By Shabana Syed
Britain's policy to win hearts and minds may still be continuing in Afghanistan and Iraq but on a more domestic level the policy of marginalization of Muslims is the in-thing.
The Conservative Party refused to attend an event where over 90,000 Muslims gathered over a two-day period to celebrate peace and unity.
According to reliable sources it was pressure from the Zionist lobby and groups like the Policy Exchange that led David Cameron to snub the Conference.
Thousands of people gathered at the Excel Center in London to attend the Global Peace and Unity Event (GPU) organized by Islam Channel. Mohamed Ali, the CEO, explains: "Our aim is to encourage positive international discourse and by bringing scholars, international politicians and artists on the same platform we aim to celebrate our similarities and our humanity."
Sayeeda Warsi, chairperson of Conservative Party and first Muslim woman minister in the UK, had accepted to speak at the event, but at the last minute declined to attend. It was later revealed that the Israel lobby had pressurized Cameron not to let her participate, and since 80 percent of the Conservative party are members of the 'Friends of Israel' it was not such a surprise.
Peter Oborne and James Jones producers of the 'Dispatches' documentary 'Inside Britain's Israel Lobby' highlighted the power of this little known group. Oborne writes: "A majority of Conservative MPs and half the shadow Cabinet are signed-up 'Friends of Israel' and millions of pounds flow into the bank accounts of MPs and parties..."
According to James Jones many people privately voiced concerns about the influence of the lobby but dare not speak publicly. "One national newspaper editor told us, 'that's one lobby I've never dared to take on.'"
The minute Islam Channel announced the dates for GPU pro Israel websites and media outlets began a campaign to denounce and denigrate the event. The organizers were called racists, homophobes and the CEO was accused of supporting terrorism and anti-Semitism.
After the event Mohamed Ali wrote an open letter accusing the prime minister and Boris Johnson of marginalizing the community, he wrote: "With almost two million Muslims in Britain, and 100,000 people attending our event over the weekend, I am puzzled that your advisers felt it inappropriate for Baroness Warsi to attend as Chairman of the Conservative Party.... I can only conclude that the siren voices of two unelected think tanks, Policy Exchange and Quilliam, and those people promoting one specific outcome to the problems in the Middle East are being listened to."
In the letter Mohamed Ali alludes to the forces working against the Muslims and the close alliance in policies between neoconservatives and Zionists.
Arun Kundnani, who is the author of 'Spooked: How Not to Prevent Violent Extremism' and deputy editor of Race and Class, in an article titled "How are think-tank's shaping the political agenda on Muslims in Britain," highlights how think tanks like Policy Exchange, the Social Affairs Unit and the Centre for Social Cohesion are the new driving force behind the political agenda on Muslims in Britain.
Seamus Milne writes in the Guardian "... the constant regurgitation by the media of Muslim-baiting 'research' by hard right think tanks not only misleads the public about one of the most sensitive issues of our time - it is also clearly driven by a neoconservative political agenda, which seeks to convince people that jihadist terror attacks in Britain and elsewhere are driven not by outrage at Western violence in the Muslim world but by opposition to western freedom."
Kundnani also highlights how a number of writers, journalists and policymakers associated with the Policy Exchange have taken up key positions in Boris Johnson's mayoral team and Cameron's government.
Michael Gove, for example, is founding chairman of Policy Exchange, the secretary of state for education and close adviser to Cameron. In Celsius 7/7 Gove defines "Islamism" as an ideology that is similar to fascism, and argues that in the war against "Islamism", it will be necessary for Britain to carry out assassinations of terrorist suspects, and a "temporary curtailment of liberties" will be needed to prevent Islamism from destroying western civilization.
Marjorie Ellis Thompson, who was Head of CND and now is media adviser at Islam Channel, explains: I work with Muslims and haven't come across any homophobes, racists or even extremists. The station's employees range from many different religious and ethnic backgrounds, the head of Strategy and Planning, for example, is an Afro-Caribbean Christian while I am an American Presbyterian."
She continues: "Such outright discrimination against people who denounce extremism and are taking great strides to engage with the wider community and the government instead of encouraging them are sidelining them."
Simon Hughes, the Liberal Democrat deputy leader, one of the few politicians who still believes dialogue is important, said at the GPU: "I am aware some people say this event is controversial. I have a message to you and to my colleagues in Parliament. I always believe it is better for people of every background to engage with the Muslim community, not to walk away."
John Rees Head of Stop the War Coalition and Counterfire argues: "If Cameron is worried about talking to people advocating illegal violence then, as the Wikileaks Iraq files show, he won't be speaking to many people in his own party who supported the occupation of Iraq. If he's worried, as the Guardian reported, about debating people with homophobic ideas then there will be a few empty seats at the next Tory party conference. In fact what Cameron is about is trying to demonize the whole Muslim community and to escape responsibility for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. As ever the default position of the pro-war establishment is to whip up Islamophobia."
The media has also been very active whipping up hate, it was reported that Andrew Gilligan from the Telegraph newspaper was at GPU busy snooping around looking for "terrorist memorabilia." This is the same Gilligan who on a live debate at Press TV said to a Sikh in a turban: "You are a Muslim; can you give us your opinion?"
It appears as the Muslims struggle to engage Cameron prefers to follow the neoconservative agenda and not only alienate but marginalize the community.
The latest on Baroness Warsi is that she has been prevented once again, this time she was told not to attend a debate where she was going to defend the niqab as a basic right in a civilized society. The Daily Telegraph said it was... "an illustration of the coalition government's determination to distance itself from any possible links or suspicions of sympathies with radical Islam."
As the neocons and Zionists influence in British politics strengthens, the policy that there should be no representation of Muslims in the political arena is also gaining pace. Their hope is that the little representation that does exist should come in the form of a few token Muslim MPs whose careers will take a dive if they don't tow the official line.
For years the Muslim Council of Britain has been painted as some fiery radical Shariah-compliant organization, when we all know that they are as controversial as a well-behaved nun.
One almost feels sorry for the newly elected Muslim Mayor of Tower Hamlets Lutfur Rahman. Vicious attacks on him have already begun.
The same goes for those middle of the road professionals like Dr. Tariq Ramadan, Anas Tikriti, president of Cordaba Foundation, Dr. Abdul Bari, Sir Iqbal Sacraine and Mohamed Ali, CEO of Islam Channel, who have made genuine attempts to engage politically but are being vilified as radicals and extremists. If this is the treatment they are getting for trying to engage then is it any wonder why many Muslims may become reluctant to engage.
And also is it any wonder if eventually the marginalized become fertile ground for radical ideologies to sprout and grow; maybe this is what the neocons and Zionists are hoping for.
Source: Arab News