Since 9/11, which resulted in the US and UK governments joining “shoulder to shoulder” to carpet bomb the impoverished, albeit Muslim nations of Afghanistan and Iraq, our politicians have been on a nonstop witch hunt for extremists not from among themselves, but from among their chosen scapegoat, the British Muslim community.
As openly admitted by John Prescott, such frequently Islamophobic policies and statements have unsurprisingly driven an angry handful to, effectively, wage war against their home country by joining violent movements and performing activities that most British Muslims would never consider being involved with. However, even for the civil and peaceful majority who appreciate their British citizenship, there has been no escape from the “extremist” label. Muslims are the official enemy of the state.
In an Orwellian plot twist, the British government has, in recent years, moved from showing concerns about extremism (i.e violent, rage-motivated activities that they were provoking with its bloody foreign policies) to a new obsession, fear of the “nonviolent” extremist.
While the mainstream media, acting as the government’s mouthpiece, have been utter stalwarts when it comes to protecting the freedom of speech of the bitterly insulting Charlie Hebdo publication as it led to a surge in violence against Muslim civilians, the concept has somehow crept upon us that to harbour a set of values, to believe in something, and, especially, to verbally express yourself in ways that are outside of an authorised remit makes you dangerous.
The Commons Education Select Committee disagrees with this idea that nonviolent extremism is taking over. Last week, they stated that former Education Secretary Michael Gove had been wrong about an Islamist plot to infiltrate a number of majority Muslim schools with the intention of brainwashing the children into a “hard-line” version of their own religion, and that Ofsted inspections had been performed with a bias towards Gove’s desired result.
Hot on the heels of this revelation, Home Secretary Theresa May gave a new speech on Monday 23 March, saying that extremism was indeed a threat and should be confronted with “the emphatic rejection of the misconception that in a liberal democracy like Britain, ‘anything goes’, the belief that living in a society like ours means there aren’t really any fundamental rules or norms.” What exactly are those rules or norms that you espouse, Ms May? Should we, as you have openly suggested, campaign for known paedophiles to start adopting children? Or would upholding the Far Right’s freedom of expression at the expense of our own be part of your “fundamental” ruling?
Now I won’t lie. Factions of the Muslim community do have some horrific problems related to family pride being valued above Islamic teachings, such as honour killings and forced marriages and yes, these non-religious issues, common to certain cultures, must be stopped. But these problems are pretty old, so why didn’t the government do something at the beginning? Why show a sudden interest now? Why use these crimes, which are conducive with godlessness rather than piety, to identify Muslims as the one British group that harbours beliefs that should remain concealed?
Besides, who are these non-violent extremists? Will we be seeing more spectacles such as the one involving the solitary confinement of Talha Ahsan, the innocent young man with Asperger’s Syndrome, whose placement in an American maximum security prison May strictly endorsed? There is general agreement that a bully always victimises those that are the weakest. But since May and her government believe in the psychological torture of innocent, disabled individuals, would doing the same mean that we were avoiding being nonviolent extremists?
On the subject of health, May stated in her speech “We will make sure that major state employers such as the NHS have robust procedures in place to identify extremism and deal with it. “ She also informed us that “We will publish a clear framework which will set out the circumstances in which Central Government should intervene when councils fail to respond to extremism or have been infiltrated by extremists.”
Has the woman gone mad? Where are all these extremists that are creeping out of the walls and bursting through our floorboards, infiltrating every nook and cranny of our lives? The fact that free healthcare is being eroded by May’s cronies is a separate debate. However, NHS workers are everyday people who came into this institution, knowing that they would be paid less than their private counterparts but that they could make a positive difference and save lives.
Are the Conservatives afraid that, by their mere thought waves, Muslim NHS workers will somehow create mass destruction equal to that created by the army that they sent into Syria? I for one have never heard or experienced this ‘Institutional extremism’. No Muslim doctor has whispered in my ear and asked me to conspire in…well…I don’t know what trouble a comfortable, middle-class employee of either the NHS or a local council would be interested in conspiring against as far as life in Britain is concerned. We love our country, we love living the dream and, unlike many of the millionaire politicians in cabinet today, the most successful of us love sharing our gifts with friends of all faiths and backgrounds. In fact, Muslims are one of the most charitable groups of Brits and I fail to understand how this makes us a social threat.
Pretending to care about those at risk, May also talked about how she would “Require” the police to look into female genital mutilation, another culture-specific issue that she has somehow labelled as religious. But hang on. No arrests related to this have been made although FGM was supposed to have been made illegal in 2008 by a resolution passed by the World Health Assembly. Up until now, none of our lawmakers have been bothered with this serious subject, so, why the sudden interest?
As nonsensical as May’s policies sound, we must acknowledge the real concern, that she and her supporters have already made trouble for Muslims and certainly have no intention of slowing down. She mentions that people should have the right to dress how they choose, and yet Muslim women are regularly attacked by politicians as well as street thugs due to their clothing. Is it because the attacks are not performed by official extremists, that they are not taken as seriously as they deserve to be? Moreover, with the institutionalisation of “anti-extremism”, the general freedoms of Muslims will likely be targeted.
Well done Theresa May, for your attempt at bullying one of Britain’s most significant minorities. If you can show us the dangers of what is turning into thought crime, especially as compared to the dangers posed by your kiddy-fiddling colleagues, then maybe we’ll be convinced.
But do you know what? The Quran, that “Medieval” text that you and your supporters like to say is irrelevant to modernity, has already got your type covered. How’s this for the word of God: “They want to extinguish the light of Allah with their mouths but Allah refuses except to perfect his light, although the disbelievers dislike it” (Quran, 9:32)? Although you may recoil at this phrase, we cannot deny facts. Even your favourite mouthpiece, the mainstream media, publishes statistics year-on-year showing how increasing numbers of White Britons, women in particular, convert to Islam (the religion you deem as labelling us as “intellectually deficient”) based on deep research that they have done to find the truth behind the one-sided statements of narrow-minded Islamophobes such as yourself.
Indeed Ms May, you may blame, accuse and finger-point at your chosen enemy, but remember in pointing one finger at us, three point back at you. Though you refuse to look, this is a reminder that framing innocent people with your lies simply does not convince good people, and that no matter how much your twisted rhetoric is broadcasted, truth, justice and goodness, which quite frequently come from those that you, in your cowardice, label as “Nonviolent extremists” will always prevail.