Thursday, March 25, 2010

Centre for Social Cohesion - what a joke!

The so-called Centre for Social Cohesion claims to be a non-partisan think-tank that studies issues related to community cohesion in Britain. So you might expect it to publish sober and well argued and rather dry studies exhorting us all to greater efforts towards living together across cultures in a spirit of tolerance and mutual respect. Sadly this is not the case. The Centre for Social Cohesion is actually a neo conservative pressure group that promotes vicious islamophobia and outrageous attacks on moderate muslims like Yasmin Alibhai-Brown and those who support a multicultural and anti racist approach. Yes the CSC does leaven this constant diatribe with occasional attacks on the racism of the far right but this is the exception and does little to camouflage the real project of CSC which is to promote a war on islam under the disguise of a war on terror. The deeply unpleasant and bigoted Douglas Murray who pops up every so often on Question Time to make a fool of himself claims to provide a rigorous argument against Islamic extremism. However, in doing so he fails to make any serious distinction between Islam (a diverse and inclusive faith followed by millions of people world wide for 1400 years) and Islamism (a sectarian, xenophobic and ultra-reactionary sect sponsored by reactionary arab regimes and itself a product of modernism over the last two hundred years)
Yet again the terms “community” and “cohesion” are being used to legitimate divisive and reactionary approaches to our increasingly hyper diverse society. It is no surprise that the BNP calls its activists “community champions”. The often facile community cohesion projects sponsored by the current government in response to the outrages caused by violent Islamism often fail to make a distinction between muslims on the one hand and islamists (who believe in Islam as a political project) on the other, and worse with potentially or actually violent jihadists. As Ed Husain says: “if extremist Islam is the problem then it may well be that moderate Islam can be the antidote”. The Centre for Social Cohesions approach makes this sensible approach well nigh impossible.