Muslims are once more at the center of a budding storm, a new trend looking to criminalize not faith, or even ethnicity, but children.
If you thought neoconservatives and their fear-mongering legions could not stoop any lower, with their calls for ethno-sectarian profiling and monitoring of communities’ activities under the convenient banner of national security, you are in for a rude awakening.
Western Orwellianism is set to break a new frontier this year. Politicians and the media are now making a case against Muslim children, rationalizing their hateful prejudices under the veneer of social concern.
Governments, we are being told, are shaping increasingly stringent policies and civil restrictions to protect the multitude.
However, diluting civil liberties and denying individuals their human rights never made any society, nation or government safer.
If anything, it merely allowed officials to have greater powers over those people they were meant to serve, fueling a fear-based system conducive to ostracizing any individuals foolish enough to dissent from the politically correct mold.
If you thought Donald Trump’s call to ban Muslims from entering the United States was absolute political indecency, you will likely find this article disturbing.
For all his vile and bile, Donald Trump, the man Western media has learnt to hate with a passion, has become both a harbinger, and a spokesperson for further sectarian-based ostracizing efforts.
While some of his comments might still inspire revulsion, his ideas have resonated deep within America’s psyche.
From his generalizations on Mexican migrants to his injunctions to liquidate entire Muslim families based on the radicalization of one individual, Trump has really served as a powerful echo chamber for the draconian policies Western governments have yet to introduce.
An almost cartoon character, the Donald has become, willingly or not, a patsy for radical neocons, a voice which has shamelessly formulated the unacceptable and the amoral, shielded by a media machine that victimizes and castigates minorities.
However, the US does not stand alone in this descent into racist fascism.
Interestingly, it was the UK in 2010 that heralded a sharp shift in counter-terrorism consciousness, when the government introduced its controversial Prevent policy.
Among the many risk assessments and prevention techniques the government put forward was the monitoring of children, as early as in nursery school.
In the government’s own words, Prevent is “statutory guidance which makes clear that schools and childcare providers are expected to assess the risk of children being drawn into terrorism, including support for extremist ideas that are part of terrorist ideology.”
In reality “the guidance” requires teachers, childcare providers, local authorities, the NHS, the Border Force, prisons, mental health facilities and others, to spy on children and adults under the guise of preventing extremism.
By institutionalizing distrust and suspicion, the state is essentially projecting the concept that dissidence, i.e. criticism of the state, equates to domestic terrorism. Needless to say, this road officials have embarked on leads not to democratic salvation but violent repression – the word Stasi comes to mind.
Children increasingly stand in the firing line. While the trend has yet to become the rule, there has been too much writing on the wall for anyone to assume that reason will jolt people out of their racist trance. Fear and hate it appears are powerful narcotics.
In early January, Michael Dozier, a columnist with Epic Times postulated that the next terror attack would likely be carried out by the sons of the so-called Caliphate, those radical militants whose psychosis is rooted in the insanity which is Wahhabism.
He wrote: “While American children are playing video games and snapchatting, many children in Islamic countries are being indoctrinated in hate. When their training is through, they will be allowed into the United States as migrants.”
While Dozier’s concern is indeed rooted in reality, since Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) is actively raising young generations with their hateful ideology, his comments reflect a bias against Muslims that can’t be ignored. Rather than argue for a more severe crackdown on IS, through the deconstruction of its network, i.e. financial and military patronage, Dozier offers to victimize all Muslim children, on the premise that they are wired for terrorism.
Following the neocons’ rationale, Dozier noted: “As Syrian refugees rumble across Europe seeking asylum, they bring with them children, mainly boys. ISIS warned us themselves in their recent online magazine, DABIQ, that ‘they will be using the refugee crisis as an avenue to sneak jihadists into Europe and America.’” According to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), “58 percent of the Syrian refugees are men, 25 percent are children and 17 percent are women.”
This week, George Galloway told me something that really struck a nerve. “Fascist regimes,” he said, “can only be sustained through the projection of fear, social stigmatization and division.”
This is exactly what Western powers have done, are doing, and will likely continue to do unless people decide to stop falling for their vicious rhetoric.
If we fail to recognize the despicable and slippery road governments are pushing us towards, it is children who will ultimately pay the price of our compounded cowardice. Are we ready to live in a society that legitimizes child abuse in the name of national security?
In Canada, even infants have been flagged as a national security threat and put on a “no fly list.” Regardless of the insanity such allegations represent, government officials have yet to address the situation.
“Two Canadian children, who are both younger than three, were deemed potential security risks upon birth and have been placed on a no-fly list, their parents told the Canadian public broadcaster CBC news Monday,” read a report published in TeleSur on January 4, 2016.
Is this the new low neocons have in store for us? Is that the new normal we’re supposed to abide by, while Western governments continue to play the let’s-sponsor-a-terrorist-to-serve-our-imperialistic-agenda game?
Open your eyes!
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT. Nor do they necessarily represent those of Human Wrongs Watch.
*Catherine Shakdam is a political analyst, writer and commentator for the Middle East with a special focus on radical movements and Yemen.
A regular pundit on RT and other networks her work has appeared in major publications: MintPress, the Foreign Policy Journal, Mehr News and many others.
Director of Programs at the Shafaqna Institute for Middle Eastern Studies, Catherine is also the co-founder of Veritas Consulting. She is the author of Arabia’s Rising – Under The Banner Of The First Imam
**Photo: © UNICEF Syrian Arab Republic/2015/Soliman | Sisters Ghaithaa, Israa and Aisha, at home. The girls have suffered great loss during the Syrian conflict and find some solace in a child-friendly space in Qamishli.
***Photo: Refugee children from Syria at a clinic in Ramtha, northern Jordan | DFID – UK Department for International Development | Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license. | Wikimedia Commons