On 19/1/2015, the UK Government wrote a letter to Muslim leaders demanding they do more to counter ‘extremism’ and that Mosques and other institutions should push “British values”.
As soon as Muslims voiced criticisms, Prime Minister David Cameron closed down the debate saying that anyone who disagreed “had a problem” – addressing Muslims as though they are his subjects, not citizens that Prime Ministers are ‘supposed’ to serve.
This letter appears to target three things:
Firstly, it fuels propaganda in the context of the Counter Terrorism and Security Bill currently before parliament. This letter and other statements sustain a false narrative that the more Islamic you are, the more of a threat you pose. This is the flawed logic upon which the UK’s entire anti-terror policy is built. It deflects attention from foreign policy and the persistent abuse of Islam on an industrial scale. Even former intelligence chief Eliza Manningham-Buller admitted that the Iraq war fuelled terror attacks.
Secondly, it places responsibility for any acts of violence onto the Muslim community. That way the state washes its hands of any security failure, which is its responsibility. It washes its hands of having to address foreign policy or Islamophobic cartoons, placing any future blame on Muslims. Hence, reinforcing the idea of collective guilt in the aftermath of any attacks.
Thirdly, it further forces the Muslim community to ‘convert’ to secular liberal values. Just as Ofsted says schools should push British values onto Muslim pupils, so too Eric Pickles, Communities Secretary tells Mosques to push “British values”.
If Cameron and Pickles had bothered to listen, they would have heard serious criticisms of government policy raised by Muslims that are obvious to any observer.
We call upon Muslim community leaders to reject this kind of imperialist approach.
Imams are currently silenced from speaking about important issues for fear of being labelled “extremists” under the government’s “Prevent” strategy. Our plea to them is that they must address Islamic issues such as jihad, shariah and Khilafah in an honest, frank and wholly Islamic way to educate the Muslim community rather than leaving them no information, incomplete information or flawed information.
They should ignore the approach by all political parties who want them to twist Islamic values and rules to suit secular liberal norms.
They should convey the noble Islamic values to the community, which guide Muslims as to their relationship with the worldwide Ummah, their speaking truth to those in power, their positive relationship with their neighbours and others in society (be they Muslim or non-Muslim), and the Islamic method to bring change in the Muslim world.
Failing to do so because of government bullying would be to fail our community – and leave us with a heavy account on Yawm al Qiyamah.
Dr. Abdul Wahid
Chairman of the Executive Committee Hizb ut-Tahrir in Britain