Briefing: Manifestations of Intolerance Against Muslims: Public Spaces, Political Narratives & Media in the UK – 10th Anniversary of OSCE’s Cordoba Conference & Declaration, Vienna Austria

reportIn preparation of my presentation at tomorrow’s conference in Vienna, Austria marking the 10th Anniversary of the OSCE’s Cordoba Conference and Declaration, I drew together a short briefing paper which expands on the main themes and ideas that I will be putting forward. Reflective and drawing on many of the issues that I have explored previously in my research, the paper can be downloaded by clicking here.

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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.

News: Commission on Islam, Participation and Public Life – School of Social Policy, University of Birmingham

Commission-ChrisAllen-April2016Pasted is some news coverage about my involvement with the Citizens Commission on Islam, Participation & Public Life from the University of Birmingham website. The original piece can viewed here.

The Commission on Islam, Participation and Public Life in Birmingham

Chris Allen recently spent two days with the Commission on Islam, Participation and Public Life when it visited Birmingham.

Chaired by Dominic Grieve QC MP, the Commission has brought together 20 Commissioners from a wide cross section of British society to consider how Britain’s Muslim communities could better engage and participate in public life. To do so, it has been touring the UK in recent months having held public hearings in a number of towns and cities to hear evidence from Muslim communities and others.

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OPINION: “Islamophobic Hate Crime up 70% in London, Some Thoughts” – Huffington Post

huffington-post-logoFollowing the news that Islamophobic hate crime has increased by 70% in London over the past year, I wrote a short article for the Huffington Post that raises a number of timely considerations. To read the article in full, click here.

Islamophobic Hate Crime up 70% in London, Some Thoughts

Statistics released by the Metropolitan Police reveal that the number of Islamophobic hate crimes in London has increased by 70% in the past year. For the year ending July 2015, the Met recorded a total of 816 Islamophobic hate crimes; in 2014, the number was 478, itself an increase of around 65% on the previous year. Increases were evident across every London borough, the most staggering in Waltham Forest and Merton where the numbers of Islamophobic hate crimes increased by 270% and 263% respectively. Other boroughs of note include Islington (175%), Lewisham (160%), Hackney (137%) and Lambeth (135%).

Three thoughts emerge.

The first was to think about how those on the Islamophobia spectrum have sought to dismiss out of hand the very existence of the exact same phenomenon. Typically justifying such a view on a perceived lack of evidence that ‘proves’ Islamophobia exists, they point to the dearth of Islamophobia-specific official or governmental data that has been historically available. As I have argued here in the Huffington Post, a lack of evidence about ‘numbers’ alone does not mean that Islamophobia is not taking place, quite the contrary in fact. As with my own research, there is now ample qualitative evidence which poignantly illustrates the ugly realities of contemporary Islamophobia, detrimentally impacting the everyday lives of too many ordinary people who become victims solely because they happen to be identified as being Muslim. It will be interesting to see how those who reject Islamophobia will seek to counter these new statistics.

To continue reading, click here.

Article: “‘A catastrophic lack of inquisitiveness’: a critical study of the impact and narrative of the Project Champion surveillance project in Birmingham”

cctv-mosque-anpr-project-champion-171547246Just received news that my article – co-written with my good friend and colleague Arshad Isakjee – on the Project Champion surveillance project in Birmingham has (finally) been published in the journal of Ethnicities.

Given that the journal isn’t ‘open access’ (see my comments on this issue previously), unless you have an institutional subscription you might be requested to pay to view it (I’m sorry…academic publishing really needs to change and fast !!!).

Anyway for those who are interested, you can view it by clicking here.

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Informing Government about Islamophobia & Anti-Muslim Hate

Following on from my recent submission to the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Islamophobia, I thought that I’d make available in one place all of the various submissions I’ve made to government over the past two years – both to the APPG but so too the Cross-Government Working Group on Anti-Muslim Hate also.

As well as hopefully prompting debate and discussion, making these resources available will provide a lot of information relating to improving understanding Islamophobia and anti-Muslim hate as they cover ‘the basics’. So here goes:

Written evidence to the APPG on Islamophobia: Muslims, Islam and the British media

Written evidence relating to the representation of Muslims and Islam in the British media submitted to the APPG on Islamophobia on 24th October 2012.

APPG on Antisemitism summary review report

A summary review of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Antisemitism’s report which was undertaken on behalf of the Cross-Government Working Group on Anti-Muslim Hate (housed in the Department for Communities & Local Government) in May 2012. The review sought to inform the Working Group’s thinking in relation to realistic and tangible outcomes.

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