Official: I am an Islamic Extremist

Proposals being considered by the government “would widen the definition of extremists to those who hold views that clash with what the government defines as shared British values“. As part of a new “counter-terrorism strategy” the government would consider the following sufficient conditions for X-tremism:

  • Belief in armed resistance (or ‘jihad’), anywhere in the world.
  • Failure to condemn the killing of British soldiers in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Since my readings of the bones have in the past indicated not just an occasional support for armed resistance, but almost a general fondness for it in principle, and have never come anywhere near condemning the killing of soldiers in war, I suppose I am clearly an Islamic Extremist.

This amounts to saying that in any conflict in the world that the government decides to take a stance on, if you support the other side, you are ipso facto ‘extreme’. Obviously you’re not an extemist simply in virtue of, say, supporting armed occupation anywhere in the world, or failing to condemn the aerial massacre of non-British civilians in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Of course, the focus of all this is on Islamists. But we know that’s utter bollocks. Every piece of anti-terrorism legislation that’s been produced, supposedly to combat Islamists who wanted to kill civilians, has been used against others – such as against anarchists and environmentalists and animal rights-ists who have sought to damage property.

A final note on this idea of a “hate-filled ideology”. I don’t see anything wrong with a hate-filled ideology. Hatred of some things is appropriate; so is love, so is anger. It’s generally only people in power who have the luxury of ordering violent repression without being emotionally affected by it. Ernesto Guevara said, famously, “the true revolutionary is motivated by feelings of great love”, but also that they must become at times “a cold killing machine motivated by pure hate”. You might have various degrees of beef with Guevara, but I think it’s a useful point to bear in mind: any realistic appraisal of the world will prompt extreme feelings of all sorts. The important thing is not to repress or destroy your hatred – it’s to direct it onto the right targets, rather than onto bystanders, scapegoats, or rivals.

Lenin’s Tomb is similarly contemptuous.

21 Responses to “Official: I am an Islamic Extremist”

  1. missivesfrommarx Says:

    Right on! This is a disturbing new move there in the UK. Thanks for keeping us updated.

    Also, I dig your comment about hate.

  2. Emperor Penguin Says:

    ‘Those considered extreme would not be targeted by the criminal law, but would be sidelined and denied public funds. Ed Husain, of the Quilliam Foundation thinktank, said the root causes of terrorism were extremist views, even if those advocating the views did not call for violence.’

    One wonders why the government actually wanted to fund and court those who held such views in the first place. It is simply assine to promote via public funds those who are arrayed against the interests of the nation in such a manner.
    I agree with you on the abject shittiness of anti-terror legislation but I don’t believe that is the issue here. For once the government are being vaguely sensible. It is all quite shocking really. I am still pinching myself

  3. Emperor Penguin Says:

    In fact I am thinking this is the best piece of news I have heard in quite a while.

  4. Emperor Penguin Says:

    Some further points. Please excuse me, as you can probably guess I am at something of a loose end.

    ‘They promote Sharia law.’ This provision at least has the advantage that, applied strictly, it should bring about the shunning of the Archbishop of Canterbury.

    ‘They argue that Islam bans homosexuality and that it is a sin against Allah.’ Christians who denounce homosexuals have been publicly shunned, reviled and persecuted for a long time under Zanu-Labour so this provision heralds no change in government policy at all. It is obviously an exceedingly stupid way to define who might prove a real threat to our civilization but what can you do?

  5. Alderson Warm-Fork Says:

    It’s also partly the fact that this is being presented as a definition of ‘extremist’. We already have the near-meaningless ‘terrorist’ as an emotively-charged non-word, this is more of the same.

    But who’s “arrayed against the interests of the nation”? People who support the Palestinians against the Israelis are now by virtue of that ‘arrayed against the interests of’ the UK? Plenty of people could argue that supporting the deaths of British troops was in the best interests of Britain, because the more painful invading Iraq is, the less likely people are to invade somewhere else, and thereby attract more hostility against us. I’m not saying such an argument would be correct, I’m saying it could be made.

    Basically, this ‘interests of the nation’ thing is the same as it ever was: the government defines for itself what the nation’s interests are, and then suggests that anyone who disagrees is automatically some kind of psychopath who hates the 60 million people who did not write up this document.

    Unless you think the idea that no oppressed people anywhere in the world has the right to defend themselves by force really is the obvious, no-brainer truth that everyone on these great isles holds as their great ‘British Values’. In which case I don’t see how you account for “we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender” as anything other than a promise of “armed resistance” if occupied. Or is Churchill an anti-British extremist?

  6. Emperor Penguin Says:

    I am not really interested in what our government thinks of armed resistance movements around the world, no doubt we will support some as we have always done and condemn others. If it is a question of semantics that concerns you whatever, I’m not arguing. Given all the absurd things the government does I’m not too choosy of its exact wording when it starts to move in the right direction. The point is that those likely to give succour and ideological support to jihadis are manifestly working contrary to the national interest and should not be supported by funding or by being treated like a lobby group because such a policy is clearly insane.

  7. Emperor Penguin Says:

    On your last para I seriously doubt that is the intention of the government’s new plan. The wording is obviously clumsy. Get over it.

  8. Emperor Penguin Says:

    On your third para. The government’s job is to marginalize and reduce the influence of those who seek to promote a conflict between Islamic theology and politics on the one hand and loyalty to her Her Majesty and her peace on the other. They tried working with groups who said pretty much the same things about jihad and the evil of christian civilisation as the terrorist groups but who, for whatever reason, just didn’t feel like blowing themselves up that particular point in time. They have now decided this is not working so good. So they are trying something different. Trust me, not supporting those who wish to overturn our legal system in favour of sharia law and stone a couple of gays with money out of the public purse is an idea which has the overwhelming assent and approval of the British nation.

  9. Emperor Penguin Says:

    Or indeed those in high positions in the ‘community’ who endorse the fatwa against Salman Rushdie.

  10. Alderson Warm-Fork Says:

    I think this comes down to what context we’re looking at this in. You see this in the context of an ongoing need to marginalise islamists. I see this in the context of an ongoing drive towards greater state power and the use of the threat of islamism to introduce definitions, laws, habits of thoughts, and precedents which can then be used against all forms of opposition. I see this in the context of it now being, to a great extent, illegal to photograph the police, and historically, in the context of the laws that were used in other times of war to lock up communists.

  11. Emperor Penguin Says:

    Look, why would you want to fund, talk to and prepare concessions for groups whose ideology creates a climate where perhaps 10% of the Muslim population of Great Britain endorse the actions of the 7/7 bombers. Why would you want to give time to groups funded by Saudi Arabia and infected by the poisonous beliefs of the Wahhabis. Because in doing so you make terror attacks ever more likely and the danger more real and thus the scope for introducing draconian laws all the greater. Basically this wretched quisling joke of a government is trying its very hardest to eradicate the ancient liberties of the British people through fear of the terrorist threat and the fucking joke about it was that they were funding the wankers. Looks like this is going to stop and that is why I am a happy bunny.

  12. Emperor Penguin Says:

    I heard about the police photographing business. What can I say. I disagree too. Any marginally sane person would.

  13. Emperor Penguin Says:

    But. If you find my position confusing perhaps I should try and clear it up a bit. I don’t think your attempt at a reductio ad absurdum really worked with the Churchill example, I doubt the government really means armed resistance against oppression is wrong although obviously we do not really see ourselves as oppressors in Iraq (where we appear to have won at last) and in Afghanistan. However, the government do, in my opinion quite correctly, want to prevent british muslim youths conceiving of a hatred for western civilization and eloping to join the forces engaged against us in Afghanistan. Hence the attack on those supporting global jihad. We would be exceedingly dim witted to allow propaganda aimed at enlisting real armed support for our foes to go on under our noses. Now I accept that the idea that you are an extremist because you refuse to condemn the attacks on our troops may not have been the best line to draw. Perhaps a better one would be refusing to lament the deaths of Her Majesty’s soldiery. So while I agree they may have made a bit of a dog’s dinner of those provisions as to who is an ‘extremist’ (and they make a dog’s dinner of just about everything) preventing the accretion of hatred and dislike against our nation and the flow of british recruits to Al-Qaedas’ colours is really the only sane way to wage this war. And if all this contest 2 or whatever it was called does is limit funding and government attention to groups deemed to be promoting these seditious ideas it is hardly against liberty. Quite the contrary, it is astonishing it has not already been done.

  14. Emperor Penguin Says:

    You know Alderson you really are a treasure. Of all the despicable schemes and designs our foul government has, the ID cards, the 42 days detention sans charge, the religious and race hatred laws, the spies in restaurants the totally insidious creep of police competenance into every day disturbances, the abolition of double jeopardy (admittedly some of these were a while ago) you choose to whinge about nutters losing their public funding.

  15. Emperor Penguin Says:

    Not to mention the decision to keep out Geert Wilders.

  16. Alderson Warm-Fork Says:

    It’s not really about how the government deals with the hatred its unjust policies largely serve to inflame. After all, you say “Why would you want to give time to groups funded by Saudi Arabia”. Our government is a group funded by Saudi Arabia. Our government is not the good guys, so my aim in this post was not to put myself in their shoes and say “are they most effectively advancing their nefarious ends”. It was to draw attention to the development of a language in which the government’s rightness is definitional, and the support of its opponents automatically reprehensible. The growth and spread of words like ‘extremist’ and ‘terrorist’ is the spread of words that close down debate, because they are ludicrously defined.

    You’re right they made a mess of defining them. But that’s an indication of the fact they don’t have a good definition. ‘Extreme views’ is so often thrown around as a perjorative that one could be forgiven for eagerly awaiting a more precise statement of its content – and then the fact that the definition is a self-serving and inconsistent one is unsurprising. My principal interest was not the change in strategy itself but as a further indication of the stupidity of this sort of language and the way it’s used.

  17. Emperor Penguin Says:

    Your post only makes sense if we assume protecting the British public from terrorist attack, liberating the Iraqi people from the tyranny of Saddam Hussein and trying, originally at least, to take out the terrorist camps in Afghanistan were nefarious ends. They were not. If you didn’t agree with them there was legitimate political action that could have been taken like voting for Respect or the God abbored lib dems (and throwing out the evil Tony Blair). However, someone who believes western civilization is inherently evil and deserves to be destroyed and that khuffar deaths are not to be lamented even though you live under their laws and protection, is an extremist in my opinion whether they call for violent action now or when circumstances look more favourable. Zanu-Labour screwed up a bit with specific provisions as we agreed. As far as I can see it is pretty much in everybodies interest young british muslims do not go out to die or be tortured in Afghanistan and do not wish to commit atrocities on our streets. If in promoting this we use a bit of propaganda and utilize a couple of rhetorical techniques and heaven forbid cut some public funding I am very happy about that. You are correct that ‘extremist’ is the sort of word no one wants to be mates with, like ‘reactionary,’ or ‘fascist,’ or indeed ‘Zanu.’ Tarr someone with that and you sometimes get away without explaining all your objections but lets face it we are all at it. All the government is doing is saying it now does not want to be friends with some evil jerks and is no longer going to exploit the tax payer to allow them to run demented social programs. In the process they have used the word extremist. If all you were really objecting to was the use of the last word then I have wasted a lot of time over exactly fuck all this evening.

  18. Alderson Warm-Fork Says:

    I see no problem with imputing nefarious ends to the government. Increase own power; nefarious. Bring predictable decade of mayhem and bloodshed to two countries with strategic control over hydrocarbon reserves; nefarious. Wring hands over catatrophes abroad and then deport their victims so as to deflect public anger onto refugee scapegoats; nefarious. Maintain capitalism; nefarious. Building new coal-fired power stations and airport terminals in spite of global warming; nefarious. Doesn’t mean they didn’t also have noble intentions – motivations can be mixed up and combined.

    “[someone who etc.] is an extremist in my opinion”. Meaning what? That their views are unusual? Am I an extremist? Are minarchists and libertarians extremists?

    “As far as I can see it is pretty much in everybodies interest young british muslims do not go out to die or be tortured in Afghanistan”
    I think it’s also in everybody’s interests young british Christians and atheists do not go out to die or be tortured in Afghanistan. Guess which government is sending them!

    “If all you were really objecting to was the use of the last word…”
    I think most of my post was about that word – my focus was on its developing “definition”. I object to plenty of things but I don’t have a strong view on this government strategy itself.

  19. Emperor Penguin Says:

    Right. I guess we ought to wrap this one up therefore this is my last post on the subject. I’m sure you’ll be severely saddened at the colossal loss of wisdom and insights you have been imbibing from my posts but goods things must come to an end.
    I have no problem imputing nefarious ends to anyone, least of all those in power as I kind of thought my previous posts made clear. I disagreed about the nefariousness of the particular acts in question. Obviously we disagree on those but I thought the point necessary as, should I have granted it, I might have had to dissent from the policy I was endorsing.
    I thought I tried to define what I thought an ‘extremist’ was in the last post (or one of the last posts). It is a very poor term but then all of us use very poor definitions and labels to describe politics opinions and very often load them so as to disadvantage our rivals. Obviously Islamic Jihadist or Islamo-Fascist (although far from perfect) are better terms for what I want to describe.
    However my suspision is that the use of the broader and vaguer and ‘extremist’ stems less from a desire to slowly marginalize all dissenting views as the need to avoid offending muslims. Afterall, some rather scummy laws were just passed for this express purpose.
    I would in fact regard pouring money at you to teach how wicked our society is and why and how it needs overthrowing as being a trifle on the silly side although not as silly as the action they were taking regarding the islamists. I suspect the government do fund anarchist groups for specifically anarchist purposes however although correct me if I am wrong.
    Obviously we reacted to this issue differently, you see it in terms of an attempt at linguistic and ideological control through the imposition or suggestion of certain terms where as I was more concerned with this specific policy as a whole. My final point is that the fight against Islamic terrorism is not an a case of either accepting there is a threat and dealing with it or basically insinuating there isn’t (or if it is we just need to change our foreign policy) and arguing the government is getting the whole thing up to try and accrue more power. I agree they are using the threat of terrorism in the most horrendous ways (although I think they could go quite a long way without it though, it is not as crucial as you might think) but that does not mean there is no Islamist threat we have to deal with. And it is clearly good they no longer try to promote with one hand what they have to repress with the other. My apologies for the length of this, Ii do not appear to have your gift for p-roducing a succinct post.

  20. Emperor Penguin Says:

    Or indeed one so devoid of obvious grammatical and spelling errors.

  21. Alderson Warm-Fork Says:

    Good idea, this will be my last too. It seems odd that you suggest the government funds anarchist groups. Certainly plenty of anarchist individuals work in government-funded sectors but I’d be surprised to find any government voluntarily funding specifically anarchist organisations.

    “basically insinuating there isn’t [a threat from Islamism]”
    You’re right that I might have suggested as though there is no issue here, which would be wrong – there are threats. I do however disagree with almost all of the framing of the issue, so on some sentence like “Islamism is a threat” we might disagree. I think probably the best thing I could say without getting too long-winded is that I think categorisations according to ideology/religion is a very partial guide to the nature of political movements and groups – religion and ideology can be used for a wide variety of purposes, so different things called ‘Islamism’ may be a threat to different people, and may have more in common with other non-Islamist movements. So I guess I’m saying ‘Islamism’ isn’t necessarily what we should have as the noun in our “threat-sentence”.

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