I recently participated in an ESRC Conference held at the University of Warwick on 7th & 8th March 2013. Entitled, “Whose Security? Migration-(In)security Dilemmas Ten Years After 9/11″ I had been invited to present a paper on the way in which Muslim communities had become increasingly seen as ‘suspect communities’ and how this had begun to play out in the public and political spaces. My paper was titled, “All Muslims are the Same: from external Others to homegrown bombers and beyond”.
From the title alone, you might be surprised to see how the image of Zayn Malik from One Direction is relevant to the paper. Well so that you can find out, I’ve pasted a rough transcript of my paper below including relevant links where appropriate:
“All Muslims are the Same: from external Others to homegrown bombers and beyond”
Events over the past few weeks have reminded me just how important the discussions taking place in this conference continue to be.
You can read the article on the University website by clicking here.
There is also an online poll connected to the opinion piece. You can vote on this by clicking here.
And if you don’t fancy either of those, you can read the piece below:
Do you agree that the UK has ignored the threat from the far right?
Dr Chris Allen
“As news began to break about the atrocities committed in Oslo and Utøya on 22 July, a number of media outlets began to suggest that Al-Qaeda (AQ) was behind the attacks. Disparate reasons were put forward as to why this might be so: Norway’s involvement in Afghanistan and Libya, a recent decision to deport a Muslim cleric and the decision of a Norwegian newspaper to reprint the Danish ‘Prophet Muhammad cartoons’. The next morning, The Sun newspaper was emblazoned with the headline, “Norway’s 9/11”.
A very short interview with the BBC’s Phil Mackie was broadcast as part of this evening’s edition of “The World Tonight” that reflected on the events of 7/7 five years on. To listen to it online, click here.
In addition, I’ve included a transcript of the interview below. Warning, it is very short.
Obviously the interview was much longer. As part of this I was asked what has been the major impact of the 7/7 bombings on communities in Birmingham and elsewhere. I replied that this had been threefold:
First on Muslim communities by increasing the spotlight placed on them, more scrutiny, greater isolation and for some, a hardening of attitudes about ‘the West’.
Second on non-Muslim communities by heightening suspicion, increasing fear and making them more open to negative and anti-Muslim and Islamophobic messages.
And third, in providing a greater platform for the far-right most notably the British National Party and English Defence League.
Saturday 14th February 2009 marks the 20th anniversary of the Ayatollah Khomeini’s fatwa against the British author Salman Rushdie and the publication of his novel, ‘The Satanic Verses’. Based upon stories about the life of the Prophet Muhammad, the novel caused controversy due to it being interpreted by some Muslims as blasphemous and offensive. Not only against the Prophet himself but also against some of the central tenets of Islam.
Following India’s lead in banning the book in January 1989, the Ayatollah took the matter into his own hands – and to an unprecedented level – by issuing a fatwa that called for the death of Rushdie, claiming that it was the duty of every Muslim worldwide to obey his pronouncement. Reports suggest that despite the fatwa, Khomeini hadn’t read the book.
In my post last week about the ‘Independent’ evaluation of Birmingham’s PVE Pathfinder by Waterhouse Consulting Group, I wrote:
Lacking evidence, robustness, consistency and insight, I doubt whether the report – despite its pretensions to independence – will alleviate the criticisms that have already been posited at Birmingham City Council or answer the many questions that – unfortunately – continue to remain unanswered
If you don’t want to take my word for it, I can now exclusively offer the full and unadulterated ‘independent’ report for free.
Just in case anybody is worried about this – or wants to threaten me (you know who you are…!!!) – I have written clearance from the Equalities Department of Birmingham City Council to share the report given that it is now ‘public’.
Download, disseminate and disagree.
Tonight at the Burlington Hotel in Birmingham around 70 people (including two children and four members of staff from Waterhouse Consulting Group) were presented with the findings from the ‘independent’ evaluation of Birmingham City Council’s Preventing Violent Extremism (PVE) Pathfinder programme.
The evaluation report, despite focusing on Birmingham’s PVE Pathfinder was strangely emblazoned with images of the bombed out bus carcass from the 7/7 bombings (see right), a London tube station sign with the phrase ‘We are not afraid’ written across it, and a London Evening Standard poster pronouncing ‘Terrorists attack London – many dead’ (nothing like reinforcing the stereotypes that you’re trying to combat). I hasten to add that there were also images of the bull statue from the Bull Ring as well as the Selfridges building, so at least two from five images had some relevance to the second city. Even more incredibly, the powerpoint presentation by Waterhouse Consulting Group’s Waqar Azmi also had the 7/7 bus carcass image included on every slide.