Wednesday, 1 October 2014

What is "Non-Violent Extremism", David Cameron?

On the 25th September 2014, David Cameron presented a speech to the UN about the threat of extremism and what can be done about it. In his speech, he talks at length about ISIL and the recruitment of their members from the rest of the world, noting that already 500 Britons have traveled to the region to help fight in Syria. You can read the transcript of the full speech on the UK Goverment Website here, or watch a video of David Cameron delivering the speech here.



As the old saying goes, prevention is better than cure. And that is what David Cameron is calling for in his speech. He says:
"The root cause of this terrorist threat is a poisonous ideology of Islamist extremism....To defeat ISIL – and organisations like it - we must defeat this ideology in all its forms."
This is the first worry I have - how do you defeat an ideology, which by definition is only a set of ideas and beliefs?  Will it become illegal under international law to believe something? 

So what ideas might you have that pose a threat to the international community? Mr Cameron is very specific here:

"As evidence emerges about the backgrounds of those convicted of terrorist offences, it is clear that many of them were initially influenced by preachers who claim not to encourage violence, but whose world view can be used as a justification for it. We know this world view. 
The peddling of lies: that 9/11 was a Jewish plot or that the 7/7 London attacks were staged. The idea that Muslims are persecuted all over the world as a deliberate act of Western policy. The concept of an inevitable clash of civilisations."

So simply being a conspiracy theorist makes you an enemy of the state? A conspiracy theorist is somebody who questions inconsistent evidence given by the official or widely accepted version of events. These people are actually not causing any direct harm. Simple questioning of those in power is something that I believe is important in an honest, open and democratic society. It is exactly what I am doing here, questioning a speech made by the Prime Minister. How this blog post may be interpreted by my readers does not make me responsible for their actions. I am simply putting forward an alternate view, in a non violent way. 

Islamic Extremists use all sorts of ideas that make up this world view David Cameron is talking about, and take all sorts of information to justify their actions. Islamic Extremists are so called because they have interpreted the Qu'ran, or at least some parts of it, in a certain way that justifies their acts of terror. In the same way, the Nazi's used certain sections of Nietzsche's philosophy to justify their fascist regime and the persecution of the Jews. In my opinion, neither Nietzsche or the Qu'ran call for the actions that a minority of their followers have carried out. So are they really to blame?

The implications of what David Cameron is saying are huge. Simply for having your opinion interpreted in a certain way that condones violence by extremists (even if you don't agree with that yourself), you will be labelled a non-violent extremist, and be treated by the state as a terrorist. 

This follows recent threats by UK Police that by watching the beheading of James Foley on Youtube etc. you could face arrest over Terror Charges. However, this proved to be an empty threat after over 2 million Brits watched the video online.

From what David Cameron is saying, soon it could be left up to the government to decide whether or not you are a terrorist based on your beliefs, regardless of any harm you yourself may have caused. He has already given Teresa May the power to refuse any Briton access into or out of the UK, and now could more powers be given to sanction so-called 'Non-Violent Extremists'?

It seems that they are already being prepared