Ibtihal Bsis, a barrister who deals with Prevent-related cases, says the appointment of Sara Khan as “extremism tsar” proves the Government doesn’t care about Muslims.
The news that Sara Khan has been appointed as Commissioner for Counter Extremism came as no surprise. If anything, it should validate all that the Muslim Community have believed for a long time about the Government – they are just not interested in the concerns of Muslims.
This is a woman who is perceived as being tireless in her crusade to demonise any Muslim activists and groups which are not afraid to call out the Prevent strategy for what it is: a contemptuous attempt to create a “state sponsored Islam.” But these activists have something she evidently will never have, namely the trust, respect and ear of the community.
With “congratulations” from the likes of the Tory MP Zac Goldsmith, the Quilliam Foundation and the Henry Jackson Society, all of whom are not averse to falsely labelling Muslims “extremist,” the kiss of death was sealed.
The Government has consistently failed to persuade professionals, members of the police and intelligence services, as well as the community it seeks to target (Muslims), that Prevent is legitimate and workable. However, when a policy that has no real basis in law, not least because of the Government’s failure to come up with a legal definition of extremism, is it any wonder that it continues to fail?
It’s almost laughable to think that an entire Commission has been created with no fundamental understanding of what it is exactly supposed to promote and thereby challenge!
The Government were no doubt embarrassed by the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation Max Hill’s recent interview in which he alluded to Prevent being a “thought crime.”
Yet its determination to force an ill thought-out policy that suffers from bad science (and thereby no science at all); that has failed to listen to “its own” such as Max Hill and Sayeeda Warsi; that has shrugged off warnings from the UN; that has consistently failed to engage with Muslim and official figures who clearly indicate the strategy’s failure at every level; and now the unveiling of the new Commissioner, clearly tell us that the Government has no interest in the truth.
So there must be a more sinister agenda that they have been working on for years.
Caught in the hurricane of disingenuous politics are the Muslims who continue to suffer the consequences of the Prevent strategy, and worst of all children who are too afraid to talk about any grievance for fear that they may be reported and ultimately removed from the care of their loving parents.
The Government is responsible for fear-mongering, for attempting to radicalise people against Muslims, for divisive policies, and for making the next generation of Muslims live in fear. We already know they don’t care!
And that is precisely why we have a duty to speak out, whether it is as victims or indeed as those who have a duty to protect those victims. We need to continue to stand for our Islamic values and explain who we are to our neighbours and friends and colleagues who are eager to listen.
I had the fortunate occasion to talk to some doctors who had recently undergone their Prevent training. One described it as no more than a “tick box” exercise, another as embarrassing and slightly nauseating.
But the one comment that struck a chord with all of those present came from an Arab doctor who said that she had lived here for most of her life, and could not fathom how a policy such as Prevent could be comfortably accepted by ordinary British folk.
“British people don’t really like people to be oppressed, if anything, this will help people to sympathise with Muslims,” to which there was a loud spontaneous hum of agreement.
With all of this in mind, when Sara Khan states that she “is eager to collaborate and engage,” it poses a small but essential question – “with whom exactly?”