The Conservative government’s attempts to outlaw and criminalise the concept of a Caliphate under the proposed Counter-Extremism Bill is an example of pure hypocrisy and double standards, writes Jahangir Mohammed.
Prime Minister David Cameron will be announcing In Brimigham later today that it is not acceptable for British Muslims talk about the Khilafah or an “Islamic state” (not the ISIS version).
Under his new counter extremism proposals, anyone who believes and publicly advocates this concept, will be declared an extremist and criminalised for it.
Western Foreign Policy and the Khilafah
The West, Britain in particular, is very familiar with the Khilafah – it is not new. They encountered it through their imperial conquests. Equally, they were faced with Khilafah revival movements in the Empire. In India there was the “Khilafah Movement” from 1919-1924. There was also a Khilafah movement in Bengal from 1918-1924. These eventually coalesced into nationalist independent movements.
Historically, Western foreign policy has always been focused on the elimination of this historic Islamic governing system (which provided a kind of political and economic union of Muslims from different lands).
Britain and France managed to destroy it in 1924 by finally bringing an end to the Uthmani (Ottoman) Khilafah. If today a British Prime Minister unleashes his venom against fundamental beliefs of Muslims, he is acting no differently to others before him. William Gladstone in the 19th century called the Quran an “accursed book”, and once famously held the Quran in Parliament declaring: “so long as there is this book there will be no peace in the world”. Churchill too wrote in his book ‘The River War’ (page 248-50): “How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries!”
Today, Britain and the West openly oppose Muslims’ aspiration to establish a Khilafah or a Muslim political union anywhere in the Muslim world. In the UK’s list of proscribed terrorist organisations, calling for an Islamic State is often also listed as one indicator of why the group is deemed “terrorist.” We infer from this that the West considers any group that calls for an Islamic State anywhere in the world as “terrorists”.
Muslim support for Khilafah in Victorian Britain
Britain’s first indigenous Muslim community in Britain under the leadership of Sheikh Abdullah Quilliam (rahimullah) in Liverpool (established from 1887 until 1906) were diehard supporters of the Uthmani Khilafah. They openly professed its religious necessity and virtues, wrote articles and poetry celebrating it. Presumably, all this history will be declared extremist material under Prime Minster Cameron’s new proposals?
Generally, both Queen Victoria and the British Government of the day did not see a problem with it, and tolerated this indigenous support. When the media questioned Sheikh Quilliam’s loyalty, he would point out his position was no different to that of British Catholics who were citizens, but also had a loyalty to the Pope.
It seems that Cameron is not as tolerant and accepting as Queen Victoria was of British Muslims and their religious and political beliefs.
A Catholic State is Okay
The global Catholic community of 1.2 billion have a loyalty to the Vatican, and the Pope as its religious and political head, and they are citizens of many states including Britain. The Vatican City State is internationally recognised as an independent state in the heart of Rome ruled by the Chief Bishop – the Pope.
Britain’s politicians have no problem with that, and don’t question this dual loyalty of Catholics.
No to Islamic State, yes to Jewish State
Cameron will also say that anyone who questions the legitimacy of the Jewish and Zionist State of Israel is to be declared an extremist. How ironic that the definition he uses for extremism pertaining to Muslims is, “opposition to the rule of law, equality, and democracy”. Yet, most British politicians openly defend and support a Jewish-Zionist State based on religious and racial exclusivity.
It is an apartheid rather than a democratic state, and also justified by its supporters (Zionist Christians and Jews) by theology.
Yet, the government want to declare Muslims who oppose such a state, and say such type of apartheid state should not exist in this modern era as extremists? They accept the right of British Jews to have a higher loyalty to a Jewish state, but a Muslim cannot even express the idea of an Islamic State.
The Extremism Bill a sign of abject failure
Cameron, and the British politicians who support these proposals, are displaying rank hypocrisy by saying some things are okay for others but not for Muslims.
They are also highlighting a crusading anti-Islamic zeal against Muslims from centuries past. But most importantly, they and their supporters by these proposals are signalling a total failure in a policy of trying to assimilate Muslims into a pacified subservient Islam, and making them conform to their political ideas, and acceptance of their foreign policies in the Muslim world.
Their policies will continue to fail, just as all of Europe’s Crusades failed in the past. Falsehood and hypocrisy always fails, and truth and justice eventually prevails.
Britain and the West will one day have to leave the Muslim world, and there is nothing that Tony Blair, Cameron or anyone else can do to stop it.
Jahangir Mohammed is the Director of the Centre for Muslim Affairs.