By Muna Adil
Channel 4 recently attempted to give female Muslim voices a platform after a report titled ‘The Missing Muslims’ described the relationship between British Muslims and the UK government as “broken.”
Following the report’s overwhelmingly negative reception, Assed Baig, the senior reporter who presented the package last week, has since left the channel, although he and the network claim this was decided weeks in advance to the airing of the segment.
Yet this isn’t the first time Baig has come under fire for supporting controversial views. In 2011, he tweeted: “Anyone that attends a British government iftar is a sell-out and an Uncle Tom.” In 2012 he said that the “term Uncle Tom should be readopted in media and political circles” because it is “always relevant.” And in 2014, he tweeted “a man dances for his master because he’s a house Muslim,” in which he tagged Adam Deen, the Executive Director of counter-extremism organisation Quilliam.
Baig has also in the past refused to categorically state that members of the Ahmadiyya community are Muslim, said of British soldiers fighting in Afghanistan “They are not my boy or ‘our’ boys,” and in an article for The Huffington Post in 2013, reduced Malala Yousafzai’s incredible story of survival and resilience to “a historic racist narrative that has been institutionalised” of “a native girl being saved by the white man.”
While this is just a glimpse into Baig’s history of courting views typically taken by Islamists, his most recent report on Channel 4, one which the Deputy Editor of the channel Nevine Mabro called “fantastic” before viewers began picking it apart, easily takes the cake. In it, he interviews a number of young Muslim women who we are told are going to “fight back by rejecting stereotypes.” While the entire production of the report is absurd, with the interviewees standing in a boxing ring and striking punching bags and tyres, the most appalling aspect is perhaps Channel 4’s collection of what they assume to be ‘progressive’ female Muslim voices.
Baig opens the report with: “Stereotypes portray them as weak and meek. But this group of Muslim women don’t accept that.” One of the women in particular, Nadia Chan, expresses some particularly stunning views. Nadia introduces herself as an “anti-colonial Islamist.”
A quick Google search on Nadia would have found this:
- Of white people, she said “My condolences to you b*****s with white mums.” Called white people “honkies”, “swine”, and “cave parasites,” and quoted Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe, saying “the only white man you can trust is a dead white man.”
- She tweeted threats such as “All anti Pakistani & anti Muslim PARASITES r gonna feel my wrath, half these CONfued B*****S in London, can’t wait to meet 🙂 u gonna remember.”
- Of the Spain terror attack, she said: “Europe is paying for its colonial crimes” and exclaimed that the five terrorists shot dead weren’t given “due process.”
- She called Israel a “parasitic entity” that “MUST cease to exist,” and added “Furthermore, every single Israeli is a parasite.”
- She described the Independent Police Complaints Commission as “made up of ex-cops (pigs) … Pigs are pigs, time to get justice done ourselves.”
- On Facebook, she stated that the terror threat to Britain was “imaginary” and declared that “BBC is straight up Zionist, imperialist state propaganda.”
- On Iranian State television, she openly supported terror attacks and violence: “We must understand that Palestinians must take all forms of resistance to free their land,” including “everyday items to resist whether it’s knives, cars […] to strike fear in the hearts of their oppressors.”
Surely there was some research done before inviting the group to speak on behalf of, and as a representation of, young British Muslim women? If viewers were able to dig up all this information on Nadia just minutes after the report was added on the Channel 4 website, are we really supposed to believe that professional journalist Assed Baig and media machine Channel 4 were unaware of Nadia’s views before they decided to give her a platform on one of the UK’s largest broadcasting networks? Channel 4 have since removed the report from their website.
More information can be found on @uberfeminist’s Twitter thread.
Moderate and liberal female British Muslim voices exist. But in a country where Naz Shah wins brownie points for disparaging another woman for speaking the truth about grooming gangs, and where Amina Lone gets deselected after serving as councillor for seven years simply for voicing her opinion on the matter, it begs the question: is Britain even interested in hearing female liberal Muslim voices?
As for Nadia, and what appears to be a generation of Muslim girls in Britain who share her views, it is embarrassing to see that their version of “rejecting stereotypes” is anything but that.
Nadia and the other young women in the report attempted to argue that the government’s anti-extremism program Prevent was unfairly targeting young Muslims who are afraid to share their opinions lest they get “Prevent-ed.” Ironically, all this Channel 4 report has done is proven just how direly we need interventions like Prevent in order to nip this kind of vitriol in the bud before it transpires into more serious operational activities.
Muna Adil is a researcher and media strategist at Quilliam International. She read Philosophy at the University of St Andrews and then later went on to complete a Masters in Journalism from the University of Central Lancashire. Muna has contributed to several publications, including The Wall Street Journal, The Telegraph, and Newsweek.
6 thoughts on “Ironic anti-Prevent report proves just how direly we need the counter-terrorism strategy”
Yes I think Assed Baig’s former membership of CAGE tells you all you need to know about him. This report was really the culmination of a long line of dubious packages he has presented for the Channel 4 News. It is entirely obvious what his views are and what he got up to at CAGE and what their agenda is is well-known. I honestly have no idea why they hired him.
Speaking English does not promote integration into British, American and Australian societies, and broaden opportunities. English speaking Muslim youths are angry, frustrated and extremist, thanks to state schools with monolingual non-Muslim teachers and English language. English language is not only a lingua franca but also lingua frankensteinia. Human right are also covers linguistic right. Cultural and linguistic genocide are very common. British schooling is murdering community languages like Arabic, Urdu and others. English is today the world killer language. Linguistic genocide is a crime against humanity and British schooling is guilty of committing this crime. Language is not just a language. It defines one’s culture, identity and consciousness. It defines how we think, communicate and express ourselves. The fact is the most South Asian Muslims have come to know Islam by way of Urdu, the children’s alienation from the language that connects them the heritage of their parents and grandparents is disturbing. As a matter of fact, one has to get to know his mother tongue well if one is to master any other language.
There will never be an end to extremism and terrorism as long as Muslim children keep on attending state schools with non-Muslim teachers. Muslim children need state funded Muslim schools with Muslim teachers during their developmental periods. Muslim children must develop their cultural, spiritual and linguistic identities before they are exposed to wider world, otherwise, they would be lost in western jungle. It is a crime against humanity to send Muslim children to state schools with non-Muslim teachers. Children from minority groups, especially the Muslims, are exposed to the pressure of racism, multiculturalism and bullying. They suffer academically, culturally and linguistically: a high proportion of children of Pakistani and Bangladeshi origin are leaving British schools with low grades or with no qualification. The demand for state funded Muslim schools is nothing to do with integration or segregation. It is purely an educational issue.
You better teach your children in your own schools and let migrant communities teach their children according to their needs and demands. British Establishment and society should concentrate on the evils of their own society and stop trying to change the way of life of Muslims. Muslim community does not want to integrate with the British society, indulging in incivility, anti-social behaviour, drug and knife culture, binge drinking, teenage pregnancies and abortion. Prince Charles, while visiting the first grant maintained Muslim school in north London, said that the pupils would be the future ambassadors of Islam. But what about thousands of others, who attend state schools deemed to be “sink schools”? In education, there should be a choice and at present it is denied to the Muslim community. In the late 80s and early 90s, when I floated the idea of Muslim community schools, I was declared a “school hijacker” by an editorial in the Newham Recorder newspaper in east London. This clearly shows that the British media does not believe in choice and diversity in the field of education and has no respect for those who are different. Muslim schools, in spite of meager resources, have excelled to a further extent this year, with couple of schools achieving 100% A-C grades for five or more GCSEs. They beat well resourced state and independent schools in Birmingham and Hackney. Muslim schools are doing better because a majority of the teachers are Muslim. The pupils are not exposed to the pressures of racism, multiculturalism and bullying.
There are hundreds of state primary and secondary schools where Muslim pupils are in majority. In my opinion all such schools may be opted out to become Muslim Academies. This mean the Muslim children will get a decent education. Muslim schools turned out balanced citizens, more tolerant of others and less likely to succumb to criminality or extremism. Muslim schools give young people confidence in who they are and an understanding of Islam’s teaching of tolerance and respect which prepares them for a positive and fulfilling role in society. Muslim schools are attractive to Muslim parents because they have better discipline and teaching Islamic values. Children like discipline, structure and boundaries. Bilingual Muslim children need Bilingual Muslim teachers as role models during their developmental periods, who understand their needs and demands.
If you are going to live in a western country then speaking the language is pretty much expected. I would never be so ignorant and self righteous to move to another country and not learn and use the language and customs.
Well it could have been a lot worse……ninja nadia chan might have called white people “Crackas” & the sell out house “muslims” at quilliam et al would really have thrown their toys out of their prams. Fact remains that the secular “muslims” ( an Oxymoron in itself) have no traction or support within the uk muslim community. They are reduced to wailing on twitter & facebook. They object to muslim parents putting hijab on their daughters (so much for supporting parental choice, how very illiberal of them) & this in turn leads to increase in Islamaphobia against muslims. See if this post gets published or not
Excellent analysis and makes me even more proud to be a supporter or Sedaa! I saw the Assed Baig segment and thought immediately that it looked like a cheap piece of propaganda. Thank you for this excellent piece of deconstruction.
Thank you for the support Terri – Iram.