On Saturday 5th June 2021, The Telegraph published a story titled “Hate preachers now a ‘priority threat’ amid concerns over return of Islamist extremism” by Edward Malnick. The story is a regurgitation of similar Whitehall whispers which have appeared in the Telegraph and other outlets over the years. The utility of these pieces is to maintain Islam and politically active Muslims, broadly speaking, in the public eye as personae non gratae. It also harkens back to the type of hysteric anti-Muslim coverage we witnessed during the lowest points of the New Labour era, as the government sought to manufacture consent for its censorious anti-terror laws.
The reason for the publication of this story is to undermine the unprecedented swell of support for Palestine and the growing condemnation of Israel’s killing of Palestinians and the occupation of their land. Through this story, The Telegraph is seeking to move the spotlight away from Israel’s abuses by manufacturing stories that vilify those who support Palestine and smear them as ‘extremists’.
The irony, missed by the journalist, is that the same Government which has stoked racial tensions and whipping up ‘culture wars’ for its own nefarious agenda, also deems itself as arbiter on what countering fear and division. They are willing to run roughshod over the fundamental right to critique, and engage in high level policy discussions for anyone who does not parrot the state narrative.
At this point CAGE is presented as an example organisation based on two false claims:
- ‘Supporting violent Jihad overseas’. The truth is that we support the right of oppressed and occupied people to defend themselves. This is accepted across the world and enshrined in the statutes of the UN.
Furthermore, from training and supplying Afghan mujahideen in the 1980s to RAF missions in support of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group during the Arab Spring and, providing non-lethal aid to the Free Syrian Army – which fought alongside and shared resources with Al Qaeda throughout the Syrian conflict, Britain has supported “violent Jihad” more often and with more resources than any individual could dream of. Not out of principle of course but to secure ever-changing interests.”
- ‘Misleading and inflammatory attempts to label counter extremism efforts as Islamophobic’. Counter Extremism is based upon Islamophobic assumptions. This has been documented in our reports, corroborated by experts and academics and reflected in the lived experience of those impacted by these policies. One need only to look at the track record of those leading these efforts to come to this reality.
The author, Edward Malnick, did not even have the courtesy to approach us for comment. This is perhaps explained by the increasingly poor quality journalism from The Telegraph over the years. If he did we would have told him:
“These smears will never be enough to distract basic humanitarian concerns about Israel’s barbaric treatment of the Palestinian people.”
(NOTE: CAGE represents cases of individuals based on the remit of our work. Supporting a case does not mean we agree with the views or actions of the individual. Content published on CAGE may not reflect the official position of our organisation.)