The Casey Review, contrary to its claims, avoids most of the difficult questions about divisions in British society. It minimizes huge fault lines in British society exposed in part by the Brexit debate, the desire for Scottish independence and the growing disconnect between the political class and ordinary people. Instead it focuses in an utterly disproportionate way on Muslims and migrants, so justifying more muscular liberal pressure to force people to conform to establishment liberal norms.
Casey has not addressed why secular societies have spectacularly failed to harmonise a diverse society – whether in ‘broken Britain’ (as David Cameron described it), the epidemic in shooting of black people by state authorities in America or the banlieues in France.
People didn’t vote for Brexit, UKIP and Trump because of the actions of Muslims, Mexicans or Eastern-European migrants – but because of economic injustice they feel and the fact the capitalist system serves one minority alone, the corporate elite.
Casey did not challenge the premise of her brief that ties ‘community cohesion’ to ‘extremism’, which has justified securitisation of integration policies in the form of the Prevent strategy, which seeks to criminalise ‘conservative’ religious views that are labeled illiberal, and therefore ‘extremist’.
Blaming successive governments for failing to assimilate Muslims via multiculturalism both ignores the fact that people were obviously not convinced by the value system that they are now being bullied to accept, and appeases the racists who always blame minorities but ignore the systemic flaws in society.
My message to Muslims today is not to succumb to the bullying that comes from reports like this. Casey is just the latest Blairite – like Blunkett, Straw, Gove, Trevor Phillips and others – who use this tactic. Like them, her list of suggestions will only achieve one thing – that is more negative attitudes towards Muslims and migrants.
We might point out to ‘Dame Louise’ that Britain (where women cannot even engage in higher education without being sexually harassed) has a raft of social problems that need fixing before she thinks about inviting Muslims to embrace her utopian ideals.
But most importantly Muslims need to hold on to Islamic values – and shun any un-Islamic ‘eastern’ and ‘western’ cultural practices that are so often used as a stick to beat Muslims with.
Islam managed to harmonise societies in an unparalleled way throughout history – for Islam has a system that worked to solve the problems of all, not just an elite wealthy minority. Islam does not compel minorities to adopt the values of Islam, but only requires obedience to the law of the land within the Islamic system. Islam has a real concept of community, family and neighbourliness that creates a real sense of belonging, in contrast to individualism that has destroyed community in secular societies. Islam killed racism 1400 years ago – whereas racism is killing minorities today. The responsibility of the rich in an Islamic society is to look after the poor – not just exploiting the tax system or political system for their own gain.
Whilst such a harmonious society can only be realized under an Islamic system, by living according to our Islamic values in our families and our communities and engaging with others in society by holding on to these noble values, it is possible people will see an alternative and better way to live their lives, and be provoked to think about the Islamic aqeedah. By contrast, if Muslims follow the Casey approach, Britain will just have more people affected by divisive policies and individualistic values that already harm so many people.
Dr. Abdul Wahid is currently the Chairman of the UK-Executive Committee of Hizb ut-Tahrir in Britain. He has been published in The Times Higher Educational Supplement and on the websites of Foreign Affairs, Open Democracy and Prospect magazine – and appeared on the BBC, Channel 4, Al Jazeera and other broadcast media.