A series of websites intended to cater to young Muslims which promoted modern, progressive ideas have been revealed as being secretly funded by the British government.
SuperSisters, a website that published “inspiring and empowering content” to social media platforms targeted at young Muslim women was actually part of a Home Office counter-extremism initiative, administered by the Building a Stronger Britain Together (BSBT) programme.
British newspaper The Times has revealed that many who interacted with its content were angered by the revelations about its true nature, with one quoted as saying: “This is truly shocking and disturbing and feels entirely like a violation.”
A former member of staff for the group, who was not aware of the funding origin for her employer, described herself as feeling like “a female Muslim puppet”.
According to the report, the website was launched after UK-resident Shamima Begum, Amira Abase, and Kadiza Sultana travelled to join the Islamic State, becoming so-called jihadi brides. The website was intended to provide alternative narratives for young Muslims and to reduce the number of people who had “attitudes, beliefs and feelings that oppose shared values.”
Report: ‘British’ ISIS Bride Was Cruel Sharia Enforcer, Not ‘Housewife’ https://t.co/RYkZeLH8dI
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) April 14, 2019
Begum returned to the headlines earlier this year after she was captured by Yazidi military forces as the Islamic State collapsed and gave several interviews to British television stations, giving an unflinching and unapologetic account of her time in the caliphate.
Her account of feeling no regret or compassion at seeing a severed head in a dustbin because she believed the victim had been anti-Muslim caused severe revulsion back in the United Kingdom, where the government came under pressure to revoke the citizenship of the unrepentant Islamist.
ISIS Bride Vows Son 'Will Grow Up to Be a Jihadist' as Crumbling Caliphate Evacuated https://t.co/eO75y6pRU9
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) February 23, 2019
The SuperSisters funding revelations follow separate revelations in August over another government-funded social media network designed to infulence young Muslims. Originally reported by Middle East Eye and subsequently confirmed to the BBC by the British government, the Home Office had been funding another niche interest network, Woke, through the Office for Security and Counter-Terrorism.
The Woke group which disseminated content through Facebook and Instagram was obviously targeted at young Muslims and promoted feminism — but also encouraged the Islamic headscarf as an item of empowerment.
Why was Britain's Foreign Office so reluctant to admit this even happened? https://t.co/IE0Jk5oPvO
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) February 7, 2018
The report followed a series of strongly-worded claims that at times appeared to border on conspiracy theory concerning the British government engaging in programmes to control public perceptions and reactions to major events.
Labelled a “covert propaganda campaign” by a former Guardian columnist writing for the Middle East Eye (MEE) — which is itself allegedly funded by the government of Qatar — claims included the government channelling anger into anodyne emotionalism after terror attacks to forestall feelings of anger, and an anti-extremism programme targeted at Muslim women.
Examples given of this orchestrated “controlled spontaneity” include pre-planned vigils, inter-faith events, and posters after terror atrocities, according to the claims.
That the British government has indeed been funding some programmes aimed at shaping the views of young Muslims in the United Kingdom may be seen to add some credence to the MEE allegations.
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