Down with hateful extremism

What do the APPG report Defining Islamophobia, the Tony Blair Foundation’s report on Far Right Worldviews in the UK and the Commission for Countering Extremism’s report Challenging Hateful Extremism have in common?

Answer: They all aim to lessen your ability to speak freely about Islam and the things Islam has brought to Britain.

The first does so by advocating the official adoption of a nonsensical and overreaching definition of Islamophobia as “a type of racism”.

The second does so by proposing that certain groups should be designated “Hate Groups” and denied some of their democratic rights.

The third, the subject of this post, does so by proposing the official and unofficial acceptance of a new term “Hateful Extremism” which will be applied to various outlooks and behaviours with the intention of countering them by means which seem as yet somewhat unclear. Perhaps you will get a different impression from the Recommendations section. At the very least the term will provide zealots with another debate paralysing insult to bring out when argument fails:

The Commission for Countering Extremism is a British government agency set up after the Manchester Arena bombing in 2017. According to the then Prime Minister Theresa May it was intended to “help fight hatred and extremism in the same way as we have fought racism”.

Sara Khan was appointed its head, a choice opposed by Baroness Warsi and Labour MP Naz Shah (both co-authors of the APPG report) and by the Muslim Council of Britain. These are, of course, all recommendations but on the downside Wikipedia informs us that she has written articles for the Guardian, the Independent and the Huffington Post which makes clear where she is coming from politically.

Among the Commission’s Expert Group are the well known mendacious greivance mongering taqqiya artist Fiyaz Mughal, head of TellMama, and Nick Lowles, head of Hope not Hate, a hard left organisation with a similarly loose relationship with the truth.

An obvious criticism of the subject of the report is that the words “hateful” and “extremism” are both entirely subjective. In fact Sara Khan has no definition of hateful extremism as yet but promises to produce one by Spring 2020. In the Executive Summary she offers only what she calls a ”summary of hateful extremism” (p6):

        Behaviours that can incite and amplify hate, or engage in persistent hatred, or equivocate about
        and make the moral case for violence;

        And that draw on hateful, hostile or supremacist beliefs directed at an out-group who are
        perceived as a threat to the wellbeing, survival or success of an in-group;

        And that cause, or are likely to cause, harm to individuals, communities or wider society.

The report asks “What does hateful extremism look like?” and gives this answer (p6):

        Hateful, hostile and supremacist beliefs are increasingly visible in our country today. The Far
        Right’s narratives of a racial or cultural threat to “natives” from “aliens” have been making their
        way into the mainstream. As are Islamists’ ideas for defending a single communal Muslim
        identity against the West’s corrupting influence. And the Far Left’s conflation of anti-imperialism
        and antisemitism.

This is an oddly unbalanced charge sheet of the three groups considering the real, demonstrable harm to individuals, communities or wider society caused by each of them, as measured by the casualty lists. According to data on terrorist incidents in Britain this century there have been 3 deaths caused by people linked to far right ideologies, 88 deaths and around 937 injuries caused by Islamists and nothing at all caused by the far left.

And yet the hateful extremism laid at the Islamists’ door is only that of “ideas for defending a single communal Muslim identity against the West’s corrupting influence”. Where are the ideas of taking the offensive against unbelievers for purely supremacist reasons as Muslims have been doing for 1400 years following Mohammed’s example?

As a crude indicator of the relative concerns shown in this report, the term “far right” appears 71 times, the terms “Islamism” and “Islamist” appear 77 times and the term “far left” appears 11 times.

Forget the contributions from the far left (and from animal rights activists who also get a mention). The real substance of the report is the competition in hateful extremism between Islamists and the far right. The impression of near equivalence between the two lends support to the widely held belief that the government some time ago decided to present the two threats as comparable (which they are not) in order to appear to be even handedly protecting the population from harm. Accordingly, groups and individuals sharing this approach are likely to be welcomed into the spotlight, and funded, while groups which do not are banished to the outer darkness.

Rather than go through the report in detail, as I did with the other two reports mentioned at the top, I want to concentrate on two questions. Firstly:

How Far Right is the “Far Right”?

What does Sara Khan mean by “far right”? It turns out that she has no clear definition for that either. The report says it is:

        not defined by a single ideology or narrative. It consists of several groups and individuals with
        different ideologies
(p36).

The Commission asked Dr Benjamin Lee of Lancaster University for an overview:

        His working definition of the Far Right as a “container term for political groups and actors
        sharing a narrative of racial and/or cultural threat to a ‘native’ group arising from perceived
        ‘alien’ groups within a society” relies on a perceived threat to a defined in-group.

        He identifies three underpinning ideologies, pointing out that there is a disconnect between how
        groups view themselves against how others view them:

        Radical right populism – Groups in this category subscribe to an ideology which combines
        nativism, authoritarianism and populism. Populism has been used to describe anti-Muslim
        protest groups. Groups such as the EDL claim to promote the concerns of “ordinary people”
        against a liberal elite establishment and political class that “silence” issues that matter to them.

        Neo-Fascism – Groups in this category advocate the need to defend the identity and culture of
        white Europeans (ethnopluralism) from what is called the “great replacement” by immigration
        and Islamisation. In the UK, these ideas are demonstrated by groups such as Generation Identity.

        Neo-Nazism – Groups in this category believe in the continuation of the fascist Nazi project,
        focusing on white supremacism and territorial separation. In the UK, several groups use Nazi
        symbols and rhetoric such as Combat 18 and National Action.

Purportedly, groups in the above categories employ some or all of the following narratives:

        Anti-minority narratives, demographic threat, collapse into ethnic or cultural strife,
        conspiracism, anti-elite narratives and historical revisionism.
[precised]

There was a time when “far right” meant Oswald Mosley and jackboots, and that was about all. Since then it has spread like a tide coming in until now it covers, laughably, UKIP (according to Dr Lee) having presumably long ago swamped those blatant nativists who fought the real far right on our behalf in World War II.

This is definition inflation on an epic scale. There may be hundreds of Neo-Nazis in Britain and thousands of Neo-Fascists but just talking to your fellow Britons in the pub will make it obvious that there must be millions of (probably quite decent) people who fall into Dr Lee’s category of radical right populism. I suggest that classifying all the three groups above as far right makes as much sense as grouping Stalin, Salvador Allende and Clement Atlee as fellow members of the far left.

I must admit there was a time when I feared I might be far right so I took the test provided by the Political Compass site and am proud to say I now have what amounts to an unfar-rightness certificate:

There I am in the lower left quadrant, as authoritarian as Ghandi and as right wing as Nelson Mandela. I must say the result was a little surprising. I would have expected to come out as centre right rather than centre left if only because the centre has lurched so dramatically to the left over the last 20 years. Never mind, I have proof of my innocence of the taint of far-rightness which I dare say is more than Benjamin Lee or Sara Khan can claim.

How can a lifelong Labour voter – until recently – have fallen under the same designation as Generals Franco and Pinochet? The same goes for all those people I have contact with who seem to me merely fair-minded patriots. It’s a mystery, isn’t it? You can put me down for nativism and populism; nationalism too – not in the sense that my nation is superior to yours but only that the nation seems a suitable unit for grouping and governing people. Certainly more suitable than supra-national conglomerations, otherwise known as empires, like the one we are currently struggling to escape from. But what has that to do with the far right?

Perhaps the answer is that Dr Lee has not objectively defined the concept then identified groups to which it applies but has rather, obligingly, started by identifying the groups which all right thinking people know to be bad and then drawn a line round them. Yes, that’ll be it. And the two items which qualify us for inclusion within his cultural quarantine camp are concern about mass immigration and, more deplorably, opposition to Islam.

Anyone in academia knows that objecting to the teachings of that particular religion, and their consequences, really means othering and scapegoating innocent Muslims because those of us in what has become known as the counterjihad movement suffer from free floating hatefulness which must find an outlet somewhere. And anyone with a PhD who does not subscribe to that view will certainly be smart enough to keep it to themselves because if their employers don’t turn on them their students will.

You will notice that such academics, and heads of government agencies, never, ever quote Islamic scriptures or even consider the possiblity that they might have a hand in what they call Islamism. Deprivation, othering, racism, unemployment, teenage rebellion, alienation, identity problems, existential anxiety etc etc are far more obvious explanations.

But those I correspond with, and I myself, came to oppose Islam entirely because we have read, and taken seriously, those teachings and see an obvious causal connection between them and the mayhem being wrought around the world wherever Muslims and non-Muslims are in proximity.

Which leads us onto the second question:

How Hatefully Extremist is Islam?

In the Executive Summary of the report (p6) we are told that, shockingly:

        Islamists are telling Muslims that they should not associate with “worse than animals”
        non-Muslims.

Can it really be the case that Sara Khan has not come across the following two verses from the Koran which show the above Islamists to be merely passing on Allah’s instructions?

“O ye who believe! take not the Jews and the Christians for your friends and protectors: They are but friends and protectors to each other. And he amongst you that turns to them (for friendship) is of them…” (5:51)
and
“For the worst of beasts in the sight of Allah are those who reject Him: They will not believe.” (8:55)

She is, by all accounts, a “moderate Muslim” but she still worships a god who intends to torture me and those I love for eternity (or perhaps for just a very long time – scholars differ) simply for not believing in him. Here he is in full flow:

“Indeed, those who disbelieve in Our verses – We will drive them into a Fire. Every time their skins are roasted through We will replace them with other skins so they may taste the punishment. Indeed, Allah is ever Exalted in Might and Wise” (Koran 4:56)

I would call that fairly hateful, wouldn’t you?

Here he is on the subject of hatred and othering of outgroups:

“There is for you an excellent example (to follow) in Abraham and those with him, when they said to their people: ‘We are clear of you and of whatever ye worship besides Allah: we have rejected you, and there has arisen, between us and you, enmity and hatred for ever,- unless ye believe in Allah and Him alone’ “ (60:4)

Doesn’t this, along with similar sentiments to be found throughout the Koran, make Allah himself a hateful extremist?

The same goes for Allah’s creator, Mohammed, the genocidal warlord who, according to canonical scriptures, exiled, slaughtered or sold into slavery the three Jewish tribes of Medina within five years of arriving there as a “refugee from religious persecution”.

Let us look again at the report’s summary of hateful extremism:

        Behaviours that can incite and amplify hate, or engage in persistent hatred, or equivocate about
        and make the moral case for violence;

You can find plenty of all these in the Koran and other Islamic scriptures. Indeed they are hard to avoid. Just to give one example, “Muhammad is the messenger of Allah. And those with him are hard against the disbelievers and merciful among themselves…” (48:29)

        And that draw on hateful, hostile or supremacist beliefs directed at an out-group who are
        perceived as a threat to the wellbeing, survival or success of an in-group;

Supremacism and othering of an outgroup, unbelievers, are absolutely at the heart of Islam. It was not any Islamist who said “He it is Who hath sent His messenger with the guidance and the religion of truth, that He may cause it to prevail over all religion…” (48:28) and “the worst of beasts in the sight of Allah are those who reject Him” but Allah himself.

        And that cause, or are likely to cause, harm to individuals, communities or wider society.

Well, we could find details of these by taking note of the harm caused to the Jews of 7th century Arabia or the millions who died in Islam’s conquests from Spain to India or the 35,000 Islamic terrorist attacks carried out worldwide since 9/11 or the 88 deaths and 937 injuries resulting from the teachings of Islam, not a spurious separate ideology called Islamism, in Britain since 2000.

Conclusions

1. We are expected to disregard all the above and accept without question the narrative that opposition to Islam, and the ever expanding presence of Islam in Britain, can only be motivated by hateful extremism and a need to scapegoat a vulnerable minority. A growing number of people, having investigated the sources, refuse to buy it.

2. The result of this report will be to shrink further the culturally, and eventually legally, allowable things you can say about Islam. The term “hateful extremism” will be weaponised, just as “Islamophobia” has been, to cow into silence those who have an inkling that there may be something wrong about a religion of peace which seems to be always at war.

3. For some people pointing out hatefulness is hateful itself.

2 thoughts on “Down with hateful extremism

  1. Jon MC

    Just a thought ECAW:
    we’ve recently seen that undefined words such as “Islamophobia” have suffered definition inflation (to borrow your term).
    To this has been added a description of “Racism” that does not depend in any way on race – thus undefining the word and “Muslimness” which the APPG group left completely undefined.
    Do you think that this lack of definition is deliberate?
    In other words, it the intention to allow “definition inflation on an epic scale” to progressively shut down anything that isn’t “permitted speech”?

    Reply
    1. ECAW's blog Post author

      Looks that way, doesn’t it…at least on the part of the sheepdogs, to be chanted mindlessly by the sheep.

      We know how central language control is to thought control and therefore action control. Orwell pointed it out.

      I thought that Sajid Javid’s demand for an investigation into Islamophobia in the tory party was a good example of how it works. The others were caught out, not having worked out a position on Islamophobia. It was just easier to nod than to attempt to challenge the concept on the hoof. It has become so much a part of the cultural landscape that to demur would just bring the usual hullabaloo down on them.

      BTW I came across a relevant quote the other day, from Gibbon “Augustus was sensible that mankind is governed by names; nor was he deceived in his expectation, that the senate and the people would submit to slavery, provided they were respectfully assured that they still enjoyed their ancient freedoms.”

      Reply

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