As reported by the Guardian on Monday 29th July:
“Officials implementing the government’s revamped Prevent strategy are training frontline university employees in how to spot students vulnerable to extremism. Documents handed to staff claim that students who seem depressed or who are estranged from their families, who bear political grievances, or who use extremist websites or have poor access to mainstream religious instruction could be at risk of radicalisation.”
In other words, any of these factors could be a cause for concern. Note that the term used is extremist rather than terrorist or illegal websites, which according to the government could possibly be anything from the plethora of Islamic forums online, to Hizb ut-Tahrir Britain to CagePrisoners. Now also being a Muslim in university you have to turn up with a smile on your face every day as well, otherwise you might be a terrorist suspect.
That this new agenda is still being rolled out in what can only be described as a clumsy manner at a time when the most recent terrorist attack by an isolated individual in the West was that of Anders Behring Breivik – whose far-right agenda supported by a rhetoric which has support from all political stripes in Britain and elsewhere in Europe and America fed into his actions which resulted in the death of 69 victims. Taken in proportion to the size of the population, that massacre was approximately 15 times greater than that of 7/7, and 3 times than that of the Spanish attacks in 2004.
This is simply the practical implementation of the new Prevent strategy’s totalitarian agenda to monitor, intimidate and silence opposition to British and Western foreign policy, specifically from Muslim quarters, which ultimately also feeds into the kind of discourse that Breivik relied upon. As we mentioned back at the start of June when this “new” policy was revealed –
Unable to give up its colonialist tendencies abroad, the British government continues to tread its path down to totalitarianism as it deals with the blowback from its foreign policy. Just like the previous government, the latest review of the flagship counter-terrorism program fails to even mention that the interventionist military escapades in Iraq and Afghanistan which killed at least hundreds of thousands of civilians, systemic abuse carried out by its forces such as in Basra highlighted by the killing of Baha Musa, collusion with the American rendition program and torture abroad, along with long-standing support for dictatorships across the Middle East and beyond have anything to do with why a few individuals take arbitrary and illegal actions of revenge into their own hands.
Instead, the blame has once again been shifted onto the Muslim community and its values. The problem is not that violence begets violence, but rather “that support for terrorism is associated with rejection of a cohesive, integrated, multi-faith society and of parliamentary democracy”. The problem isn’t that the West has ostensibly tried to shove its values down the throats of Arabs and others at the barrel of a gun thereby fueling reactionary actions in retaliation, but that Muslims at home are not sufficiently “British”.
Since then the inquiry into torture by British troops in Iraq has cleared the army of any systemic program of abuse as a result of the expected whitewash which absolved the institution of direct responsibility and instead blamed individual soldiers and failure to tackle the problem. Of course highlighting that this may be a whitewash could now be cause to be monitored at your local university or college if your name happens to be Mohammad or Abdullah. One of the likely aims is to reduce pro-Palestinian activism on campus which has been growing recently, and to ensure that anyone who does engage in it does so under the banner of the left rather than any Islamic angle.
As mentioned at the time of the announcement of the policy
The ugly truth is that the British government is now openly adopting a totalitarian agenda of pursuing those who hold ideological opinions that they do not approve of, and the McCarthyism of the United States is gradually being echoed in a contemporary format this time targeting Muslims. Though they are reticent to outline what specific values they consider to be extremist, it has been previously reported that they include the belief in Shariah law, the establishment of a united Islamic State or Caliphate, or the support of armed resistance anywhere in the World including that of the Palestinians.
It is now no longer sufficient to abide by the rule of law, you have to give up any alternative moral and political views you may have, and submit to liberal secularism or “muscular liberalism” as defined by ideologues such as May, Gove or Cameron, as well as adopting a view of Western exceptionalism that justifies or at a minimum excuses the violence by the West while demonizing any resistance against it. The Arab uprisings in the Middle East seem to have taught the ex-colonial power nothing about respecting the aspirations of others, and through its proposals the government has simply reinforced its belief that others are to blame for the ills they have caused, and remain unwilling to take a truly critical view of their actions around the World.
The conclusions regarding this totalitarian agenda have already been borne out only a couple of months since its annoucement.