Any regular visitor to this site will readily know that I’m not the BNP’s greatest supporter. In fact, I believe that I might even be on their ‘black-list‘ (if you pardon the pun…!!!). Either way, I do write about them often and you can find some of my posts using the ‘Tag Cloud’ feature in the sidebar to the right. However, I came across an article on the BNP website earlier today that I am in some agreement with…
Writing about the Government’s decision to fund a board of “Islamic thinkers” in an attempt to sideline “violent extremists” (read the BBC News story here…), I have to admit that I think that the BNP have a point. In their article, “Labour is as out of touch with Muslims as it is the public in general“, the party write:
THE Government’s complete lack of understanding of Islam is starkly exposed this morning by the Communities Secretary Hazel Blears, with the announcement that her department is to sponsor a theological board of leading Imams and Muslim women in an attempt to refute the ideology of violent extremists. Blears & Co hope that this committee will hold some sway with Muslims and that its pronouncements on areas such as wearing the hijab and the treatment of wives will help to counter radicalism. How naive can you get? The concept that a British Government sponsored board of hand-picked Western-friendly Muslims will be able to rule on the interpretation of the Koran and promote a moderate strain of Islam amongst Muslims living in Britain is laughable.
I’m not sure, but I think they’re making a fair point…???
The whole ‘Prevent’ strategy (including the Preventing Violent Extremism (PVE) agenda) as well as the Government’s approach to Muslim communities of late is frankly laughable and entirely divisive, so to suggest that another group of Muslim ‘Usual Suspects’ thinkers will in any way be able to divert or sideline “violent extremists” – a group whose size, strength and potential is completely unknown and without any substantiation whatsoever – is farcical. Surely, these ‘Islamic thinkers’ were already in existence before 7/7, so if the ‘extremists’ (whoever they might be) didn’t listen then, why would they suddenly start listening now, especially given that they are being funded by the very people they seem to want to be ‘at war’ with or at least have issues with their foreign (and other) policy…???
As the BNP asks: “How naive can you get?”
And it’s not just the BNP that are raising their metaphorical eyebrows. The Muslim Council of Britain’s (MCB) Muhammad Abdul Bari states:
“British Muslims…do not need to be ‘re-programmed’ by a government-approved list of theologians”
Likewise, Hizb ut-Tahrir’s Taji Mustafa agrees:
The British government’s interference amongst the Muslim community and matters of Islam, is unprecedented in comparison with any other religion. The government would like nothing more than to have credible figures pronounce that opposition to their foreign policy is tantamount to heretical extremism. Their problem hitherto has been to find credible figures to do their work.
Again, I think that they have a point. Amazing that I agree – in principle at least – with both the BNP and Hizb ut-Tahrir.
So who are the ‘credible figures’ that constitute this group of ‘Islamic thinkers’?
Like the BBC story referred to previously, the Times Online are unable to provide any names. Although we do know that £100,000 of public money will help Cambridge University to create an independent board of twenty leading Muslims academic and theological experts. NOte the subjectivity of the word ‘independent’ here. Elsewhere, it is near impossible to find any names as to who might be one of the ‘Islamic thinkers’ (an overly pretentious distinction if ever there was one). The only names that have been linked – albeit in terms of their vocal support – are as follows:
Imam Irfan Chisti, Asian News
Azzam Tamimi, BBC News
Given that £100,00 of public money is being invested in such a plan, it would seem only reasonable to know who the ‘Islamic thinkers’ are. But as with anecdotal evidence that is available about PVE, it would again appear that the Government is happy to fund and support whichever Muslim organisations and individuals are willing to say and do exactly what they want for the right amount of money. A strategy that does nobody any use whatsoever – except the ‘Usual Suspects’ themselves. Suffice to say, no names need shaming.
So does the BNP have a point…???
Well ‘yes’ and ‘no’. Having stuck my neck out and accepted that they have made a somewhat legitimate point, the rest of the article fails to build on the good argument that they initially put forward, quickly resorting to type:
The British Government, with its invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan and unequivocal support for Israel in its suppression of the Palestinians, is a clear-cut enemy of Islam. The idea that a group of Muslims, lured no doubt by a lucrative financial arrangement paid by this very enemy of Islam, will hold any credibility within the mosques of Britain shows that Labour is just as out of touch with the Muslim Community as it is with the aspirations of the public in general…
…There is no such thing as a moderate Muslim. When Muslims want advice they go to their local mosque, they certainly won’t be waiting for a Government pronouncement from its Muslim Committee.
The fact that the Government has launched this desperate initiative indicates that Gordon Brown and his cabinet have information that there is a very real threat from Muslim extremists to the public. If this is the case, then it’s not another tame-Muslim committee that is needed but swift action to tackle the problem. We have got to stop this appeasement of Islam that is being spearheaded by our own Archbishop of Canterbury, senior judges and politicians with a vested interest. They are encouraging Muslims living here to believe that one day Britain may well become an Islamic state.
We must make it very clear that this will never be the case by confronting the spread of Islam head on with measures that start immediately to reduce its influence within Britain.
And so all the old BNP adages around Britain becoming an ‘Islamic state’ come to the fore and raise their ugly head once again, as does the suggestion that ALL Muslims are extremists for the very fact that they ARE Muslims and very little else.
Strangely – and thankfully – I’m reassured by their approach in the latter paragraphs as it gives me cause to continue to dislike the BNP. However, what is worrying is that if an ardent voice against the BNP like myself is seeing some ‘sense’ in their rhetoric, how easy are the Government – and let’s not forget some Muslims and their respective organisations also – making it for others to see that same ‘sense’ as well? Is the money that is lining their pockets in colluding with the Government really of benefit to the communities they allege to represent…???
It’s a worrying prospect and one that I fear will not reduce extremism but increase it. Increase it in terms of more extremist views and opinions against Muslims.
Following Channel 4′s ‘Dispatches’ programme – “It Shouldn’t Happen to a Muslim” – being aired last Monday, and given the fact that the brochure accompanying the programme ‘thanks’ me for my support and contribution to the show’s making, you can now download pdf copies of all the relevant polls and documents using the links below.
If you’re interested in reading more about this programme, you can do so at:
You can also watch the programme using Channel 4′s ’4 On Demand’ service, available at:
This Steve Bell cartoon appeared on the Guardian a few days ago and it’s completely perplexed me. I don’t get what it’s saying.
For me, it’s one of two things…either that we should fear the onset of an ‘Islamic republic’ here in Britain whilst ‘our’ troops are fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq, or that we should fear the jingoism of the Government and certain tabloid newspapers following the death of the first British service woman. If it’s the first, then the message is a particularly dangerous one; if it’s the second, then the satire is deeply embedded.
Sadly, I’m tending to lean to the former explanation given the cartoon’s context. In many Muslim areas around the country, the ‘local’ is being force out of business; KFC is where six Muslims died during riots in Karachi whilst another KFC was firebombed during riots against the publication of cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad; and as for Northern Rock, earlier this year Hizb ut-Tahrir published an article about the failings of the capitalist economic system citing the Northern Rock debacle as evidence as did another Muslim blogger on what is titled, The Zakat Pages. Look more closely at the cartoon and you’ll also see the white convert marching in line with the other ‘fundamentalists’, ‘extremists’, ‘radicals’, ‘Islamists’ or whatever else the Government and other commentators are calling certain Muslims nowadays: a suggestion that ‘you can’t trust any of them’. And of course, there’s the various different colloured burkhas covering the women watching from the sides. Scary stuff…??? On a number of levels, definitely…
Given that I wasn’t entirely sure of what message was being conveyed by the cartoon, I distributed it to various colleagues and asked them what they thought the cartoon was saying. Here are their replies:
“If taken at face value, we have to stop fundamentalist Islam from taking hold here because look what will happen”
“It’s an ironic twist on the tabloid hysteria following the death of the female soldier”
“It’s an indictment on today’s Britain…but Steve Bell normally has a satirical edge”
“It’s a satire on Gordon Brown’s reasons for sending troops to Afghanistan”
“I don’t get it – what’s it supposed to mean?”
“It’s challenging perceptions of who supports the troops remaining in Iraq and being increased in Afghanistan and who will benefit because of this”
“It’s challenging the concept of ‘terrorists’, ‘freedom fighters’ etc and what we think about being encouraged to ‘Support our Troops’ from different perspectives”
“Simple, it’s just saying that you can march on the streets and in public, but you can’t drink in public places any more”
“It’s a comment on way we live in a hypocritical society: that binge drinking bad for your health but you can continue to fill your face with KFC; that overeating and binge drinking is still happening despite the downturn in economy; and that you can’t trust anyone or anything, not even institutions that are trusted like Northern Rock?”
“It could just be a satirical observation that this will never happen”
“It’s not just the ‘normal’ Muslims – it’s the converts also that we should be fearful of”
“The end result of Islam in Britain? Fundamentalists and oppressed women”
“The Government is creating a fear of Muslims just so that the public supports the war – to gloss over the fact that the reality of the war is that it is illegal”
“The UK is NEVER going to get Islamicised – so why are we worried ???”
“It looks like a battle cry…context means everything and with mass communication you cannot control the context that people receive, digest and interpret messages and so the cartoon is likely to be seen as a battle cry to stand up against the growing Islamic army”
I personally don’t agree with many of the interpretatations but they do seem to reinforce the final observation, that we cannot control or even guess how the receiving audience will digest and interpret the message that Steve Bell is trying to convey.
Would be happy to hear your views and what message Steve Bell is (or at least is trying) to get across to his audience…
“The Frenetic Human Rights Commission is very disappointed at the lack of academic and intellectual judgement of Mr Christopher Allen in not adhering to the high standard he espouses in his various Islamophobia reports…”
For more information, please click the link below:
Following Ken’s defeat in the London elections just over a week ago, I thought that I would re-publish one of my post’s from 22 January 2008. In it, I raise the question about how useful the open letter to the Guardian by various Muslim organisations was for Ken’s campaign. If nothing more, it might at least begin to make people think again about some of the ideas that I raised at the time…
Having been ‘courted’ by the Islamic Society of Britain (ISB) a few years ago, I remain privvy to their web forums and discussions (please though don’t tell them). An interesting thread of late has been the debate about whether or not Muslims and Muslim organisations should publicly endorse political parties and their representatives. In this particular instance, the thread referred to the public backing recently given to Ken Livingstone via an open letter to the Guardian. The debate has at times been quite heated and is split approximately 60/40 between those who do think that Muslims should offer public endorsements and those who do not (respectively? Is this grammatically required here – let me know).
Within the ‘do not’ camp is where I would firmly position myself. Without dismissing anyone on the list or indeed the organisations they represent, it would seem to me that in the current climate, having such groups as those listed endorsing you could be the final nail in the coffin (a la the Guardian, possibly) or at the very least, a long slow kiss of death infecting the recipient with a terminal illness that brings about a lengthy and protracted demise (a la the backlash Red Ken received following the visit of Yusuf al-Qaradawi). Beyond mere ‘should we’, ‘shouldn’t we’ discussions however, such ringing endorsements embed more serious problems, in my opinion at least.
First, championing ‘Muslim-only’ issues will continue to reinforce the stereotypical view that Muslims are inward looking isolationists, concerned only about themselves. Whilst the Guardian letter notes that Livingstone would be good ‘for all Londoners’, it does feel like this is something of an afterthought and that benefiting all Londoners – rather than just those of a Muslim persuasion – is incidental to the endorsees overall objective.
This is also problematic in other ways. A few weeks ago in Birmingham, a prominent Muslim organisation spoke at a conference about the educational under-achievement of young Muslims. What was problematic for me was that the speaker never once mentioned that other communities were experiencing the same levels of under-achievement, preferring instead to argue that this was – in some way, albeit never explained – evidence of Islamophobia in today’s Britain. Aside from dismissing the argument about Islamophobia (it’s clearly not), this was a lost opportunity as recent reports and statistics have shown that educational under-achievement is anything but a ‘Muslim-only’ (for ‘Muslim’ read Pakistani and Bangladesi only) issue. Instead, it is a serious issue that affects black and more recently white, lower socio-economic communities also. Little, if indeed any, evidence therefore exists to suggest that educational under-achievement is in any way related to any particular religion or religious identity. In doing so, not only did the Muslims at the conference – and beyond – miss the opportunity to find common ground with other communities finding themselves in a similar position but they also reinforced the widespread stereotypical view that they are both isolationist and exclusivist.
Secondly, the open letter somewhat inappropriately for a local election states that:
‘[Livingstone’s] stands and policies have constantly championed justice in the Middle East and around the world, freedom for the Palestinians and withdrawal of occupying troops from Iraq’
Having lived in London for more than twenty years and having family still living there in one form or another, I’m not sure how this would convince floating ‘non-Muslim’ Londoners to think about voting for him. Most Londoners – I presume and include Muslim Londoners in this also – would not have at the top of their list of concerns neither justice in the Middle East nor freedom for Palestinians. Both of course are extremely worthy and noble things to strive for but being brutally realistic, not something that is in the forefront of the average ‘man/ woman on the street’.
However, I am certain that if asked, those same Londoners would probably be more concerned with the levels of crime, the cleanliness of their streets and the affordability of housing rather more so than justice somewhere else in the world. This is not to state that championing such causes are unprincipled or that similarly influential public figures should not take such approaches, but instead merely to suggest that knowing your audience and getting the tone, pitch and content right is much more important than offering a rallying cry for (some) Muslims alone. Because of this, it wouldn’t take long for the average ‘man/ woman on the street’ to have the stereotype easily reinforced that Muslims are more concerned about what goes on ‘over there’ in ‘their countries’ than what goes on ‘over here’ in ‘our country’. Hopefully, the BNP won’t quote me on this.
Finally, since the visit of al-Qaradawi to London and the welcome afforded by Livingstone, many of the current mayor’s detractors have used his pro-Muslim bias as a weapon to beat him with. Whether this is fair or not I am genuinely unsure, but given the debacle around the ‘Search for Common Ground’ report that I contributed to last year and the fall-out from that (which formed a significant part of Martin Bright’s attack on Livingstone in Channel 4’s Dispatches programme last night), you would have thought that heightening awareness of Ken’s pro-Muslim tendencies or the links he has with certain Muslim organisations – many of which have elsewhere fallen out of favour with all and sundry – might have warranted more thought from those concerned. As a friend of mine put it to me earlier today, such a faux pas could easily be interpreted as little more than “a ‘reward’ to Ken for inviting Yusuf over” by all those concerned.
Since the open letter to the Guardian, Boris Johnson has responded by saying that he was “not remotely worried” by the statement of support:
“My grandfather was a Muslim and so was my great-grandfather. I am proud of my Muslim ancestry…But I want to talk about the interests of Londoners. I don’t care what religion they are. I want to look after people from all communities”.
Without endorsing Boris whatsoever – personally, I’ve been a fan of Red Ken for years and if I were living in London and there was an election tomorrow, I would vote for him without question – I do find myself agreeing with him as it would seem that what he is voicing here is the crux of the matter: namely that “I want to look after people from all communities”. Whether he does or not is another matter and we may well get the opportunity to find out sooner rather than later, but what the endorsees and their open letter have done is to put the ball firmly into Boris’ court and to provide Livingstone’s growing army of detractors with even more ammunition to use against him.
Let’s hope that recent reports are wrong when they state that Boris is now only 1% behind Ken in the opinion polls and that any further open letters (read ‘glowing endorsements’) are written so that they are seen to benefit all and not just Muslims. If they don’t, then will someone please get them put on hold or are at least thought about before any such decisions are made.
The slightly longer than normal piece below is the ‘pre-amble’ to a paper that I’m presenting at the University of Leeds on 7th May at a symposium entitled, “Thinking thru’ Islamophobia”. More details about the symposium can be found by clicking here. Much of it derives itself from some of my other pieces about Islamophobia, although it continues to raise important and unanswered problems and dilemmas…
It might come as something of a surprise to realise that just five years ago both the term and concept of ‘Islamophobia’ had little discursive relevance or value across much of Europe. Today however, the same could be no further from the truth. Contemporarily, Islamophobia emerges from some of the most bi-polar extremes across Europe: from those who decry and denounce any criticism whatsoever of Muslims or Islam as being Islamophobic to those who actively and openly espouse the vitriolic hatred of Islam and Muslims founded upon a premise of various ideological justifications. Because of this, neither clear thinking nor expression rarely – if indeed ever – comes into the equation as regards usage or understanding. From the high profile murder of Theo van Gogh in the Netherlands and the backlash against Muslims that ensued through to complaints about irresponsible parking at mosques during Friday prayers, these myriad and disparate events and incidents are – whether rightly or wrongly – regularly and repeatedly incorporated into the discursive landscape of Islamophobia. Islamophobia therefore is at times little more than an indiscriminate and all-encompassing term that is employed to satisfy or appease a vast spectrum of commentators, actors and perpetrators in varying different measures.
This situation has not necessarily been the same in the UK. Here, October 2007 marked the tenth anniversary of the publication of the groundbreaking and possibly most influential document of its kind, the highly influential Runnymede Trust report, Islamophobia: a challenge for us all. Produced by the Commission for British Muslims and Islamophobia, the report stated in its opening pages that, “Islamophobic discourse, sometimes blatant but frequently coded and subtle, is part of everyday life in modern Britain” It went on, “in the last twenty years…the dislike [of Islam and Muslims] has become more explicit, more extreme and more dangerous”. Who on the Commission at that time, given subsequent events that have unfolded since the report’s publication would – or indeed could – have predicted the situation today?
Back in 1997, the report spoke of how ‘Islamophobia’ – “the shorthand way of referring to the dread or hatred of Islam – and, therefore, to fear or dislike all or most Muslims” – was necessitated by a new phenomenon that needed naming. Nowadays however, that same term is far from new where it is always seemingly lingering in the murky underbelly of our public and political spaces. Yet despite its wider usage, it remains questionable as to whether the debates concerning Islamophobia today and the way we use the term is any more informed than it was ten years ago. Increasingly the debates about Islamophobia sees one side pitted against an other, where claim and counter-claim, charge and counter-charge dictate what we know and more crucially, how we know and subsequently voice ‘what is’ and ‘what is not’ Islamophobia.
Why then, despite the Runnymede report being so influential, are we still simplistic in the way that we speak about and understand Islamophobia? Why has a more nuanced usage of the term failed to evolve? And why, ultimately, has Islamophobia failed to be addressed let alone begin to go away? With hindsight the answer, it seems, can be found in the Runnymede report itself.
At the heart of the report’s notion of Islamophobia was the recognition of what it set out as ‘closed’ and ‘open’ views. So important were these views that the report changed its definition of what Islamophobia was: soon after the preceding definition, the Runnymede version of Islamophobia became the recurring characteristic of closed views and nothing more. Conceived by the Commission, the closed views of Islamophobia were seeing Islam as monolithic and static; as ‘other’ and separate from the West; as inferior; as enemy; as manipulative; as discriminated against; as having its criticisms of the West rejected; and where Islamophobia was ultimately becoming increasingly natural. All of which are useful in being able to identify Islamophobia in certain given situations – for example in the media – but how for example might the closed views offer any explanation or even relevance in other equally important situations, in explaining how Muslims are discriminated against in the workplace, in education or in service provision for instance?
In doing so, the Commission failed to offer a clear explanation as to how this might be possible, preferring instead to focus on how say Pakistanis or Bangladeshis were discriminated upon rather than Muslims per se. Not only did this completely overlook the central tenet of what any Islamophobia must surely be, but what with existing equalities legislation rightfully affording protection to those groups such as Pakistanis and Bangladeshis, so the argument for a specific anti-Muslim anti-Islamic phenomenon was weak and any immediate legislative or other response could be deemed somewhat unnecessary. And so whilst those who held the power to make the changes were far from impressed, so a precedent was set that negated the reality of Islamophobia as a very real and dangerous phenomenon. And also as something that was distinctly different from other forms of discrimination and prejudice.
Because of the emphasis upon closed views, so the report established a simple premise from which those who wanted to detract from or dismiss Islamophobia could easily do so by merely suggesting that if ‘closed views’ equalled Islamophobia, so one must presume that ‘open views’ equalled Islamophilia. Those who wanted to argue against Islamophobia therefore suggested that the only solution being put forward by the Commission was an abnormal liking or love of Islam and Muslims (philia). The black and white duality of the love or hate of Muslims and Islam was therefore the only options available thereby ignoring all those grey areas that exist in. Since 1997 then, all that which has fallen within that grey has been given licence to gain momentum and form the basis upon which more indirect forms of Islamophobia have found favour. So for example, to what extent has a ‘grey’ Islamophobia been underlying the more recent debates about the need for better integration, the ‘death’ of multiculturalism, the niqab as barrier to social participation, the need for universities to ‘spy’ on the students and the need to look for the ‘tell-tale’ signs of radicalisation. What extent the establishment and subsequent unfolding of the entire community cohesion programme?
It is these unaccounted for grey areas that have contributed to a climate where those such as the BNP have found favour and gained an increasingly listened to voice. One result of this was that in 2006’s local elections, where the BNP won 11 of the 13 seats they contested in Barking & Dagenham. Making history through being the first time that a far-right political party has ever been the official opposition in any council chamber in Britain, on the evening of the first Barking and Dagenham council meeting attended by the BNP an Afghan man was repeatedly stabbed outside Barking tube station, his body left on the pavement draped in the union flag. How might the ‘closed’ views offer any explanation of this?
Since 2001, the BNP have become increasingly sophisticated and nuanced in the way in which it has spoken about and referred to Islam and Muslims. Unfortunately, the same has failed to occur as regards Islamophobia and so in the Commission’s last report published in 2004 there was little change in evidence, persisting instead with existing notions of Islamophobia, using the same language, ideas and meanings throughout. Continuing to refer to Islamophobia in such simplistic ways is therefore detrimental to understanding. More worryingly, the dualistic ‘either-or’ system of closed and open has reflected how Muslims have increasingly become understood in wider society. Whether ‘mainstream’ or ‘extremist, ‘moderate’ or ‘radical’, as Ziauddin Sardar noted shortly after 9/11, Muslims have since been seen in one of two ways: either as apologetics for Islam or terrorists in the name of Islam. Take this further and the closed and open, apologetics and terrorists easily fall into that simplistic trap of being either ‘good’ or ‘bad’. As such, if you’re not a ‘good’ Muslim – moderate, mainstream and ‘open’ – then you can only be ‘bad’ – radical, extremist and ‘closed’. What is known and understood about Islamophobia therefore rests upon the naïve premise that ‘Islamophobia is bad only because it is’ and nothing more.
As noted at the outset, the Runnymede report’s views of Islamophobia were at their most useful in the media. Despite the report’s apparent usefulness in terms of its ease of identification in the media and its associated recommendations to better the media’s representation of Muslims and Islam, the situation has since the publication of the report dangerously deteriorated. If research published by the GLA in 2007 is anything to go by, the amount of coverage in a ‘normal week’ relating to Muslims and Islam in the British press has increased by almost 270% in the past decade. Of this, just over 90% of this dramatic increase is entirely negative and typically rooted in stories relating to war, terrorism, threat, violence and crisis. If this is where the report was most useful, where then has the Runnymede report achieved its impact?
A decade on from the publication of the Runnymede report and a climate of ever worsening mistrust, misunderstanding and misrepresentation can be easily witnessed. Whilst the Runnymede report stated in 1997 that Islamophobia was becoming ‘more explicit, more extreme and more dangerous’, so in 2008 the same phenomenon has become more natural, more normal and because of this, far more dangerous than ever before. The need for a new approach to tackling Islamophobia is therefore clearly required, as indeed is a new language and greater knowledge to both explain and respond to the subtleties and nuances of Islamophobia that are at present overlooked and subsequently allowed to take root and flourish.
Given that the Commission on British Muslims and Islamophobia is once again in the process of reforming, so the need for a much more radical approach to Islamophobia is required, going beyond the ‘simple and stupid’ approach of its previous reports. If the Commission – and indeed Muslims and wider society alike – fail to do this, then it is highly likely that in another ten years we will be speaking at the end of another decade without having made any advances whatsoever, whether in understanding and defining Islamophobia or indeed, even beginning to tackle it. Now is the time to be much bolder and braver, addressing Islamophobia for what it is now and not what it was then. In doing so, we will become much clearer as to what Islamophobia is and more importantly, what Islamophobia is not.
Underpinning the discourse and rhetoric, exists a highly fluid, protean and largely inconsistent phenomenon that as yet has failed to be adequately captured. As Marcel Maussen critically highlights, ‘“Islamophobia” groups together all kinds of different forms of discourse, speech and acts, by suggesting that they all emanate from an identical ideological core, which is an “irrational fear” (a phobia) of Islam’. With so many disparate events, activities, actions and attitudes either emerging from or being expressed as a consequence of Islamophobia, simplified discourses, definitions and terminologies that even include the term Islamophobia itself fail to properly and adequately provide enough explanation or understanding to a phenomenon – whether real or otherwise – that has had such a dramatic impact on both Muslim and non-Muslim communities here in the UK and beyond across the continent.
Given this recognition, how then do we move towards a better means of defining and conceptualising Islamophobia? How do we stop ‘keeping it simple and stupid’?