London, UK, December 12 2008 – At last Wednesday’s PVE conference, Communities Secretary Hazel Blears and Home Secretary Jacqui Smith seemed to be vying with each other to see whose department could be toughest on local councils who do not cooperate with their McCarthyist PVE agenda.
Jacqui Smith announced that councils will be given Counter-Terrorism Local Profiles, which will identify mosques, bookshops and other sites being used for ‘radicalisation’ and Ministers have written to local authorities saying they must tackle ‘extremism’ seriously, and to ensure that this happens they have threatened to reduce council funding.
Even some MPs have voiced alarm at some of the latest measures. Liberal Democrat spokesman Chris Huhne saying: “Ministers must not poison normal and healthy community relationships” and he warned that previous measures had “already inspired a kind of spooks syndrome among some local authorities which this will fuel.”
Commenting on these latest measures, Taji Mustafa, media representative of Hizb ut-Tahrir Britain, said, “These ministerial announcemnts are proof – if any were needed – that the government has failed to convince local councils of their PVE agenda , which is effectively asking them to spy on the Muslim community. In most areas, this role seems increasingly to be falling to the police, who regularly try to use community youth activities that they organise (such as football clubs) as part of their surveillance of Muslim youth.”
“In addition, the government persists in using politically defined terms like ‘extremism’ though there is no public consensus on its meaning thus allowing a range of activities to be targeted. In behind the scenes discussions – sometimes described as intimidating – mosques and Imams are left in no doubt that this term is meant to apply to any Islamic political idea such as Ummah (global Muslim community) and the Khilafah (the Islamic system of governance mentioned in Prophetic hadith), even when mentioned in the context of the Muslim world. The Muslim community is left in no doubt that whilst Churches and Pastors can discuss foreign policy , these are off-limit discussions for Muslims. Some community leaders have been told that unless they give 110% cooperation and pass on names of their youth – who have done nothing illegal, but who might possibly hold views the government arbitrarily labels as ‘extreme’ – they will be blamed if there is any violent occurrence.”
“The Blears-Smith project will do nothing except create mutual suspicion between decent peaceful Muslims and the councils and other community institutions who are expected to lead some kind of ‘religious engineering’ at a local community level using tactics of intimidation and generating a climate of suspicion. The government’s threats to withdraw funding from councils is based on a realisation that they have failed to convince local communities by force of argument.”