Entitled, “For their attackers, mosques are seen as places of ‘difference’” the article can be read by clicking here. But if you want to try before you buy (as I said, it’s free to read, don’t worry) I’ve pasted the first few paragraphs below:
It remains to be seen whether the blaze which destroyed a community centre and mosque in Muswell Hill, north London this week was a reprisal attack against Muslims in Britain for the murder of drummer Lee Rigby in Woolwich a fortnight ago. If so, it will be another to add to the dramatically increased number of incidents to have been reported to Tell MAMA, the government-funded third party monitoring project which records anti-Muslim attacks.
In this climate however, it is no surprise that mosques have come under attack. According to Tell MAMA, around 12 have been targeted of late, the most worrying incident being in Grimsby where three petrol bombs were thrown. This is no surprise to me though because as my research over the past decade has shown, mosques have become convenient targets onto which the fears and anxieties about Muslims and Islam that ordinary people have are projected.
To continue reading, click here.
As such, I’m as equally excited to have published my first blog article, “Why the ‘Daily Telegraph’ And ‘Daily Mail’ Are Wrong About Islamophobia and Anti-Muslim Hate Crime”.
You can read the article in full by clicking here, but if you want to try before you buy (it’s free to read, don’t worry) I’ve pasted the first few paragraphs below:
Having researched Islamophobia and anti-Muslim phenomena for more than a decade, I’ve come to realise that for some people the ‘number’ of incidents are far more important than the reality of the lives of those affected.
I often wonder what ‘number’ would make those who downplay the problem – as Andrew Gilligan did in this weekend’s Sunday Telegraph (with a follow-up story in today’s The Daily Mail) – finally acknowledge that Islamophobia is a social problem that needs to be tackled.
For me, the ‘numbers’ issue is problematic, not least because it is largely initiated and perpetuated by Islamophobia’s detractors. For whatever reason this group either repeatedly declares that Islamophobia does not exist or attempts to undermine those trying to tackle it. In the world of these detractors, if there aren’t any ‘numbers’ then this is categorical ‘evidence’ that Islamophobia does not exist.
It is no surprise therefore that the ‘numbers’ put forward by Tell MAMA, relating to the sharp increase in anti-Muslim incidents recorded since the brutal murder in Woolwich almost a fortnight ago, have undergone the same scrutiny. What the ‘numbers’ show is that since the barbaric murder of Lee Rigby, the number of Muslims who have become victims of prejudice, discrimination, bigotry and hate has increased. This cannot be denied.
To continue reading, click here.
As the English Defence League and British National Party tragically seek to exploit the hideous murder of Lee Rigby last week by congregating in many different locations across the country today, I am proud to have been one of the 33,000-plus people to have signed a Hope Not Hate organised open letter that was published in the Daily Mirror today.
Under the banner of “We Are the Many”, the letter states:
“The EDL and Islamic extremists are more similar to each other than to us. They share a violent, hate-fuelled desire for conflict and war, and we will not let either group tear our country apart.”
As it goes on:
“We know that the EDL does not speak for all Britain, just as we know that Muslim extremists do not speak for all Muslims. We, the British people, shun the EDL’s message of hate today because they do not speak for us. We are confident that HOPE will prevail.
It will prevail because they are the few, and we are – and always will be – the many.”
Makes me proud to be British…!!!
Following the hideous scenes in Woolwich yesterday, I was invited to write a piece for a new independent news and commentary site, The Conversation.
The Conversation is an independent source of news and views, sourced from the academic and research community and delivered direct to the public. To find out more, click here.
I’ve reproduced part of the article below. If you want to read it in full, you can do so here.
EDL uses an old playbook to spread message of hate
It was unsurprising that little more than a few hours after yesterday’s horrific murder, the far-right arrived in Woolwich. Emboldened by the afternoon’s events, the English Defence League’s (EDL) leader Tommy Robinson announced:
“They’re chopping our soldiers’ heads off. This is Islam. That’s what we’ve seen today … Islam is a religion of peace. It’s not. It never has been. What you saw today is Islam. Everyone’s had enough.”
A quick post to announce the publication of another new article, “Between Critical and Uncritical Understandings: A Case Study Analyzing the Claims of Islamophobia Made in the Context of the Proposed ‘Super-Mosque’ in Dudley, England”. As with a few of my other recent articles, this is ‘open access’ despite being published in the peer reviewed academic journal, Societies. If interested therefore, you can download a copy of the article for FREE here.
If you want to know what the article is about before downloading, I’ve pasted the abstract below:
Research highlights how usage and claims of Islamophobia tend to be simplistic and without nuance. Using a case study approach, this article considers the claims of Islamophobia made in relation to the proposed Dudley ‘super-mosque’. Setting out a narrative of the ‘super-mosque’, this article draws upon primary and secondary research to consider the claims and discourses of the major actors in the Dudley setting: the Dudley Muslim Association, Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council, the far-right especially the British National Party and the English Defence League, as well as individual political figures. Considering each in detail, this article seeks to evaluate the extent to which each of the actors and the claims of Islamophobia made against them might be valid. As well as exploring claims of Islamophobia within a ‘real’ environment, this article seeks to critically engage the opposition shown towards the mosque, the way in which the opposition campaigns were mobilized and engineered, and how the ideological meanings of Islamophobia was able to be readily utilized to validate and justify such opposition. In doing so, this article concludes that the claims and usage of Islamophobia was weak and that a more critical and nuanced usage of the term is urgently required.
Open access, it’s the future !!!
Yesterday I was invited to speak about Englishness following a specially staged performance of ‘Redcrosse’. You can read more about the ‘Redcrosse’ project here but in essence, ‘Redcrosse’ is an attempt to reaffirm Englishness and St. George by the Birmingham-based Shakespearean expert Professor Ewan Fernie through an innovative creative work which is partly an original arts event, partly a groundbreaking religious service.
After yesterday’s performance, a number of individuals were asked to give a talk which reflected on what it meant to them to be ‘English’. After the talks, an open Q&A session was held.
Reproduced below is a pretty accurate transcript of my talk:
“Thank you for inviting me to speak this evening.
As some of you will know, for the past 13 years or so I’ve been researching the phenomenon and manifestation of Islamophobia or anti-Muslim expressions and sentiments. Along with that, I’ve also explored issues relating to multiculturalism, diversity, Britishness and more importantly, the problems associated with these.
Of course my research is highly contentious, emotive and at times, brings out the worse in people. This has resulted in me regularly receiving abuse.
So when I was invited to speak, it immediately reminded me of my favourite piece of abuse from recent years. Shortly after my book was published, I received an email from an EDL supporter who asked me:
“How can a man who’s ethnically English hate his country so much?”