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Boris Johnson – Muslim kids 'taught crazy stuff' by radical parents

Boris Johnson – Muslim kids 'taught crazy stuff' by radical parents

Categories: Latest News

Wednesday March 05 2014

The Daily Telegraph on Monday published the weekly column of London Mayor, Boris Johnson, in which he floated the idea of state intervention in Muslim family life to protect children of ‘radicalised’ parents from what he deems ‘child abuse’.

The London Mayor opines that “The law should obviously treat radicalisation as a form of child abuse” before articulating a defence for the excessive and discriminatory encroachment into Muslim private life by counter-terrorism officers.

The reason for such an illiberal policy: “how we prevent other young men, and women, from succumbing to that awful virus: the contagion of radical Islamic extremism.”

Johnson’s article comes after life sentences were handed to Michael Adebowale and Michael Adebolajo at the Old Bailey last week.

Johnson claims that ‘some young people are now being radicalised at home, by their parents or by their step-parents’ although he only cites anecdotal evidence of ‘one case where the younger siblings of a convicted terrorist are well on the road to radicalisation’ to back up the claim.

He argues that the British legal system evinces a ‘reluctance to be judgmental about someone else’s culture, even if that reluctance places children at risk’ and that counter-terrorism efforts need emboldening to allow for children deemed to be at risk of ‘radicalisation at home’ to be taken into care.

He state “we need to be stronger and clearer in asserting our understanding of British values. That is nowhere more apparent in the daily job of those who protect us all from terror – and who are engaged in tackling the spread of extremist and radical Islam”.

There is much to be concerned about when a senior politician representing the largest Muslim constituency in the country; 1,012,823 of British Muslims live in the capital (out of a total population of 2.8 million according to 2011 Census results) calls for intrusive and illiberal interventions into the private sphere on spurious claims that Muslim parents cannot be trusted to raise law-abiding offspring.

It may have escaped Johnson’s attention but the legal system has shown no ‘reluctance’ at all. Quite the contrary, the controversial Channel programme – which provides a ‘de-radicalisation’ pathway for schoolchildren and university students suspected of being ‘vulnerable to radicalisation’ is alive and kicking. As are discriminatory counter-terrorism powers which leave Muslims disproportionately at risk of intrusive questioning at ports and airports in the UK, when not being harassed by security officials to spy on their communities. If this is reluctance, what would full blown intervention look like?

What is disturbing in the view Johnson propagates is a disregard for the facts.

Firstly, the parents of Michael Adebowale and Michael Adebolajo were Christian and the two men converts to Islam. Johnson is acutely misguided if he thinks intervention of the sort he supports would have averted that particular incident, or incidents like it in the future. Bringing the state into the Muslim family living room is not going to address the problem of those attracted to extremist ideological strains in forums outside the family, like the internet, social movements or transnational virtual communities.

Second, he claims a causal relationship exists between ‘preachers of hate’ and the threat they pose by ‘sow[ing] the seeds of madness in the minds of impressionable young people’ but makes no mention of the two causal variables that we know had a demonstrable impact on the outlook of the murderers of Drummer Lee Rigby: foreign policy and alleged harassment by security agencies. The blindsiding of causal variables that matter and have an impact has been a consistent feature in the poor reasoning that has guided counter-terrorism policy to date. Rather than deal with the facts as they stand, policymakers and politicians have been busy shadow-boxing all the while introducing ever draconian measures to curtail civil liberties.

It is reminiscent of the early efforts of former PM, Tony Blair, to arbitrarily shutdown mosques regarded as ‘extremist’ in the unproven and mistaken belief that mosques where were young men and women were being radicalised.

Or the disclosures on the use of the Prevent programme to gather private information about Muslims and spy on them, allegations which the Government was forced to deny, though not without finding at least one Muslim to defend the abuse of Muslim civil rights.

According to a secret MI5 report on factors contributing to radicalisation, the four salient ones were found to be:

‘Trauma’, such as the death of a loved one: Ten per cent of terror suspects became radicalised after a life trauma,

‘Migration’: A third of all extremists ‘migrated to Britain alone,’

‘Criminal activity’: Two-thirds of the sample had criminal records,

‘Prison’: Muslim prisoners who are not religious are often radicalised in prison.

The report also notes, “The vast majority (90 per cent of those on whom we have data) are described as sociable, with a number of friends. Our data thus tends to contradict commonly held stereotypes of terrorists being “mad”, psychopathic or evil.”

Given the variables cited, just where does family life fit in and how would making Muslim children wards of the state help?

Johnson when challenged on LBC Radio about his views argued that the intervention envisaged should be extended to protect children whose BNP supporting parents raised them to be ‘full of hate’. The afterthought of applying illiberal state intervention in the private sphere equally will be of little comfort to those who readily await politicians addressing the counter-terrorism threat as it stands. The Home Affairs select committee report into The Roots of Violent Radicalisation, stated:

“We suspect that violent radicalisation is declining within the Muslim community.

“There also appears to be a growth in more extreme and violent forms of far-right ideology.”

And yet, Johnson’s article takes Muslims as centrepiece and not far right extremists. This despite a doubling of anti-Muslim hate crimes in the weeks and months following Lee Rigby’s murder, including the murder of Mohammed Saleem Khan. Little surprise the English Defence League’s twitter feed on Johnson’s article should spark a frenzy of anti-Muslim bigotry.

The matter is only compounded by the proposals advanced in the Taskforce on Tackling Radicalisation report which, for some, already goes too far in criminalising dissent and creating two-tier citizenship for British Muslims.

The focus on Muslims and the level of intrusion envisaged is striking when one considers the publication of the EU Fundamental Rights Agency’s report today on physical and sexual abuse suffered by women across the EU.

According to the report, ‘a third of all women in the EU have experienced either physical or sexual violence since the age of 15’.

In the list of countries where women reported the highest number of incidences of physical and sexual violence, the UK (and France) came 5th at 44% (compared to Denmark (52%), Finland (47%) and Sweden (46%)’. Given the high incidence of abuse suffered by British women, would Johnson inveigh against ‘political correctness’ and insist on the state’s intervention in the homes of white Britons in order to be ‘stronger and clearer in asserting our understanding of British values’? Or do womens’ rights only matter we’re talking about ethnic minorities and female genital mutilation?

The Times featured Johnson’s remark as their ‘Talking Point’ inviting comments from readers on the matter. One astute reader posted this amusing observation:

‘Boris’s article is in the Telegraph. He says “I have been told of at least one case where the younger siblings of a convicted terrorist are well on the road to radicalisation.” Daily Mail headline tomorrow Radicalisation Threat Sweeps Britain.’

The fight underway between Number 10 and the Home Office over reforms to stop and search, to avert looking weak on crime, looks mild in comparison to the political capital Johnson seeks to make from inviting further kneejerk discrimination against Muslims.


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