British Muslims, Cultural Freedom, Political Dissent, and the Counter-Extremism Industry: Some brief reflections on “Bradford in Our Own Words: Resisting Counter-Extremism Apparatus”

On a sweltering Sunday afternoon (30 June 2019), a hundred or so people, mostly young, were packed in together at the Speakers Corner Collective [1] on Ivygate in the centre of Bradford. They came to discuss the withdrawal from the Bradford Literature Festival 2019 by a number of writers, artists and speakers.[2] This withdrawal was sparked by the news that a pre-festival project promoting the literacy and education of British Pakistani women had been funded by a Home Office counter-extremism fund, established in 2016, called Building a Stronger Britain Together (BSBT).

White Women, Muslims and the Nation

On March 15, 2019, a white supremacist walked into two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand and shot and killed 50 Muslims. All over the world, vigils to mourn the dead were quickly organized to bring together communities in shock. In New York City, two NYU students, Leen Dweik and Rose Asaf, were present at a local vigil for the Muslim victims, as was Chelsea Clinton.