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Role models to inspire Black boys
Voters to get iPod ‘bribe’
Christian Groups who Evangelise Cannot Also do Social Service Work
'Preventing Violent Extremism: the Government's Approach
Labour is as out of touch with Muslims as it is with the public in general
Poisonous Hazel Blears
UK Is Sleepwalking Into Islamisation
The hidden face of political Islamism
Further information

See also

Hazel Blears and IslamExpo

Martin Bright 18 July 2008

Hazel Blears explains her opposition to IslamExpo
and the politics of the Muslim Brotherhood-Hamas


It was great to hear Hazel Blears talk to a cross-party audience about her ideological opposition to the Islamic radical right at Policy Exchange yesterday.

My real question is why has the left abandoned its old comrades in the fight against racism to rush into the poisoned embrace of the Islamists? The Labour Party, through consituency parties and local councillors should have been a natural bulwark against the rise of the influence of Jamaat-i-Islami and the Muslim Brotherhood in Britain. But instead of listening to its activists and local democratic representatives, the Labour government chose instead to bolster the self-appointed Muslim Council of Britain.

This is the key part of the speech:

"As a minister dealing with this every day, I can tell you there is no easy answer to the questions of when, who and how to engage with different groups. When my predecessor Ruth Kelly became Secretary of State, she made it clear that the Government would not do business with any groups who weren’t serious about standing up to violence and upholding shared values, and that has been our approach ever since.

Take the Islam Expo at the weekend. I was clear that because of the views of some of the organisers, and because of the nature of some of the exhibitors, this was an event that no Minister should attend. Organisers like Anas Altikriti, who believes in boycotting Holocaust Memorial Day. Or speakers like Azzam Tamimi, who has sought to justify suicide bombing. Or exhibitors like the Government of Iran.

Not because the vast majority of Muslims at the event were not decent citizens; they were. But because the organisers were trying to influence the audience in certain directions. And by refusing to legitimise the event for these specific reasons, we would hope to isolate and expose the extremists and ensure they were not part of the event next year. Our policy is designed to change behaviour.

Our strategy rests on an assessment of firstly whether an organisation is actively condemning, and working to tackle, violent extremism; and secondly whether they defend and uphold the shared values of pluralist democracy, both in their words and their deeds.

By being clear what is acceptable and what isn’t, we aim to support the moderates and isolate the extremists. Because of this approach, there is a debate within some of these organisations. We have strengthened the hand of the moderates. I believe that this approach has helped the MCB to take the welcome step of attending Holocaust Memorial Day – a small but significant step in the right direction. We have enabled new voices to be heard, and brought new people to the table.

The Government’s process for engagement is not static, and needs continual assessment. I will redouble my efforts to make sure the engagement strategy is understand and applied across government, so that every minister knows when to accept invitations, and when to refuse, with clear criteria. And when it is appropriate for civil servants to meet with certain groups and individuals, and when it is not. This is a dynamic process: if organisations genuinely shift their positions, we can reconsider our engagement with them."

I'm not so convinced about today's announcement about funding right-minded Muslim thinkers to gove guidance on the true message of the Quran. It strikes me that this misses the whole point about the nature of Islam, which has no one fixed interpretation of its holy text.


Hazel Blears launches search for role models to inspire Black boys
DCLG 16 July, 2008

A major national search to recruit Black male role models gets underway today as Communities Secretary Hazel Blears calls for motivational Black and mixed heritage men to take a lead in inspiring the next generation of Black boys to achieve and succeed.

The creation of the first ever Black Boys' National Role Model programme is part of a package of measures to help raise the aspirations and attainment of some of today's young Black men.

Hazel Blears wants to encourage Black and mixed heritage men from all walks of life to come forward and play a part in lifting the sights of young Black boys.

A national modelling programme was one of the recommendations made to Government by an independent panel made up of members who had an in depth understanding of the realities of the lives of Black Boys and the barriers they face to success. The Government has responded positively to their report and is committed to taking action on all the REACH recommendations.

Too often role models can be celebrities and those who glamorise a world of crime, drugs, guns and gangs. The national role modelling programme will seek to challenge stereotypes, shine a light on positive images of Black male achievement - from businessmen to doctors, lawyers, artists and community workers. REACH is about getting these positive images onto the radar and ensuring that more young people know that every route is open to them.

Hazel Blears said:

"It is crucial that we improve the life chances of young Black boys. Too few Black men and boys are achieving their full potential and the consequences of that are being seen socially and economically.

"There needs to be a collective effort to combat underachievement and low aspirations amongst our young Black men. These kids need realistic alternatives to show them that every opportunity is available to them. There are thousands of role models out there who offer great examples for Black boys to follow. This programme is about harnessing their potential, making them more visible and getting more young people on the right track."

At least twenty national role models will be selected by an independent panel comprising fashion designer and businessman Ozwald Boateng, entrepreneur Tim Campbell, founder and Director of Operation Black Vote Simon Woolley and Metropolitan Police Superintendent Leroy Logan along with four young Black men.

The panel want the programme to have as big an impact as possible and are keen to see applications from a diverse range of backgrounds, professions and areas of the country.

Tim Campbell said:

"The REACH role modelling project has massive potential to change the way that our community addresses some the issues around young Black men's underachievement.  We need to find people that can really connect with and inspire the next generation to get on and do more. We have a real opportunity here to get voluntary organisations, the Government and individuals working together to tackle these issues head on."

Whilst around 20 role models will be chosen for the national programme, Hazel Blears is keen to harness the interest of all the candidates.  Other applicants who put themselves forward will be contacted about opportunities for role modelling or mentoring in their local area.

The recruitment campaign will run until 2nd September. Panel memberswill unveil their final selection in the autumn when the role models will begin their activity.

Once recruited the national role models will share their stories in a variety of ways, including events and visits to meet with young Black men across the country. This will be community led, but might include schools, youth clubs and young offender institutes. As well as these specific visits the message and story of the role models will be amplified through use of podcasts, webchats and wider media activity.

Males of all ages from a Black African, Black Caribbean or Mixed Heritage background are encouraged to apply to be a national role model and can get more information by going to: http://www.direct.gov.uk/reach

or contacting

REACHrolemodels@communities.gsi.gov.uk


As well as a national role modelling competition the Government are currently taking forward a range of measures aimed at boosting the aspirations and attainment of Black boys and young Black men. £1 million has been made available to support these activities. The REACH report highlighted a number of barriers preventing some Black boys from fulfilling their full potential and recommended that these be tackled together to bring about the changes that are needed.

The Government is currently taking action to:

* Improve engagement between schools and Black parents - home school partnership agreements are currently taking place in schools across the country. These and other programmes to engage parents with schools will be looking at how best to meet the needs of Black families.

* Strengthen the reporting and monitoring of race equality and schools - Ofsted has reviewed, revised and published new guidance for inspectors which will strengthen the way that it reports on race equality issues including drawing attention to good practice and highlighting inequalities.

* supporting Black led Voluntary and Community Sector organisations - These are often the organisations working most closely with young Black men at risk of dropping out.

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Voters to get iPod ‘bribe’ to beat local election apathy
Jill Sherman, July 10, 2008

People are to be bribed to vote in local elections by being entered for a “prize draw” if they turn up at the polling station, ministers announced yesterday.

After a series of dismal turnouts in recent elections people will be able to win televisions, iPods or supermarket vouchers once they fill in their ballot papers. The proposal is similar to schemes in America, where voters are rewarded with doughnuts and chicken dinners if they cast their ballot.

The move is one of a series of measures outlined by Hazel Blears, the Communities Secretary, to boost local democracy and “empower” communities. Other proposals in the White Paper Communities in Control will make it easier to hold a referendum for a directly elected mayor and will force town halls to respond to petitions. Local neighbourhoods will also be given “community kitties” worth millions of pounds where improvements are needed to council sevices.

“In many parts of the country, local democracy needs a boost, with low turnout at local elections and people feeling they can’t influence the way issues are decided in their area,” said Ms Blears in a Commons statement.

“The White Paper provides real and practical ways to put communities in control, so that they can find out first-hand what is being done to improve their local services, and push any issue they think is of importance up the priority list of their local council.”

The document is said to have been watered down by Downing Street. One of the most radical ideas that was dropped was to allow the public to “recall” MPs and hold a by-election where there were probity issues. This was eventually quashed by Harriet Harman, the deputy Prime Minister, and Gordon Brown.

Other ideas that were vetoed included setting fixed terms for councillors and allowing councils to pilot proportional representation.

The Prime Minister, who has never been keen on elected mayors, has agreed to relax the trigger for adopting the scheme.

At the moment a city, town or borough can hold a referendum for an elected mayor if a petition is signed by 5 per cent of the local population.

Under the proposals this could be reduced to 2 per cent and people will be able to sign mayoral petitions online. The length of time between an unsuccessful referendum and a second bid will drop from ten to four years.

Tony Blair tried to improve town hall leadership by setting up American-style directly elected mayors soon after he came to power.

There have also been a number of public campaigns to scrap elected mayors in four out of the 12 councils where they operate, with residents unhappy about high salaries and autocracy.

Ms Blears also announced steps to increase people’s power to change policy in topics such as drug dealing, antisocial behaviour and rubbish collection. In future town halls will be forced to act on all local petitions.

At present local councils can ignore petitions, however many people have signed them. Under the new proposals councils will be required legally to respond, irrespective of how many signatures are on the petition. If more than 5 per cent of the population has signed the petition a council must hold a full debate on the issue.

The Local Government Assocation is opposed to the idea, arguing that it could allow minority groups, such as the BNP, powers to change policy.

The White Paper also proposed allowing resident groups to have access to community kitties worth between £5,000 and £2.5 million to spend on local services such as play areas and traffic calming schemes. Other measures include setting up public hearings where senior public officials such as chief constables, hospital managers and school heads will be held to account.

Ms Blears will also announce the abolition of the “Widdecombe” rule, which forbids council staff from standing as councillors if they earn over £33,000. Under the latest regulations all but the most senior town hall officials will be able to stand for election as councillors and continue in their job if they are elected.

Eric Pickles, Shadow Communities Secretary, said: “These policies are the product of a bankrupt Labour Party, wanting to stuff more cash into the pockets of Labour councillors, bribe their voters, bring back jobs for the boys and slip in backdoor state funding.”


Christian Groups who Evangelise Cannot Also do Social Service Work:
Labour Secretary


Hilary White July 16, 2008

Last year, the Charities Commission instituted a new criterion under which religious charities must prove that what they do is of "public benefit", or face the loss of their tax status. Now a secretary of the Labour government has said that those Christian charities that engage in religious evangelisation will not also be allowed to conduct social service work.

Hazel Blears, the Labour government's Communities Secretary is the author of a White Paper entitled 'Communities in control: real people, real power', that lays out the criteria for participation by Christian organisations in social services. But Blears indicated in the House of Commons that in the name of "inclusiveness" Christian religious charities that are interested in promoting Christianity will be excluded from engaging in charitable social works. 

Although "many people are motivated by faith of all kinds to do great acts of social good," she said, "I am concerned to ensure that if faith groups become involved, they do so on a proper footing - not by evangelising or proselytising, but by providing services in a non-discriminatory way to the whole community."

Blears said she will draft a "charter" for churches and Christian agencies providing community services. The charter will require groups to pledge to provide "an inclusive service to our community" in a number of ways. One of these is, "Never imposing our Christian faith or belief on others."

The Christian Institute, a non-denominational organisation that promotes traditional Christianity in public life, said that there have already been cases of Christian groups being denied funding because they refuse to compromise on their specifically Christian ethos. In 2005, one Christian-run homeless shelter was threatened with the loss of £150,000 of funding unless it stopped saying grace at mealtimes and putting Bibles out for use by guests.

Teen Challenge UK, an organisation in Wales that helps drug addicts, had £700,000 of funding withdrawn. Although the Welsh Assembly denies this was the reason, MP Bob Spink said in the House of Commons, "The organisation's grant was removed essentially because it has Christian roots and is run by Christians."

Last month Blears said that the "sidelining" of Christianity in public life is "common sense" and said that in the place of Britain's 1500 year Christian heritage, Islam should be promoted. Blears told BBC Radio 4's Sunday programme that the government's interest in Islam is "just common sense. If we've got an issue where we have to build resilience of young Muslim men and women to withstand an extremist message."

Her comments came in the wake of a scathing Church of England report that accused the Labour government of being "tone-deaf" to religious matters, especially in its lack of a fundamental grasp of the principles of Christianity, the country's officially established religion. Blears immediately cemented the Church's point when she told BBC Radio that she found it a source of joy that "we live in a secular democracy."

The Church of England bishop responsible for the report, the Rt Rev Stephen Lowe, said afterwards, "That comes as news to me - we have an Established Church, but the Government can't deal with Christianity."

The Church of England's report effectively threw the weight of the Established Church behind the resurgent Conservative party that has been making significant overtures to Britain's disaffected Christian majority. The report, entitled "Moral, But No Compass," accused Labour of "religious illiteracy", refusing to acknowledge the breakdown of civil order in society and of having excluded religious voices. The government, it says, "consciously decided to focus...almost exclusively on minority religions."

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A Policy Exchange seminar led by Rt. Hon. Hazel Blears MP, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government on 'Preventing Violent Extremism: the Government's Approach

Preventing Violent Extremism: the Government’s Approach
Thursday 17th July 2008

I am pleased to be here at the Policy Exchange, and in the company of such a range of experts. I make no claim to be an expert. I am a mere politician!

There are some issues which transcend the day-to-day rivalries and arguments of party politics: issues which demand common approaches and understanding. Today’s discussion focuses on one of these.

Like many people engaged in this debate, I’ve been on a journey in the past ten years. I came into parliament with many other things on my mind – my local NHS, schools, local young people without a job. But the events of the decade have made me think hard about issues which I hadn’t had to consider before.

9/11 stands out, of course, as a day when we all had to think again.

Or 7/7 – when I was the counter-terrorism minister at the Home Office, and the visits to Muslim communities I conducted in the aftermath – hearing at first hand about the challenges of radicalisation and exploring ways that the Government and communities can work together to confront it.

Or taking the legislation to introduce control orders through the House of Commons.

Or being a Government Minister explaining our military intervention in Kosovo, Afghanistan or Iraq to a hostile media and sceptical public.

Or chairing COBRA.

Or my current role as one of the Cabinet ministers responsible for the PREVENT strand of CONTEST.

These events are a long way from the things that brought me into politics 25 year ago.

Yet the threat from violent extremism, to our democracy and way of life, is now one of the most important challenges any of us has to confront.

Al-Qaida-influenced violent extremism represents the biggest terrorist threat facing Britain. Our security services tell us that there are over 2000 known individuals who are a threat to public safety.

Of course, the struggle against terrorism must include a proper and proportionate security response. My own dealings with the security services have left me with nothing but praise for their dedication and professionalism. It is right that the Labour Government has more than doubled their funding.

But we cannot arrest our way out of the problem. What I want to address this morning is the PREVENT strand of our strategy: particularly how the Al-Qaida narrative can be countered and rebutted in historical, theological and political terms, and how we can work with Muslim communities to articulate a different analysis and alternative world-view, especially for young people. A vision that is underpinned by democracy and shared values.

Gordon Brown made the point in his speech to RUSI that we will have to use a range of cultural, academic and intellectual arguments, including arguing against what he called ‘the violent perversion of a peaceful religious faith.’

What we share is a belief in democracy: the rights of minorities, the need for competing political parties, a free press, an independent judiciary, and free elections. These fundamental tenets of democracy form the great dividing line between us and the extremists.

So we need to point out the facts:

British Muslims have made a contribution to this country’s success: in business, public service, arts, sports and culture; and Britain is a country where Muslims can get on and do well.

Al-Qaida has killed many Muslims, in London and around the world.

British action has helped to save the lives of thousands of Muslims in Bosnia.

Our aid programmes help Muslims in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Indonesia, in Africa and elsewhere.

Britain is one of the safest, most tolerant countries on earth to be a Muslim.

There is no clash of civilisations; no ‘Jewish conspiracy’.

Israel has the right to exist within secure borders, alongside a state for the Palestinian people.

There is no justification, under any circumstances, for suicide bombing and the slaughter of innocents.

These are the facts.

We need a sustained challenge to the Al-Qaida narrative, taken up by moderate Muslims and others, in a variety of forms.

But it is not as simple as a logical Socratic debate. We make a grave error if we suppose that we will win simply by force of argument with Al-Qaida or other groups which support terrorism. You cannot conduct a negotiation with groups without hierarchical structures, or a set of negotiable demands based on political or territorial outcomes. In this key regard, our approach can not be the same as in the Northern Ireland Peace Process.

You can’t win political arguments with the leaders of groups who tell lies as part of their strategy, who change the goal-posts, who spread misinformation, who intimidate and terrorise their opponents, and who believe in the destruction of the very democratic process of debate and deliberation you seek to deploy.

But whilst the Government cannot negotiate with Al-Qaida, or other supporters of terrorism, there is a much broader group of people, susceptible to the Al-Qaida narrative, who we must engage with. We cannot leave the field clear.

So we have to strike the right balance: being clear and confident in our arguments, but we must understand that to share certain platforms or attend certain conferences merely gives credibility and legitimacy to groups who do not warrant it.

That brings me to the Government’s strategy for engagement with different Muslim groups.

As a minister dealing with this every day, I can tell you there is no easy answer to the questions of when, who and how to engage with different groups. When my predecessor Ruth Kelly became Secretary of State, she made it clear that the Government would not do business with any groups who weren’t serious about standing up to violence and upholding shared values, and that has been our approach ever since.

Take the Islam Expo at the weekend. I was clear that because of the views of some of the organisers, and because of the nature of some of the exhibitors, this was an event that no Minister should attend. Organisers like Anas Altikriti, who believes in boycotting Holocaust Memorial Day. Or speakers like Azzam Tamimi, who has sought to justify suicide bombing. Or exhibitors like the Government of Iran.

Not because the vast majority of Muslims at the event were not decent citizens; they were. But because the organisers were trying to influence the audience in certain directions. And by refusing to legitimise the event for these specific reasons, we would hope to isolate and expose the extremists and ensure they were not part of the event next year. Our policy is designed to change behaviour.

Our strategy rests on an assessment of firstly whether an organisation is actively condemning, and working to tackle, violent extremism; and secondly whether they defend and uphold the shared values of pluralist democracy, both in their words and their deeds.

By being clear what is acceptable and what isn’t, we aim to support the moderates and isolate the extremists. Because of this approach, there is a debate within some of these organisations. We have strengthened the hand of the moderates. I believe that this approach has helped the MCB to take the welcome step of attending Holocaust Memorial Day – a small but significant step in the right direction. We have enabled new voices to be heard, and brought new people to the table.

The Government’s process for engagement is not static, and needs continual assessment. I will redouble my efforts to make sure the engagement strategy is understand and applied across government, so that every minister knows when to accept invitations, and when to refuse, with clear criteria. And when it is appropriate for civil servants to meet with certain groups and individuals, and when it is not. This is a dynamic process: if organisations genuinely shift their positions, we can reconsider our engagement with them.

I welcome the scrutiny from outside on our engagement, especially when it comes to our funding of local groups and programmes, because we are dealing with public money. As politicians, we have no margin of error. We take every step to minimise the risk. Of course I recognise that if a single penny was to be subverted to a group or individual which opposes our aims there would be anger amongst the public, and quite right too. By the same token, outside scrutiny must be rooted in evidence and facts, not a desire to make headlines.

Nationally we need a clearer understanding of the groups we are funding through better on-the-ground intelligence (including a better relationship with local MPs and councillors who know what is going on), and we to rigorously apply the criteria to guide who we fund, for what purpose, and what we want for our money.

It is also incumbent on local authorities to maintain robust arrangements to make sure the money is focussed on projects which will make a difference, and money does not fall into the wrong hands. Recent guidance to local partnerships made it clear that local authorities must discuss funding proposals with the police, and monitor and audit the schemes.

There is a real danger that under systems of state sponsorship, certain groups become dependent on state funding, and develop a client relationship. There is also a danger that new and emerging groups are left out because of a system which is too slow to adapt to the changing landscape.

When I meet the fantastic women on the Muslim Women’s Advisory Group (MWAG) I see Muslims who are a refreshing change from many of the established Muslim groups that Government historically deals with.

We must have a system which delivers on our objectives of tackling violent extremism, without creating a fixed constellation of self-appointed groups reliant on the state for funding.

The fact remains that most British Muslims, like the wider community, are not politically active, do not sit on committees, and do not attend seminars and meetings. They are working hard, bringing up families, planning their holidays, and going about their business.

So we need an engagement strategy which gets past the gate-keepers and connects with the business leader, bus driver, shop keeper, stay-at-home Mum, or student. We need to develop resilience amongst the mainstream of Muslim society to withstand, isolate and drive out the Al-Qaida narrative. I call this a ‘whole community’ approach: engaging with a much broader audience than the established groups we have traditionally engaged with.

I started by saying the issue of preventing violent extremism transcends political party divides, so I am pleased to announce that MPs are taking steps to establish an All-Party Group on Preventing Violent Extremism, and I hope MPs here this morning will want to play their part.

As ever, I am optimistic – a trait much in demand in the Cabinet at the moment!

We have lived through the end of the Soviet Union, the end of Apartheid, and the end of sectarian terrorism in Northern Ireland. Each seemed intractable.

But each was overcome by men and women of courage and good faith.

I am in no doubt that the challenges ahead are every bit as difficult, but I am equally sure that the values of freedom, democracy, and the rule of law will win through, because those values are the essence of our shared humanity, and represent the good in all of us


Labour is as out of touch with Muslims as it is with the public in general
Martin Wingfield. BNP. July 18, 2008
 
The Government’s complete lack of understanding of Islam is starkly exposed this morning by the Communities Secretary Hazel Blears, with the announcement that her department is to sponsor a theological board of leading Imams and Muslim women in an attempt to refute the ideology of violent extremists.

Blears & Co hope that this committee will hold some sway with Muslims and that its pronouncements on areas such as wearing the hijab and the treatment of wives will help to counter radicalism.

How naive can you get? The concept that a British Government sponsored board of hand-picked Western-friendly Muslims will be able to rule on the interpretation of the Koran and promote a moderate strain of Islam amongst Muslims living in Britain is laughable.

The British Government, with its invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan and unequivocal support for Israel in its suppression of the Palestinians, is a clear-cut enemy of Islam. The idea that a group of Muslims, lured no doubt by a lucrative financial arrangement paid by this very enemy of Islam, will hold any credibility within the mosques of Britain shows that Labour is just as out of touch with the Muslim Community as it is with the aspirations of the public in general.

Islam is by far the most powerful religion in the world. Its strength comes from its no-compromise approach and rigid adherence to the Koran in its fundamental form. Christianity’s collapse has come about because it has tried to accommodate society’s latest fads and trends which has ended up alienating vast numbers of its followers. There’s no such nonsense with Islam. You are either a Muslim following the Koran or you are a non-believer. There is no such thing as a moderate Muslim.

When Muslims want advice they go to their local mosque, they certainly won’t be waiting for a Government pronouncement from its Muslim Committee.

The fact that the Government has launched this desperate initiative indicates that Gordon Brown and his cabinet have information that there is a very real threat from Muslim extremists to the public. If this is the case, then it’s not another tame-Muslim committee that is needed but swift action to tackle the problem.

We have got to stop this appeasement of Islam that is being spearheaded by our own Archbishop of Canterbury, senior judges and politicians with a vested interest. They are encouraging Muslims living here to believe that one day Britain may well become an Islamic state.

We must make it very clear that this will never be the case by confronting the spread of Islam head on with measures that start immediately to reduce its influence within Britain.


Poisonous Hazel Blears
The Register 15 May 2008

Neighbourhood Watch 2.0: your tensions are being monitored

Community cohesion? You know it makes sense. Once your local community starts to get the slightest bit incoherent you're on the slippery slopes - riots, meltdown of national institutions then global revolution are only a few short steps away.

Fortunately, here in the UK we have the Department of Communities & Local Government and its useful document, Guidance for local authorities on community cohesion contingency planning and tension monitoring, to save us from ourselves. The document, described by the estimable Spyblog as "poisonous", tells how local government bodies should plan their response to growing signs of non-cohesion, and urges them to set up 'multi-agency tension monitoring groups' to spot incoming incoherence.

Which is where it gets weird. The three national indicators for cohesion, we are told, are the percentage of people who believe people from different backgrounds get on well together in their local areas; the percentage of people who feel they belong to their neighbourhood; and the percentage of people who have meaningful interactions with people from different backgrounds.

So, if you regard your house as just somewhere you live rather part of a 'community', if you hardly ever speak to your neighbours and if you're doubtful if they get on with one another either, you're at least symptomatic of The Problem, and you might even be part of it. And there you were thinking that this kind of stand-offishness was the sort of thing that made you properly British.
Communities Secretary Hazel Blears has plans for people like you.

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Melanie Phillips: UK Is Sleepwalking Into Islamisation
wolfhowling.blogspot July 17, 2008

Melanie Phillips, author of Londonistan, is perhaps the most articulate voice in the UK to warn of the destruction to British society being brought about by the multiculturalists who hold all the power in Britain today. Their's is a steady diet of appeasement of the radical Islamists who claim to speak for the entire British Muslim population. To call the socialist Labour government's approach to this issue counterproductive is the height of understatement.

This from Ms. Phillips:

Three years after the London Tube and bus bombings, it is alarming beyond measure to record that Britain is even now sleepwalking into Islamisation. Some people will think this is mere hyperbole. However, that’s the problem. Britain still doesn’t grasp that it is facing a pincer attack from both terrorism and cultural infiltration and usurpation.

The former is understood; the latter is generally not acknowledged or is even denied, and those who call attention to it are pilloried as either ‘ Islamophobes’ or alarmists who have taken up residence on Planet Paranoia.

Certainly, the police and security service have been foiling plot after plot and are bringing to court a steady stream of Islamist radicals –an improvement without doubt from three years ago. And so, particularly within the British elite, people think that things are broadly under control.

They fail to realise that the attempt to take over our culture is even more deadly to this society than terrorism. They are simply blind to the ruthless way in which the Islamists are exploiting our chronic muddle of well-meaning tolerance and political correctness (backed up by the threat of more violence) to put Islam on a special — indeed, unique — footing within Britain.

As a result, the steady Islamisation of British public life is either being ignored or even tacitly encouraged by a political, security and judicial establishment that is failing to identify the stealthy and mind-bending game that is being played.

The official counter-radicalisation programme illustrates the problem. The Government wants to tackle radicalisation within Britain’s Muslim community by winning hearts and minds within that community. Its strategy is based on isolating the extremists and encouraging the moderates.

The problem, however, is that it doesn’t understand what Muslim extremism is. Believing that Islamic terrorism is motivated by an ideology which has ‘hijacked’ and distorted Islam, it will not acknowledge the extremism within mainstream Islam itself.

The reason so many older British Muslims are traditionally moderate is that they were brought up in the Asian subcontinent under a tamed form of Islam, deriving from centuries of colonial rule, which glossed over much of the teaching of the religion.

The Government believes that Islamic radicalism can be countered by teaching authentic Islam to Muslims. But since Islamic radicalism is based upon those very authentic religious precepts, this will undoubtedly have the effect of radicalising people who otherwise would never have thought in this way.

The Mosques and Imams National Advisory Board (MINAB) was set up to put into effect the Government’s aim of ensuring moderation in the mosques. This was always unlikely, given that members of Islamist groupings were on the steering committee. Although MINAB’s chairman, Manazir Ahsan, presents himself as a reformer, he is the director of the Islamic Foundation, which follows the writings of Maulana Maududi — who preached an end to the sovereignty and supremacy of unbelievers who should be made to live in a state of subordination to Islam.

Similarly, Dr Ataullah Siddiqui, the Government’s chief adviser on Islamic Studies, is a senior member of the Islamic Foundation. A report he wrote for the Government last year, Islam at Universities in England, which was publicly welcomed by the Prime Minister, urged that among other special privileges for Muslims, they should be allowed to teach Islamic subjects in British universities and that non-Muslims should be banned from doing so.

In any event, the universities are steadily being Islamised, with academic objectivity in the teaching of Islam and Middle East studies being set aside in favour of indoctrination and propaganda.

A report by Professor Anthony Glees due to be published in the autumn will argue that extremist ideas are being spread by Islamic study centres linked to British universities and backed by multimillion-pound donations from Saudi Arabia and Muslim organisations.

He says: ‘Britain’s universities will have to generate two national cultures: one non-Muslim and largely secular, the other Muslim. We will have two identities, two sets of allegiance and two legal and political systems. This must, by the Government’s own logic, hugely increase the risk of terrorism.’

Even more terrifying is the increasing Islamisation of the police. It has been reported that up to eight police officers and civilian staff working in the Metropolitan Police and other forces are suspected of links to extremist groups, including Al Qaeda, with some even believed to have attended terror training camps in Pakistan or Afghanistan. One suspected jihadist officer working in the South East has been allowed to keep his job despite being caught circulating internet images of beheadings and roadside bombings in Iraq.

No less disturbing is the fact that the police are intentionally bringing Islamists into the force in the utterly misguided belief (shared by many in the security service) that they can help counter Islamic radicalism.

Commander Robert Lambert, who until this year ran the Metropolitan Police Muslim Contact Unit, observed that terrorism could not be fought by contact with moderate Muslims but through partnerships with Salafists (Sunni extremists who believe in Islamic supremacy over the secular state) — one of whom was actually an officer in his own police department.

Commander Lambert believed that this would enable the police to understand the way extremists thought before they committed any acts of terror.

But it surely goes without saying that an officer who is committed to the overthrow of the West, and its replacement by an Islamic society poses a security risk of the first order. For a police counter-terrorism specialist to be promoting this situation beggars belief.

Deeply alarmed sources have furthermore told me that, in the overriding concern by police forces to hire more ethnic minority officers, they have junked vetting criteria — particularly when it comes to hiring Police Community Support Officers, who after two years can become fully fledged police officers with no further vetting required. The result, say these sources, is that the security of police operations is potentially compromised.

Moreover, there have been disturbing examples of the police protecting Islamic extremism. In 2007, the Channel Four Dispatches programme uncovered evidence of incitement to murder of homosexuals, the killing of British soldiers and hatred of ‘unbelievers’ going on below the official radar in ostensibly respectable British mosques.

But instead of prosecuting such fanatics, the West Midlands Police first tried to prosecute the programme makers and then accused them of selective editing and distortion and undermining community cohesion — a libel for which the police and the Crown Prosecution Service were subsequently forced to apologise.

A report by the Centre for Social Cohesion on honour killings and similar violence revealed that several women’s groups, particularly in the Midlands and northern England, say they are often reluctant to go to the police with women who have run away from home to escape violence, because they cannot trust Asian police officers not to betray the girls to their abusing families.

In February, Christian evangelists Arthur Cunningham and Joseph Abraham were handing out Bible extracts in Alum Rock, Birmingham. They were stopped by a Muslim Police Community Support Officer, threatened with arrest if they carried on preaching in ‘a Muslim area’, and warned that they might get beaten up if they came back.

What on earth is happening when, in the heart of England, a British police support officer, employed by the British state to enforce the law of England, aggressively prevents Christians from preaching the established faith of England on the grounds that this is now a ‘hate crime’?

. . . When the Bishop of Rochester, Dr Michael Nazir-Ali, warned that Britain was developing Muslim nogo areas, he was denounced as Islamophobic.

The Establishment queued up to say they didn’t recognise the Britain he was describing. But British public life is progressively being Islamised, with Muslim radicals in areas with large concentrations of Muslims increasingly intimidating non-Muslims.

After a vicar in East London, Canon Michael Ainsworth, was beaten up by three Muslims in his own churchyard in March, it was revealed that there had been many attacks on churches in the area by such youths, who on one occasion shouted: ‘This should not be a church, this should be a mosque.’

Yet last month, one of the youths in the Ainsworth attack walked free after a judge accepted his claim that the attack was not religiously motivated.

Sharia law is steadily encroaching into British institutions. Last week, Lord Phillips, the most senior judge in England and Wales, said it could play a role in some parts of the legal system. This followed comments by the Archbishop of Canterbury who declared that Muslim families should be able to choose between English and Islamic law in marital and family issues.

But the fact is that Britain is already developing a parallel sharia jurisdiction in such matters, with a blind eye being turned to such practices as forced marriage, cousin marriage, female genital mutilation and polygamy; indeed, welfare benefits are now given to the multiple wives of Muslim men.

Meanwhile, the courts still appear to be bending over backwards to appease Muslim radicalism. Last month, a judge freed from prison Abu Qatada, the most important Al Qaeda operative in Europe and the lynchpin of numerous European terror attacks, who was being held pending deportation to Jordan to stand trial.

His release on bail — into a kind of house arrest — followed an Appeal Court ruling that he could not be deported to Jordan because any prosecution there might have been obtained as a result of a witness being tortured — a breach of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Why do the British authorities appear to go out of their way to thwart efforts to fight and defeat jihadi terror? While Islamists are being appeased, the Christian church is being discriminated against. The Bishop of Rochester said that the decline of Christian values was destroying Britishness and had created a ‘moral vacuum’ which radical Islam was filling

In reply to this cri de coeur from a civilisation under siege, Hazel Blears, the Communities Secretary, maintained it was right that more money and effort was spent on Islam than Christianity because of the threat from extremism and homegrown terrorism.

But Islamism will be repulsed only if Britain once again regains the confidence of its own culture, heritage and traditions. And these are based on Christianity.

Ms Blears’s lamentable comment graphically illustrates the problem. While the ordinary people of Britain are increasingly aghast at the way their country is being transformed by Islamism, the political, judicial, security and intellectual elites are busy denying the nature of the danger and making it far, far worse through a combination of extreme ignorance, arrogance and sheer funk.

The Islamists launched their jihad against the West because they perceived it was so weak and confused it would not possess the wherewithal to defend itself. When it comes to Britain, they never spoke a truer word.

Read the entire post. I would add that most of the points Ms. Phillips makes, I have covered in excruciating detail here and here - and about the insanity of MINAB here. Britain has a huge problem that is only growing by leaps and bounds. But an even bigger one is that the socialists in power either do not recognize reality or are being deliberately ignorant because of some combination of their utopian multicultural ethos and the cynical practicality. The rapidly expanding Muslim population makes up a solid Labour constituency. Because what is happening is destructive to traditional society and because the policies being followed seem based on pure fantasy, a day of reckoning seems inevitable.

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The hidden face of political Islamism
Dean Godson July 15, 2008

It is increasingly hard to draw a line between the agendas of the violent and non-violent

Who says that Islamists can't learn a trick or two from the West when they have to? Take a glance at the glossy brochure of Islam Expo - billed as Europe's “biggest Islamic cultural festival” - which ended at Olympia yesterday. You could be forgiven for thinking that you were looking at the catalogue for the forthcoming Boden sale that comes to the venerable London exhibition centre in a few weeks' time.

Visitors to Islam Expo would have witnessed such innocent activities as an Islamic arts and crafts workshop for under 12s, live Islamic storytelling performances and lute-playing and poetry recitals in the pomegranate and date gardens.

The old Comintern would have instantly recognised the first rate tradecraft involved in organising all this. Just as Moscow and its allies knew how to organise a “popular front” to draw non-communist progressives and liberals into their orbit of influence, so some Islamists have honed a keen sense of how to present a non-threatening face to the West and to the many hundreds of decent, apolitical Muslims who turned up for a family day out.

But behind the cultural soft power of Islam Expo, there is political hard power, and some of it comes in quite raw, unpalatable forms. The organisers gave floor space in the exhibition section to the genocidal regime in Sudan (festooned with pictures of happy-looking black Africans) and to the “Cultural Section” of the Iranian Embassy (representing an aspirant genocidal regime) and the Algerian junta (no spring picnic on human rights).
 
This perhaps becomes less surprising when one examines some of the directors of Islam Expo. All oppose al-Qaeda violence, but they are anything but moderate Muslims. They include Azzam Tamimi, a supporter of Hamas suicide bombings in Israel and an admirer of Ayatollah Khomeini; and Ismail Adam Patel, who believes that women in the West who are raped share responsibility with their attackers.

Consider also the views of one of the expo's speakers: “Prof Zaghloul al Naggar, professor of geology and director of the London-based Markfield Institute of Higher Education has rightly told IslamOnline that many Westerners - some of them homosexual - convert to Islam in order to appeal to Islamic communities and spread sinful behaviour among Muslims, thus shaking their belief,” according to the allaahuakbar.net website.

No wonder Hazel Blears, the feisty Secretary of State for Communities, decided last week that this was not a place where any minister should be seen. Most of her Muslim colleagues in the Labour Party backed her, including the MPs Sadiq Khan and Khalid Mahmood.

But another minister, Shahid Malik, MP for Dewsbury, had other ideas and sought to attend in a personal capacity. He was persuaded not to attend Islam Expo only with the greatest difficulty - after heavy pressure from his departmental chief at International Development, Douglas Alexander, the Chief Whip and the Cabinet Secretary, who invoked Cabinet Office guidelines on engagement with Islamic groups.

Ms Blears is probably the member of the Cabinet readiest to uphold a strict interpretation of those criteria. She has also dealt vigorously with senior officials whom she believes have been naive in their approach to Islamist-friendly groups.

But policing the boundaries of respectable discourse is hard work. While ministers were forbidden to go, the Foreign Office-funded British Satellite News was publicising an entirely positive image of Islam Expo for overseas consumption.

This time the Government has had a narrow escape from the political Islamists of Islam Expo.

Its relief must be compounded by what has happened over the past 48 hours to Alex Salmond. Scotland's First Minister has landed himself in serious trouble over a grant of £215,000 given to the Scottish Islamic Foundation, which is headed by one of his advisers, Osama Saeed. Other Muslim groups in Scotland are upset by what they see as favouritism to the best-known political Islamist in the Scottish National Party.

Mr Saeed, an SNP parliamentary candidate and also a speaker at Islam Expo, has described Hamas suicide attacks as “martyrdom operations” and has supported the creation of a modern caliphate, or pan-Islamic state. The row could cost the SNP victory in the Glasgow East by-election next week.

The fashionable take on deradicalising angry young Muslim men is that only political Islamists, such as Mr Saeed, have the credibility to stop them going over the deep end. This reasoning is doubtful. The opposition of political Islamists to al-Qaeda violence in the West does not mean that they are actually friends of the West. Rather, they know that there is more than one way to skin a cat.

The boundaries between violent and non-violent Islamists deserve greater exploration. Are non-violent political Islamists part of the solution or, as figures such as Hazel Blears and David Cameron increasingly suspect, part of the problem?

Dean Godson is research director of Policy Exchange think tank

Further information
http://haveyoursay.communities.gov.uk/blogs/hazelblears-empowerment/default.aspx
http://www.communities.gov.uk/documents/communities/pdf/886045.pdf
http://www.communities.gov.uk/documents/communities/pdf/787910.pdf Community cohesion


See also
Hazelocracy
Behaviour and citizenship
Muslims in Britain should be able to live under Sharia law
Supermarkets 'should spy on migrants'
Dr Bari: Government stoking Muslim tension
Race and democracy
Gordon Brown murmerings and mutterings

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