Citizens Khan And The Home Office Propaganda Effort

Always Worth Saying, Going Postal
Sara Khan.
Sara Khan, human rights activist,
Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

‘He did not know her name, but he knew that she worked in the Fiction Department. Presumably – since he had sometimes seen her with oily hands and carrying a spanner – she had some mechanical job on one of the novel-writing machines. She was a bold-looking girl, with thick hair. It was always the women, and above all the young ones, who were the most bigoted adherents of the Party, the swallowers of slogans, the amateur spies and nosers-out of unorthodoxy. But this particular girl gave him the impression of being more dangerous than most.’ – Orwell’s description of Julia, 1984.

The Khan Review, grandly subtitled ‘Threats to Social Cohesion and Democratic Resilience: A New Strategic Report,’ is a recently published work authored by Dame Sara Khan, a Bradford-born privately educated 44-year-old who attended the University of Manchester where she qualified as a pharmacist. One of four siblings, two boys and two girls, her sister is the interesting Sabin Kahn, also known as Sabin Malik – more of whom later.

Although on the front page of her report, Sara claims to be an ‘independent’ adviser to the UK government, she is nothing of the sort. Rather, Ms Khan is the verbose brown face of a floundering Home Office propaganda effort, rudderless in the face of conflict here caused by mass immigration and the resulting religious and racial segregation, and stoked by events beyond our control overseas.

In her review, Khan claims social cohesion is threatened by far-right and Islamist extremists. She recommends the setting up of a monumental social cohesion bureaucracy topped by a cross-Whitehall Cohesion Response Unit. This will undertake ‘horizon-scanning initiatives’ alongside a newly established Office For Social Cohesion And Domestic Resilience. Perhaps to be headed by Ms Khan herself?

Commentators encouraged by the Review’s sympathetic hearing given to the Batley grammar school teacher threatened with death following his classroom use of a cartoon of the Prophet Mahommed, will be disappointed as they read further. Hostels for illegal immigrants are ‘asylum hotels’. Concerned parents who protest their daughters being assaulted by the residents are ‘far-right actors’ guilty of ‘harassment, intimidation and violence.’

Her case study of the Eleanor Williams case in Barrow-in-Furness references ‘Asian’ restaurants in the town being vandalised and ‘Asian’ staff abused but fails to mention the Asian Muslims charged with the offences Ellie complained of. There is also no mention of other girls in the town also accused of perverting the course of justice but against whom charges were dropped. As for the integrity of the investigation that convicted Ellie Williams, decide for yourself here. Another Khan case study references Oldham. Ludicrously the author states:

One illustrative example concerns historic child sexual exploitation and the spread of false allegations on social media that Oldham Council orchestrated a cover-up over grooming gang activity in the town. This led to the commissioning of an independent review of historic safeguarding practices in November 2019, which reported that, while safeguarding practices were inadequate, there was no evidence of a cover-up or any misconduct in public office by any council staff.

This is tosh. The ringleader of the Oldham rape gang, Shabir Ahmed, worked for Oldham Council as a welfare officer. Although the Oldham report’s authors attempted a whitewash (one perpetuated by Khan), mainstream and alternative media (including this G-P article), disproved the report’s conclusions from references to its own content. Even the Guardian newspaper suggested council officers misled a House of Commons select committee.

This begs the question, if not a seeker after truth, what is Miss Kahn’s role in the great scheme of social cohesion?

Always Worth Saying, Going Postal
2005 London bombings.
Ambulances at Russell Square, London,
Francis Tyers
Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

Sara Khan claims to have been a hospital pharmacist when Muslim terrorists bombed London in 2005, at which point, in her own words, her ‘professional life in this kind of thing began.’ That year she took a seat on the Home Office’s Tackling Extremism and Radicalisation Working Group. Three years later, she co-founded the Inspire charity alongside lawyer Tahmina Saleem. Inspire aimed to counter extremists and further gender equality within Islam. The charity claimed, and continues to claim, that is it an independent non-governmental organisation. As we shall see, this is also tosh.

At this point, enquirers must take a step backwards to 2007. In response to the London bombings, the Home Office set up a Prevent programme to challenge al-Qaeda-based domestic Muslim violence. The Prevent effort included a Research Information and Communication Unit (RICU) founded by Charles Farr, a former MI6 officer and head of the Office for Security and Counter Terrorism (OSCT).

A decade later, the Guardian described RICU as a ‘shadowy propaganda unit inspired by the Cold War’ and the successor of an ‘offensive [that] targeted communism, trade unionists and newspapers in developing countries.’ The article goes on to mention what Puffins already know. The inspiration for RICU came from the Foreign Office’s former Information Research Department, or IRD, of which readers were informed during G-P’s investigation into Nazanin Zaghari Ratcliffe’s part in the present-day propaganda war against Iran.

In brief, the Foreign Office established the IRD as a Cold War propaganda department in 1948. With close ties to the intelligence services, the IRD was tasked with providing information to be used as propaganda to counter Communist activities in Western Europe, British colonies and elsewhere across the globe. A clandestine organisation, its existence became public in 1977, by which time successor organisations had taken over its role.

Journalists and opinion formers were selected with care and introduced to the IRD with discrection, being told as little as possible about the organisation. Well-researched and slanted anonymous copy passed to them to incorporate into, or pass off as, their own published work. It is telling that in the modern-day, an effort once reserved for troublesome outposts of the Empire is now used against the British public.

Having been re-established in 2007, an early RICU operation took part in the enriched London Borough of Hounslow. Under the auspices of a Principle Community Cohesion Officer, according to the jargon, ‘two sub-regional Pathfinder Programmes on Community Cohesion and Preventing Violent Extremism’ were established. That Principal Officer was Sabin Malik, also known as Sabin Khan – Sara Khan’s sister.

Always Worth Saying, Going Postal
Hounslow Mosque.
Hounslow mosque,
David Howard
Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

In the late naughties, research unit strategy moved away from traditional media and towards dissemination via new media and community groups. Tellingly, according to the Khan Review, only 13% of the British public have a ‘great deal or quite a lot of confidence’ in our national press. This compares to 32% of Russians in theirs. The figure for Nigeria is 54% and for Iran, 60%. Only the Eqyptian press, at 8%, is trusted less by its readers than Fleet Street.

The Guardian article adds,

‘RICU has hired linguists, psychologists and anthropologists as well as counter-terrorism strategists, digital media experts, film-makers and marketing consultants. It has three divisions: a monitoring and coordination team to watch and study digital and traditional media; an insight and analysis team to research audience reactions; and a domestic and international campaigns team to deliver the covert propaganda.’

I February 2023 RICU emerged from the shadows to be widely mocked for identifying television programmes including ‘Yes, Minister’ and ‘Great British Railway Journeys’ as being ‘white supremacist’ and ‘encouraging far-right sympathies.’

Back in 2009, Inspire boasted a YouTube channel starring both Sara and Sabin. In a video taken at an all-female meeting in a mosque captioned ‘Muslim Women Pioneering Change in 21st Century Britain’, a covered Sabin speaks in her then capacity as a Priministerial appointee to the National Muslim Women’s Advisory Group. Sabin quotes the Quoran and talks at times in Arabic. Her pre-prepared written speech rants about Islamaphobia and the far right, before ranting about domestic violence, forced marriage, drugs and crime within the UK’s Islamic ghettoes.

Like her sister, Sabin has enjoyed a meteoric rise through quangoland and is now at the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities where she leads on societal resilience and anti-extremism. Sabin is both a Fellow of Queen Mary University of London and of the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI). Her RUSI profile informs us she worked in the Homeland Security Group (HSG) at the Home Office for 10 years and her areas of expertise include Syria. Her published RUSI work includes a paper entitled, ‘Resolving the Stalemate: Foreign Fighters and Family Members in Syria.’

Part of the Home Office’s strategic communication effort to stop UK Muslims from becoming involved with Islamic State in Syria was the #Making a Stand campaign. Leaked Home Office documents labelled ‘not for public disclosure’ show Making a Stand aimed to encourage British Muslim women to take the lead in rejecting Islamic State In the Levant (ISIL) propaganda and to discourage travel by young Muslims to Syria and Northern Iraq. Led by Sara Khan’s Inspire, the charity is described in the classified Home Office leak as a ‘counter-terrorism and women’s rights civil society organisation.’

Always worth Saying, Going Postal
Home Office Propaganda Ministry.
Marsham Street (The Home Office),
Steve Cadnam
Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

The campaign would create a network of Muslim women across Prevent priority areas to transmit Government counter-extremism messages into communities with hard-to-reach audiences, including community institutions, schools, higher education institutions and mosques. The target audience was 250,000 Muslim women aged between 15 and 39 in 30 Prevent priority areas. They would be of Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Arab and Somali backgrounds. This required access to women’s civil society groups to engage grassroots Muslim women and discuss what they could do in their communities to counter ISIL.

In other words, Inspire and similar ‘charities’ have no interest in women’s equality within Islam. Their focus is not on the veil, forced marriage, rape gangs or female genital mutilation but on encouraging Muslim women to report family members to Prevent. A laudable aim, but, as we shall see, too blatant a Trojan Horse to remain under the radar.

Another of Sabin’s appointments is to Counterpoint Global where she is the director of Cohesion and Resilient Societies. In this role, she works to ‘advance global policy and analysis’. Counterpoint Global is another shadowy ‘social enterprise’ which, according to themselves,

‘has worked at the intersection of uncertainty, politics and social change for over a decade. Our aim has always been to harness a deep understanding of people’s attitudes and beliefs to explain behaviour even when the latter is unpredictable or seems contradictory.’

Green and pro-EU, they claim to be research-driven and to advise on the dynamics of dissent and consent. Their booklet ‘Conspiracy Theories in Europe: A Compilation’ rants about the far right and conspiracy theories, including those alleging the influence of a secretive cabal of Jews. The small print reveals, somewhat counterproductively, that George Soros’s Open Society Foundation funded the research along with an organisation called ‘The European Jewish Fund’.

With the Prevent strategy contentious among Muslims from the outset, Sara Khan told a Home Affairs Select Committee that she operated in a toxic environment and within a ‘climate of intimidation’. She added, ‘People have called us Islamophobes, native informants and Government stooges.’

Through their research, those hostile to Prevent developed another link between Inspire and the Home Office. In their submission to a Home Affairs Select Committee, Professor David Miller and Dr Narzanin Massoumi drew both from their own findings and from the Guardian’s RICU article. They suggest that although RICU does not directly fund Inspire it does provide free advice, news media training, social media and other help through an organisation called Breakthrough Media Network Ltd. Now known as Zinc Network, in the original Breakthrough guff they self-described as,

‘a full-service communications agency – providing multimedia production, creative concepts, technical build, insight gathering, strategy, data analysis, dissemination and evaluation in-house. We help governments, communities, businesses, and NGOs succeed. Believing that good storytelling and communications can strengthen society and inspire positive social change. In four-and-a-half years we’ve grown to almost 250 people all working across our offices in Australia, Iraq, East Africa, Tunisia and at our headquarters in the UK. It’s an exciting time, and we’ve big plans for the future.’

Breakthrough/Zinc, therefore, provides content to appropriate civil society organisations without accreditation, both here and overseas, in the same way that the IRD distributed to legacy journalists during the Cold War. In the modern day, such content still includes stories fed to newspapers but also involves leafleting and a presence on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, online radio, blogs and websites often hosted by Muslim civil society groups.

Always Worth Saying, Going Postal
Grubby exterior of the original Breakthrough Ministry of Truth building.
© Google Street View 2024,

Cambridge Analytica style, they use personal data to match geographical Prevent priority areas in the UK with browser and search engine inputs to reach Muslims with on-message paid-for Google and Facebook adverts.

You may be aware via social media or mainstream media of an eight-year-old African boy travelling 3,500 miles alone to Italy so he could go to school. Back in Africa, little Omar’s father is quoted as saying, ‘I would give anything to see him again,’ but prefers his son to get an education and make a life for himself. The chances are this story, and others like it, usefully intersectional to uncontrolled immigration and a large and growing Muslim population here, originated not in Africa but in a 1970s multi-let office block on London’s South Bank.

The Trojan Horse being too obvious, there is Muslim hostility both to Prevent and the Khans. Baroness Warsi objected to Sara Khan’s 2018 appointment to lead the Commission for Countering Extremism. Warsi tweeted ‘[this is a] deeply disturbing appointment’ and complained of Khan being ‘simply a creation of and mouthpiece for the Home Office.’ Nazeem Shah, Labour MP for Bradford West, tweeted, ‘Even her [Khan’s] book she wrote was in partnership with the Home Office. She has taken Prevent funding. She came out of nowhere after the coalition government without any experience.’

For once Shah is understating her case. The book in question ‘The Battle for British Islam: Reclaiming Muslim Identity from Extremism’, was co-written by Tony McMahon, not only then of the Home Office but also of Breakthrough Media. To his credit, Mr McMahon is open about this part of his career stating,

‘I co-authored a book on non-violent Islamist extremism in the UK titled ‘The Battle for British Islam’. Most of this activity with Breakthrough came under a UK Home Office contract under the Office for Security and Counter-Terrorism which has since been rebranded as Homeland Security.’

Mssrs Warsi and Shah wasted their time. Not only appointed Dame in the 2022 New Year Honours list, Sara Khan was also commissioned to produce the social cohesion and democratic resilience review published on the 25th of March.

The key findings of a new concept of ‘freedom restricting harassment’ and the need for an Office for Social Cohesion and Democratic Resilience have been delivered too close to the election as an almost certain change of government later this year may result in a change in Home Office priorities.

As for the effectiveness of the Citizens Khan and the associated propaganda effort, we shall return to Sabin Khan’s 2009 lecture at the mosque. She began by talking about Gaza,

‘We have all watched with horror the unfolding events in the Middle East. We are all crying for the loss of life, never forgetting the pictures of children crying. We cannot sleep and we are praying that Allah brings peace and an end to the suffering there. It has been a very difficult and painful time and I will never, ever, be able to imagine what people are experiencing there. May Allah end the injustices and create peace, security and prosperity for all of mankind. Amen.’

Fifteen years have passed. The situation in Gaza is now far worse as is the uncontrolled immigration-driven religious and racial segregation of our own country. A reminder of the propagandist’s most powerful foe – the disconnection between controlling language and controlling events.

© Always Worth Saying 2024