We have read the report from the House of Commons Home Affairs Select Committee on ‘radicalisation’ with interest. We note the main media focus is on whether or not Internet companies are doing enough to tackle the spread of terrorism.
Yet this is not the main flaw in the report – which purports to look at things including the causes of ‘radicalisation’ and the Prevent policy.
Regarding the report, Taji Mustafa, media representative of Hizb ut Tahrir in Britain said, “The primary problems are its omissions, inconsistencies and contradictions.”
“a) On radicalisation, the report says: there is no evidence that shows a single path or one single event which draws a young person to the scourge of extremism: every case is different. Yet they did not go on to expose the fallacies in this most basic premise (alongside the absence of definitions of ‘radicalisation’ and ‘extremism’) have underpinned all counter-extremism policy in the UK and Europe. To have realised this and yet not made it clear – and then not denounced all policy that is built upon it is a basic flaw in the report.”
“There is a lie at the heart of the radicalisation narrative that has been repeated so often that people believe it. It is that ‘the more Islamic you are, the more of a potential threat you are.’ This has become the reason why ‘deradicalisation’ policies have been aimed at making Muslims ‘less Islamic’, and more compliant with liberal norms and government policies.”
“If ‘radicalisation’ means people becoming agitated and committing acts of violence, it isn’t because of Islam. Anger is an understandable emotional response to sensing the injustice of western government foreign, and (more recently), domestic policies - even though acts of violence against innocent people are an unacceptable response to such emotions. Sadly, these unacceptable ‘acts of terror’ show no signs of decreasing whilst there is no admission that these are blow back from policies generated in London, Washington and Paris.”
“b) On Prevent, the report calls for a review and rebranding of this ‘toxic’ brand.
Rebranding or reforming the pernicious Prevent policy is like putting lipstick on a pig. Prevent needs to be scrapped.”
“Whilst some of the witnesses labelled the policy discriminatory, and accused the media of fueling Islamophobia, they failed to point out that political leaders who have driven this policy are the same ones who initiated and have licensed Islamophobia.”
“They have failed to point out that the UK’s counter-extremism policy in general has nothing to do with counter-terrorism, but that terrorism has become an excuse to implement a securitised policy for forced assimilation. It is more about reforming Islam so Muslims change their views and values, and silencing political views.”
“This is implicitly recognised in the report which quotes senior police officers who now recognise they are acting as a ‘thought police’ – a role now passed on to schools, universities and health services.”
“c) The stifling of debate and speech was raised by witnesses from the education sector. However, the effect of this policy has been to silence Muslims from discussing vital issues that others are free to discuss. The result is a dangerous vacuum in the Muslim community that is all too easily filled by internet search engines, who are singled out for criticism. As increasing numbers of prominent Muslims are either too fearful to address these matters, or argue that they aren’t relevant, we see others actively changing their views and adopting a liberal standpoint. They call this a ‘reformation’ whereas it is nothing more than a deformation of Islam.”
“d) Western policy makers are in a dilemma. Either they accept that many people haven’t been convinced to adopt secular liberal values, and haven’t been duped about their policies towards the Muslim world – or they criminalise thoughts and views. Until now, Prevent and counter-extremism policies have been the latter. They are Britain’s blasphemy laws for those who are ‘apostates’ from the prevailing political norms, where ‘extremist’ has become a secular word for ‘heretic’.”
“e) Muslims need to realise that, far from being bullied into suppressing their Islam, the solution is more Islam, not less. We are ready for a robust debate about relative beliefs and values. We are ready for open discussion, though some may feel unable in the atmosphere of a witch-hunt.”
“However, we need fear none but Allah, trusting in Him alone – carrying the message of Islam to those with open hearts and exposing the lies of those who are hostile to Islam and Muslims, and being proud of our global Islamic identity.”
﴿وَمَنْ أَحْسَنُ قَوْلًا مِّمَّن دَعَا إِلَى اللَّهِ وَعَمِلَ صَالِحًا وَقَالَ إِنَّنِي مِنَ الْمُسْلِمِينَ﴾
“And who is better in speech than one who invites to Allah and does righteousness and says, "Indeed, I am of the Muslims."” [Surah Fussilat 41:33]
Media Office of Hizb ut Tahrir