BRIEFING: Towards a Working Definition of Islamophobia

Briefing PaperFollowing on from the publication of the report by the Commission on Islam, Participation & Public Life – titled, “The Missing Muslims – Unlocking British Muslim Potential for the Benefit of All” – I have pulled together a briefing paper that responds specifically to recommendation number 9 (page 13) and the need for Government to develop a working definition for Islamophobia. To download the paper, click here.

A copy of the briefing paper has been sent to all members of the Commission along with leading political representatives also.

ARTICLE: İslamofobinin Kolay Hedefleri – Perspektif

Perspektif-261_Seite-46I’ve recently had my first article published that was translated into Turkish. Titled, “İslamofobinin Kolay Hedefleri”, the piece was published in the German periodical Perspektif and is available in both print and online versions. To read the online version, click here.

For those of you who don’t read Turkish, an English version is pasted below (the published version may however be slightly different):

Easy Goals of Islamophobia

A few weeks ago, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled that two Muslim women – one in Belgium, the other in France – who were dismissed by their employers for wearing headscarves did not suffer direct discrimination. The decision was made on the basis that employers are within their rights to ban visible political or religious clothing and symbols in the workplace as long as it is part of a requirement for all staff to dress ‘neutrally’. Contrary to an earlier ruling by the European Court of Human Rights upholding the rights of employees to display religious symbols at work, the ECJ ruling has been interpreted by some as Islamophobic given it will likely impact Muslim women employees the most due to their Islamic clothing in particular being seen to be more objectionable and therefore less neutral than other religious traditions. In some ways, the decision is unsurprising.

For many years, European Muslim women – especially ‘visible’ Muslim women – have been increasingly un-noticeable not least because their mere presence and recognition goes some way towards disrupting the order of normality within Western societies. The evidence for this is most obvious in the banning of certain aspects of Muslim women’s appearance and attire in such countries as Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Italy and Switzerland. Without doubt, Muslim women are seen as being problematic. As my research has repeatedly shown, this is because the outward and visible manifestations of Muslim women have not only come to symbolise their identity but so too have they come to symbolise many of the things that are perceived to be wrong, problematic and threatening about Islam and Muslims in the West.

Continue reading “ARTICLE: İslamofobinin Kolay Hedefleri – Perspektif”

COMMENT: Does the European ruling on religious clothing suggest a move towards a more Islamophobic stance? – Birmingham Perspective

20160906_122451This was a piece I wrote a few weeks ago but for some reason ‘disappeared’ off the website ! Anyway, it’s back now and ready for sharing.

The piece was a response to the European Court of Justice’s (ECJ) ruling that two Muslim women – one in Belgium, the other in France – who were dismissed by their employers for wearing headscarves did not suffer direct discrimination. If you want to read it in full at its original home, then click here. If not, then just read on:

Does the European ruling on religious clothing suggest a move towards a more Islamophobic stance?

Last month the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled two Muslim women, one in Belgium, the other in France, who were dismissed by their employers for wearing headscarves did not suffer direct discrimination. This was on the basis that employers are within their rights to ban visible political or religious clothing and symbols in the workplace as long as it is part of a requirement for all staff to dress ‘neutrally’.

This is contrary to an earlier ruling by the European Court of Human Rights upholding the rights of employees to display religious symbols at work. The ECJ ruling has been interpreted by some as Islamophobic, given the ramifications will likely impact Muslim employees due to their Islamic clothing and symbols being seen as far more objectionable and less neutral than clothes and symbols associated with other religious traditions.

The decision also prompts debates about the extent to which views that were formerly the preserve of the far-right about Muslims and Islam have begun to shape and inform the political and policy mainstream thereby having the potential for Islamophobia to become increasingly unquestioned and worryingly ‘normal’.

For more than a decade now, Europe’s far-right milieu has been shifting their ideological focus away from the historical ‘threat’ posed by Jews and Judaism to the contemporary equivalent presented by Muslims and Islam. Citing the alleged ‘Islamification’ of certain European cities – of which the greater visibility of Muslim women has been a recurrent discourse – the argument goes that Muslims will eventually destroy the very nation states that in the words of the far-right had generously sought to afford them a new home. For the far-right, it’s all part of the ‘Islamic invasion’.

To read on, click here.

JOURNAL ARTICLE: Proscribing National Action: Considering the Impact of Banning the British Far-Right Group – Political Quarterly

PQ bannerI’ve recently had a new journal article published in Political Quarterly. Focusing on the recently proscribed National Action, it is the first peer-reviewed article to be published about the British far-right group (it complements the fact that I was the first to have peer-reviewed articles published on the English Defence League and Britain First also).

At the time of publishing, the article is available to read (and download) for free by clicking here. As with most journal articles however, there will be a time when it goes behind a paywall – apologies for that.

Below is the abstract:

Proscribing National Action: Considering the Impact of Banning the British Far-Right Group

In December 2016, the British Government banned National Action for being an extremist organisation. It was the first time in British history that membership of a far-right group was outlawed. While so, little is known about the group. This article responds to this lack of knowledge by setting out the origins of National Action and its leaders, its preference for a traditionalist Nazi ideology, and its penchant for stunts and demonstrations to gain media attention and publicity. The article concludes by considering whether proscription was rather more symbolic than serious.

To read the article, click here.