My erstwhile friends and comrades in Hizb ut Tahrir — the liberation party, innit — have released a new report on ‘The future for Muslims in Britain'. The new pamphlet professes to look at the British state's ‘anti-Islamic agenda' as part of its ‘war on Islam'.
The group's leadership banned its members from speaking to me after I defected from the party and exposed their internal culture in 2005. It seems, however, they are also banning the shabab from quoting my work.
Imagine my surprise when, thumbing through their paper, I saw my own report (published by Policy Exchange) being extensively quoted.
On page 12 they write:
...there is no agreed definition of ‘extremism', although they [the Conservatives] persist in formulating policy (despite the lack of such a definition); and that they were considering clamping down on activity they had deemed ‘extremist', even though it was not violent.
The government-linked think tank, the Policy Exchange, recently proposed a definition of ‘extremism' as those who:
- Support or condone the deliberate targeting for attack of civilians (as defined by the Geneva Conventions) anywhere in the world.
- Call for, or condone, attacks on British service personnel and their allies anywhere in the world or against any forces acting under a UN man-date.
- Call for or condone the destruction of UN member states.
- Give a platform to deniers of, or apologists for, crimes against human-ity, including genocide.
- Support or condone terrorism anywhere in the world.
- Discriminate or advocate discrimination on the basis of religion, reli-gious sect, race, sexual orientation or gender in any aspect of public life or public policy.
- Oppose armed forces' recruitment.
Those criteria are lifted directly from my Policy Exchange report, Choosing our Friends Wisely. They appear in the executive summary (on page 8) and are elaborated upon in chapter 6.
Rather than footnote my report, Hizb ut Tahrir links to this page on the Policy Exchange website announcing the launch of a different report on faith schools.
Hizb ut Tahrir quote my report again on page 14 saying:
The Conservative Party's approach seems to have borrowed a lot from think tanks like the Policy Exchange, with whom they share many links (Michael Gove is former chairman of the Policy Exchange). Among the numerous recommendations in one of their reports, the Policy Exchange recommended that the definition of extremism should be expanded to those that oppose the wars that the British government are engaged in:
"The state should rightly be concerned about groups that try to dissuade young Muslims from joining the armed forces or the police. Muslims are currently under-represented in both, and it should encourage, not discourage Muslims to join. Sup-porting groups or individuals who dissuade Muslims from joining the police or armed forces vitiates the policy of increasing the representation of ethnic and religious minorities in those institutions. Provisions must be made for conscientious objectors, but only in cases where an individual believes that all wars are wrong. Government must not engage with organisations that oppose armed forces' recruitment because they selectively oppose wars that the state, under the authority of the democratically elected parliament, is currently fighting." 
Again, the Hizb's footnote is wrong and links to this page on the Conservative party's website featuring a speech by Pauline Neville-Jones. Nowhere in that speech does Pauline say the words attributed to her by the Hizb. Instead, the passage above is directly lifted from my Policy Exchange report and appears in the second column at the bottom of page 73.
The other footnotes in the document are all correct. For example, David Cameron's speech at the Foreign Policy Centre (footnotes 28 and 29) appear correctly, as does the link to Cameron's speech at the Community Security Trust (footnote 24). Similarly, a quote from the Civitas think tank is referenced correctly at footnote 17.
That eliminates the possibility of the Hizb being sloppy and careless in this case — though sloppy and careless it frequently is.
The only other option is that the Hizb ordered its shabab to not even reference the work of former members. Instead of correctly referencing my work, they seem to have deliberately fudged those footnotes — ironic from a group that once told us acting is haram (forbidden in Islamic law) because it involves ‘deception'.
Still, I'm flattered they still consider me an authority on religious matters; bienvenido gentlemen.
Like good apparatchiks, I hope they will take this blog post in the spirit it is intended; a simple response to party orders which appear on page 3 of their report stating:
We welcome feedback on the contents of this booklet
I would love some clarification — is this a conspiracy or a cock-up?
Focus on Islamism is a blog dedicated to analysing and exposing the modern ideological phenomenon known as Islamism.
Shiraz Maher is a writer and broadcaster.
Alexander Meleagrou-Hitchens is a PhD student at King's College, London. He has contributed to various online and printed publications including, The Daily Telegraph, Lebanon's Daily Star, Standpoint and NOWLebanon.
To contact the authors, click here
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