JOURNAL ARTICLE: Controversy: Is Prevent Harming Universities? – Political Insight


Click here to link to my recently published journal article in Political Insight. The piece offers a critique of the PREVENT statutory duty placed on universities and higher education institutions. I have pasted the opening paragraph or so below for you to have a look at.

As with many academic journals, it’s likely that you will need to either pay or have an institutional username and password to access it. Please accept my apologies if this is the case but as you will be aware from previous posts, I always try and ensure as much of my writing is open access and available to all. Sometimes though it just cannot be avoided.

Controversy: Is Prevent Harming Universities?

In March 2015, Mohammed Umar Farooq was studying for an MA in Terrorism, Crime
and Global Security MA programme at Staffordshire University. Among the
recommended readings was a text entitled, Terrorism Studies. While sitting in the
University’s main library reading that book, a member of the University’s staff quizzed
Farooq about his religion and his attitudes towards homosexuality, and Islamic State
and al-Qaida. Following the conversation, Farooq was reported to University security
guards who proceeded to interview him on many of the same topics. After three months
of investigations, Staffordshire University eventually apologised to Farooq for the
distress caused. It chose, however, not to extend the apology to the fact that the
member of staff in question was suspicious about a terrorism student’s motivations for
reading on a book on terrorism – because Farooq had been identified as a Muslim. As the
University put it, while the member of staff had ‘misjudged’, the sight of seeing Farooq reading Terrorism Studies had raised ‘too many red flags’ not to act. 

To read the rest of the article, click here.

IN THE NEWS: Westminster Attacks – International Coverage

Screenshot_20170328-150002Following on from last week’s attacks in Westminster, just thought that I would share some links to the international coverage my research and/or thoughts attracted in the aftermath:

France 2

Terrorisme : quelles sont les mesures prises par les Britanniques ces dernières années? 24 March 2017

La Stampa

Caccia alla cellula di Birmingham. Raffica di arresti: “Pronti a colpire” 24 March 2017

Washington Post

The London attacker lived among them. Now, Birmingham’s Muslims worry about the consequences 25 March 2017


THINK-PIECE: Shared Values for Birmingham – Social Inclusion Summit, July 2012

PING2-2Given the events of the past week and the less than positive spotlight that has been thrown on Birmingham, it has made me re-think and re-visit some of the things that I and colleagues have been writing about the city over the past few years (hence the earlier post about the research I did into Birmingham’s Muslim communities in the immediate aftermath of the 2011 riots).

Here I’m re-posting a short think-piece I co-wrote with my friend and long-term collaborator Arshad Isakjee. Having been co-opted into the city’s Social Inclusion Summit a few years back, both of us were concerned about the Summit’s pursuance of ‘shared values’ for Birmingham. As such, we agreed to write a think-piece setting out those concerns we had but also, setting out what we thought were a set of more viable alternatives. The culmination of this endeavour was the document that can be viewed by clicking here.

Whilst it is probably worth noting that after we submitted the think-piece to the Summit, we weren’t contacted again I do think that the think-piece remains relevant and might be a resonant resource in terms of the type of questions that will no doubt be raised following last week’s atrocities.


Comment: Being United Is The Best Defence Against All Who Seek to Divide Us – Huffington Post

n-LONDON-AERIAL-628x314Following on from the tragic events in Westminster on Wednesday, I pulled together some of my thoughts for a blog article in the Huffington Post. The original piece can be viewed here.

Below the article is reproduced.

Being United Is The Best Defence Against All Who Seek to Divide Us

“Terrorists have a clear aim and that is to create discord, distrust and to create fear. The police stand with all communities in the UK and will take action against anyone who seeks to undermine society, especially where their crimes are motivated by hate”

These were the words of Mark Rowley, the national lead for Counter Terrorism Policing and the Acting Deputy Commissioner speaking at a press conference about eight hours after the tragic events that occurred in Westminster on Wednesday afternoon. Measured and calm, he went on to add:

“We must recognise now that our Muslim communities will feel anxious at this time given the past behaviour of the extreme right wing and we will continue to work with all community leaders in the coming days”

Continue reading “Comment: Being United Is The Best Defence Against All Who Seek to Divide Us – Huffington Post”

RESEARCH: We Live Together & Can Stay Together – 2011 Report

Report CoverFollowing on from recent events and the scrutiny placed on Birmingham and its Muslim communities, I thought it might be worthwhile re-sharing the findings from some research I undertook in the city in the aftermath of the riots in 2011. Aside from asking about Muslim’s views about the riots and the causes of them, the research also asked about their feelings towards Birmingham as home as also their sense of belonging too.

Some of the things that the respondents said have particular resonance today. As one put it:

“Muslims are tired of being portrayed as something they are not. They are tired of all the lies and bad press. They love their country, they love the gentle nature of most of the British public, they just want to live a peaceful quiet existence”

And of course, the words of Tariq Jahan continue to ring true today:

“If you look around here, there are black, brown, white and yellow people, they are all my community. We live together and we can stay together”

You can download and read the report by clicking here.


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”