The new “Counter Extremism Strategy” from David Cameron and Theresa May breaks new ground in the drive to portray Muslims as the enemy.
The foul document is littered with both explicit and underhand references to make people see all Muslims as a threat.
The Tories have redefined what they deem “extremism”. Now the label applies to anyone expressing “vocal or active opposition to our fundamental values.”
Non-violence isn’t enough. The document says, “Extremists who are careful to avoid directly supporting violence, nevertheless create an environment in which division and hatred is propagated.”
The Tories claim they are against all extremists. The new policies refer to also targeting far right and fascist groups.
But the Tories’ Islamophobia feeds the far right and legitimises their racism. The document reports that racist attacks on Muslims in London have gone up by 70 percent.
Cameron and May have given up any pretence at trying not to generalise about Muslims.
They mention Lutfur Rahman, the left wing former mayor of Tower Hamlets in east London, in the same passage as child sexual exploitation in Rotherham.
It is no accident that they compare the strategy to that used to confront child abuse. They want to create links in people’s minds.
And they constantly refer to the danger of Isis.
The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) rightly said the proposals have “McCarthyist undertones”, referencing the 1950s US anti-Communist witch hunts.
Cameron and May say they will “shut down” mosques where “extremist” meetings are held. The MCB asked, “Do such mosques really exist and by whose definition are they deemed to be extremist?”
In an Orwellian move the Tories pledged to train and support “a network of credible commentators” to fill the internet with “mainstream content.”
More significantly every public body—including charities, local government, NHS, schools and universities—will be examined for risks of “entryism” by extremists.
That the Tories dare launch such a vile document shows how far the politicians have come in making Islamophobia mainstream.
It is therefore an urgent wake up call for every activist. We must resist the Tories’ racist rampage.
The strategy is about dividing us—and destroying working class unity with corrosive racism. When workers are divided it is harder for us to win.
They want us to blame Muslims for everything that’s wrong in the world, including the rise of Isis.
But Isis is a product of imperialist war, not religion. So we need to resist more bombing that will make the situation worse.
And we need to build Stand Up to Racism everywhere, to bring together the widest opposition to attacks on migrants and Muslims.