This article is written by Brother Saqib Bukhari
The British government has been exposed, in what was well known amongst the Ummah in the UK, that it has been targeting the Muslim community and actively attempting to create another form of Islam.
The British government has for long presented itself as one of the most tolerant nations in Europe when it comes to dealing with the Muslim community within its shores. Visiting the Home Office website, ones attention is immediately focused on the statement written in bold which proudly presents the UK as having one of the most comprehensive and wide-ranging approaches to tackling terrorism anywhere in the world. However, such confidence has now received a severe blow as a recent report exposed Britain's real intentions behind its counter terrorism strategy of being primarily a spying operation.
The government initially published a strategy in 2003 called CONTEST, which aimed to reduce the risk to the UK and its interests overseas from international terrorism. Its principles were based around the 4 Ps:
Pursue : to stop terrorist attacks
Prevent : to stop people becoming terrorists or supporting violent extremism
Protect: to strengthen our protection against terrorist attack
Prepare: where an attack cannot be stopped, to mitigate its impact
As the ‘Protect' and ‘Prepare' principles are fairly self-explanatory, what requires particular attention are the ‘Pursue' and ‘Prevent' agendas.
The "Pursue" strand of the strategy is said to be about foiling terrorist networks and plans. In theory this seems perfectly viable but a cursory glance on how this was being achieved raises a few eye brows. This is because it was essentially stop and search, arbitrary arrest and prosecutions, control orders to detain suspects indefinitely without trial, financial sanctions, deprivation of citizenship, monitoring communications, covert surveillance and co-operation with other states e.g. Pakistan. Of particular relevance was the case of nine Pakistani students who were arrested in April 2009 as means of thwarting ‘a very big plot' according to Gordon Brown. They were subsequently released without charge or apology and were deported back to Pakistan, not even being allowed to complete their studies. Essentially, the media sensationalism was convenient as it reiterated the notion of violent extremists in Britain but secondly, the connection with Pakistan strengthened the case for the country being a crucible for terrorism, thereby giving ammunition for Britain's foreign policy in the region.
As for the ‘Prevent' strand, this is the short-hand for preventing violent extremism or PVE and was published in April 2007. The programme was established to allow the government to work with certain Muslim groups who would toe the government line. Such a manoeuvre revolves around 4 key approaches: promoting shared values (an alias for Western secular values), supporting local solutions, building civic capacity and leadership and strengthening the role of institutions such as mosques and madrassahs.
It is the above 4 points that have received a somewhat negative reception from the Muslim community .The communities and local government committee that published the recent report on the ‘Prevent strategy' has explicitly stated that the government should not intervene in theological discussions within Islam but should pay more heed to the issues of foreign policy as being a main factor for radicalisation. It went on further to highlight "many Muslims suspected they were being spied upon by Prevent projects and that the government had also sought to engineer a "moderate" Islam by promoting some groups over others." This is a noteworthy point because the government for years tried to create a ‘moderate Islam' that it can do business with, however, in the process it has alienated Muslims it wished to work with.
Further to this and as a damning indictment to the government's agenda when it comes to Islam is the leaked report that was received by the Guardian in February 2009 referred to as CONTEST 2 which seemed to explicitly address the ideological basis of Islam and received deep concern because it essentially widened the definition of an ‘extremist'. According to the strategy, Muslims would be considered extremists if:
They advocate a caliphate, a pan-Islamic state encompassing many countries
They promote Shari'a law
They believe in jihad, or armed resistance, anywhere in the world. This would include armed resistance by Palestinians against the Israeli military
They argue that Islam bans homosexuality and that it is a sin against Allah
They fail to condemn the killing of British soldiers in Iraq or Afghanistan
However, as the Muslims reacted with outrage to the details of CONTEST 2 (many stating that it essentially criminalised ideas) the government revoked the plan and is still implementing the PVE agenda.
Therefore, the evidence against the government is more than conclusive in relation to what it wishes to do with Islam and the reformation it wishes to instigate. It is quite possible that over the coming years, we may see a slow incremental progression towards the draconian objectives of CONTEST 2.
Furthermore, a look into history offers great insights that solidify the aforementioned argument as this is not the first attempt undertaken by Britain to change Islam. In 1857 the British East India Company faced uprisings in India which mobilised the masses and threatened to end British rule in India. Jihad had been officially declared on the British by the Ulema of Hind and faced with the prospect of defeat attempts to pacify Muslim opposition led the British Empire to turn to Mirza Gulam Ahmed who was leader of a small group of people who denied jihad.
Gulam said: "Behold! I have come to you people with a directive that henceforth jihad with the sword has come to an end but jihad for the purification of your souls still remains. This injunction is not from me but rather it is the will of God."
He forbade fighting the Empire due to his favor for British rule and support, in a letter to queen Victoria he said:
"...For the sake of the British government, I have published fifty thousand books, magazines and posters and distributed them in this and other Islamic countries. It is as the result of my endeavours that thousands of people have given up thoughts of Jihad which had been propounded by ill-witted mullahs and embedded in the minds of the people. I can rightly feel proud of this that no other Muslim in British India can equal me in this respect..."
This attempt led to the British inventing a new faith and creating a new prophet, such a vain attempt gained no currency with the Muslim masses, instead hardening opposition to British colonialism.
The British government has used its counter terrorist strategy as a front to malign Islam and deal with the wider threat of a politicised community who continues to stand shoulder to shoulder with its brothers and sisters across the world. The ‘Prevent' agenda was always a front to create a reformation in Islam. The majority of the strategy aimed at Muslims in the UK, is to dictate to the Muslim community, establish a new leadership, make Muslims reject Islam's political ideas, and ultimately to secularise Muslims. It is the assimilation agenda - to prevent the spread of Islamic values - what they call ‘extremism' - and promote ‘shared,' Western liberal values.
So, be not fooled, Oh Muslims! We are living in times where our ideas and ‘aqeedah are viewed with disdain and suspicion. Cartoons depicting the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم as a terrorist, the banning of minarets in Switzerland and the recent attacks on the niqab are all signs of what the western governments want of Islam - passive, quiet and apolitical. We must abide by our noble values which Allah سبحانه وتعالى has bestowed us with and be not duped by the masterly trickery of those governments that want to see Islam as just a ritualistic religion.
Allah سبحانه وتعالى says:
يُرِيدُونَ أَن يُطْفِؤُواْ نُورَ اللّهِ بِأَفْوَاهِهِمْ وَيَأْبَى اللّهُ إِلاَّ أَن يُتِمَّ نُورَهُ وَلَوْ كَرِهَ الْكَافِرُونَ
"They seek to extinguish the light of Allah with their mouths; but Allah refuses but to perfect His light, though the disbelievers may resent it." [At-Tawba, 9:32]