A Yes vote would make it harder to tackle extremism

The Scottish National Party has failed miserably to engage in preventing Islamist extremism.

 The Scottish National Party has failed miserably to engage in preventing Islamist extremism

We are facing an international and unprecedented threat from extremist Islamist groups and individuals. This threat is acutely felt in the UK since we have experienced the terror attacks of 7/7, have foiled over 30 major terrorist plots since 7/7 and have over 500 fighters – from both England and Scotland – that have joined ISIS.

With this in mind, it is important to note that the Scottish National Party (SNP) has failed miserably to engage in preventing the Islamist extremism agenda. In fact, Alex Salmond has even appeased Islamist extremists and spent tax payer’s money to fund them.

Quilliam highlighted this when we exposed the fact that the SNP endorsed an Islamist candidate, Osama Saeed, in 2009 as their Parliamentary Candidate for Glasgow Central. Had he been elected, the former spokesman for the Muslim Association of Britain (MAB), which is a front-group for the Muslim Brotherhood – the world’s largest Islamist movement – would have become the UK’s first ever openly Islamist MP.

Furthermore, Saeed’s had formerly worked for Alex Salmond and then went on to establish the Scottish Islamic Foundation (SIF), which received over £400,000 from the Scottish government. Since its creation, the SIF has acted to provide a platform for a wide range of high-profile Islamists while also promoting religious separatism and a range of Muslim Brotherhood-style policies.

Examples of Saeed’s politics include:

  • Support for the homophobic, anti-Semitic hate preacher Yusuf al-Qaradawi.
  • Religious separatism and attacks on moderate Muslim scholars.
  • Support for the idea of a Caliphate – particularly dangerous given the current threat that the UK is facing with the so called Islamic State (IS) and the foreign Jihadis – some of them who are from Scotland.
  • Urging Muslim ‘defiance’ of police counter-terrorism efforts.
  • Giving a platform to extremists.
  • An ambiguous stance on Sharia punishments.

Furthermore, the Scottish Islamic Foundation had claimed a full third of ’equality’ funding in Scotland, from 2007 till 2010.

Fast forward to 2014 and we find that the funding and empowering of Muslim Brotherhood Islamists as well as their empowerment over recent decades has left our society primed for recruiters to cherry-pick people to fight for Jihadi organisations around the world.

David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg have all alluded to the fact that this is the biggest threat that we face to our national security. Most Western leaders have come to the same conclusion – and yet we have stony silence from Alex Salmond.

Perhaps he doesn’t believe that Islamist extremism poses a threat. Or maybe he feels another strategy is appropriate? Perhaps he is so fixated in taking Scotland out of the United Kingdom that he just doesn’t care about anything else?

Either way, the current growth in the Islamist ideology, and the appeasement they are getting from the SNP, is quickly leading to more moderate Muslims being squeezed out. This can only lead to further disenfranchisement and more recruits to the Islamist cause; as well as feeding into the symbiotic relationship that this ideology has with the far-right.

In order to prevent the dire implications of this happening, we must promote a liberal and secular society that we all believe in as well as challenge Islamist and far-right narratives. Scotland currently has the ability to implement its own strategies but still has the benefit of guidance and direction from experts in Westminster and Whitehall.

Without this, we run the danger of the SNP going completely rogue on this issue, and it clearly doesn’t know how to combat the growth of these ideas nor does it seem to have the desire or the stomach for the struggle.

Hence, a ‘yes’ vote could potentially make the UK a lot less safe and undermine counter-extremist efforts. This could also explain why some security experts believe that even ISIS are in favour of ‘yes vote. For these, as well as many other reasons, Scots, both Muslim and non-Muslim, must vote ‘no’.

Haras Rafiq is an outreach officer at Quilliam

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11 Responses to “A Yes vote would make it harder to tackle extremism”

  1. Ian

    This article is entirely flawed. I am not arguing with the facts surrounding Islamist extremism, but rather the tenuous (at best) correlation between fighting extremism and Scottish independence. It is based an SNP from 2008 and 2009 ( I have seen no evidence to suggest continued support), and makes the assumption that the SNP would form the first government of an independent Scotland. It is correct that far-right narratives must be challenged but the conclusion that “we run the danger of the SNP going rogue on this issue” is far fetched. The reality is that in the event of a Yes vote and the creation of a new Scottish state, an election would take place to choose the government. To suggest that tackling extremism would be more difficult should the Scottish people vote yes to independence is a headline worthy of the daily mail.

  2. treborc1

    Best laugh I’ve had in a while, vote no to make sure we do not have extremists.

  3. Gary Scott

    Vote NO or a big scary man will come and get you! Woooo!!

  4. Guest

    Vote YES and Gary will come and get you! Woooo!!

  5. Guest

    The SNP’s record on this *is* terrible. And trying to deny they’d form the first government, and set the agenda…lol.

  6. TN

    Possibly the most shameless pro-union pitch on this faux left neoconservative website yet. And that says a lot given the volume of No campaign guff Right Foot Forward has published.

  7. Osama Saeed

    This article needs some balance on SIF’s record. Amongst SIF’s activities:

    – successfully calling for legislation to tackle forced marriage
    – organising Scotland’s first festival of Muslim cultures, encompassing theatre, literature, film and more
    – offering to protect a synagogue when it was attacked by youth who were Muslims
    – joining young Muslims with churches, trade unions and others to tackle the rise of the far-right SDL
    – organising young Muslims in projects to feed the homeless and refugees

    By the way, the article talks about SIF in current terms and seems oblivious to the fact that it was wound up in 2011, with funding ending in 2010, so the attempt to link it to the situation now is tenuous to say the least.

    Some factual inaccuracies in the article:

    1. I’m not “openly Islamist”. My views on this can be read here https://scottishislamic.wordpress.com/2009/09/22/speech-on-islamism/ and here http://www.osamasaeed.org/osama/2010/04/bored-of-the-islamism-debates-and-witchhunts-youre-not-alone.html
    2. Sohaib was never employed by myself or the SIF
    3. Saying SIF got a third of all equality funding between 2007 and 2010 is ridiculous. Most of the reported 400k figure was returned unspent to the Scottish Government, and in any case is a small fraction of the millions they spent on equality groups across faith, race, gender, LGBT, and disability in that time.

    I note Quilliam is headed by a prospective Liberal Democrat candidate, and the party has a clear view on the Scottish referendum. Quilliam may or may not be in receipt of funds from the UK government, and may or may not be seeking further finance while offering their views in support of the UK government’s policy on the referendum.

  8. Stephen Bee

    If the UK Government were serious about stopping Terroism..They should, along with the USA…STOP funding them!!!

  9. swat

    The article is right in saying that the Muslim Brotherhood are the pits, but to suggest that Saeed would have been elected is mistaken. Having said that, Saeed’s equivalent the Respect MP Galloway was electred in Bethnal Green and in Bradford. There has been too much kowtowing by all Parties to the Muslim vote including the SNP, but now we know their real agenda and it must stop. The entryism of extremism in Birmingham Schools should be a salutary example of the tricks they can get up to.

  10. Guest

    Desperate stuff

  11. Ian

    Hardly a denial. In the event of a new state being created, there would follow a democratic process to elect a government. In the 18 months between the vote and independence there will have to be a shake up of the party system in Scotland. None of the existing parties can continue in their current form following a yes vote.

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