Michael Gove is trying to intimidate Muslims but we must not be cowed

Michael Gove MP. Pic: UK Parliament

Roshan Muhammed Salih says the way to respond to Michael Gove’s obvious attempt to intimidate Muslims is by re-doubling our efforts to support the groups he has in his crosshairs.

The naming of MEND, the Muslim Association of Britain and CAGE in Parliament yesterday as potential “extremists” by the pro-Israel, pro-war extremist Michael Gove was his parting shot at the Muslim community.

Gove – who has a long record of Islamophobic views and associations – will retire from frontline politics after the next elections so he wants his legacy to be “victory” in his mad crusade against “Islamists.”

Of course he knew he had no grounds to ban or sanction any of these peaceful Muslim groups so he used parliamentary privilege to slander them by casting aspersions. He simply wanted to intimidate and isolate groups which he doesn’t personally like, scare institutions into blacklisting them and Muslims into not supporting them.

But we must do exactly the opposite and we must do it in droves because there is always strength in numbers. Therefore, I will be donating personally to MEND, MAB and CAGE during the holy month of Ramadan.

Gove the warmongering Zionist

Gove is known for his strong neoconservative position on foreign affairs and has expressed strong support for Tony Blair’s handling of the Iraq war, describing it as a “proper British foreign policy success.”

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He has described himself as a “proud Zionist” and Israel as “an inspiration.” Like the majority of Conservative MPs, he is a member of the Conservative Friends of Israel and has labelled anti-Israel movements, and the BDS movement in particular, as antisemitic. Speaking at a United Jewish Israel Appeal dinner, he emphasised: “For as long as I have breath in my body and a platform on which to argue I shall be on your side.”

So unsurprisingly he has been a strong advocate against those marching for Palestine in recent months and has warned people that by marching they could be “lending credence” to extremists.

Secretary of State for levelling Michael Gove. Editorial credit: Jakub Junek / Shutterstock.com

In his 2006 book, Celsius 7/7, published in the aftermath of the London tube and bus bombings, Gove discusses the emergence of Islamism and the West’s response to it. He believes that “a sizable minority” of Britain’s Muslims hold “rejectionist Islamic views,” which he compares to the threat posed by Nazism and Communism. He also claims that “there are many Muslims across the globe, within Europe and in Britain, who share the same basic ideological assumptions behind the jihadist worldview.”

Gove also led the government’s role in “The Trojan Horse” affair. This falsely accused a number of schools in Birmingham of an “Islamist takeover” on the back of a fake letter, perpetuating Islamophobic tropes of Muslims being a “fifth column” and a threat to British democracy. Subsequent inquiries found no evidence of radicalisation in these schools.

Yet Trojan Horse affair was subsequently used to criticise multiculturalism, and justify the expansion of a broad and intrusive counter extremism agenda. It also had a profound effect on public policies that have created unfounded anxieties about the integration of British Muslims.

A popular New York Times podcast characterised the scandal as an “Islamophobic hoax,”  finding that Gove was told by officials that counter-terrorism police had decided the letter was a hoax but he “used the letter to sanction numerous high-level investigations into potential extremism in Birmingham schools anyway.”

Gove’s links to right-wing think-tanks

Policy Exchange, a right leaning think tank, has had great influence on and informed government policy in Britain. Michael Gove was Policy Exchange’s founding chairman and has been a key voice in government promoting the think-tank’s focus on “non-violent extremism.”

Gove has been closely involved in the Henry Jackson Society (HJS), a neoconservative pressure group that has a links to the Israeli government and organisations promoting Israeli policy, and has been accused of pushing an anti-Muslim agenda. It is also said to be part of a transatlantic Islamophobia network.

The now defunct and controversial Quilliam Foundation also supported Gove’s views and was funded by Gove’s Department of Education (during his tenure as Education Secretary). Gove has publicly praised its founder Maajid Nawaz for working to warn of the dangers of radical groups and antisemitism amongst Muslims.

So Gove knows nothing about Islam or Muslims that is worth knowing or hasn’t been spewed out by a right-wing think tank. He handpicks Muslims to do his bidding and doesn’t bother to consult genuine community representatives.

But he is particularly upset at the moment because his Tory Party, dripping in the blood of dead Muslims, has been exposed by all segments of society for the genocide enablers that they are.

Support our brothers and sisters

MEND, MAB and CAGE are all grassroots Muslim organisations with their ear to the ground of the community. They are practising Muslims who live and breathe Islam and who are well respected by all. Their only crime is calling out British foreign policy and structural Islamophobia. In other words, they are guilty of holding our rotten government to account. And I say “well done to them” and I’m an extremist too!

Muhammad Rabbani. Pic; CAGE

I personally don’t think Muslim organisations should take any government money to preserve their independence. But what an amazing badge of honour to be labelled an extremist by the likes of a clearly rattled Gove who is simply trying to deflect attention away from a genocide.

That said, I do fear that this stupid labelling will be blindly followed by local councils and other state and private institutions, as well as by the supine mainstream media, to blacklist these groups.

And that isn’t fair because they are a crucial mirror held up to the worst excesses of the British state and without them Britain will be much poorer. Let’s face it, do we really want Britain to be made in the likeness of Michael Gove? If so, time to stop the world and get off.

So this Ramadan I encourage you to give to MEND, MAB and CAGE. And if you can’t donate, help them in any way you can. They should be on every Muslim media outlet, speaking at every mosque and we should all be sharing their social media updates.

This is the time for courage and steadfastness, even if it comes at a personal cost. And quite frankly as Muslims we should be ready to pay that cost.

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