An important new academic journal article by CAGE Research Director Asim Qureshi highlights why CAGE is an important resistance movement and not simply an NGO working in the space of ‘rights’.
Published in the journal Nature, the article looks at how CAGE has resisted structural Islamophobia by speaking truth to power through our own narrative and language, not that set by others. It highlights some of our successes and how this effective resistance has been met with repressive tactics from the government.
In so doing the article provides lessons in resistance for individuals and organisations who are working to challenge injustices.
Our aim is to generate new and necessary conversations in this area, and to learn from the lessons of the past specifically those in Ireland and in the United States, where programmes like COINTELPRO criminalised black ‘suspect communities’ through the 1950s to the 1970s, and whose the very same methods are being replicated deployed against Muslims today.
Understanding and dismantling the politics of condemnation
Since 9/11 and the further emergence of ISIS, Muslims have been under pressure to condemn acts of political violence, when they have nothing to do with them.
The article explains how actively resisting this pressure, means Muslims no longer buy into the politics of condemnation, which posits that all Muslims are violent and when they are silent, they are condoning violence. We see this as effective resistance to structural racism.
We highlight the Islamophobia of some news presenters through their demands for ritual condemnation, in our view a demand that dehumanises Muslims since it rests on the assumption that we are inherently violent unless we speak out.
The article also asks questions of Sayeeda Warsi who singles CAGE out for failing to condemn, despite taking issue with the culture of condemnation in her own book.
Liberal complicity in structural islamophobia
The article demonstrates how structural Islamophobia is made possible with the support of liberal groups and organisations, who, in the name of protecting our liberties and rights end up, in practice, being complicit in systemic discrimination targeted at Muslims.
We demonstrate how claiming neutrality is not only a political position within itself but it is a position that permits and enables inequality and injustice to continue largely unchecked.
We focus on some of the comments made by David Anderson QC during his time as the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation, when he called for “stronger” laws in Western societies to counter terrorism without entertaining the fact that these laws stand to endanger all of society.
Indeed, in his perception of the world today, Mr Anderson seemingly places the blame of vigilantism against Muslims, at the door of Muslims.
We also highlight how it is important to note who he turns to for his understanding of Muslims: King Muhammad VI of Morocco, Matthew Wilkinson and Maajid Nawaz, all of whom speak from within the same securitised framework that has perpetuated the myth of an existential Muslim threat. .
The article also goes into detail about CAGE’s resistance to the PREVENT policy through the use of narratives by people who have been affected by what is at its heart, a discriminatory policy.
These patterns of discrimination are not new, but they are functioning within a new global paradigm. The article provides many touch points and themes for discussion that are relevant for those who are interested or active in the pursuit of justice and a more fair world.
If you are interested in reading the journal article in full, please click here.
(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.)