Even the govt’s allies unsure about counter-terrorism review


by Sunny
7th June, 2011 at 4:57 pm    

The counter-terrorism think tank Quilliam Foundation, who are broadly supportive of the government’s proposals on the matter, sent out this statement today:

The new strategy is a step in the right direction. It is good that the government has recognised that extremism lies at the root of terrorism and that extremism must be tackled as a result. It is also right that the government has acknowledged the problem of radicalisation at universities and that action is needed against campus hate-preachers.

At the same time, however, the strategy is plagued by muddled thinking that risks undermining its positive achievements. In particular its definition of Islamism is so broad that it fails to distinguish between Islamists and politically active Muslims inspired by Islam, this unnecessarily smears ordinary politically active Muslims and works to the favour of Islamists who benefit from hiding behind such blurred distinctions.

Ouch. That’s fairly harsh, coming even from an ally.

But that gets to the heart of why this review will be ultimately counter-productive.


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Filed in: British Identity,Muslim,Organisations






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  1. sunny hundal

    Blogged: : Even the govt's allies unsure about counter-terrorism review http://bit.ly/iJ695L


  2. Malcolm Evison

    Pickled Politics » Even the govt’s allies unsure about counter-terrorism review: http://t.co/1GsFaeD via @addthis


  3. Pubteam

    RT @sunny_hundal: Even the govts allies unsure about counterterrorism review
    http://bit.ly/iJ695L

    DAVE THE DIM
    Plagued by muddled thinking




  1. BenSix — on 7th June, 2011 at 5:33 pm  

    My opinion of non-violent Islamists is simple: I think we should remain peaceful neighbours, not become hostile housemates. There is, ultimately, very little one can do to change their minds beyond hoping their kids stray from the nest. Any hope of “debate” or “engagement” being productive seems naive: as if a chat about Millian liberalism is going to expunge the sincere convinctions of someone’s cultural heritage.

    (Well, doubtless it will in some. Anything is possible. But by and large I don’t suspect they’re all that open-minded.)

    If “we” stopped messing with their countries that would be a start. (A firebrand speaker at my old university’s ISOC claimed he and his compadres were in Britain because “we” are in their nations. I don’t know how popular that sentiment may be but at least those who share it could toddle off elsewhere.)

  2. joe90 — on 8th June, 2011 at 12:49 am  

    haha quilliam got their budget cut by 80% now getting their begging bowl hungry for more government money because those company car’s cost money dude.

  3. Boyo — on 8th June, 2011 at 6:48 am  

    In general looking at the recent posts on this, I think both the present and previous government policies are somewhat like the Maginot Line – both pointing in the wrong direction and likely to be circumvented.

    Fashions of belief will come and go. The impact of these initiatives will be minor – intelligence and disgust from within religious communities will truly counter terrorism.

    Instead we need to look at the wider issues that embrace the UK – what it is 50 years on from mass immigration – certainly not the nation it once was, in an objective sense – and ask ourselves whether we need to redefine ourselves as a nation.

    For this I think we need look no further than Tom Paine, who wrote the Gospel of English libertarianism from all forms of tyranny. And through him develop a new, secular English state (yes, I think we would need to get rid of the Celts) that would provide people with a sense of belonging whatever their background.

  4. cjcjc — on 8th June, 2011 at 7:46 am  

    Here’s the paragraph before the one you quote:

    “The new strategy is a step in the right direction. It is good that the government has recognised that extremism lies at the root of terrorism and that extremism must be tackled as a result. It is also right that the government has acknowledged the problem of radicalisation at universities and that action is needed against campus hate-preachers.”

    http://www.quilliamfoundation.org/component/content/article/61-press-releases/802-quilliams-response-to-uk-governments-new-prevent-policy-.html

  5. jamal — on 8th June, 2011 at 1:26 pm  

    quilliam “allies of goverment” don’t represent any credible muslims from what people and organizations are saying.

    They are regarded as bunch of money hungry speakers who would dance in a tutu for cash.

    I can’t take anything they say as balanced or reliable.

  6. damon — on 8th June, 2011 at 1:40 pm  

    Interesting Jamal and Joe90. I really only know about them from looking at their website and seeing the occasional spokesman of their’s on TV. But they do strike me as being much more ”with it” than the likes of the FOSIS, or that huge ‘Global Peace and Unity’ event which draws thousands of muslims to it with it’s crank preachers. And the East London Mosque too, that invites Wahhabi neanderthals to come and speak to their people.

    I wouldn’t begrudge Quilliam the money if they can expose some of the nonsense that goes on. Things which damage our society.

  7. jamal — on 8th June, 2011 at 4:10 pm  

    damon if they are honest people who have sincere interest in building bridges and making communities better i would pay them myself.

    Sadly i don’t think that is the case and in my view of them, they are bandwagon jumping as it has paid well in past and if they say the words which home office likes will pay well again.

  8. damon — on 8th June, 2011 at 5:05 pm  

    Well Jamal, everyone’s at that game. Being a professional activist is a career that many would like.

    From paid Greenpeace and Amnesty International personel, to all the groups, quangos and charities that have their hands out for government and local authority money.

    One of my favourites is the company set up by former Lambeth council leader Linda Bellos OBE, called ”Diversity Solutions” – who have a very impressive client list.

    http://www.edhr.co.uk/index.php/about-us/client-list/

    ”Where there’s muck, there’s brass” is a saying that comes to mind when I look at that list.

  9. platinum786 — on 9th June, 2011 at 9:11 am  

    The thing about “representative groups” is none of them are actually, “representative”. Nobody elected Quilliam or MCB or Imams in Mosques. The committee members in Mosques are elected in some mosques, but even then it’s based on who wants to step forward (it’s usually the attention seeking and the power hungry) and the results even then are marred by political rivalries and caste based rivalries. My local mosque recently went through a power struggle between groups refereed to as “the lib dem committee” and “the labour committee”.

    You might think local councilors or Muslim MP’s/peers are representative, but even when they are elected, they are elected on local/party political agendas not to “represent us as Muslims”.

    Frankly government and other people who want to engage with the Muslim community and choose to do so through these people as a medium should take it all with a pinch of salt.

  10. damon — on 9th June, 2011 at 5:30 pm  

    Frankly government and other people who want to engage with the Muslim community and choose to do so through these people as a medium should take it all with a pinch of salt.

    That begs the question though as whether or not anyone from a government should want to engage with people who are Muslims as a particular community. As a group.
    There shouldn’t really be that much to talk about.

    Although there are ongoing issues like this from the Milton Keynes local paper in 2008.

    ”Somalis eager to integrate but they need help”

    http://www.miltonkeynes.co.uk/news/local/somalis_eager_to_integrate_but_they_need_help_1_867634

    And given that a couple of young Somalis were killed in MK a couple of weeks ago, the issues in that article must still have some relevance.

    But still, you could never have faith in the Tories ever getting anything right in this general area.
    Labour weren’t any better.

    Mehdi Hasan was talking about this in the Guardian today, but I don’t think he adds that much either.
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/theguardian/2011/jun/09/cameron-counter-terror-muslims

    The question I would ask is why some young British muslims would have gotten so upset about Iraq and foriegn policy in the first place. And why not about Chinese policy in Tibet for example? Or US imperialism in Latin America over the years?
    In my opinion, just being an ethnic and or religious minority in Britain can have alienating side effects. And people like Mehdi Hasan rarely want to even consider something like that. Even though he says we need ”a nuanced, less confrontational approach”.

  11. joe90 — on 11th June, 2011 at 1:35 am  

    post #10

    How can you state muslims are not upset about American imperialism and exploitation in Latin America,i think you will find many of them are. It is like saying the japanese earthquake or pakistan earthquake, you think muslims are that selfish and do not feel sympathy for people suffering or try to help? come on of course they do.

    the guardian article exposed a very important point the British government doing its best to hide the fact that it’s foreign polices led to increased radicalism. Even when their own intelligence services blamed foreign policy as one of the main causes! question is why they so keen to hide this and divert onto red herrings like internet and universities instead?

  12. Arif — on 12th June, 2011 at 12:07 am  

    I think both the current and the last Government, in trying to straddle a number of stools, left out a few crucial ones. Basically, both the prevent strategy and this one set up a concept of “deserving” and “undeserving” Muslims which looks too much like “acceptable” and “unacceptable” or, to be more candid “having been through enough hoops that we can trust them to do as they are told” and “scary, threatening, people under suspicion”

    I don’t think I want to fit into either category. And I don’t think I would have any respect for a group that would be happy in either category.

    I kind of get what the Government might be trying to do, they want to do something, they want to suggest it is possible to be the kind of Muslim they like. They don’t want to be manipulated by the kind of Muslims they don’t like. They don’t like being characterised as trigger happy islamophobes. What I think confuses them most is that one thing that Muslim supremacist terrorists have in common with a lot of politically-aware Muslims is forthright criticism of some UK foreign policies in Muslim countries.

  13. damon — on 12th June, 2011 at 11:15 am  

    How can you state muslims are not upset about American imperialism and exploitation in Latin America,i think you will find many of them are.

    I’ve never seen coachloads of muslims come down to London for a demonstration that didn’t concern Iraq or Palestine… or Salman Rushdie.
    Who bombed the Kyber Market in Peshawar yesterday?
    Libya and Syria show that there’s something screwed up in the arab psyche. How can people attack their own citizens so brutally? You can’t just blame it all on the leader. The army are following the orders given to them. I went to Syria for two weeks once. Very nice and friendly people, but there was something very odd about the place. The west isn’t responsible for all of these regimes.

  14. Random63 — on 12th June, 2011 at 2:31 pm  

    Platinum 786

    I agree that these groups are probably not representative of Muslims, but then it comes back to the original issue of who is.

    Who do you think the Government should be talking to, and how should they go about doing it?

  15. Random Guy — on 13th June, 2011 at 10:26 am  

    damon: “Libya and Syria show that there’s something screwed up in the arab psyche”

    I don’t think it has anything to do with that lovely orientalist concept of “the arab psyche”, but rather the state of societal development and the power structure in such countries.

    Talking about “the arab psyche” brings nothing to the argument and portrays you in quite a bad light tbh.

  16. joe90 — on 13th June, 2011 at 11:53 pm  

    post #13

    who bombed kyber market in peshawar yesterday? i don’t know was you there?

    we have several suspects we have pakistani citizens, pakistani army, pakistan intelligence,taliban, american forces, cia, blackwater, xe take your pick and when you have the evidence and done the court case let me know.

    the west trained ghaddafi schooled ghaddafi trained his snipers supplied him every weapon including torture equipment but its not their responsibility your hilarious you should work for Alastair Campbell!

    If the west stop interfering and supplying every dictator then you have a point, but they just can’t keep away its been happening for hundreds of years interference occupation supporting one regime after another. The change can only happen when the people take it in to their own hands and people of syria are better then me or you they paying with their lives and trying to make that very change!

  17. damon — on 14th June, 2011 at 9:31 am  

    I don’t think it has anything to do with that lovely orientalist concept of “the arab psyche”, but rather the state of societal development and the power structure in such countries.

    Yes it does sound a bit orientalist doesn’t it.
    But that’s how it can feel as a white tourist when you visit arab and Middle East countries. It’s very difficult to get rid of the invisible neon sign that hangs over you and marks you out as such an alien to their society. You foriegness is your most visible characteristic. Even when people are being friendly, they just can’t get over your foreignness.
    In a way that to do so in Britain would be seen as rude and prying, and patronising. Imagine saying to people with foriegn accents in Britain, ”welcome”. They might tell you to get stuffed.
    There’s a big subject here, but some of it might go a bit off topic, and there are a fair few PP readers I think who would rather sit on their hands and say nothing than have this conversation that looked at what made islamism attractive to some people living in this society. And the culture that is brought to Britain by new immigrants who take religion far more seriously than the people they come to live amongst.
    The quickly grown community of young men from the Maghreb for example.

  18. Arif — on 14th June, 2011 at 12:54 pm  

    damon, if the key question is to ask what makes islamism (or what I would call islamic supremacism) attractive to people in this society, then I agree with you that the Quilliam Foundation has a role to play alongside other self-consciously Muslim organisations. I have no beef with them.

    But there are a whole load of other issues too. From my perspective, islamic supremacist organisations generally have a very different agenda from the people who point at some UK foreign policies and make a big deal of its hypocrisy, double-standards, support for abuses of human rights. They are also likely to have a different agenda from most immigrants who might bring nationalist and linguistic identities to the table along with their Islam, and set up and go to mosques accordingly. They also, interestingly enough, may have a different agenda from people who blow up bombs, who claim to be motivated by opposition to an occupation or invasion, or by some form of nationalism.

    Who are the extremists, and who can deal with them effectively and how, and for what purpose? As a counter-terrorism review, I assume the government wants to focus on people who throw bombs, not necessarily those who call for a caliphate, or for human rights for Palestinians, Kashmiris or Chechens, or for troops out of Afghanistan, Iraq or Libya. They may do any or all of these things, and they may do none of them. The only thing in common with the people who throw bombs and claim they are doing it to protect Muslims is that this is what they do.

    In my view Muslims and non-Muslims alike should meet all such claims with extreme scepticism. The government is not in a good position to promote such scepticism if it also stigmatises such scepticism towards its own claims that it is throwing bombs to protect Muslims. Sure they may all sincerely believe in the righteousness of their own violence and the insincerity of justifications for violence offered by their opponents. But I would argue that immunising yourself from undertaking political violence/terrorism starts with scepticism to all such claims as well as to simple narratives of pure good and evil.

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