SHAFAQNA – Hannah Smith, Director, Head of Research –Institute For Muslim Community Development Islamic Studies.
She holds a 1st class undergraduate MSci degree in Geophysics from Imperial College London, a Master of Science from University of Michigan in Geology and a Post Graduate Certificate of Education in Teaching Secondary Science and Physics from the Institute of Education, London. Hannah Smith, co-founder, of IMCD is currently a student of Arabic.
For a number of years, Hannah has been actively involved in various aspects of Muslim community support work, including leadership of the Muslim convert community, authoring dozens of faith-inspired articles, appearing on Muslim TV channels, developing new models of Muslim education and more recently honing the Muslim Manifesto concept.
Shafaqna had an interview with Hannah Smith regarding the Muslim community in Britain.
Muslims in Britain are today the victims of a major socio-cultural and political engineering exercise according to Hannah Smith, the Head of the Institute for Muslim Community Development. She says “Tony Blair’s promotion of the British ‘nanny state’ saw the emergence of a new level of social engineering in Britain and David Cameron also blasted out a ‘Big Society ‘ mantra at the start of his term in office maintaining the momentum of greater state interference in the lives of its citizens. His successor Theresa May is continuing to increase the invasion of individual privacy; tearing down hard earned UK civil liberties and human rights, particularly in respect of Britain’s Muslim citizens. This is, in part, being done through a continuation of the counter terror policies she implemented as Home Office minister and which now effectively target all Muslims in Britain through the Contest Two definitions of extremism.”
Of course all societies need a degree of social management to prevent chaos and conflict but she says “ there is something really dangerous about the current efforts of social control which, fuelled and justified by the threat of so called Islamist terrorism, are rapidly eroding hard won civil liberties and individual freedoms in Britain. “
The rise of ISIS has increased mainstream Britain’s fear of Muslims and the prevalent Islamophobic environment saw over 365 reported attacks in London alone during six months in 2015 – that’s a 65 percent rise in hate crime against Muslims. That figure has risen rapidly ever since. It is this climate of fear which has arguably allowed successive governments to extend existing terror laws, and made it easy for the State to use the public’s fear of terror to gain unqualified support for further managing the perceived British Muslim extremist threat to Western civilization.
Hannah fears that “these policies are victimising Muslims rather like the Jews of Germany were singled out for blame during the rise of Hitler. Media stereotyping of these Muslim communities has now reached a level where it is tantamount to becoming hate propaganda, and with the prospect of further British involvement in the so called ‘war on terror’, and more legislation against British Muslims in the pipeline there is a very real danger of creating a socio- political environment which, at its worst, could result in a civil war on the streets of Britain. This in turn could eventually lead to the ethnic and religious cleansing of Muslims here. Let’s not forget the massacre in Srebrenica and what happened to Bosnian Muslims on European soil just less than 40 years ago – so it isn’t that far-fetched a notion and we need to take steps to ensure we stop the hate immediately.”
Muslims will very likely form between 15 and 20 % of the British population by 2050 – this is a frightening statistic for neo conservative and right wing Britain and would in itself be enough cause for developing a national strategy of Muslim containment. The fact that Muslims are identified as terrorists, and happen to be largely immigrants, merely puts the icing on the cake for groups like Britain First , English Defence League, and even more worryingly mainstream political parties like UKIP. So the fascist propaganda machine is alive and well as far as they are concerned ‘the Muslims are taking over Britain and have to be stopped’
If for a moment we agree that fear of a Muslim way of life, or the inevitable rise in Muslim political influence in Britain, means that the British establishment has a vested interest in taming Muslim communities – is there actually any evidence to suggest this social management is taking place? If so how is it being done and how is it impacting Muslims and how are they responding?
According to her research Hannah Smith says there is a great deal of evidence and the bad news is that the social engineering industry for Muslims in Britain is already well established employing thousands of individuals, dozens of institutions and many government departments – all tasked with various religious or political control and regulation agendas aimed at Muslims. Her findings indicate that “ the various State and Neo- conservative players like the Henry Jackson society and policy Exchange invest in the development of strategies and policies in order to create specific negative narratives and outputs about, or for, the Muslim communities of Britain. These narratives are then developed into educational, socio-political or cultural programmes. These programmes are methodically piloted and projected to specific or general Muslim target groups, often through organisations or platforms trusted by Muslims, with the aim of exercising control over the direction of the targeted individuals or communities.”
IMCD research suggests that In fact there are a raft of organisations of all shapes sects and sizes that seem intent on inadvertently or deliberately socially engineering the Muslim community towards assimilation as ‘British Muslims’. These objectives are being carried out not only under the guise of counter extremism narratives but through mentoring programmes, anti-forced marriage initiatives and honour killing exposes.
Interestingly enough on the surface all these social initiatives are, of course, totally compatible with Islamic teachings but it seems somehow these programmes against anti social issues are being conflated with Islam as if they are an integral consequence of the religion itself. Hannah Smith concludes by suggesting that “This is just the tip of the iceberg of how Muslims are steadily being socially engineered to assimilate and to be fearful of the open expression of their Islamic beliefs in a so called ‘democratic Britain’ today.” The challenge for Muslims in Britain is to recognize the threat and to act decisively to counter this externally instigated socio religious engineering agenda or prepare for a State manufactured British Islam to take charge of those few young Muslims that are not already seduced by the hyper materialist cultural engineering of corporate power in the West.