There has been a vigorous campaign in the UK these past few years by assorted groups and key individuals to block the political engagement of Muslim organisations. Hence the campaign against the MCB and others (mirroring the similar campaign against CAIR in the USA).
The tragic events of 7/7 gave a boost to those who wanted to see UK Muslim organisations sidelined. They argued that even though these Muslim organisations might not actually support terrorism or violent extremism, they were still non-violent extremists, and hence, were part of a continuum or conveyor-belt that led to AQ-inspired terrorism. This argument has been made repeatedly by a number of prominent Zionists and the Quilliam Foundation who have said that these organisations provide the ‘mood music’ in which AQ-inspired extremists thrive.
And from the briefings given to the papers over the past few days, it looks like this week’s much-delayed publication of the review into Prevent – the government’s strategy for preventing violent extremism, will also adopt this position. A position that is clearly intended to politically marginalise the largest Muslim groups in the country.
David Cameron gave a strong hint of things to come in his Munich speech back in February where he compared the relationship between major Muslim organisations and al-Qa’ida with the relationship between far-right groups and fascists:
“Would you allow far-right groups a share of public funds if they promise to help you lure young white men away from fascist terrorism? Of course not.”
As Githens and Lambert stated in an article last week, the PM’s argument:
“…betrays a lazy indifference to the theological, geographic, political and contextual differences that mark a hugely diverse range of groups and movements, from the millenarian to the worldly political, the non-violent to the extremely violent. It is the equivalent to saying that any form of right leaning politics succours fascism, and not bothering to disaggregate the historical trajectories of organisations such as the Tory Party, the US Republican Party, France’s Front Nationale and Mussolini’s Black Shirts.”
If the briefings to the papers prove to be accurate, then it would appear that Nick Clegg and others in government who want to see a more sensible approach to dealing with UK Muslims have lost the argument.
That would be a real shame. Because, if all lawful paths to seeking legitimate political participation and influence are blocked what is there but the unlawful path?
If Cameron heeds the advice of pro-Israeli hawks such as Michael Gove and the Policy Exchange crew, he may end up unwittingly giving succour to al-Qa’ida. That would be the supreme irony.
Update: See Bob Lambert’s excellent blog in the New Statesman today.
Update 2: Also a very good piece by the BBC’s Mark Easton here.
Update 3: Craig Murray posts a superb response having read the now released Prevent document.