VIDEO: Why Islamophobia is not extremism – Rebels Without a Pause

A short, talking head style video I made with Rebels Without A Pause about why we have to approach and understand Islamophobia as different from solely being a form of extremism.

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COMMENT: Britain must address the pervasive ‘white noise’ against Muslims – The Conversation

conversation-full-logo2Here’s a piece I wrote for the always excellent The Conversation. Titled, “Britain must address the pervasive ‘white noise’ against Muslims” the piece was written in the immediate aftermath of the attack on the Finsbury Park Mosque. You can read the piece in full by clicking here.

The first few paragraphs are reproduced below.

Britain must address the pervasive ‘white noise’ against Muslims

On hearing the news that Darren Osborne was arrested for terror offences including attempted murder following an attack on a group of Muslims near the Finsbury Park Mosque, it would have been easy to jump to the conclusion that the act was motivated by far-right ideologies.

But, while it would appear Osborne followed both Paul Golding and Jayda Francis – two leaders of the far-right group Britain First – on Twitter, officials said the suspect had no concrete links with any far-right group nor was he known to the security services. The investigation will now turn to what motivated the attack, which has rightly been described as terrorism.

For almost two decades, my research has shown how anti-Muslim views have become increasingly unquestioned and accepted in both the public and political discourse. In this respect, despite being roundly criticised by the right-wing press, Sayeeda Warsi, former co-chair of the Conservative party, was right when she said in 2011 that Islamophobia had passed the dinner table test.

To continue reading, click here.

COMMENT: Why Theresa May Is Wrong To Suggest That Islamophobia Is A Form Of Extremism – Huffington Post

huffington-post-logo.jpgYou can read a comment piece I wrote a while ago about why Theresa May was wrong to refer to Islamophobia as a form of extremism by clicking here.

Originally published in the Huffington Post, the first few paragraphs are reproduced below:

Why Theresa May Is Wrong To Suggest That Islamophobia Is A Form Of Extremism

In response to the horrific events in Finsbury Park, Theresa May rightly described the attack as “an evil borne out of hatred and it has devastated a community”. In doing so, she captured the outrage that many were feeling.

What was interesting however was the way in which she referred to Islamophobia. According to her, Islamophobia was a form of extremism. Of course, any attempt to tackle Islamophobia is not only welcome but so too long overdue in the British political spaces especially as the Conservatives had gone silent on the issue once the impotence of its Cross-Government Working Group on Anti-Muslim Hate had been exposed. However, referring to Islamophobia as a form of extremism and indeed continuing to frame it in this way is extremely problematic.

Much has been made about the fact that Islamophobia is difficult to define. This isn’t exclusive to Islamophobia. In fact the same is true of all discriminatory phenomena including racism, homophobia and sexism among others. As an attempt to bring some consistency to the debate, I recently submitted a briefing paper to MPs suggesting that a definition of Islamophobia could be shaped from a Governmentally-endorsed working definition of Antisemitism.

To continue reading, click here.

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.

PODCAST: Is the call for a tougher UK response to extremists unreasonable? – Voice of Russia

Below is a link to a debate on Theresa May’s proposed counter-extremism measures I participated in for Voice of Russia last week (7th October 2014). Also taking part were Aina Khan (head of the Islamic department at Duncan Lewis solicitors),
Myriam Francois-Syrah (writer and broadcaster) and Ben Harris-Quinney (Chairman of the Bow Group – a Conservative think tank).

You can view the Voice of Russia page here.