COMMENT: Birleşik Krallık’ta İslamofobinin 20 Yıllık Bilançosu – Perspektif

perspektif_logoAs with previous months, I have today had a new comment piece published in the German-based Turkish language periodical, Perspektif. This month’s piece reflects on the 20th anniversary of the Runnymede Trust’s report, Islamophobia: A Challenge For Us All. To view the piece, click here.

For those who can read Turkish, I have reproduced the opening paragraph below.

Birleşik Krallık’ta İslamofobinin 20 Yıllık Bilançosu

Birleşik Krallık’ta 1997 yılının kasım ayında ilk İslamofobi raporu yayınlandı. 20 yılın ardından ülkede İslamofobi hâlâ herkes için önemini koruyan bir sorun.

Birleşik Krallık’ta bu kasım ayı, Runnymede Vakfı’nın “İslamofobi: Hepimiz İçin Bir Meydan Okuma” isimli raporunun yayımlanmasının 20. yıldönümü olacak. Bundan 20 yıl önce Britanya Müslümanları ve İslamofobi Komisyonu’ndan çıkan bulguları ortaya koyan Runnymede raporuyla birlikte, kamuoyu ve siyasilerin dikkati ilk kez Britanya’daki Müslüman karşıtlığı ve ayrımcılığı üzerine çekilmişti. İslamofobi’yi “İslam’a duyulan korku ya da nefretin – ve dolayısıyla Müslümanlardan korkmanın ya da nefret etmenin en kestirme yolu” olarak nitelendiren raporda, “İslamofobik söylemin, bazen apaçık ama sıklıkla da üstü örtük şekilde kendini gösterdiği ve bu söylemlerin modern Britanya’da günlük yaşamın bir parçası olduğu” ifadesi yer alıyordu.

To continue reading, click here.

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JOURNAL: Islamophobia and the Problematization of Mosques: A Critical Exploration of Hate Crimes and the Symbolic Function of “Old” and “New” Mosques in the United Kingdom – Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs

JMMAReally pleased to announce – and share – details about my new publication in the Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs. First published in 1979, the Journal is an established and highly respected and widely acclaimed academic and scholarly publication that is known for providing accurate, reliable and objective information on Muslim minority communities worldwide and so I am hugely honoured to have an article published in it.

My piece is titled, “Islamophobia and the Problematization of Mosques: A Critical Exploration of Hate Crimes and the Symbolic Function of “Old” and “New” Mosques in the United Kingdom” and begins to explore how ‘old’ mosques are the targets of hate crimes as regularly as ‘new’ mosques despite there being very little scholarly inquiry into this. For this reason, I think that the findings are groundbreaking.

The article can be viewed here although be warned, if you don’t have an institutional subscription you may be asked to pay (listen to my talk on open access to hear my views about this model of publishing). Below, I’ve reproduced the abstract – enjoy.

Abstract

Most scholarly studies have tended to focus on the building of new and proposed mosques, and in particular how they are sites of conflict and contestation symbolic of wider “problems” associated with Muslims and Islam in the United Kingdom. This study focuses on an overlooked aspect within this, the extent to which attacks on mosques that are neither new nor proposed perform a similar symbolic function. Presenting new empirical evidence from research undertaken with ten mosques across the United Kingdom that had been targeted for attack, we begin by exploring the existing literature on the problematization of mosques using the lens of critical Islamophobia studies to do so. Setting out what is known about attacks on mosques in the British setting, empirical findings from the research are used to illustrate the type and manifestation of attacks experienced, going on to consider the drivers and catalysts for them. Exploring the similarities and differences between the conflict and contestation associated with new mosques and the attacks on mosques that are not new, this study concludes that some resonance exists in the symbolic function mosques continue to serve in the community. In conclusion, the significant resonance between Islamophobically motivated attacks against mosques with those against the individuals is considered.

View the article by clicking here.

BRIEFING: Missing Muslims Report: Identifying the Priorities for Birmingham – Birmingham’s Muslims Project

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Click here to view a short briefing paper my friend and colleague Özlem Ögtem-Young pulled together from discussions had during a workshop we facilitated here at the University of Birmingham a few weeks ago.

Seeking to explore and subsequently identify the priorities for Birmingham’s Muslim communities in the social, political and public spaces that exist across the city we used the recommendations from the Commission on Islam, Participation & Public Life to focus the discussions. If you’re not familiar with the recommendations or even the report,”Missing Muslims: Unlocking British Muslim Potential for the Benefit of All” for free by clicking here.

The priorities identified are set out below:

To consider providing guidance on accurate reporting on Muslim issues in Birmingham and the West Midlands, to ensure that faith is not conflated with extremism. To seek the support and input of the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) as regards appropriate ways of responding and complaining where appropriate.

For Birmingham City Council – and others in the city – to adopt a formal definition of Islamophobia at the same time as making a public statement denouncing all forms of discriminatory phenomena. To work with appropriate authorities in the city to ensure
that Islamophobic hate crime is dealt with in the same way as other hate crimes.

For Birmingham’s mosques to invest in imams appropriate to the city and its Muslim communities, to work towards ensuring that imams are paid a decent living wage funded by Muslim institutions in the UK, and for them to be equipped with the correct pastoral skills to meet the needs of those they seek to support.

For Birmingham City Council schools, colleges and youth clubs to champion and expand opportunities for young people from different backgrounds to meet and share experiences through the encouragement of outreach programmes and other appropriate activities that are attractive to young people.

For Birmingham City Council and West Midlands Police to consider convening a review of its Prevent provision at the same time as establishing an Advisory Group made up of local stakeholders to share best practice.

For Birmingham City Council and other appropriate institutions and actors to consider the creation of a campaign showcasing and championing the city’s diversity, referred to here as the ‘multiple faces of Birmingham’.

For Birmingham’s institutions to consider how to better engage Muslim women. For Birmingham’s mosques and Muslim organisations to consider how to better include Muslim women as also their views and opinions.

Download the full briefing paper here.

 

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.

CHAPTER: Islamophobia – Routledge Handbook on Christian-Muslim Relations

RoutledgeThis recently published collection – edited by my colleague here at Birmingham, David Thomas – duly includes a chapter by me, somewhat simplistically titled “Islamophobia”. While the handbook is fantastically broad, it comes with a whopping £175 (hardback) cover price. If you’re so inclined, then you can purchase a copy from Amazon here.

If you want to whet your appetite first, here’s a few paragraphs from my contribution.

Islamophobia

…Whilst Islamophobia is a contemporary socio-political phenomenon, as Allen notes, many of the negative and stereotypical attributions that inform today’s Islamophobia thinking do not have their origins in the here and now, not least because they are irremovable and eternally fixed. In fact, many of the negative and stereotypical attributions that inform today’s Islamophobia somewhat surprisingly have their origins in historical settings where the religious and theological were far more relevant and resonant. This chapter seeks to explore this, to try and illustrate the role that historical notions of religion and religious enmity between Islam and Christianity continue to have in relation to the manifestation and expression of today’s socio-political Islamophobia. In doing so, this chapter begins by reflecting on the extent to which Islamophobia is – or indeed is not – a specifically contemporary phenomenon. From here, and having sought to explain the relationship between the contemporary and the historical, some consideration will be given to early religious and theological encounters and interactions between Islam and Christianity. Focusing on the stereotypes and attributions of Muslims and Islam that evolved out of these early encounters, the chapter will conclude by reflecting on how these continue to shape and inform today’s Islamophobia.
To do this, it is necessary to use – albeit reluctantly – some broad descriptors. The reluctance comes from the fact that they homogenise and simplify the myriad identities and differences that exist within what is being described or referred to, noted previously in relation to ‘Islam’ and ‘the West’. Given the constraints of this chapter, however, this is unavoidable. In recognising this, some explanation is called for. Thus, the term ‘the West’ can be taken as largely equivalent to the medieval ‘Christendom’, or in the current setting ‘Western Europe and North America’ (see Yemelianova 2002: 193). In this chapter, the West’s political and cultural tradition is one that is understood to have been shaped by Christianity.

Whilst the majority view among scholars is that Islamophobia is a largely contemporary socio-political phenomenon, there is some difference of interpretation. Ziauddin Sardar (1995), for instance, believes that contemporary manifestations of Islamophobia are little more than a re-emergence of what has occurred from time to time throughout history. As he puts it, ‘Islamophobia and prejudice against Muslims has a long memory and still thrives’, not least because it ‘resides so deeply in [the Western] historical consciousness’ (Sardar 1995: 7, 15). For him, the term (and also the phenomenon) has to be understood as necessarily transitory and used retrospectively to name, describe and conceive all historical expressions and manifestations of anti-Muslim, anti-Islamic sentiment, as well as points of conflict, confrontation and so on. He sees Islamophobia as characterising both historical and contemporary relationships and encounters between Islam and the West. Beverley Milton-Edwards (2002: 33) holds a similar view, that today’s Islamophobia is merely one part of an ever-constant and ever-present phenomenon. For her, this means that the contemporary and the historical are interchangeable and indistinguishable, where the expression and manifestation of Islamophobia today is exactly the same as it has always been. Thus, the backlash against Muslims evident after the 9/11 attacks would have been the same as it was, say, at the time of the Crusades, something which is difficult to comprehend given the completely different conditions and paradigms within which each occurred…

You can buy a copy here.

ARTICLE: Political Approaches to Tackling Islamophobia: An ‘Insider/Outsider’ Analysis of the British Coalition Government’s Approach between 2010–15 – Social Sciences

socsci-logoYou can download my new article “Political Approaches to Tackling Islamophobia: An ‘Insider/Outsider’ Analysis of the British Coalition Government’s Approach between 2010–15” by clicking here.

As you will be aware, I try to ensure that as many of my outputs are freely available whenever possible. The good news is that Social Sciences – the journal this is published in – is entirely free to everyone !

Below is the abstract:

Soon after the Conservative-led Coalition government came to power in 2010, Baroness Sayeeda Warsi announced that Islamophobia had passed the ‘dinner-table test’ in contemporary Britain. Resultantly, the need to address Islamophobia was identified as a priority for the Coalition. This article critically analyses how the Coalition sought to achieve this and the extent to which it was successful. Focusing on the period 2010–15, this article initially frames what is meant by Islamophobia, before briefly setting out how it had been responded to by previous British governments. Regarding the Coalition, a threefold approach is adopted that considers the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Islamophobia, the Cross-Government Working Group on Anti-Muslim Hate, and the political discourses used by the Coalition about Muslims and Islam more generally. Concluding that the Coalition failed to meet the high expectations set by Warsi’s speech, this article considers why this might have been so.

Download here.