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Preventing terrorism or recreating Islam?

The Prime Minister issued a report yesterday entitled Tackling Extremism in the UK, which he claims will do more to ‘confront extremism and radicalisation’. Drawn up by the Prime Minister’s Task Force on Tackling Radicalisation and Extremism, it was reportedly put together in response to the alleged murder of a British soldier by two men in Woolwich in May. 

There are a number of points to be made about the report:

1. Tackling extremism in the UK is a continuation of PREVENT and is similarly set to be on a collision course with the Muslim community. Like PREVENT, This report has been borne out of a top-down approach, where policy concerning the Muslim community is imposed from above and is based on theory and speculation rather than on consultation with genuine grass-roots community leaders.

Similarly with PREVENT, at its heart lies an underlying assumption that radicalisation is ultimately a problem that stems from contact with certain ‘radicalising’ individuals who misinterpret textual sources. Not only is this supported with no empirical evidence, it goes against the best advice of security policymakers such as former head of Mi5, Eliza Manningham-Buller who have stated that British foreign policy is the crucial factor in the ‘radicalisation’ of individuals.

2. As with the  the Blair government before it, the coalition has come up with a patronising attempt at Islamic theology, which suggests that Muslims are incapable of determining what is and what isn’t Islam.

Language about what is and what isn’t Islam, or about who is or who isn’t a Muslim should be left to the Muslim community. The government’s attempt at creating a state-sponsored, depoliticised Islam will backfire as it did under the Labour government – exposing the government to claims that it is ‘doing theology’. As Arun Kundnani has put it: ‘Such an approach runs counter to the secular separation of ‘church’ and state, even though such a separation is itself upheld by the government as a marker of ‘moderation’ which Muslims should aspire to.’

3. Many of the proposals in the report will seek to criminalise non-criminal behaviour. There are existing laws governing freedom of expression that make incitement to violence and religious hatred, illegal. Trying to take this further and criminalise hate-speech deemed unsuitable to government ears is clearly an attempt to criminalise dissent.

Furthermore, it is noteworthy that these proposals will be within the confines of the civil law system, which means that they will be able to make claims of extremism against individuals, but cover themselves through the use of secret evidence via the Justice and Security Act. Many individuals will be left in a Kafkaesque limbo – how can they challenge any accusations of extremism without knowing the evidence against them?

It is important to recognise the wider implications of these proposals in that not only are they discriminatory toward a particular community, they amount to an assault on this country’s ancient privileges. As former law Lord, Lord Hoffman said when speaking of a similarly draconian measure: “The real threat to the life of the nation, in the sense of a people living in accordance with its traditional laws and political values, comes not from terrorism but from laws such as these. That is the true measure of what terrorism may achieve. It is for Parliament to decide whether to give the terrorists such a victory.”

4. The report itself is of questionable quality and integrity. No empirical evidence is offered to back up its sweeping generalisations, while it fails to cite a single source as evidence. It’s publication during the Woolwich trial highlights the government’s expediency and unwillingness to listen to or learn from the trial’s conclusion, especially given the framing of the report within the context of the incident. 

Moazzam Begg, Outreach Director of CagePrisoners said: “Clearly, the timely fashion of this report shows that the government have been keeping abreast of the Woolwich trial at the Old Bailey. If they had listened hard enough they would have come to learn that the motivating factor in this – as with other such attacks – is UK foreign policy. It is incomprehensible why the British Muslim community must be squeezed because of the British government’s involvement in a disastrous “war on terror” that continues to sow the seeds of violence both at home and abroad.”

Source; www.cageprisoners.com

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3 comments

  1. Terror is the biggest business today at home and abroad. Everyone is a beneficiary. The government gets more clout and more powers over the lives of its hapless subjects through new terror laws and activation of old ones in an atmosphere where no one dares to question the motives of the politicians over the vital issue of “security”. Security forces get immunity for illegal acts and crimes for which they win medals, rewards, promotions and huge funds with no accountability attached.

    Newspapers and TV channels improve their circulation and ratings sensationalising real and imaginary terror stories with total impunity as no one would dare question their rightful concern for our safety and security.

    7/7 bombers have been radicalised in the context of racist schools rather than in Pakistan. Imams and Masajid are not the brainwashers of Muslim youths. It is state schools who have been mis-educating and de-educating Muslim children for the last 60 years. The media for the last 15 years have targeted Muslims as a threat to British life. Many of 9/11 and 7/7 attackers were not from the poor, down trodden, under-educated and alienated sectors of society but were well-educated, middle to upper class and from stable family backgrounds. Muslim youths suspected of carrying out blast across India, have not been educated in Madrassas but western qualified and had respectable jobs.

    The word Jihad means to struggle for some purpose. The fighting against the enemies is called “Qital”, and not Jihad. I have been engaged in Jihad for the last 35 years in the field of education for the Muslim children. Under Cover Masajid programme on Channel 4, the preachers were not promoting segregation or violence against non-Muslims. They were helping and teaching Muslim youths to develop Islamic Identity. The preaching was quoted out of context and the British media portrayed them as the enemies of the state. Imams and Masajid are providing valuable service to the Muslim community and none of them is a hub of hateful preaching and bigotry. In the west Muslims are treated as political poison. They are increasingly the target of a “shoot first and ask question latter” policy. Thousands of British Muslims are being searched in streets and hundreds of them are behind the bar without any trial. British teachers are being asked to monitor pupils behaviour, if they suspect teenagers are being drawn into violent extremism. Naturally, Muslim students would be victim of this policy rather than native Brits.

    In France Muslim girls are not allowed to cover their heads. This is called liberalism. During the time of Taliban in Afghanistan, women were forced to cover themselves and this is called extremism by the west. In Britain, Muslim women are allowed to cover themselves but there is an immense social, emotional and economic pressure, forcing them not to cover. West is the Mongols of our time. The new Mongols are far worse than the first one. This new Mongols are trying to destroy Islamic identity of the Muslim youths. A large number of them have changed their names and there is no shortage of ex-Muslims in the west. Ex-Muslim council receives state funding.
    IA
    London School of Islamics Trust
    http://www.londonschoolofislamics.org.uk

  2. ابن احمد

    MashaAllah, very well written and lots of useful information.

    Jazaakumullahukhayran

  3. Extremism, terrorism, radicalisation and fundamentalism nowadays refers to a specific group…and like all events the politicians have mixed faith words within policy and likewise so have religious leaders who maybe interject their own inadequacies onto dogma..of the beloved prophets…..children should be taught that those four words are feature words, used to maim the thought process, through a lesser education of other belief systems, which like politics needs explaining or tribes are formed….. lucky enough to have been brought up in a faith beliefs, where all belong to each other…. in and out of all, all worthy towards the life of humanity….until…someone decides to interpret sacred words as their own….believing themselves more knowledgeable than some that have not got education…while also pontificating on holiness and sin……and the wrath of a loving and ever forgiving God…….children need to know about faith…and while secularism has to be adhered to within an adult working life…children need to know the beauty of, not only their own but other faiths, so that they can make an intelligent decision when older as to what faith system gives them internal peace in order to focus on what life is all about….if adults keep on throwing on others how bad their faith is, within political rhetoric, when most faith is wonderful, then war like tribal confrontation takes place…and culture and language is eroded ….which makes the human community fearful..of venturing out into each others cultures….or even being involved in community efforts..none of us are right and none of us are wrong, IMO in whatever way we wish to worship the love of one true God, whether believed or not, therein lies the mystery…Who or what is there for every last human on this earth..to reach for the sky where we will all eventually go…..each one, under whatever umbrella, wanting, needing only peace and good..with the Universal majesty of the Universe….. maybe there could be peace, one day, when all the gifts that have been given individually are pooled together to share with those that do not have……….

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