On counter-terrorism and counter-extremism


by Sunny
15th September, 2009 at 9:54 am    

Over at Guardian CIF, Yahya Birt and Asim Siddiqui tackle two different parts of the puzzle.
Asim says:

The EDL say they are protesting against British jihadis, such as “Islam4UK” (an al-Muhajiroun offshoot) which seeks Sharia law in Britain. If this is the case, they would have common cause with British Muslims as the group has such little support. Its leader, Anjem Choudary, is a hate figure who would be hard pressed to even set foot in Harrow mosque. So if this was really about the Islamifcation of Britain, why not simply hound Choudary and his acolytes? Instead the EDL chose to provoke one of the largest and mainstream mosques – and its mainstream congregation who have no association with these fringe groups nor any wish to impose Sharia law.

The simple answer of course is that the EDL are using extremists only as a cover for their agenda to rid Britain of all Muslims. Their top organisers have admitted this in various interviews. He adds:

The feeling of alienation amongst the white or Muslim working classes must be dealt with, their recruitment by violent extremists must be tackled in the same way. Extremist groups prey on the same vulnerabilities, sense of exclusion and lack of belonging – and each feeds off the other.

Yahya Birt is on the same theme – tackling alienation. His point is that the government’s Prevent agenda ends up treating British Muslims as an “at risk” set of communities, rather than simply citizens. And he rightly says that focusing on far-right white extremism could simply replicate the problem – treating young, white working class youths as “at risk”.

Most of the commenters seem to misunderstood his point – that Muslims should be treated as ordinary British citizens (something the very same people are always banging on about) rather than dangerous basket cases.

The problems are obvious, the solutions less so. Is the Prevent agenda more like a band-aid that fails to heal the underlying wound? Perhaps. But it’s difficult to see what straightforward alternatives there are.


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  1. pickles

    New blog post: On counter-terrorism and counter-extremism http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/5898


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    Pickled Politics » On counter-terrorism and counter-extremism http://ow.ly/ptht




  1. Paul — on 15th September, 2009 at 11:56 am  

    Have a look at the website of SIOE, which initiated the Harrow protest (not the EDL). SIOE doesn’t hide behind an ‘anti-terrorist’ line. It says what it thinks: for instance, all Muslims are plotting to behead all non-Muslims. And it has pictures of beheaded Christians to prove it. They are not opposed to a “tiny minority of Islamic extremists”, they are opposed to every single Muslim.

    SIOE is a tiny organisation, I doubt if they have 20 active members. Their parent organisation, SIAD, is equally tiny. But Geert Wilders is another who doesn’t hide behind the anti-terrorist line, and he leads the largest party in the Netherlands. Wilders says repeatedly, that Islam itself is the problem. Sunny’s ideological friend Ayaan Hirsi Ali is another who rejects Islam, as such.

    Why is everyone so evasive about this? Because integrationists don’t want to admit, that a huge number of people in western Europe reject Islam, as a religion and as a culture – and not simply Islamist terrorism. If that’s true, then integration will certainly fail. So they keep up the pretence, that no-one is opposed to Islam as such – only to terrorism and extremism and jihadism. And any counter-examples are either ignored, or written off as a minority without influence.

    People can keep up these pretences for a long time, even for decades or centuries. Some Jews claim they never encounter antisemitism – it’s a survival mechanism. But that doesn’t alter the situation on the ground.

  2. damon — on 15th September, 2009 at 12:15 pm  

    From Asim Siddiqui’s article, talking about the Harrow mosque:

    ”They issued a press release making clear they had no intention of hosting a Sharia court – which was an accusation that had been levelled against them by the English Defence League.”

    I’d have thought the right of mosques to hold Sharia courts should be defended, as saying ”we don’t do them” while the Regent’s Park Mosque does, sems to point the protesters away from Harrow and down to Regent’s Park.

  3. Boyo — on 15th September, 2009 at 12:26 pm  

    The EDL don’t “stand” for anything – they’re symptomatic.

    The only solution is systemic constitutional change.

  4. Andy Gilmour — on 15th September, 2009 at 1:57 pm  

    Just to provide a tiny bit more pan-Europe evidence on the general anti-Islam theme (as if it were needed), in yesterday’s Norwegian elections, Siv Jensen (the self-styled “Thatcher of Norway”) and her openly anti-Islam “Progress Party” (Fremskrittspartiet) got 23% of the vote, making it the single biggest opposition party.

    And the second biggest, the “Conservatives”(Hoeyre), who agree with them on immigration & were happy to form a government with them if they’d got enough seats, got 17.2%.

    The good news is that the “Labour” coalition are still in power, but only by 3 seats in the Storting.

    Apparently they had their lowest turnout since 1927, with only 73% of the electorate bothering to vote (!)

    I know, it’s Norway, nobody here really cares, but still…

  5. Reza — on 15th September, 2009 at 2:29 pm  

    “His point is that the government’s Prevent agenda ends up treating British Muslims as an “at risk” set of communities, rather than simply citizens.”

    That’s the sound multiculturalism unraveling.

    Of course we must all become “citizens”. This obsession with putting whole swathes of people into ‘identity’ groups is so insidious. It is so utterly racist.

    Yet the multiculturalists love it. Many of the ‘minorities’ love it; being part of an exclusive group, singled out for special treatment. And the far-left adore the idea of having ‘victim’ groups, which they can latch onto as the parasites they are.

    The irony in all of this is that the BNP have successfully jumped onto the ‘multi-culti’ bandwagon. “Why”, they ask, “should every cultural, ethnic and religious group in Britain be specifically defined, defended, represented and helped except for the ‘white British’ group?” And it’s a logical argument.

    I believe that I have the moral authority to oppose the BNP at every level because I oppose multiculturalism and identity politics.

    Supporters of multiculturalism and identity politics have no such moral authority.

  6. Paul — on 15th September, 2009 at 3:46 pm  

    Reza says that “.. we must all become citizens”, and I assume that Sunny would agree with that. Two questions:

    1. Citizens of what? Britain?

    2. What will happen to those who refuse to be citizens? Deportation? Internment? Flown to Morocco to be tortured?

    “Putting whole swathes of people into identity groups” is what nation-states are all about. The whole point of the United Kingdom is to put “whole swathes of people” into the British identity group. There wouldn’t even be a Britain, if ‘whole swathes’ of Scots, Welsh and Irish had not been forcibly made British citizens.

    Being simply British is not a neutral option, which all reasonable people would chose. Every historical national identity, including the British, is founded on repression and lack of freedom. It is therefore never reasonable. You don’t have to go very far (Northern Ireland) to find people who would rather die than be British, and who are prepared to kill others, in order not to be British.

    The monoculturalist integrationist nationalism, which this website promotes, is no better than ethnic multiculturalism, or the ethnic monoculturalism of the BNP (and most nationalist parties). Certainly from outside the UK, it looks just as vicious as any other nationalism.

  7. persephone — on 15th September, 2009 at 3:46 pm  

    “Why”, they ask, “should every cultural, ethnic and religious group in Britain be specifically defined, defended, represented and helped”

    To create and monitor a more level playing field.

    “And it’s a logical argument.”

    Its logical if we have substantive evidence of discrimination against white British Groups. Where is the evidence to back this up?

  8. Lillian — on 15th September, 2009 at 3:47 pm  

    Yahya Birt is quite a thinker!

    Ever read his cute little opinions about how and why he converted to Islam?

    We can only presume that the Moonies, Scientologists, and Bahais were out of town that weekend.

    I am training my children to be ‘at risk’ in the hope that they will get truckloads of government money hurled in their direction.

  9. kip — on 15th September, 2009 at 3:50 pm  

    YA PAUL

    Any more sedition from you and you’ll be flown to Morocco to be tortured.

    But then you’ll make it back to UK in a private jet and go on the Survivors of Torture circuit along with Begg and the Famous Ethiopian.

    A worthwhile goal!

  10. johng — on 15th September, 2009 at 3:56 pm  

    Actually Reza its not an “irony” at all. Griffin addressed the KKK in 1993 and explained that it wasn’t a good idea to talk about the white “race”. Talk about “identity” instead, and then no-one can touch you. He also explained that of course the goal was the exclusion of all non-whites, but that you couldn’t actually say this. In other words it was a calculated strategy to try and couch Nazi arguments in the language of multi-culturalism and the idea of a pluralistic society. How this makes either multi-culturism or a pluralistic society bad escapes me. Interestingly in his new more “respectable incarnation” (which you are arguing must be respected because otherwise you are a fascist) he has suggested that the reason he was “rude” or “impolite” about the Nazi Holocaust (in other words denying it happened) is because all this talk of the Nazi Holocaust was a barrier to asking serious questions (and presumably finding serious solutions) to “problems of multi-culturism” (a particular obsession of these people). Think about these arguments for a second Reza.

  11. cjcjc — on 15th September, 2009 at 4:01 pm  

    @10 – of course none of your friends are ever “rude” about the holocaust, are they john?

  12. qidniz — on 15th September, 2009 at 6:03 pm  

    Supporters of multiculturalism and identity politics have no such moral authority.

    Of course they do. They have the moral authority of tribalism and gang warfare.

  13. johng — on 15th September, 2009 at 8:16 pm  

    cjcjc so what do you propose to do about the EDL and the BNP?

  14. Reza — on 16th September, 2009 at 7:47 am  

    Paul asked:

    “1. Citizens of what? Britain?”

    Yes, citizens of Britain, all equal under the law, THE SAME LAW, with the same rights and opportunities, treated EQUALLY by the state.

    No more state sponsored prejudice. No more ‘victims’ or ‘oppressors’. No more state condoned separatism. No more state sponsored multiculturalism. No more ‘minorities’ and ‘community leaders’.

    No more defining, measuring and recording artificial social constructs such as race. So no more ‘black’ or ‘white’. Just ‘British’.

    No more State support for racist organizations such as the Black Police Association, Operation Black Vote, and the sundry ‘community’ organizations representing virtually every cultural, racial and religious group (except of course for those who would describe themselves as ‘indigenous’).

    And our State has no business talking to self-appointed ‘community leaders’.

    “2. What will happen to those who refuse to be citizens?”

    I believe in freedom. People have the right to live however they want, dress however they want, speak the language they want and organize themselves into the ancestral ‘communities’ they want to cling to.

    However, that is no concern of the State’s. People have no right to expect me, as a tax payer, to support them in ‘celebrating’ and perpetuating their ancestral culture. That’s one’s own private business.

  15. damon — on 16th September, 2009 at 9:04 am  

    From Asim Siddiqui’s article:

    ”So if this was really about the Islamifcation of Britain, why not simply hound Choudary and his acolytes? Instead the EDL chose to provoke one of the largest and mainstream mosques – and its mainstream congregation who have no association with these fringe groups nor any wish to impose Sharia law.”

    Blaming ‘Choudary and his acolytes’ for everything is a bit like seeing the BNP as the only source of racism in the UK.
    Is it not the case that the infection of Islamism runs much deeper? The Harrow Mosque may indeed be run by very nice moderate people, (and I liked the way that the imam was said to have invited the protesters inside for a chat), but these EDL/SIOE people would also protest about the so called Mega Mosque that Tablighi Jamaat has wanted to build in East London.
    What would anti-fascists say then?

    If an Irish group picketed the European Council for Fatwa and Research in Dublin (headed by Yusuf al-Qaradawi) whold that too be seen as hateful islamophobia?
    It’s based at the one of the two main mosques in Dublin. This one in the suburb of Clonskeagh.
    http://farm1.static.flickr.com/151/404028142_9af03c164c.jpg

    I’ve been to that mosque for friday prayers and saw nothing but normal religious observance and a nice talk from the imam, so maybe the Qaradawi infuence is not so overt.

  16. Paul — on 16th September, 2009 at 12:40 pm  

    Reza, if you don’t like paying taxes for groups to “celebrate and perpetuate their ancestral culture”, then why are you paying taxes for English Heritage?

  17. Paul — on 16th September, 2009 at 4:54 pm  

    The rest of the reply from Reza is also full of inconsistencies. He says

    “People have the right to live however they want, dress however they want, speak the language they want and organize themselves into the ancestral ‘communities’ they want to cling to.”

    But he also says explicitly, that they don’t have the right not to be British. It’s fundamentally contradictory. You can’t have a uniform British identity – one law, one culture, one nation – without drastically limiting political freedom.

  18. Boyo — on 16th September, 2009 at 5:58 pm  

    “You can’t have a uniform British identity – one law, one culture, one nation – without drastically limiting political freedom.”

    Free the French now! Liberate the Indians! Unchain the USA!

  19. Paul — on 16th September, 2009 at 7:04 pm  

    Here you go: no uniform identity without repression…

    secessionist movements in France

    secessionist movements in India

    Secession in the USA

  20. Reza — on 16th September, 2009 at 9:36 pm  

    Paul wrote

    “…if you don’t like paying taxes for groups to “celebrate and perpetuate their ancestral culture”, then why are you paying taxes for English Heritage?”

    English Heritage? What utter b*llocks! Anyone can be part of English Heritage. It is not, in any way, a racist organization.

    But the Metropolitan Black Police Association (run by Ali Dizaei, a particularly unpleasant compatriot of mine) is. A ‘white’ person is not allowed to be a full member of this racist outfit.

    All the ethnic and cultural exclusive ‘community’ organizations are inherently racist and should not funded by the tax payer.

    Ali Dizaei would be barred from being a full member of the BNP due to the colour of his skin. And Nick Griffin would be barred from joining the MBPA because of his ‘ethnicity’.

    Racism is not a white monopoly. And the irony is, that the multiculturalists who seem to think it is, are so utterly racist in every sense of that over-used word.

  21. Boyo — on 16th September, 2009 at 9:46 pm  

    Yes, but they are all freaks….

  22. Reza — on 17th September, 2009 at 1:26 pm  

    Paul

    English Heritage? What utter b*llocks! Anyone can be part of English Heritage. It is not, in any way, a racist organization.

    But the Metropolitan Black Police Association (run by Ali Dizaei, a compatriot of mine) is. A ‘white’ person is not allowed to be a full member of this racist outfit.

    All the ethnic and cultural exclusive ‘community’ organizations are inherently racist and should not funded by the tax payer.

    Ali Dizaei is barred from being a full member of the BNP due to the colour of his skin. And Nick Griffin is barred from joining the MBPA because of his ‘ethnicity’.

    Racism is not a white monopoly. And the irony is, that the multiculturalists who seem to think it is, are so utterly racist in every sense of that over-used word.

  23. MiriamBinder — on 2nd January, 2010 at 9:50 am  

    @ Reza #22

    Are you opposed to organisations such as:

    Alcoholics Anonymous
    Gingerbread
    SIA
    Disability Alliance
    etcetera
    How about Ex-offender programs? Have a problem with them?

    There is absolutely nought wrong with having organisations that address issues that are specific to individuals. They are exclusive in that you have to meet certain criteria in order to belong. If your objection is purely on the grounds that you perceive the MBPA as racist you really should very carefully examine your motivations.

    As for Racism being a white monopoly … do grow up and stop seeing the world in such juvenile terms. Racism is a human attribute and as such can be found in individuals all over the place in all shapes, colours and ethnic groups.

    Though I must here state that I have no problem with individuals who are racist. I do tend to regard them as being somewhat afflicted by a form of self-imposed myopia which stops them from seeing the full potential of people. However that in itself is not a problem … until they start acting on it that is.

  24. camilla — on 2nd January, 2010 at 1:35 pm  

    haha, so if we will stop thinking that there are terrorists in muslim communities – they will stop to exist? it’s not just naive …

    when I can only recommend the muslims to stop treating BNP-ers like islamphobes – and they will just stop!

    blaming people for minorities crimes and extremism – isn’t it favorite left slogan? and the crucial evidence of liberal’s total incapability to deal with minorities extremisms, crimes and other

    THERE IS NO BETTER WAY TO INDULGE CRIMINALITY AMONG MINORITIES – just teach them to blame their victims

    even if the crime rate will increase – you can always tell “that’s because you don’t treat them kindly enough, make more efforts!”

    actually why people should exercise in treating muslims like other citizens if they show no intention to be like the others and follow the rules?

    It’s like obliging people to have a good impression of someone who behave disgustingly

    the practice shows that immigrants perfectly intergrate in society when they are made responsible for their reputation and assimilation, and word “racism” is not used to stifle criticism against them

    if the general policy is “you just need to accept them – and they will behave good” – and crime rates grow like you are in Nigeria or something…

    Just enjoy Sweden, France Netherlands example

  25. camilla — on 2nd January, 2010 at 1:36 pm  

    love muslim extremists – and they will love you back!

  26. MiriamBinder — on 2nd January, 2010 at 1:44 pm  

    Extremists are extremists and nowt anyone will do will stop them from being what they are. Look at yourself for starters Camilla ;) However I can and do live my life without flinching at shadows or jumping at things that go bump in the night. Why do your job for you?

  27. camilla — on 2nd January, 2010 at 2:43 pm  

    “Extremists are extremists and nowt anyone will do will stop them from being what they are.”

    do I argue? and none makes you extremist if you are not inclined to it, that’s my point, no “treating as extremist” can do that

    what about “myself” Miriam?

  28. MiriamBinder — on 2nd January, 2010 at 3:38 pm  

    Must be fun living with you Camilla ;) All that terror, fear and things that go bump in the night.

    As for why you should look at yourself? You have an extremist’ mind set; no shades of grey for Camilla. You are Muslim you must be aiming to get on the compensation gravy train at best or plotting to become the next suicide bomber at worst. The proper world view according to Camilla.

    I refuse to buy into such a prejudiced world view; and I refuse to live my life in fear and trepidation.

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