Sara Khan’s appointment as lead commissioner is very revealing about the direction of policy vis a vis Muslims in the UK. Given that she has zero credibility to engage the Muslim community, the purpose of this extremism commission cannot be to engage communities in order to supposedly reduce ‘extremism’.
Its purpose must be to have an agency, which has the appearance of being at arms length from government, to push the “uber-secular” and neocon anti-Islam narrative within civil society, a narrative that dominates the political class at present (a narrative that allows Islam to be demonised around the world, aimed at curtailing Islamic revival globally) – much like her Insipire Foundation and others were supposed to do for the past few years. This is presumably why her appointment has been welcomed by the Henry Jackson society and a host of others who have made muscular liberalism and working against Islam their main aim.
Such a commission would undoubtedly create a divisive atmosphere, where councils, teachers, social workers etc would be ‘educated’ by this body to be intolerant of the values of Muslims – and probably other religious or conservative people – to undo the general mood of tolerance created by a few decades of multiculturalism.
They will probably encourage:
- more schools to have harsh uniform policies
- more public sector employers to look out for the political views of employees
- more councils to shun anyone linked to religious orthodoxy
- more media outlets to prevent the expression non-liberal opinions that do not accord with what is deemed desirable by this commission
In short, a new McCarthyism for 21st Century Britain.
But it will be those professionals and practitioners who work with local communities on the front line who will lose trust, take the flak and feel the pressure, whilst the commissioners sit in their safe ivory towers in Westminster, either oblivious to the atmosphere of hatred they’re creating – or perhaps rather pleased with it.
In my opinion, this is the direction where policy is heading – and it represents nothing less than a wholesale failure of secular states to harmonise communities and accommodate difference.
But I think these policies will fail to achieve what it wants for two reasons.
Firstly, in my experience the nature of people in Britain is that a large number won’t be affected by it. Whilst you’ll find around 50% of people who can be corralled into xenophobic attitudes – from both left and right wing perspectives – the rest have a generally tolerant approach and don’t like seeing people being bullied for no good reason (I say 50% because that’s around the maximum that polls suggest).
Secondly, when the average Muslim feels a sense of harassment, it makes them adhere to their faith more, not less.
Just look at the Middle East, Russia and China over the last few decades. An oppressive atmosphere makes people question why they are Muslim, but they realise that this deen is not the problem – rather it is the systems that create the oppressive atmosphere that are at fault.
The solution for those Muslims living in Britain, as we have been saying for some time, is MORE ISLAM NOT LESS.
A Muslim community that adheres to Islam in all areas of life would be one that trusts in Allah to help, fears disobedience to Him, maintain their worships, morals and good conduct, are good to their neighbours but robust against Islam’s enemies in the political arena. They would be trustworthy and reliable in their personal life, explaining and inviting those around them to look at the Islamic belief and way of life, and work to help the global Ummah.
They’d support the re-establishment of Islam’s political system, the Khilafah, in the Muslim world so as to implement the Islamic way of life at a societal level and to uphold good and forbid evil at a geopolitical level. That Khilafah would show the world how an Islamic government upholds the rights of all its citizens, not demonising them or their faith but actually giving both constitutional protection.
I pray this community can rise to the challenges ahead.
I’m looking forward to it!