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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 6/25/17

Theresa May's counter-extremism plan will create an incompetent police state

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Rudd along with several other senior Tory cabinet members under Theresa May have for several years sat on the Political Council of the Henry Jackson Society (HJS): namely, Brexit minister David Davis and international development secretary Priti Patel -- while Trade secretary Liam Fox has spoken at a HJS event on the Iran nuclear deal.

Yet the HJS is a London-based think tank that has come under heavy criticism for the openly anti-Muslim views of its associate director, Douglas Murray.

Murray has, long before Donald Trump, called for a ban on all Muslim immigration to Europe; demanded that "conditions for Muslims in Europe" be made harder across the board"; complained that "there aren't enough white people around", because they are "losing their country" to the "startling rise in Muslim infants"; and after the Manchester bombing, demanded "less Islam" and fewer Muslims in Britain as the basic solution to terrorism.

Rudd and Patel sat on the HJS political council without any objections to Murray's anti-Muslim bigotry. In fact, they only resigned from the HJS after I contacted the British government to ask how they remain affiliated to a group that openly promotes anti-Muslim extremism -- exactly the sort of Islamophobia that Rudd rightly but belatedly condemned in The Guardian on Tuesday.

David Davis was the only cabinet minister who refused to rescind his HJS role. Since then, HJS has conveniently removed all reference to its political council from its website.

And yet, this is the tip of the iceberg.

Last year, I was commissioned by the hate crime charity Tell MAMA UK to investigate the network dynamics of the far-right. Our report, 'Return of the Reich: Mapping the Global Resurgence of Far-Right Power', uncovered a vast array of connections between the incumbent Conservative Party and far-right extremists on both sides of the Atlantic.

The Tory Party has, for instance, fostered self-serving alliances in the European Parliament with far-right political parties such as the Danish People's Party (DPP), the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, the True Finns (PS) party, and the Independent Greeks -- parties with alarming neo-Nazi affiliations and sympathies.

My Tell MAMA investigation also revealed that many senior politicians in these parties have direct connections to the anti-Muslim 'counter-jihad' movement. The same movement which inspired the likes of Anders Breivik, the Norwegian terrorist who massacred 77 people in 2011; and Thomas Mair, who murdered Labour MP Jo Cox in 2016.

Promoting Extremism

All of which begs the question as to how the proposed Commission for Countering Extremism can really work, when set-up by a government which has systematically allied itself with both Islamist and far-right extremists.

What we really need is an independent public inquiry into the government policies that have contributed to the unprecedented upsurge in extremist violence this year.

Will the commission pinpoint extremists in the Tory Party who have vilified Muslims -- such as Zac Goldsmith, whose abhorrent campaign relentlessly demonised London Mayor Sadiq Khan?

Will it identify how hate preachers like Choudary have operated with impunity in Britain because they were being effectively protected by MI5 for narrow geopolitical goals?

Will it highlight the hate preaching of people like Douglas Murray and Katie Hopkins, who shamelessly urged the need for a "final solution" after the Manchester attack?

Will it crack down on Theresa May's efforts to court repressive regimes like Saudi Arabia and Qatar, described by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in one leaked document based on US intelligence sources as "providing clandestine financial and logistic support to ISIL [Islamic State] and other radical Sunni groups in the region"?

Rather than a phony politicised 'commission' blind to the extremism of its own protagonists, what we really need is an independent public inquiry into the government policies that have contributed to the unprecedented upsurge in extremist violence this year.

Ideologies of hate fester the most within a supportive material infrastructure. Theresa May's grand plan to defeat extremism will fail, because it refuses to reform an institution whose policies have incubated that infrastructure: the British state.

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Dr Nafeez Ahmed is an investigative journalist, bestselling author and international security scholar. A former Guardian writer, he writes the 'System Shift' column for VICE's Motherboard, and is also a columnist for Middle East Eye. He is the winner of a 2015 Project Censored Award for Outstanding Investigative Journalism for his Guardian work.

Nafeez has also written for The Independent, Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, The Scotsman, Foreign Policy, The Atlantic, Quartz, Prospect, New (more...)

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