only directly contradicts the Home Office, which claims that the guidance is based on an academic, peer-reviewed study, but it also reinforces the baselessness of PREVENT by clearly saying that the “study” is in fact an “internal report” which is not academic at all!

There is simply no coming back from this.  Some PREVENT-pushers have sought to deflect the report’s piercing findings through peripheral points which upon closer inspection, are hokum, (one individual on social media claimed the study was not secretive – directly contradicting the author’s claims directly quoted in the report). However, such efforts are simply embarrassing, reflecting the derelict state of the fatally wounded PREVENT Strategy.

Pertinently, such questions are also irrelevant. As the report incisively notes, “what is relevant now is for the government to answer difficult questions on how it came to institute a policy of assessing pre-criminal behaviour in 2011 using the ERG, when in 2015 the authors of that study were hesitant of its wider efficacy.”

The level of urgency for answers is accentuated given the disastrous consequences of PREVENT. From child psychological abuse in schools, to securitisation of purportedly confidential charities like the NSPCC; from the normalisation of political Islamophobia to the pecuniary and reputational losses suffered by Muslim teachers due to their privately held religious beliefs; from the castigation of political views on Palestine and shaping Muslim discourse and beliefs, to restriction of political participation of teenage Muslims who have already come into contact with PREVENT. PREVENT has and continues to leave a trail of neocon closed society destruction in its wake.

End PREVENT

When fake, ventriloquised “experts” like Sara Khan are paraded for days on disparate news channels regurgitating lines most likely authored for her by the Home Office in defence of PREVENT, it is a damning indictment of mainstream media that the report and its findings have not been reported in all major outlets (the “impartial” BBC, the Times, the Telegraph have not reported on it at the time of writing). However, this is not a stumbling block in the efforts to resist and ultimately remove PREVENT.  The movement against PREVENT has always been a grassroots, civil society-led one. It must continue to remain so, with or without the support of propaganda outlets.

PREVENT is an unjust strategy which has shredded the rule of law. Those Muslims – including Muslim organisations which claim to represent Muslims in Britain – whom support PREVENT or its reincarnation, must now accept that there is no more room for excuses.  Support of such failed, groundless strategies is support for the discrimination and persecution of the Muslim minority, intended or otherwise.

Civil servants and employees of public institutions and schools should reject the implementation of PREVENT on peaceful civil disobedience grounds until the law placing the PREVENT duty on statutory footing is abolished and the Strategy of stigmatisation is completely scrapped. This may seem like a drastic step, however, it is a necessary one, for relationships which hold society together are being torn apart through the atmosphere of suspicion fostered by PREVENT.  Such damage will take years if not decades to heal.

Now is the time to say no to the British neo-Stasi state. Now is the time to end PREVENT.

CoolnessofHind

thescienceofprecrimeprevent

In July of this year, I posted a blog asking the question in relation to the revelation that PREVENT was underpinned by a theory (Extremist Risk Guidance – ERG22+) formulated by British psychiatrists, What would these US psychologists make of Britain’s PREVENT Strategy? The American professors bluntly stated that the Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) agenda was “at best misguided, and at worst, vicious.”

The Pseudo-Science of PREVENT

CAGE’s devastating expose – The Science of Pre-Crime: The ‘Secret’ radicalisation study underpinning Prevent’– proves that Britain’s CVE – PREVENT – really is indeed, misguided, resulting in decisions which are vicious. The report exposes a 2010 study authored by two psychologists who are linked to the national security industry, Monica Lloyd and Christopher Dean, and used to formulate the pre-crime intervention model ERG22+.  Shockingly the authors themselves admitted that the research was lacking. Below are key quotes taken from the study:

“The…

View original post 1,110 more words

PREVENT-SUPPORTING FIYAZ MUGHAL AND POLITICAL OPPORTUNISM

Source: PREVENT-Supporting Fiyaz Mughal and Political Opportunism

FiyazMughalTellMAMAFaithMatters

On the 8th of March, Fiyaz Mughal’s Faith Matters submitted written evidence to the Home Affairs Committee’s countering extremism inquiry. Written in an interestingly critical style, it certainly hit all the high notes from the perspective of the Muslim community.

For instance, it drew attention to the current Counter Extremism Strategy as having disproportionately focussed on the Muslim community “leading to claims that it renders Muslims a ‘suspect community’.” It highlights the problem of Home Office holding disproportionate power in defining “extremism” and that the definition should be the “product of scholarly debate”. Even the label “Islamism” comes in for criticism, noting it leads to McCarythism and alienation of partners that can “support the fight against violent extremism”.

A superficial reading certainly makes for a promising one.

But then we recall that this is a submission by Faith Matters, whose head is Fiyaz Mughal. If anything, this submission only further exposes his hypocrisy, political opportunism and the complete discrediting of his pet project Tell MAMA.

The Enemy of my Enemy

The submission notes that,

“A recent report on the Muslim Brotherhood operating in the UK identifies a number of organisations and their potential to be included as ‘non-violent extremists’. According to an article published in the RUSI Journal, such attempts to use ‘Islamism’ as an ideology that leads to terrorism reintroduces a ‘McCarthyism of the past’.”

This is all well and good except Mughal himself has perpetuated these very problems when it has suited him. In fact, Mughal last year joined ranks with notorious, discredited spin-doctor, the PREVENT-mouthpieceanti-Muslimjournalist, Andrew Gilligan, after a failed PCC complaint against him. With the article targeting Sayeeda Warsi, naming Muddassar Ahmed an “extremist”, and smearing Iftikhar Awan for having “links with the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood”, Fiyaz actively contributed to the formation of the “counter-entryism” element of the counter-extremism strategy. In Gilligan’s article, Mughal stated,

“I was deeply concerned about the kinds of groups some of the members had connections with, and some of the groups they were recommending be brought into government… It seemed to me to be a form of entryism, by people with no track record in delivering projects.”

This article was subsequently referenced by the Quilliam Foundation in their report on counter-extremism as an example of entryism, in the process demonstrating how Mughal and Quilliam reinforce each other’s narratives.

Internal Conflicts?

In a further twist, Tell MAMA’s co-chair is the pro-Israeli Richard Benson. This is significant because the Muslim Brotherhood report that the submission makes note of, identified the Muslim Council of Britain as one of the organisations shaped by the Brotherhood. In 2009, the Community Security Trust in its joint submission to the PREVENT inquiry focussed on “Islamists”, and explicitly went onto state:

“In the immediate aftermath of the London bombings, the Government sought to work through Muslim umbrella groups, such as the Muslim Council of Britain and the Muslim Association of Britain, which are led byradical Islamists.”

In other words, the current co-chair of Tell MAMA was pursuing the very strategy which Faith Matters highlights as leading to McCarythism, denouncing Muslim organisations as being “radical Islamists”.

Mughal later in the year even turned to neocon-co-opted Nick Cohen to produce a puff piece attacking – you guessed it – “Islamists”.

The submission further makes a positive mention of STREET, and specifically, its funding being cut. STREET, founded by Abdul Haqq Baker was an outreach project assisting and guiding converts and Muslim gang members. Of relevance is the fact that it was the subject of Gilligan smears in 2012. The article drew on the neoconchoice Muslim Haras Rafiq, the failed businessman who is currently the managing director of Quilliam. And a friend of Mughal.

Gilligan again targeted Baker two years later in the context of Salafi “radicals” being used in the Channel deradlicalisation scheme.

No Different to Quilliam/HJS

This confusing submission however, is a smokescreen. It seems, behind closed doors, and in the right circles, Mughal is a PREVENT-supporter.

On the 3rd of March – five days before the submission – an event on Tackling Extremism in the UK was held by Westminster Briefing. Mughal was quite emphatically singing a different tune:

‘Prevent’ is becoming more problematic especially in the Muslim Community – they consider it intrusive in their daily lives – particularly with the new Govt. duty to report. I disagree – the environment is more complex, but I do think Prevent as a brand has become damaged.

In other words, for all intents and purposes, Mughal does back PREVENT, and does not regard it intrusive, nor discriminatory. These problems are merely “perceptions” and “myths” that the Muslim community seem to have. Note here that this is precisely the same spin adopted by both the Quilliam Foundation and the Henry Jackson Society.

His issue is that PREVENT as a “brand” is “damaged” and suggests another medium to trick the Muslim community into buying into the discredited Countering Violent Extremism discourse:

“Interfaith dialogues can get people around the table… People are more relaxed in interfaith groups – they can discuss stuff that normally they wouldn’t.”

The deceptive strategies to effect CVE agendas never cease to amaze.

Concluding Remarks

With Tell MAMA aimed at the “soft-end” of counter-extremism, and his Faith Matters interfaith organisation operating further up the scale, his interfaith proposition makes for a lucrative opportunity.

The pertinent question remains however: how can someone who secretly buys into PREVENT – a strategy that has been slammed by hundreds of academics for demonizing Muslims – and colludes with neocons and anti-Muslim journalists, be involved in tackling Islamophobia?

Faith Matters, Tell MAMA and Fiyaz Mughal thoroughly devoid of credibility, are in no position, having collaborated with those who have tried unsuccessfully to marginalise mainstream organisations, and secretly advocated CVE policies, to pontificate from the side-lines at the expense of the Muslim minority.

The above discussion is important because increasingly, Mughal and Tell MAMA have moved into the role of controlling the discussion among Muslims. This function, as we shall see in the next piece, involves protecting those central to the enabling of political Islamophobia, and smearing genuine Muslim figures.

ISLAM IS NOT THE PROBLEM, NEOCONSERVATISM IS

Taken from CoolnessofHind – https://coolnessofhind.wordpress.com/2016/02/18/islam-is-not-the-problem-neoconservatism-is/

Normative Islam report.png

A report commissioned by 5Pillarsuk.com reveals some interesting insights into the beliefs and views of Muslims in Britain.  One hundred and fifty “influential” Muslim respondents across the Islamic spectrum were queried. The results demonstrate a problematic curve ball for neoconservatives and their endless efforts to target Islam and Muslims.

The questions revolved around normative Islamic beliefs, and across the board a generally high level of agreement with these beliefs was achieved. Participants rebutted dominant propaganda against Islam and Muslims. For instance, 100% agreed or strongly agreed that forced marriages are forbidden, and 100% agreed or strongly agreed that British Muslims are an “integral part of the UK”. It also established a high rate of agreement upon those beliefs and practices which are typically attacked by politicians in concert with the media, analysts and commentators:

  • Segregation of men and women in closed public, or religious settings – over 80% agreed or strongly agreed
  • There is no compulsion in Islam, no one can be forced to become Muslim – over 95% agreed/strongly agreed
  • Hijab is an obligation in Islam – over 95% agreed or strongly agreed
  • Niqab is a legitimate piece of Islamic clothing – over 90% agreed or strongly agreed (chart 16 is somewhat unclear)
  • Islam is a holistic comprehensive way of life – over 97% agreed or strongly agreed
  • Jihad as is mandated in the Qur’an is used to maintain or restore order, peace and security or to remove oppression and injustice – over 95% agreed or strongly agreed.

The above, of course, must be caveated.  Whilst the variance in theological background was broad (46% for instance, belonged to the Hanafi School of jurisprudence), extrapolating the views of one hundred and fifty “influential Muslims” to the general Muslim populace is somewhat problematic.  However, this is not a significant concern from an Islamic perspective. What is a concern is that only 9% of the respondents categorised themselves as “Islamic scholar/teacher”, with most of the respondents being “self-taught”. To be clear, were the results the complete opposite, it would have no bearing whatsoever on what constitutes Islam.  The authority of determining various beliefs and practices undoubtedly lies with those who have dedicated their lives to studying the various branches of Islamic sciences, from both the legalistic to the spiritual, thus imbuing the quality of transcendentalism in obtaining sacred knowledge. They are the Ulama – i.e. jurisconsults, scholars, the relied upon and righteous among this class.

Having said that, it is also positive to view such broad spread agreement amongst the laity on issues which have been the butt of every joke, the fodder for every political deflection and the pretext for draconian policies.

Taking the above methodological caveats into account, and enjoining the purpose of the research which is to “facilitate discussion”, it is worth deliberating upon the number one obsession for neoconservatives and their funded group of brown validators.  The findings present a problem for the “reform” deform project which has been engaged post-War on Terror on the pretext that there is, in the words of Douglas Murray, a “problem with Islam” because a Muslim has behaved in an (ironically, un-Islamic) unsavoury manner.  This is exasperated by the fact that a mere 5.3% disagreed or strongly disagreed that “Islam is in no need of reformation”, 100% agreed or strongly agreed that “Islam is the final, true religion” revealed to mankind, and nearly 100% agreed or strongly agreed that Islam is a “holistic and comprehensive way of life”.

Despite Muslims feeling integral to Britain alongside their normative Islamic beliefs, the call to deform Islam into one which is concomitantly subservient to Western hegemonic interests continues unabated.

The Intellectual Failure of Deconstructing Islam

Neocons and various deformists normally associated with the counter-extremism organisations project a concerted effort to inject uncertainty in Islam through postmodernist deconstructionism, which has given rise to free-for-all hermeneutical gymnastics of Islamic source texts. Thus, established legal doctrines are undermined, creedal discourses are distorted and conflated with legal views, or, taking the Ayaan Hirsi Ali approach, calls are made to drop verses of the Qur’an because some choose to interpret them in their own destructive way (i.e. in precisely the same way deformists encourage).

The dominant Western narrative is that Islam should undergo deformation in order to comply with secular liberalism, modernity and progressivism.

In addition to the abject failure to convince Muslims of such a need, there are a series of fatal flaws with the deform notion, some of which have already been addressed on this blog. The first is that this requires twisting and distorting Islamic texts (as highlighted above) which no credible jurist will permit.  Secondly, the demand of Islam to contort or “convert” to the “universality” of human rights – being rooted in Western, Christian, Eurocentric and liberal conception of “human rights” – is hollow. As I have aptly demonstrated, such a demand is fraught with problems of a non-universal, ambivalent nature.

It would suffice here to quote political scientist Professor Joseph Massad’s pertinent comment:

“The liberal project is in effect a missionary project to convert Islam to the “highest stage” of Christianity reigning in the West [i.e. secularism rooted from Protestant Christianity], even if this is carried out under the banner of a “reformed” Islam.”[1]

“Progressive” Islam

Thirdly, uncertainty is also born from the associated “progressivism” as espoused by the likes of Nawaz (see recently here in his attacks on the Left) and the born-again neoconservative “Muslim Reform Movement”. Constitutive of modernity and Enlightenment rationalism is the doctrine of progressivism, i.e. a movement towards “civilisation”. In its blind desire to run from history – its own history of problems which did not afflict the Islamic world – it posits science and reason as the modes by which to attain and designate the “truth” of the present. Yet this truth of the present is to be superseded by a further set of truths establishing perpetuity of ever repealing truths, never fully justifying whether the forgoing truths were superior or inferior from a moral perspective. In other words, “progress” is ultimately self-referencing – its own god – which is uncertain, fluid and ultimately docile and vulnerable to the intellectual repression of the pre-reform Church variety as demonstrated by neoconservative/Quilliam attitude towards mainstream Muslims vis-à-vis the intolerant “muscular liberalism” policy, and the imposed extreme secular liberalism of the equally dogmatic counter-extremism strategy. It is, in the words of the German philosopher Max Scheler, “the Western thought-structure of domination”.[2]  Such dogmatism (contrary to Nawaz’s claim of “non-dogmatism”) intrinsically enables supremacy, thus arriving at the precipice of an undeniable reality: that the intellectual justification for imperial colonialism, which destroyed the Islamic paradigmatic structures of society unsettling the unprecedented stability in the lands it governed, are resurgent once more. The doctrine continues to destroy the natural order, from nations through past and present day imperial colonialism and the “arms race” which has brought forth devastating technology to kill, to the deregulation and unfettered growth of corporations at the expense of society, environment and wildlife. Islam was never a barrier to the pursuit of worldly, scientific knowledge, but, in stark contrast with progressivism, its moral grounding in divine scriptures ensured boundaries were maintained.

Conforming to what Neocons Reject

Perhaps the greatest of ironies in the deform project is that it is driven primarily by neoconservatives who categorically reject liberalism, modernity and progressivism. It is a spectacular display of deception and hypocrisy.

Leo Strauss, the intellectual figurehead of neocons, laments John Locke’s conception of rights as rooted in the “individual”.[3]  Following Strauss, the “godfather of neoconservatism”, Irving Kristol categorically stated,

“…liberals were wrong, liberals are wrong, because they are liberals. What is wrong with liberalism is liberalism…”[4]

The following provides for an elucidative comment:

“Secular rationalism has been unable to produce a compelling, self-justifying moral code… and with this failure, the whole enterprise of secular humanism – the idea that man can define his humanity and shape the human future by reason and will alone – begins to lose its legitimacy.”[5]

His son, William Kristol has also stated that neoconservatism’s “more fundamental mandate is to take on the sacred cow of liberalism – choice”.  Following Strauss and Kristol senior, Douglas Murray calls equality – including racial equality – a “piece of false or bad logic”.[6]

As for the doctrine of progress, neoconservatives advocate a return to a closed society based upon fascist, imperial principles, governed by pre-modern ideas. Kristol argued that America was required to start the “long trek back” explicitly towards “pre-modern political philosophy”.[7] And by “pre-modern political philosophy” he meant the Straussian-Platonic conception of the ideal state as encapsulated in the oligarchic society marked by immanent inequality as alluded to in the allegory of the cave.

Why should Islam then be forced by neoconservatives to undergo a deformation in line with those ideologies which neocons themselves regard as obsolete? If neoconservatives see modern ideologies as producing a society which they believe is philosophically bankrupt, then by implication the call to deform Islam concordant to modernity, liberalism and progressivism, is a deliberate call to trigger failure in the faith.

Deform and Fostering Hatred of Islam

If the deform project is a failure amongst mainstream Muslims, who then is the aim of the rhetoric of the likes of Nawaz, Hasan et al? Indeed, what purpose does this deform project serve?

A brief look down the social media timelines of the deformists show that their supporters include those who hate Islam such as the far-right and hawkish pseudo-secular liberals who require affirmation of their own insecurity, superiority trips and prejudices.  In short, deformists seem to be fulfilling a very neoconservative objective as we shall now see.

Put simply, in order to manufacture the Machiavellian enemy of the West, neocons have for years attempted to create hatred of Islam. Deform efforts reinforce the suggestion that there is a problem with Islam itself.

Of pertinence is the fact that Quilliam was founded under the “advisory” of Michael Gove, who sees normative Islam as “Islamism”, and therefore an enemy open to securitisation and discrimination. Githens-Mazer and Lambert explaining the function of organisations like Quilliam state that according to Charles Moore and Dean Godson of Policy Exchange, such organisations are a “re-make of a 1980s Thatcherite counter-subversion strategy in which [Quilliam’s Ed] Husain is cast in the role of Frank Chapple the “moderate” trade union leader who was, they suggest, used to discredit and undermine the “extremist” miner’s trade union leader Arthur Scargill.”

The general themes found in the rhetoric of Quilliam and neoconservative assumptions in books like Celsius 7/7 are shared with US neoconservatives like Daniel Pipes. Githens-Mazer and Lambert noting that the focus on ideology has “no credible evidence”, state,

“…it is one that Husain shares with influential thinktanks including [Gove’s] Policy Exchange and [Douglas Murray’s] Centre for Social Cohesion in the UK and Daniel Pipes’ Middle East Forum in the US.”

In a revealing passage from a 2005 interview with Pipes, the aim is made clear:

“According to Daniel Pipes, it is now important to find alternative leaders and ideas that can take up the fight against militant Islam. “In the confrontations with fascism and communism, we were victorious because we managed to marginalize the enemy’s ideology, making it look repulsive in the eyes of the majority.””

This is the neoconservative objective.  To make Islam look repulsive in society. The façade of Quilliam and various other deformists as representatives of the “alternative leaders and ideas” which Pipes speaks of, are the tools to achieve this purpose.

Disconcertingly, neocons have achieved the aim of creating a “repulsion” of Islam. In the 5Pillars report, the statement “Islam teaches love for human beings what we love for ourselves” produced no disagreement at all. Yet, according to a Yougov poll last year, 56% of Britons regarded Islam as a “major” or “some” threat to Western liberal democracy – a ten percent increase from the figure taken soon after the 7/7 bombings.  Now is a climate of anti-Muslim animus, where the press and politicians can freely associate crime with Islam in a manner echoing Nazi propaganda about Jews. The manifestation of this hatred of Islam and association of criminality now sees women in Hijabs brutally attacked, and a defenceless pensioner on his way to the mosque killed by a white man as he citesstereotypes which have been endorsed at the highest level of government.  In short, neoconservatives and pro-Israel activists have successfully conditioned xenophobia, anti-Muslim hate and discrimination of the Muslim minority at the policy level, which has, to a large extent, permeated society.

Concluding Remarks

Questions must be asked.

Is argumentum ad metum as a tool of persuasion advocated by neocons, which results in fostering prejudices against a minority that result in violence against the vulnerable, a benefit or threat to social cohesion?

Indeed, are those who advocate totalitarian, closed-society policies, are subverting democracy and are actively promoting a clash of civilisations from the pulpits in Parliament a threat to Britain, or Muslims who believe themselves to be an integral part of Britain despite experiencing cold-war era subversion strategies of repression?

The report on normative Islam is a small indication to the resilience of the Muslim minority. Despite the attempts to dissect the hearts of Muslims, Islam will survive these culturalist attacks to the dislike of neocons. Introducing uncertainty into any system, be it one grounded in physics or the metaphysics of modern law would undoubtedly lead to anarchy and ultimately destruction. How then can Muslims accept such uncertainty in their faith?

The message is clear: Islam is not up for negotiation.

“[This is] the revelation of the Book about which there is no doubt from the Lord of the worlds.” (Qur’an, 32:2)

“This day I have perfected for you your religion and completed My favour upon you and have approved for you Islam as religion.” (Qur’an, 5:3).

And We sent you (O Muhammad) not but as a Mercy for all creation (Qur’an, 21:108).

“The best of people are those who bring the most benefit to the rest of mankind.” (Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, Daraqutni)

References:


 

[1] Massad, J.A, Islam in Liberalism, The University of Chicago Press: London, 2015, p.106

[2] As quoted by Hallaq, W.B., The Impossible State, New York: Columbia University Press, 2013, p.17

[3] Strauss L., Natural Right and History, London: The University of Chicago Press, 1965, p.248

[4] Kristol I., Neoconservatism: The Autobiography of an Idea, New York: Free Press, 1996, p.486

[5] Ibid., p.132-133

[6] Murray D., Neoconservatism: Why We Need It, Encounter Books: New York, 2006, p.37

[7] Kristol I., Reflections of Neoconservative, p.76, as referenced in Thompson/Yaron, Neoconservatism: An Obituary for an Idea, Boulder: Paradigm, 2010, p.87

COOLNESS OF HIND – THE BRITISH NEOCON WAY OF BANNING THE VEIL

At least the French had a vote, and passed a law, in the UK they bring in a Niqab ban by the back door, through regulation and inspection, all the while telling us it is not a ban and they love freedom.

From Coolnessofhind.wordpress.com

ofstedattackingIslamWilshaw

How does one go about banning a minority (niqabis) within a minority (Muslim women) within a minority (Muslim) from public institutions without calling it a ban?

The following method to “ban without banning” has been deduced from Michael Wilshaw’s latest colonialist pronouncements intimidating education institutions into banning the veil, and past dictations from the fascist neoconservative elite bravely discriminatorily targeting veiled Muslim women.

1. Tell everyone you love freedom, which is your way of life. Everyone believes you because you are a white man in a suit, not realising that this freedom comes with provisos which requires the people to conform to/worship the state.

2. Tell the people that you wouldn’t ban the niqab because that’s illiberal and not “British” but you will support public institutions and “give full backing” to those who do because that’s apparently liberal and British, and we shouldn’t be going “backward”.

3. Make up spurious and empirically baseless claims that communication “may” be affected by a thin piece of cloth and propagate as truth because the white man in a suit is saying so and fear and prejudice in society is running high.

4. Announce that if Ofsted inspectors judge (not the teachers or students) that the niqab hinders communication then the institution will be declared inadequate, thus constituting a veiled (pun fully intended) threat which will intimidate schools into effectively banning the niqab.

5. Sit back, sip some mulled wine, smell the regulatory “freedom”, and stroke your own white liberal ego in the elite, superior knowledge that you have “freed” some brown Muslim women from their own choices, saved them by isolating them, and granted them the freedom to choose between their faith and education.