The British government must face facts. Whatever action it takes to counteract Islamic extremism in the UK is bound to (as the BBC puts it) “attract criticism from parts of the British Muslim community”. So let's simply take that for granted.
In other words, the government will always be seen as “alienating Muslims” or “putting all Muslims in the same basket”. This will be the case whether or not what David Cameron does is forceful or pathetic. Any action whatsoever will produce criticism from Muslims; as well as from left-wing groups and individuals.
Prime Minister David Cameron
Despite all that, in that last few days David Cameron has said (yet again) that he hopes to encourage “Muslim reformists” and “moderates”. The problem with that is these genuine reformists and moderates (the few that there are) are always violently criticised by a whole host of other Muslims. Basically, the genuine Muslim moderates are seen as Muslim Uncle Toms by the bogus moderates and by large sections of the Muslim community.
That means that the small number of Muslims who do speak out are immediately pounced upon by a much larger group of pseudo-moderates; as well as by many Islamists and radicals who don't even pretend to be moderate.
Nonetheless, Cameron has said he'll set up a “community engagement forum” which will be designed to provide a voice for Muslims fighting extremism within their own communities.
Cameron has previously talked about getting Muslim moderates to speak up. Back in 2007, for example, he said that the “hardline members” of the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) were “crowding out more moderate voices”. (The MCB is a sleek and sly Islamic advertising campaign aimed primarily at non-Muslims.)
And as recently as January 2015, Communities Secretary Eric Pickles wrote a letter to more than 1,000 imams and Muslim leaders asking them to publicly condemn the attacks on Charlie Hebdo and a kosher supermarket in France. Guess what, the MCB and nearly all other Islamic groups criticised the letter with the usual rhetoric about “criminalising an entire community”.
This is the catch-22.
When forces outside of the Muslim community take action against Islamic extremism, Muslims resent that precisely because it's outsiders who are taking the action.
However, when Eric Pickles asked the Muslim community itself to tackle Islamic extremism, the reaction was just as negative. As I said, the MCB still talked about “stigmatising Muslims” despite the fact that Pickles and the government were attempting to work with elements within the Muslim community.
Mr Pickles reacted to this in the only way he could.
If outside action against Islamic extremism is castigated by the Muslim community, and inside action is also given the same treatment, then it wasn't a surprise that Pickles concluded by saying that some/many Muslims had “a problem”. And he was dead right!
In any case, David Cameron has fluctuated (depending on which way the wind is blowing) between being a touchy-feely fan of every aspect of multiculturalism to being a strong critic of its vices.
In a speech in Munich in 2011, for example, Cameron talked about a new "muscular liberalism". He went on to say that "the passive tolerance of recent years" had to make place for a more open and vocal defence of “British values” (i.e., in order to stem of rise of Islamic extremism in the British Muslim community). Indeed he said that one consequence of our free-for-all multiculturalism and zelous tolerance was that many Muslims – in dozens of British Muslim ghettos - no longer really belonged to British society.
Does any of that sound familiar?
Moments after the London bombings of 2005, the Labour Prime Minister of the time, Tony Blair, had the idea of setting up a commission to look at multiculturalism. Blair said that "the rules of the game have changed" because of that Islamic terror attack. He went on to say that there
"are people who are isolated in their own communities.... That worries me because there is separateness that may be unhealthy”.
Blair suggested various programmes to counteract Islamic extremism in the UK. They included plans to deport foreign Muslim clerics without appeal; the banning of extremist Islamic groups; and the shutting down of “radical mosques”. These plans remained precisely that – plans.
Muslims and left-wing groups reacted to Blair's ideas in predictable ways. In fact there was so much noise from Trotskyist “super-lawyers” and suchlike that hardly anything was actually done.
So many previous plans to “combat extremism” were anything but that. In fact they ended up being actions to advance Islam instead.
After the London bombings of 2005, again, Tony Blair and the Labour government said that “anti-terror strategies” had to change. So what happened? A “rapid rebuttal unit” was set up to fight “Islamophobia”. Just before the bombings, in 2004/5, the Labour Party had also proposed laws which would have effectively criminalised the criticism of Islam. That legislation was blocked by the House of the Lords. Nonetheless, a watered-down version did become law in 2006. It is now known as the Racial and Religious Hatred Act of 2006.
Action was also taken to make sure that Islam became a bigger part of the National Curriculum in British schools.
Now what had all that to do with fighting Islamic extremism?
In 2013, however, Abu Qatada was eventually deported to Jordan to face trail. Before that, in 2012, Abu Hamza was extradited to the United States and faced trial there in 2014. None of this was thanks to the Trotskyist lawyer and Socialist Workers Party-supporter Gareth Peirce (who, at various times, defended and freed both Hamza and Qatada) and other members of the Leftist (legal) establishment.
Mohammed Dilly Hussain
Mohammed Dilly Hussain (the Deputy Editor of the website 5 Pillarz) exemplifies the problem the British government and authorities have with Islamic extremism.
This is the guy who referred to Ahmadis as being less than monkeys; liberals as “drunken, pisshead liberal garbage”; and moderate Muslims as “coconut sellout[s]” (not Uncle Toms). He has also criticised the persecuted (by the Islamic State) Yazidis of Iraq. On the positive side, he praises the Islamic Caliphate and can't bring himself to criticise the Islamic State. (You can see his obnoxious tweets here.)
Basically, Hussain is at war with non-Muslims. Yet this man has frequently appeared on the BBC, he's written for The Huffington Post and he once claimed that he was going to start working for The Independent.
Dilly Hussain exemplifies the problems the government has in two ways.
One, in the way the the government itself, the BBC and other authorities keep on relying on Islamic extremists to “tackle Islamic extremists”. Two, in the way that Hussain himself exemplifies the attitude that many Muslims have towards genuine Muslim moderates and reformists.
Dilly Hussain firstly puts the case for the pseudo-moderates. In the Middle East Eye he writes:
“Like his predecessor, Cameron is refusing to engage with Muslim organisations with grassroots support in tackling extremism, be it the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) who the Prime Minister dismissed as 'having a problem' over extremism, or Muslim Engagement and Development (MEND) that was tarnished by The Telegraph as 'entryists' with an Islamist agenda during the run up to the general election.”
Since Dilly Hussain is a fan of the MCB and MEND (though they may not be “radical” enough for him), it won't be a surprise to anyone that he's not a fan of Quilliam. This is what he said about that organisation:
“I guess the greatest irony of Cameron’s crusading speech was that Maajid Nawaz of the Quilliam Foundation helped put it together.... this is the same individual who outraged the Muslim community for posting caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad [they weren't caricatures at all] .... It was former Metropolitan chief superintendent Dal Babu who highlighted the highly problematic choice of allocating taxpayers money to the Quilliam Foundation, which he said was viewed with deep suspicion, and had minimal or no support in the Muslim community.”
Hussain is right when he says that Quilliam has had almost zero support from Muslims. Why? Primarily because it's not an Islamist or a “radical” Islamic group. Thus it's basically seen, by many Muslims, as an organisation for Muslim Uncle Toms.
In the end it seems that Islamists and radical Muslims (as well as their left-wing enablers) win no matter what happens.
If the actions of the government are forceful and strong, then such actions will be deemed to be “forcing Muslims into extremism”.
If the government does next to nothing, then Muslims are free to become as extreme as they like. Indeed some Muslims even end up being free to commit violent acts.
However, the situation has got markedly worse precisely because the government and other agencies have done next to nothing to combat Islamic extremism in the UK. Oh, I forgot, they have indeed funded and publicised “moderate” Muslim groups which were in fact anything but moderate.
One can only assume that Muslim groups such as the MCB - as well as left-wingers of various persuasions - don't want any action to be taken against Islamic extremism. And that can only mean that they want such extremism (i.e., Islamism) to increase.