Leaked Government document “Contest 2” says you are an Extremist

Asian Leader By Majed Iqbal- The Muslim community has been taken back by a new leaked document by the government which plans to ban traditional Islamic ideas, equating them with extremism.

Annie Lennox condemns Israel and challenges Arab Governments on their silence- Is she an Extremist?

The document titled ‘Contest 2′ was leaked to the press last month in the Guardian Newspaper and covered on a BBC Panorama episode where the classification of an extremist was broadened to include anyone whose views do not correspond to the ‘government’ definition of shared British values.

The new proposals in the leaked document plan to tackle people who are not involved in violence or support terrorism. Under the current proposals, British Muslims would be considered “extremist” if they advocated non-participation in UK elections, called for the creation of a caliphate, promoted Shariah for the Muslim world and argued that homosexuality is a sin in the eyes of God.

Additionally, extremist views would include supporting armed resistance by Palestinians against Israel as seen in the current Gaza conflict – and a failure to condemn the killing of British service personnel in Iraq or Afghanistan.

In a concentrated and consistent effort in the last two years, many government ministers have been deeply involved in the ‘Prevention of violent Extremism’ agenda which has primarily been focused on those who preach support for violent extremism and those actually involved in planning terrorist acts.

In these efforts, former communities minister Ruth Kelly even talked about creating a ‘British’ Version of Islam in 2007 to be formed that could co-exist in a liberal democracy in her efforts to counteract ‘extremism’ in the Muslim community; an effort which was sidelined by many, accusing the government of blaming acts of terrorism in this country on Islam and Muslims rather than admitting that events like 7/7 had an intrinsic link to British foreign policy in Iraq and Afghanistan.

After such a failure, the Contest 2 proposals seek to widen the definition of extremists, even if their comments remain within the law to encompass Muslims with views that clash with what the government regards as the British values that everyone in the United Kingdom should share, regardless of their religion.

A well-placed source in Whitehall said in an interview that this represented “a classic, kite-flying exercise” by a government uncertain over which of the proposals to go along with.

“There are deep divisions within the civil service and between ministers over this,” the source said. “There are real fears that the whole strategy could end up alienating tens, maybe hundreds of thousands of Muslims in the UK”

“I believe that, when the strategy is unveiled next month, a lot of the more contentious items will have disappeared. Some of the reaction we have been getting from some pretty moderate Muslims has not been favourable.”

“There is a growing feeling that this net is being cast far too wide,” the source said. “You can find an awful lot of white, non-Muslim, indigenous Britons who have increasing sympathy for the Palestinians’ armed struggle, for example. And you can find an awful lot of Christians in Britain who believe homosexuality is a mortal sin, even though it might be legal among consenting adults in the UK.”

Inayat Bunglawala, an adviser on policy and research at Engage, an initiative designed to encourage British Muslims to interact more effectively in UK society, warned that the strategy would be an affront to many.
“It would alienate the majority of the British Muslim public,” he said. “It would be counterproductive and class most Muslims as extremists.”

Taji Mustafa, a spokesman for Hizb ut-Tahrir Britain, said: “We are seeing an attempt by the state to nationalise political and social ideas. ‘British values’ as defined by this government and supported by many in the Conservative Party are in fact very specific, secular, liberal values.

“These proposals … would indicate that only one set of political and social views are acceptable in modern Britain.”

Islamic students have expressed concerns over reports of proposals for major changes to the UK’s counter-terrorism strategy. In response, the Federation of Student Islamic Societies (FOSIS) has posted a press release detailing their fears that such a development would have ‘a detrimental effect on the Muslim community and would classify many Muslims as extremists’.

The recent events of the Israeli invasion and massacre in Gaza and the huge response from Muslims throughout the country who protested, threw the government back who thought that they had succeeded in the ‘blame game’, pinpointing what an extremist is and what are the fundamental factors which drives a person to terrorism.

“The bloodshed in Gaza could lead to more home-grown suicide bombers” is what Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said.

The hundreds of protests attended by Muslims, organised even in their local towns showed un-relenting support for the Palestinian cause and argued for the right of the Gazan people to defend themselves against the atrocities being committed by Israel, called upon Arab armies surrounding Israel to use military pressure and sever economic, Political and diplomatic links like Venezuela and Bolivia did and challenged the British government on its complicit silence over the events.

In the eyes of the British government and its attempt to define how Muslims are allowed to think and behave, even dictating the type of Islam that is allowed to be practiced, the above examples would classify most people, male and female, young an old, white or black and Muslim or non-Muslim as extremists.

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