ARTICLE: We Asked an Expert How Islamists Could Actually Take Over the UK, Vice

Vice magazineLast week I was approached by the typically excellent Vice magazine to ask whether I might be interested in working with them on a piece that sought to bust various myths about the likelihood of Islamists “taking over” Britain. To my better judgment – or so I thought at the time – I agreed. Any fears I had were quickly allayed when just over a day later, the following brilliantly irreverent article emerged – click here to read.

I hope you enjoy it…!

We Asked an Expert How Islamists Could Actually Take Over the UK

Earlier this week, Fox News told the world that, in the UK, there are “actual cities like Birmingham that are totally Muslim where non-Muslims just simply don’t go in”. Because that wasn’t enough new information, “terrorism expert” Steve Emerson went on to describe all those real places in London where “there are actually Muslim religious police that actually beat and actually wound seriously anyone who doesn’t dress according to Muslim – religious Muslim – attire”.

Emerson has since apologised for his “terrible error”, but his admission of ignorance, while totally necessary, is only one small battle won in the war against stupid people getting things wrong about Islam. Because while Steve might have realised the error of his ways, there are still lots – as in, a really depressing amount – of far-right British idiots who actually believe the UK is on its way to becoming a Sharia state.

Fully grown men and women – the same people who crash book groups with their EDL mates because they think Russell Brand will be there – are genuinely worried that Britain will become a Muslim majority. And once that happens they believe that Britain will end up looking a bit like Kobane does now.

This seems quite unlikely, but to put the matter to rest once and for all, I got in touch with an expert – Dr Chris Allen, Programme Director for Policy, Politics and Economics at the University of Birmingham and author of the book Islamophobia – and asked him some questions.

To continue reading, click here.

PUBLICATION: A Critical Analysis of Britain’s Living, Dead and Zombie Multiculturalism – From 7/7 to the London 2012 Olympic Games

zombies“A Critical Analysis of Britain’s Living, Dead and Zombie Multiculturalism: From 7/7 to the London 2012 Olympic Games” is my latest open access publication in the journal, Social Sciences. Published just a few days before Christmas, I thought I’d hold it back until now so it didn’t get lost.

To read the article – in full and for free – click here.

To whet your appetite, the abstract is posted below:

A day after the London 2012 Bid Committee succeeded in bringing the Olympic Games to Britain using the slogan “the world in one city”, a series of coordinated suicide bomb attacks occurred across London (7/7). In one day, Britain’s somewhat beleaguered multiculturalism went from prompting national celebrations to being decried as “dead” by politicians and commentators alike. Against a backdrop of the Committee’s success in July 2005 through to the end of the Games themselves in August 2012, this article analyses the social and political discourses and debates that ensued in relation to Britain’s multiculturalism. Exploring the metamorphosis of these discourses—using the analogous language of being alive, dead and zombie—this article reflects on the impact and legacy of the London Games on future understandings of multiculturalism. In doing so, this article argues that the everyday lived variety of multiculturalism will always be distinct and different from the political discourses appropriated—or rejected—by political actors.

To read the article in full, click here.

Article: “Australia tweeted #illridewithyou – and showed great solidarity in a moment of crisis” – The Conversation

ridewwithFollowing events in Sydney yesterday, I was invited to write this piece for Tehe Conversation.

To read the article in full, click here.

Australia tweeted #illridewithyou – and showed great solidarity in a moment of crisis

Against a backdrop of fear and uncertainty following the hostage taking in Sydney, thousands of ordinary Australians turned to social media to spread a message of unprecedented tolerance and solidarity.

Trending worldwide, the #illridewithyou hashtag was a response to a number of Muslim listeners who called Australian radio stations to say they were scared to travel in public as the siege unfolded.

Users offered to ride on public transport with anyone feeling intimidated. They posted their travel plans and invited others to get in touch if they were going the same way and wanted a companion.

Police stormed the Lindt cafe in the central business district, bringing an end to a day-long standoff with gunman Man Haron Monis. There is still uncertainty about his motive for taking up to 30 people prisoner.

To read on, click here.

Article: Britain First – More than the mere sum of the parts left over by the BNP & EDL, LSE British Politics & Policy Blog

Britain-FirstLast week I was invited to contribute a piece on Britain First to the LSE’s excellent ‘British Politics and Policy’ blog.

To read the article in full, click here.

To whet your appetite, the first few paragraphs are reproduced below.

Britain First – More than the mere sum of the parts left over by the BNP & EDL

The recent decision to grant planning permission for a new mosque in Dudley comes after more than a decade of arguing and wrangling in the West Midlands town. As well as the financial cost – alleged to be in the millions – the highly divisive nature of the campaign has been played out at the expense of community relations, creating a void that different far-right groups and organisations have historically sought to exploit.

It is maybe no surprise that the far-right’s ‘new kid on the block’, Britain First sought to get in on the act. Unlike the British National Party (BNP) which gained a seat on the local council and the English Defence League (EDL) which organised some of its biggest marches in the town, Britain First took the protest in a new – and somewhat vile – direction, announcing that they planned to bury a dead pig a on the site declaring that the Qur’an forbids any building on ground containing ‘swine’.

And when it’s not making threats in Dudley, Britain First is standing candidates for public positions, such as in the recent by-election in Rochester and Strood, or running social media campaigns that somewhat insidiously lurk behind rather less innocuous messages that offer support to ‘our’ war heroes on Remembrance Sunday or even more bizarrely, loveable dogs.

To read on, click here.

Article: Britain First – the party taking far-right politics to new lows, The Conversation

britain firstFollowing the shocking incidents in Dudley, where Britain First have announced its intention to bury pig remains around the site of the new mosque, I am posting below an article I’ve written for The Conversation introducing Britain First, its ideologies and activities. To read the full article, click here.

Britain First – the party taking far-right politics to new lows

The decision to grant planning permission to build a new mosque in Dudley has come after more than a decade of wrangling in the West Midlands town. And the division caused by the arguments has proved an irresistible opportunity for Britain First, the new kid on the block in far-right politics.

Members of the party announced that they planned to bury a dead pig on the site, declaring that the Qur’an forbids any building on ground containing swine. And when it’s not making threats in Dudley, Britain First is standing candidates for public positions, including the forthcoming by-election in Rochester and Strood.

Who are they?
Although it is a separate party, Britain First does have links to the British National Party and the English Defence League. It was founded by James Dowson, a former BNP member. A Scottish Calvinist minister with close links to loyalist paramilitaries, Dowson was seen as a credible challenger to Nick Griffin’s leadership after the 2010 elections. Soon after though, he acrimoniously split from the BNP following allegations that he made unwanted sexual advances to a female colleague.

Continue reading the article here.