Sara Khan

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gra­cious, the Most Merciful.

As-salā­mu ‘alaykum wa-rah­mat­ul­lāhi wa-barakā­tuh (Peace, Bless­ings & Mer­cy of Allah be upon You).

This state­ment is being issued on the 26th of Jan­u­ary 2018 and super­sedes all pre­vi­ous state­ments on the subject.

Commission for Countering Extremism

The Com­mis­sion has a clear remit to sup­port the Gov­ern­ment, the pub­lic sec­tor, civ­il and wider soci­ety to iden­ti­fy and chal­lenge all forms of extrem­ism. Its aims are iden­ti­fied to be as follows:

  • Iden­ti­fy extrem­ism and advise the Gov­ern­ment on new poli­cies to tack­le extrem­ism, includ­ing whether there is a need for new powers;
  • Sup­port com­mu­ni­ties and the pub­lic sec­tor in con­fronting extrem­ism wher­ev­er it exists;
  • Pro­mote British val­ues and com­mu­ni­ty cohe­sion – includ­ing ensur­ing women’s rights are upheld

We wel­come the idea but “extrem­ism” is still ill defined and its def­i­n­i­tion needs to be made firmer before it can be coun­tered. British Mus­lims are far more like­ly to be caught up in the drag­net of pro­grams like PREVENT due to the loose def­i­n­i­tion of “extrem­ism”.

Green Par­ty mem­ber of the House of Lords tweet­ed a response to Zac Goldsmith:

The terms are so loose that I was on the Met’s #Domes­ticEx­trem­ist data­base for >10 years. And I’ve repeat­ed­ly pressed in par­lia­ment for a bet­ter def­i­n­i­tion of #extrem­ist but with­out suc­cess. You can’t fight some­thing you can’t prop­er­ly describe.

Lead Commissioner for Countering Extremism

The Gov­ern­ment launched the search for the Lead Com­mis­sion­er back in Sep­tem­ber 2017 for a peri­od of 3 years at the cost of £140,000 per annum to the British taxpayer.

It was announced recent­ly that Ms Sara Khan will lead the com­mis­sion for a peri­od of 3 years, we dis­agree with the appointment.

Since the remit of the Lead com­mis­sion­er would be to sup­port com­mu­ni­ties in con­fronting extrem­ism we believe that the choice of Ms Khan should be recon­sid­ered. We agree with the views of the MCB that “the Lead Com­mis­sion­er should have a track record of trans­paren­cy, account­abil­i­ty and expe­ri­ence in gar­ner­ing trust amongst the com­mu­ni­ties they serve”.

Ms Khan has shown a ten­den­cy to be divi­sive in the past and lacks trans­paren­cy. She lacks sup­port among the Mus­lim com­mu­ni­ty and the com­mu­ni­ty views her as untrust­wor­thy. Her appoint­ment at a time when mem­bers of the police and intel­li­gence ser­vices need to gain the trust of the Mus­lim com­mu­ni­ty is coun­ter­pro­duc­tive and will fur­ther alien­ate the Mus­lim com­mu­ni­ty. The appoint­ment of Ms Khan to lead the com­mis­sion sends a clear mes­sage that the Gov­ern­ment is not seri­ous about improv­ing dia­logue with the Mus­lim com­mu­ni­ty to counter extrem­ism. This deci­sion tak­en to pla­cate a minor­i­ty is dis­turb­ing and will dis­may large sec­tions of the Mus­lim com­mu­ni­ty and should be reversed. 

It is regret­table to note that cer­tain mem­bers of the con­ser­v­a­tive par­ty such as Zac Gold­smith are attempt­ing to frame those who dis­agree with the appoint­ment of Ms Khan as “extrem­ists”. We have worked hard to encour­age the Mus­lims to tak­ing greater part in the British civic soci­ety, define the terms such “The Deoban­di”, “The British Deoban­dees” and advance greater under­stand­ing of divi­sive con­cepts such as “Al-Wala Wal-Bara”. Organ­i­sa­tion such as MCB and MEND have a proven track record against extrem­ism. Mus­lim Women’s Col­lec­tive has done fan­tas­tic work to sup­port and empow­er Mus­lim women in Tow­er Ham­lets. Baroness War­si is a mem­ber of the House of Lords and Naz Shah is a mem­ber of the Par­lia­ment. All of these voic­es are urg­ing the Gov­ern­ment to recon­sid­er the appoint­ment of Ms Khan. It is disin­gen­u­ous to con­flate tra­di­tion­al Islam­ic prac­tis­es and val­ues as anti-British or a cause of extrem­ism when dis­cussing the appoint­ment of Ms Khan.

Thank you