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.
In preparation of my public lecture in Preston tomorrow – details available here - as part of Interfaith Week, the Lancashire Evening Post yesterday published a very good interview and feature about my research. This can be read by clicking here.
Alternatively, you can read the article below which is reproduced from the Lancashire Evening Post’s website:
Islamophobia: Myth or Reality?
Discrimination is a daily reality for many Muslims – but the vast majority of abuse goes unreported.
Dr Chris Allen, lecturer at the at the School of Social Policy at University of Birmingham, says a lack of a clear definition of what constitutes the discrimination that Muslims face, known as Islamophobia, contributing to the problem.
What many people fail to recognise, he says, is the difference between disagreeing with Muslim beliefs and promoting hatred.
“Islamophobia is not about disagreeing, criticising or condemning,” he explains. “But as a rule of thumb, when that disagreement, criticism or condemnation – including promoting stereotypes and mistruths – is used to intentionally promote, encourage or justify discrimination, hatred, bigotry or even violence, it is likely that this will be motivated and driven by Islamophobia or manifested and expressed as Islamophobia.”
One of the main problems, Dr Allen says, is while other forms of discrimination have precedents in law, there is still no legal definition of what Islamophobia is.
As a result, data about the levels and prevalence of Islamophobia is lacking.
Just discovered this article in the Neues Deutschland newspaper. Whilst it quotes me, I have never given an interview to this newspaper. Nonetheless, I’m reproducing below (English translation so can verify for accuracy). The German version can be read by clicking here.
Islamophobia is not a post-9/11 Phenomenon
Muslim on the street as “Taliban” and “terrorists bepöbelt” thrown to the ground and forcibly unveiled. Such attacks are not uncommon in Europe and the USA. A toxic social climate is spreading throughout the Western Hemisphere – “” like an oil slick, says Liz Fekete. The head of London was founded in 1958 Institute of Race Relations researched and analyzed with their colleagues all Continue reading
“The sheer magnitude of that one day makes it near impossible to respond to such a simple yet deeply profound question. Suggesting that 9/11 changed everything cannot adequately be communicated without resorting to exaggeration; suggesting that it did not, sounds little more than flippant or dismissive.
“…it’s just interesting that ten years on, a lot of the things that we were finding then continue to exist now; the way in which Islamophobia is becoming much more normal, people accept it a little bit more, they kind of justify that actually things have changed so they’re allowed to be discriminatory or prejudicial towards Muslims or to be more negative towards Islam than other religions”
As part of the build up to the tenth anniversary of 9/11, I have been interviewed by the wonderful people (Lucy Vernall and Andy Tootell) at Ideas Lab for inclusion in their weekly podcast. In addition to some thoughts on 9/11 and its legacy (see above quote), I also discuss the riots, the Muslim response in Birmingham and where my research into Islamophobia is currently taking me.
The podcast is available to listen to from today and can be accessed by clicking here.
Alternatively, you can read a transcript which is available to download here download here.