Published in the Social Sciences Directory, the article revisits some of the work I did with the National Muslim Women’s Advisory Group (NMWAG) from a few years ago to reconsider the extent to which the New Labour government sought to try and shape, even change, Islam in Britain.
If interested, you can access – and download – a copy of the article by clicking here. If you’d like to have a taster beforehand, I’ve included the first paragraph below.
While at it, you might want to take a look at another article I wrote about the NMWAG with my colleague Surinder Guru from a few years ago. This is also available free and can be located here.
New Labour’s policies to influence and challenge
Islam in contemporary Britain: A case study on the
National Muslim Women’s Advisory Group’s
For Katherine Brown (2008), Muslim women have been seen as something of a ‘missing link’ within the dominant British Governmental counter-terrorism and counter-radicalisation initiatives of recent years, a topic she notes as having received relatively scant attention. Falling within the realm of such Governmental ‘missing link’ initiatives was the National Muslim Women’s Advisory Group (NMWAG), created in 2008 by Britain’s New Labour Government. Established as part of a strategy which sought to engage different levels of Muslim communities, the group sat below a broad policy umbrella that sought to reduce
‘Islamic extremism’. Bringing together 19 Muslim women from across Britain who were deemed to have either held positions of leadership or were active within their respective communities, the NMWAG sat within the auspices of the Government’s PREVENT policy programme – a policy initiative that sought to prevent violent extremism within Muslim communities following the events of 9/11 but more importantly following the London public transport attacks of 7/7 – and had a broad remit to advise Government via the Department for Communities & Local Government (DCLG) on issues relating to the empowerment and increasing participation of Muslim women in civic, political and public life (Allen & Guru, 2012). Key to this was the explicit acknowledgement by Government that Muslim women were perceived to be able to ‘influence and challenge’ extremist ideologies. Whilst so, Government also acknowledged that Muslim women would need to be supported to overcome what it saw as the barriers to greater engagement posed (imposed maybe?) by the religious, theological and cultural constraints placed on Muslim women in contemporary Britain. To achieve its political aim, Government deemed ‘theological understanding’ a priority.
To continue reading, click here.