‘Extremism’ – where does it stop?

26 July 2019

In the second part of two-part series, Carys Moseley comments on the implications of branding conscientious parents ‘extremists.’

In the first part of this series, I criticised the Lead Commissioner for Countering Extremism, Sara Khan’s, response to parents protesting outside primary schools. In a BBC Panorama on ‘Sex Education: The LGBT debate in schools’, she attacked the parents protesting the new Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) guidelines, saying they were guilty of ‘extremism’.

The question arose as to how on earth we got here. How could government officials and BBC journalists sink so low? And why did no other journalists investigate the debate more critically? Now, I shall show how we got here and where we are headed unless those at the heart of Counter-Extremism are publicly called to account and the Counter-Extremism Strategy is rewritten.

How we got here: government muzzling of press freedom

Given that the parents have been branded as guilty of ‘extremism’ on a BBC documentary, we must turn to the Counter-Extremism Strategy to find how it deals with press freedom. Paragraph 96 is entitled ‘Not engaging with extremists,’ and states, “We must be careful to only give a platform to the right people.” This means that once government officials brand certain people with certain views as ‘extremists’, they can just censor them.

Paragraphs 98-99 talk about the role of broadcast media and say the government will ‘help’ broadcasters deal with ‘extremists.’ Given that the BBC is the main broadcaster in the UK, it is bound to be receiving lots of ‘help.’

It appears that there is a discrepancy between these two sections of the Strategy. On the one hand, ‘we’ (government and its partners) must not engage with ‘extremists.’ On the other, broadcasters may interview ‘extremists,’ but must counter them. This appears to be the Home Office’s way of avoiding accusations of media censorship.

Sara Khan tries to get the press on board

As it turns out Sara Khan exhibits a troubling approach to press freedom. Earlier this year, she gave the annual lecture for the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO), a press regulator, and chose the topic of the role of the media in challenging extremism. She revealed that the Commission for Countering Extremism had“a series of productive conversations” with IPSO last year. Her entire argument was that the press should get on board with opposing ‘extremists.’

“A free and fearless press, determined to shine a light on extremism and the divisive tactics of extremists, is crucial.”

She then appealed cynically to journalists’ concerns about their own safety as follows:

“However, investigating and exposing extremism is hugely challenging and fraught with risks – not least the increasing vicious attacks on journalists from extremists and their sympathisers.”

Apparently, “extremists, and others are deliberately and strategically attacking the integrity and veracity of mainstream journalists.”

Perish the thought that anybody should question journalists’ levels of truth-telling! Nowhere does she ever discuss the flaws of the mainstream press. This is putting journalism as a profession above all criticism and therefore improvement.

Then she said this:

“Extremists are creating alternative social media outlets that are short on the principles of journalism and journalistic ethics, but are full of propaganda and conspiracy theories.”

No acknowledgment is made of alternative social media outlets as enabling diversity of news and views. Does she not respect some of the most basic principles of a free society?

Now for the crunch:

“What extremists have in common is an opposition to our rich diversity, equality and human rights.”

This is pure government propaganda. What on earth does it mean to talk about ‘ourequality’ and ‘our human rights’? Same-sex parenting, for example, is taking away children’s right to be brought up by their mother and father – a right which is defensible under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Same-sex parenting by its very nature excludes one sex from the parental couple bringing up a child, and thus denies that child the much-needed experience of learning of the equal worth of men and women, fathers and mothers. This only makes sense if marriage is defined as between one man and one woman as it is by Jesus Christ.

Freedom of speech hangs in the balance

No journalists in the UK criticised Khan’s IPSO lecture. Indeed, Sir Alan Moses, the chair of IPSO, and the Press Gazette, praised it to the skies. It is small consolation that some newspapers refused from the outset to join IPSO precisely in order to safeguard freedom of expression.

If some mainstream news outlets such as the BBC aren’t reliable in conducting critical analysis of the RSE debate, surely the obvious answer is that other outlets can do better, or that social media can come in useful. Here we enter the realm of disputes about free speech on online platforms.

The link between counter-extremists, IPSO and Google

It is highly relevant here that Nazir Afzal, the crown prosecutor who brought down the Rochdale grooming gang, unfortunately failed in his attempt to mediate between the parents and teachers in one school in Birmingham. Although this was reported in the press, what was not said is that Afzal sits on the IPSO Complaints Committee and also on the advisory board of Google’s Innovation Fund for Counter-Extremism. This turns out to be highly relevant to the RSE debate, because Google has been found to influence search results in favour of transgender ideology.

A group of American undercover journalists called Project Veritas were recently told by an anonymous Google employee that Google suggests dubious text if you type in ‘men can’ into its search engine. I tried it this week and found they were correct. In response to ‘men can’, Google makes the following suggestions:

Men can get pregnant

Men can have babies

Men can have babies now

Men can cook

Men can have periods

Men can think about nothing

Given that Google has basically decided to redefine men as ‘women’ (i.e. played along with the fantasies of female-to-male transgenders about themselves as ‘men’), we must ask whether Google sees opposition to transgender ideology as a sign of ‘extremism’. How long will it be before Google will censor websites and social media platforms telling the truth about who is male or female? And what do those involved in Counter-Extremism have to say about all this?

Where we are headed: transgender ideology trumps everything

Let’s take a closer look at the activities of Google’s Innovation Fund for Countering Hate and Extremism. In 2017 it awarded £1 million to fund counter-extremism projects in the UK. This was to be done in co-operation with the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD), an international counter-extremism organisation.

As it turns out, some of the money was awarded to a transgender youth project called ‘Transform Youth Action’ run by trans film project My Genderation and a Welsh Government-linked organisation called Youth Cymru, which works with transgender young people aged 13-25. Given this age range it is reasonable to conclude that this film is relevant to the debate on RSE in schools. Indeed, parents should watch out in case their films get shown in secondary schools.

Trans training South Wales schools as Counter-Extremism

The ISD brochure says this about the project:

“Transform Youth Action centred around Humanequin, a play with a cast of trans actors shaped by the stories and experiences of trans young people. Alongside Humanequin, the project also included a short film entitled Watch Me Exist, training for schools, creative workshops exploring equality and acceptance, and the production of a magazine created by trans young people. Youth Cymru also partnered with Mess up the Mess, My Genderation, Radyr Comprehensive School and the Wales Millennium Centre.”

This demographic information is relevant to the wider implications of the RSE debate.  Radyr Comprehensive School is a successful state school in Radyr, a wealthy middle-class suburb of Cardiff which does not have a high ethnic or religious mix, so not many Muslims. Cardiff does have more than one secondary school in electoral wards where most children are now Muslims from ethnic minority backgrounds. These are areas where there have been problems with Islamist extremism (understood in the conventional sense of feeding terrorism). A senior teacher from one of these schools, Cathays High School,moved to a job in one of the schools in Birmingham involved in the ‘Trojan Horse’ controversy in 2014. A former teacher from another school, Fitzalan High School, where 70% of pupils are from a Muslim background, wrote anonymously a few years ago about how the school was turning a blind eye to problems that should be reported under the Prevent Duty.

It is no accident that this transgender project did not work with these schools, for it would have undermined the credibility of Counter-Extremism work among the parents as well as the pupils, not to mention the teachers, too. In addition, anybody who knows Cardiff knows that Radyr is hardly a hotbed of far-right extremism, and really not in need of any programmes to counter it.

My Genderation film: ‘Gender is infinite’

This transgender project produced a film entitled ‘Watch Me Exist’. The lyrics to the song on the trailer on YouTube repay close attention:

“It doesn’t matter what you look like. This is how about how you feel on the inside.

You are beautiful, you are valid

And this two-sided concept is out-dated

Just gotta deal with it

Gender is infinite

You are the soul and this body is your chariot

Imagine a world where you can dress however, be whoever

It’s only possible when we are strong and stand together.”

And on it goes.

Theologically and spiritually, the first thing to say about these lyrics is that they replace God with the concept of ‘gender’. We can tell this because gender is described as infinite. The truth is that only God is and can be infinite. Of necessity, neither the universe that God has created – the creation, nor any part of it, can also be infinite.

This fundamental lie that ‘gender is infinite’ has been promoted with Google Counter-Extremism funding. The logical implication of this then is that to oppose these ideas is to oppose Counter-Extremism, and thus to be an ‘extremist’.

My Genderation film: Gender binary is ‘outdated’

The second thing to say about these lyrics is that they support the notion of going ‘beyond the gender binary’ of male and female. It is ‘outdated’. Looking at the film, it is fairly obvious that most of the young people featured are biologically female but wanting to look a little more like young men but also retain an ambiguous appearance which makes their biological sex hard to identify. This fits with the current data we have from the Gender Identity Development Service for Children and Adolescents, which is that most under-18s referred are girls. It seems therefore that the diversity of male and female is not acceptable in this Google-generated film. Is this the ‘rich diversity’ and ‘equality’ that Sara Khan praised on BBC Panorama?

Nazir Afzal and ‘violence against women’

There is a further twist in this tale, however, which is also relevant. Nazir Afzal is one of two Muslims who is an official adviser to the Welsh Government on Violence Against Women. He has stated that he wants Wales to be “one of the safest places to be a woman”in Europe.

The plain truth of the matter is that this aim is completely undercut by the normalisation of transgenderism and the rise and normalisation of non-binary identity among teenage girls and young women! For these ideologies involve normalising violent practices directed at the female body, such as breast-binding and mastectomies intended to erase secondary sexual characteristics. This institutionalised hypocrisy goes right through every level of government in the UK, thanks to transgender activism. To have it normalised and sanitised in the name of Counter-Extremism is completely unacceptable.

Rewrite the Counter-Extremism Strategy

What sort of mixed messages are being given to women and girls who need to escape abuse when they are told the ‘gender binary’ is ‘outdated’? That their knowledge and experience does not count as it is ‘transphobic’ and ‘extremist’. This is a huge trap and is the biggest elephant in the room of the Counter-Extremism Strategy. For the Strategy lists ‘gender’ not sex as a protected characteristic, despite having been written after the Equality Act 2010 was passed.

What moral right does any level of government have to demand that we all unite to oppose ‘extremism’, and that Muslims integrate into a society that is so de-christianised that it believes ‘gender’, not God, is ‘infinite’, and that saying you are either male or female is ‘outdated’? It is time the Counter-Extremism Strategy was rewritten to make it plain that sex and not ‘gender’ is a protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010. Until that happens, women and girls will not be given a clear message that their finite bodies are worthy of dignity and integrity, and transgender activism will continue to suggest and normalise severe doubts and self-hatred in their minds.

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