Monday, June 6, 2011

Cameron set to crack down on Muslims

PM David Cameron held talks with the Bahraini crown prince in Downing Street on May 20

Source: Press TV

London is to effectively crack down on all Muslims in Britain except those who abandon their Islamic identity and “reflect British mainstream values”.

There is no opposition between the so-called mainstream values and Islam as long as they mean advocacy for freedom of speech, equality, democracy and religion.

But British Prime Minister David Cameron has emerged to be set to cross that line to label all members of Muslim groups that follow the rules of their faith, the sharia law, as extremists who need to be tackled.

The Guardian quoted Home Office sources as saying that Cameron has won an argument with his deputy Nick Clegg on a counter-terrorism strategy to be unveiled next week, insisting that all extremism has its roots in the ideology of non-violent extremism, identified by the paper as the sharia law.

The paper said the Prevent strategy, which tars violence-oriented groups with the same brush as non-violent ones, will be announced by Home Secretary Theresa May on Tuesday.

The Prevent strategy redefines extremism as advocacy for views London believes do not “reflect British mainstream values” including sticking to sharia law.

The strategy echoes Cameron's controversial comments in an international counter-terrorism conference in Munich last February.

Cameron used that speech to make clear that he supports an end to “state multiculturalism” saying "move along the spectrum, and you find people who may reject violence, but who accept various parts of the extremist world view, including real hostility towards western democracy and liberal values".

While that seems to allow some room for Muslims to follow their 'faith' Cameron went on to liken Muslim groups to far-right ones calling for a blanket freeze on all government funding to Muslim organizations following sharia law.

"Would you allow far-right groups a share of public funds if they promise to help you lure young white men away from fascist terrorism? Of course not," he said.

Cameron's one-way approach to the question of extremism has raised concerns among experts including Haras Rafiq, director of the counter-terrorism consultancy, Centri.

"They need to build a criteria to establish which organization they fund has extremist views, which one doesn't,” Rafiq said.

London's new strategy is especially worrying, as London has recently offered contrary definitions of 'core' British values, democracy and freedom of speech, at least in actions if not in words.

Britain has been supporting the 'pro-democracy' cause in Libya laying its weight behind the revolutionaries there and has even went as far as involvement in attacks directly targeted at the Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi's residence.

However, pro-democracy cannot be attributed in British terms to the Bahraini demonstrators who are calling for an elected parliament in Bahrain and are being killed by the al-Khalifa regime.

Indeed, following months of bloody crackdown by the Bahraini regime Foreign Secretary William Hague only went as far as urging both sides to engage in “dialogue”.

Meanwhile, during a meeting with Bahraini crown prince Sheikh Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa in London last month, Prime Minister David Cameron implied that Bahraini demonstrators disrupted reforms underway in their country and should now pay the price or let the regime continue its undemocratic rule.

Cameron said that his government would back efforts to return Bahrain to a process of reform rather initiate the Persian Gulf state into such a process, effectively dismissing demonstrations as irrelevant disruptions.

That lays bare London's hypocritical policy that explains why one has to take Cameron's talk of democracy and freedom of speech to be the British values Muslims do not respect with a pinch of salt.

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