Comment: فوز ترامب يعني ازدياد الإسلاموفوبيا – Huffington Post Arabi

huffpostarabilogo-2Here is a piece that was translated into Arabic that the Huffington Post Arabi republished. The original can be found here.

فوز ترامب يعني ازدياد الإسلاموفوبيا

منذ ظهور نتيجة الانتخابات الرئاسية الأميركية، شهدت أميركا ارتفاعاً حاداً في جرائم الإسلاموفوبيا.

على سبيل المثال، في مدينة آن آربور، اقترب رجل غريب من طالبة محجبة في جامعة ولاية ميشيغان، مهدداً بإشعال النار فيها إذا لم تخلع حجابها. وفي ولاية جورجيا، وجدت مدرسة مسلمة بمدرسة ثانوية رسالة من مجهول، كُتب فيها أن “حجابها لم يعُد مسموحاً به”. واقترحت الرسالة أن تخلع المدرسة حجابها ثم تستخدمه لشنق نفسها. وعلى نحو مشابه في ولاية أوهايو، هدد رجل امرأة مسلمة، بصحبتها أطفالها ووالداها المسنان، في أثناء توقف سيارتهم في إشارة مرورية. وبينما كان يصرخ بأقذع الشتائم في وجه العائلة المذعورة، قال الرجل للمرأة المسلمة إنها “لا تنتمي إلى هذه البلاد”. بطرقٍ عدة، ليس مفاجئاً أن ارتفاع معدل جرائم الكراهية المرتبطة بالإسلاموفوبيا جاء تزامناً مع ظهور دونالد ترامب في دور الرئيس المنتخب.

وبحسب مركز قانون الفقر الجنوبي، وهي منظمة غير هادفة للربح تتابع نشاط جماعات الكراهية وجرائم الكراهية، ظهر هذا الارتفاع المفاجئ في أكثر من 300 حادثة مسجلة من “ترهيب وتحرش تحركه الكراهية”. وحتى تصبح هذه الأرقام مفهومة في سياقها، تشير تقارير مركز SPLC إلى أن 300 حادثة هو عدد نموذجي لحوادث الإسلاموفوبيا المسجلة في 5 أو 6 أشهر، وليس في 6 أو 7 أيام. وفي بيان للمركز، كانت “حملة ترامب الانتخابية المفعمة بالكراهية” عاملاً محفزاً لهذا الارتفاع غير المسبوق.

خلال حملته الانتخابية الرئاسية، وجد المسلمون أنفسهم في مرمى ثورات ترامب أكثر من مرة. توعد ترامب مراراً بفحص مُشدد للمسلمين وتسجيل المعلومات الخاصة بهم في قاعدة بيانات وطنية، وإجبارهم على حمل بطاقات هوية خاصة، وتشديد إجراءات الرقابة على المساجد عبر البلاد.

وبالإضافة إلى استهدافه المسلمين ضمن حملة أوسع لقمع الهجرة، في ديسمبر/كانون الأول عام 2015، قال ترامب لمجموعة من مؤيديه، في Continue reading “Comment: فوز ترامب يعني ازدياد الإسلاموفوبيا – Huffington Post Arabi”

Comment: On Being A Working Class Academic: A Personal Reflection – Huffington Post

working-classThe following article appeared in the Huffington Post on 27th January 2017; the original can be found here.

On Being A Working Class Academic: A Personal Reflection

Isn’t it strange how class has become something that we rarely talk about in public nowadays?

Given the fact that class is something I self-define by I was pleased to see research about class making the headlines this week. I was however less pleased, albeit unsurprised with what it had to say.

That was because it showed that British professionals from working-class backgrounds are paid on average £6,800 less each year than those from more affluent families. Noting that 21st century Britain was still a ‘deeply elitist’ society, the Social Mobility Commission’s research stated that while this shortfall in pay was partly due to differences in educational background a number of other factors were also key: those from working class backgrounds were less likely to ask for pay rises, have less access to networks and work opportunities and, in some cases, self-exclude from such things as promotion for fear of not ‘fitting in’.

What resonated most with me however was the recognition that those from working-class backgrounds also tend to experience both conscious and unconscious discrimination including quite subtle processes which lead to what is described as ‘cultural matching’ in the workplace. Consequently, many of the traditional professions continue to be dominated by those from advantaged backgrounds. Such professions – the report added – included academia, a profession that I have been in for the past decade and half. From personal experience, ‘the academy’ is indeed a space where those from advantaged backgrounds clearly hold the reins of power. So marginalised do I feel at times from those around me, even using the term ‘the academy’ makes me feel uncomfortable given that it just does not feature in my normal vocabulary or cultural lexicon. I know this wouldn’t be the same for some of my peers.

Continue reading “Comment: On Being A Working Class Academic: A Personal Reflection – Huffington Post”

Comment: Five Considerations When Refuting The Critics Of Islamophobia – Huffington Post

huffington-post-logoBeen a bit slow at uploading articles of late but here’s the first of a few that I’ve authored over the past few weeks. Published in the Huffington Post, the piece is a follow-on from the oral evidence I gave to the Home Affairs Committee at a session on the impacts of Islamophobic hate crime. The original article can be accessed by clicking here.

Five Considerations When Refuting The Critics Of Islamophobia

Following on from the oral evidence I gave to the Home Affairs Committee at a session on the impacts of hate crime, I was asked to pull together a short briefing paper on how we might move towards establishing a working definition of Islamophobia.

As with any discriminatory phenomenon, the process of definition can be complex and contentious and Islamophobia is no different in this respect. However unlike other discriminatory phenomena such as racism, Islamophobia has a far shorter history. It should be remembered that in its current manifestation, the term Islamophobia only entered the public and political lexicon two decades ago. Consequently, thinking and understanding about the phenomenon remains less developed than it does for other similar phenomena.

Nonetheless, numerous definitions of Islamophobia currently exist ranging from the academic and scholarly, through the community and advocacy sectors, to the policy and political. Few have acquired widespread acceptance however and so the search for ‘the one’ has become something of a search for El Dorado. But as with El Dorado, so too is it a myth to believe that conceiving and establishing a working definition of Islamophobia will simplify the phenomenon’s complexity or overcome its contestation…

To continue reading, click here.

Evidence: Towards a Working Definition of Islamophobia – Briefing Paper

briefing-paperFollowing the presentation of oral evidence to the Home Affairs Committee in December 2016, I have drawn together a short briefing paper on the need to establish a widely accepted working definition on Islamophobia that I have duly submitted. The briefing paper can be downloaded in full by clicking here.

This is not the first time that I have recommended that a working definition be established: among others, I did the same to the All Party Parliamentary Group on Islamophobia in 2011 (here) and the Cross-Government Working Group on Islamophobia in 2012 (here).

Let’s hope this attempt will be more warmly received.

EVIDENCE: Home Affairs Select Committee on Hate Crime & its Violent Consequences

me-select-cmttee-dec-2016Yesterday I was invited to give evidence at a hearing of the Home Affairs Select Committee as part of its ongoing inquiry into hate crime and its violent consequences. The hearing took place at Portcullis House, Westminster, was chaired by the Rt Hon Yvette Cooper and included among its panel the Labour MP Naz Shah. As well as being broadcast live, the hearing is also available on the Parliament website, available by clicking here (my session starts at around 15:50 in the slide bar under the images).

You can also download an audio file of the hearing directly from the same webpage, the link is available from the bottom right of the screen.

 

Comment: As Trump Becomes President-Elect, Islamophobic Hate Crimes Surge Across America – El Estudiante

trump-2Here’s a short comment piece I wrote for the newly created El Estudiante website about the sharp rise in Islamophobic hate crimes that has been evident across the US since Trump’s success was announced just over a week ago. To view the piece in its original form, click here.

As Trump Becomes President-Elect, Islamophobic Hate Crimes Surge Across America

Since the results of the US election were announced last week America has borne witness to a sharp increase in Islamophobic hate crimes. For instance, in Ann Arbor, a female Muslim student at the University of Michigan was approached by a stranger who threatened to set her on fire if she didn’t remove her hijab. In Georgia, a female Muslim high school teacher in Georgia was being left an anonymous note. Scribbled on it was a message stating that her ‘headscarf isn’t allowed anymore’. It went on to suggest that once she had removed her hijab, she could use it to hang herself. Likewise in Ohio, a Muslim woman along with her children and elderly parents were threatened by a man while they were stopped in their car at traffic lights. Shouting obscenities at the terrified family, the man told the woman that ‘she doesn’t belong in this country’. In many ways, it is somewhat unsurprising that such an upsurge in Islamophobic hate crimes has coincided with Donald Trump’s emergence as president-elect.

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a non-profit organisation that tracks hate groups and hate crimes, this post-election upsurge has been manifested in more than 300 recorded incidents of ‘hateful harassment and intimidation’. To give the number some context, the SPLC report that 300 incidents is more typical of the number of Islamophobic incidents reported to them in a five to six month period rather a six or seven day equivalent. In a statement from the SPLC, the catalyst for this unprecedented surge has been “Trump’s hate-filled campaign”.

To read on, click here.