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.
Sadly, none of this was included.
Phil Mackie: “I’ve come to a coffee shop in the University of Birmingham and in the 1990s, this was where radical groups like Hizbut Tahrir and the now banned al-Muhajiroun began to recruit young Muslim students who were angry at what was going on in Chechnya and Bosnia. I’ve come to speak to Dr Chris Allen, he wrote a seminal work about the backlash against Muslims post-9/11 and is about to publish a new book, Islamophobia.”
Chris Allen: “Every day ordinary Muslims feel that they really are under siege in certain areas of the city [Birmingham]. I think that on the surface, there’s been one way of dealing with and approaching Muslim communities and trying to work with them. But I think that now, those communities just feel that all the work they’ve done is being undermined”