Sunday, December 16, 2007

COMMENT: A rather unconservative use of inkjet printers ...

Earlier this year, Crikey reported of how columnist Gerard Henderson went all the way to the United Kingdom to publish a monograph about Australian Muslims, doing so without interviewing a single Australian Muslim.

The publisher of his report was the allegedly conservative (I say allegedly because there’s nothing conservative about sectarian bigotry) thinktank Policy Exchange. The tank describes itself as being

... committed to an evidence-based approach to policy development … in partnership with academics and other experts.

Since that time, PE has published another report about how a fair proportion of UK mosques were distributing allegedly extremist literature. Yet an investigation into the research methodology used in the report shows a substantial amount of fabricated evidence.

It’s interesting to note that the volunteers who allegedly visited the mosques on behalf of PE are apparently from an organisation called the "Sufi Muslim Council” which was recently endorsed by the UK government. The chairman of that council is a Sufi "teacher" named Sheik Muhammad Hisham Kabbani.

Sheik Kabbani follows a line of Turkish sufis known as “Naqshbandi”. This order of sufis was described in an article in the most recent issue of Quadrant as promoting jihadist political ideology and of being “Islam’s Trojan horse” in the West.

So there you have it. One conservative think tank uses to expose jihadist literature members of a group which another set of conservatives describes as themselves being jihadists. Go figure.

As for Gerard Henderson, methinks he should think twice before allowing his name to be tarnished by association with groups exposed as fabricators of evidence.

UPDATE I: Here is how an anthropologist critiqued the report.

UPDATE II: The anthropologist writes to the PE report author here, and receives a response here.

UPDATE III: A somewhat flippant response here.

Words © 2007 Irfan Yusuf

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