The Guardian says so.
Scotland Yard commander Mak Chishty said children aged five had voiced opposition to marking Christmas, branding it as “haram” – forbidden by IslamSo? I’m not particularly fond of Christmas myself. I’m not sure I see a huge difference between five-year-olds being told that Christmas is haram and being told that it’s of magical importance.
He also warned that there was no end in sight to the parade of British Muslims, some 700 so far, being lured from their bedrooms to Syria by Islamic State (Isis) propaganda.That might be the case, but I’m having difficulty in understanding why that’s the Met’s business. I’m not sure it’s anyone’s business, although I’d personally very much prefer it if people here and elsewhere didn’t go to fight for IS.
In an interview with the Guardian, Chishty said there was now a need for “a move into the private space” of Muslims to spot views that could show the beginning of radicalisation far earlier.And here we have the part that’s nobody’s – and certainly not the Met’s – business. ‘Moving into the private space’ sounds fairly innocuous, doesn’t it? An operational matter so routine that it has its own jargon. But what it means is spying:
He said [radicalisation] could be shown by subtle changes in behaviour, such as shunning certain shops, citing the example of Marks & Spencer, which could be because the store is sometimes mistakenly perceived to be Jewish-owned. Chishty said friends and family of youngsters should be intervening much earlier, watching out for subtle, unexplained changes, which could also include sudden negative attitudes towards alcohol, social occasions and western clothing.So he doesn’t want to spy on people himself, he wants everyone to spy on each other. And then report behaviour he personally defines as suspicious to the police. What does he imagine the police are going to do about it? Arrest people for not wearing M&S pants?
But some will argue that his ideas walk a fine line between vigilance in the face of potent extremist propaganda and criminalising thought.There is no “fine line” here. He’s saying that people with certain beliefs or who do certain benign things out to be subject to automatic suspicion and unspecified police action, regardless of whether they’ve done anything wrong. I think it’s essential to prevent grooming of all kinds but I doubt that spying on those groomed is the way to achieve this.
“We need to now be less precious about the private space. This is not about us invading private thoughts, but acknowledging that it is in these private spaces where this [extremism] first germinates. The purpose of private-space intervention is to engage, explore, explain, educate or eradicate. Hate and extremism is not acceptable in our society, and if people cannot be educated, then hate and harmful extremism must be eradicated through all lawful means.”On the contrary. We need to be more “precious” about private space, precisely because people like him wish to invade it.
Asked to define “private space”, Chishty said: “It’s anything from walking down the road, looking at a mobile, to someone in a bedroom surfing the net, to someone in a shisha cafe talking about things.”Gaze is suspicious? Our looking at our phone is something the police might need to know about?
Questions should be asked, he said, if someone stops shopping at Marks & Spencer or starts voicing criticism. He said it could be they were just fed up with the store, but alternatively they could have “hatred for that store”.It’s perfectly fine to hate stores. I hate the Disney store. Hey, wait, Hollywood is often mistakenly perceived to be Jewish-owned so my dislike of the Disney store is obviously hate thought. And therefore my friends and family should report me to the police. What’s wrong with you, friends and family?
He said the community should “look out for each other”, that Isis was “un-Islamic”, as proven by its barbarity.And that is not a police matter. He’s trying to police his version of Islam with actual police. He doesn’t get to decide what behaviour is suspicious or what private spaces the police get to invade.
And thank fuck for that.