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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ........................... 3 VICTIMS OF PRESS ABUSE ............................ 72
FOREWORD ................................................... 8 PART III: THE SOCIO-POLITICAL AND
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY .......................................... 9 PERSONAL CONSEQUENCES OF
ISLAMOPHOBIA .........................................82
DEFINITION OF ISLAMOPHOBIA ....... 16 Racial and Religious Hate Crime.................83

A Call for a Definition of “Islamophobia” .... 17 NAZIR AFZAL, OBE CHALLENGING TIMES
TO BE A MUSLIM ............................................. 83
A Message from our CEO .............................. 19
MEND’s Definition of Islamophobia ............ 20 PHSYCHIATRIST ISLAMOPHOBIA AND
MENTAL HEALTH .......................................... 90
Understanding MEND’s Definition of
Islamophobia .................................................. 22 Youth and Education.....................................92
Diversity of Terminology: Why use SHEREEN FERNANDEZ, QUEEN MARY
“Islamophobia”? ............................................. 24 UNIVERSITY ISLAMOPHOBIA AND
EDUCATION ..................................................... 93
Understanding British Muslim
Communities .................................................. 27 DR SADIA HABIB BRITISHNESS,
PART II: THE MANIFESTATIONS, TROJAN HORSE AFFAIR ..............................97
FUEL ISLAMOPHOBIA ............................. 32 Economic Exclusion: Islamophobia and the
Labour Market.............................................. 101
The Assumptions of Islamophobia............. 33
Securitising Muslim Identities: Security and
Counter-Terror ............................................. 104
ISLAMOPHOBIAS ........................................... 36 USA ISLAMOPHOBIA AND THE
Islamophobia, Xenophobia, Racism, and
TERRORISM .................................................. 106
Anti-Semitism ................................................ 38
UNIVERSITY ................................................... 117
CULTURAL RACISM .................................... 38
ANTI-SEMITISM .............................................. 45
PROFESSOR NASAR MEER FACSS, UNIVERSITY ........................................................................... 123
Crime, Policing and the Criminal Justice
System ........................................................... 127
AND ANTISEMITISM?.................................... 46
Political Representation and Exclusion .... 135
Driving Islamophobic Narratives: The
Islamophobia Industry ................................. 49 AMAN ALI, MEND HEAD OF COMMUNITY
Moral Panic, Media, and Broadcasting ...... 66
BENEFITS OF PARTICIPATION .................. 140

Public Exclusion, Integration and Minority
Rights ............................................................ 142
MYTH OF MUSLIM DISTANCE.................. 145
WOMEN AND ISLAMOPHOBIA ............... 151
ISLAMOPHOBIA ...................................... 162
MEND’s Model to Tackling
Islamophobia ............................................... 163

Representative Politics” (Ethnicities, 2017).
Acknowledgements He has previously held fellowships at the
University of Bristol’s Centre for Ethnicity
and Citizenship and at the European
Nazir Afzal, OBE University Institute’s Robert Schuman
Nazir Afzal, OBE, is an eminent lawyer Centre for Advanced Studies.
who has campaigned on issues including Dr Yulia Egorova, Durham University
child sexual exploitation and violence
Dr Yulia Egorova is Reader in
against women. He has worked
Anthropology at Durham University. She
extensively within the Crown Prosecution
is the author of numerous publications
Service and was the first Muslim to be
exploring issues in the study of inter-
appointed as Chief Prosecutor and was the
community relations, including the
most senior Muslim lawyer in the
forthcoming “Jews and Muslims in South
organisation. He is the recipient of many
Asia: Reflections on Difference, Religion
awards for his activities including the
and Race” (Oxford University Press).
People's Award which was voted for by
readers of a national newspaper. He is Pro Rob Faure Walker, University College
Chancellor of Brunel University & London
Honorary Fellow of UCLAN and has Rob Faure Walker is a PhD candidate at
Honorary Doctorates in Law from UCL Institute of Education where he is
University of Birmingham & Manchester. investigating the impact of counter-
In 2005; he was awarded an OBE by the terrorism discourses in educational
Queen. He has also had the honour of settings and on the democratic process. He
being the only lawyer to ever prosecute a has also worked as a secondary teacher in
case before the Queen. London since 2005. He manages Prevent
Dr Hilary Aked, PhD University of Bath Digest, a monthly newsletter related to
Prevent (
Hilary Aked is a freelance writer and
researcher who holds a PhD from the Shereen Fernandez, Queen Mary
University of Bath and is currently writing University
a book about the Israel lobby in the UK. Shereen Fernandez is a PhD researcher at
Recent publications include “The Henry Queen Mary University. Prior to this, she
Jackson Society and the Degeneration of worked as a primary school teacher in
British Neoconservatism” (Public Interest London.
Investigations, 2015, co-author) and “The
Britain Israel Communications and Hareem Ghani, NUS Women’s Officer
Research Centre: Giving peace a Hareem Ghani is the NUS Women’s
chance?” (Public Interest Investigations, Officer where she has led on work
2013, co-author). surrounding gendered Islamophobia,
Dr Jan Dobbernack, Newcastle institutional responses to sexual violence
University and student-staff misconduct. She is
completing her Undergraduate in History
Dr Jan Dobbernack is Lecturer in Sociology at Kings College London where she also
at Newcastle University. His publications founded It Stops Here, a zero-tolerance
include “The Politics of Social Cohesion in campaign against sexual misconduct,
Germany, France and the United bullying and harassment.
Kingdom (Palgrave, 2014), Citizenship,
Nationality and Immigration in
Germany” (Global Centre for Pluralism,
2017) and “Making a Presence: Images of
Polity and Constituency in British Muslim

Professor Sophie Gilliat-Ray, Cardiff London. She is author of Learning and
University Teaching British Values: Policies and
Sophie Gilliat-Ray is Professor of Religious Perspectives on British Identities
Studies at Cardiff University, and the (Palgrave, 2017).
Founding Director of the Islam-UK Centre, Professor John Holmwood, University of
established in 2005. She has published Nottingham
numerous books and articles about Islam
John Holmwood is Professor of Sociology
and Muslims in Britain and has a particular
at the University of Nottingham and
interest in Muslim chaplaincy and
member of the Institute for Advanced
religious leadership. Sophie is the
Study, Princeton during academic year
incoming Chair of the British Sociological
2014-15. He is co-author (with Therese
Association ‘Study Group’ for Religion,
O'Toole) of “Countering Extremism in
and the former Chair of the ‘Muslims in
British Schools? The Truth about the
Britain Research Network’. Outside the
Birmingham Trojan Horse Affair” (Policy
day-job, Sophie is a very keen cyclist,
Press 2018). He was expert witness for the
raising money for the charity ‘Women V
defence in the National College of
Teaching and Leadership professional
Professor Todd Green, Luther College misconduct case against senior teachers at
USA Park View Educational Trust.
Todd Green is associate professor of Dr Azeezat Johnson, Queen Mary
religion at Luther College and a former University
advisor on Islamophobia at the US State
Azeezat Johnson is a lecturer in Geography
Department in Washington, DC. He is the
at Queen Mary University of London. She
author of “Presumed Guilty: Why We
is one of the co-editors for “The Fire Now:
Shouldn't Ask Muslims to Condemn
anti-racist scholarship in times of explicit
Terrorism” (Fortress Press, 2018) and “The
racial violence” (to be published by Zed
Fear of Islam: An Introduction to
Books in November 2018), as well as co-
Islamophobia in the West” (Fortress Press,
founding The Critical Race and Ethnicities
Network (based across the Universities of
Dr Joe Greenwood, YouGov Leeds, Sheffield and York). Her research
Joe Greenwood is a Political Data Analyst focuses on clothing practices, Blackness,
at YouGov and recently completed a PhD Muslim identities, and Black feminism.
in Government at the University of Essex. Professor Nasar Meer FAcSS, University
His thesis examined the factors that of Edinburgh
influence political participation in the
Professor Nasar Meer is based in the
United Kingdom, with a focus on
School of Social and Political Sciences at
economic, social, and cultural capital as the University of Edinburgh. His
well as perceptions of privilege. He is publications include: “Islam and
currently working on a chapter exploring Modernity (4 Volumes) (ed, 2017);
authoritarian populism in the UK, and on Interculturalism and multiculturalism:
an article looking at the relationships
Debating the dividing lines” (co-ed, 2016);
between capital, perceptions, and vote
“Citizenship, Identity and the Politics of
choice in 2017.
Multiculturalism: The rise of Muslim
Dr Sadia Habib consciousness” (2015, 2nd Edition);
“Racialization and religion” (ed, 2014),
Dr Sadia Habib has a decade's teaching
“Race and Ethnicity” (2014) and
experience in UK schools and colleges. She
“European Multiculturalism(s)” (co-
completed both her MA and PhD in
edited, 2012). In 2016 he was awarded the
Education at Goldsmiths, University of

Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE) Thomas University of Manchester in Middle
Reid Medal for excellence in the social Eastern Studies where he worked
sciences, and in 2017 he was elected as a extensively on widening access to
Fellow of the Academy of Social education as well as engaging community-
Sciences. @NasarMe based organisations.
Nathan Sparkes, Hacked Off Campaign
Professor Tariq Modood, University of
Nathan Sparkes is Policy and
Parliamentary Manager for the Hacked Off
Tariq Modood is Professor of Sociology, Campaign, which was established in 2011
Politics and Public Policy and the founding in response to the phone-hacking
Director of the Centre for the Study of revelations. Hacked Off campaigns for a
Ethnicity and Citizenship at the University free and accountable press for the public,
of Bristol. He was awarded a MBE for for implementation of the Leveson
services to social sciences and ethnic Report’s recommendations, and for the
relations in 2001, made a Fellow of the second part of the Inquiry to take
Academy of Social Sciences in 2004 and place. The Hacked Off Campaign works
elected a Fellow of the British Academy in with the victims of press abuse to achieve
2017. He served on the Commission on the those aims.
Future of Multi-Ethnic Britain, the
Dr Lasse Thomassen, Queen Mary
National Equality Panel, and the
Commission on Religion and Belief in
British Public Life. His website is Lasse Thomassen is Reader in the School of Politics and International Relations at
Queen Mary University of London. He is
Dr Aurelien Mondon, University of Bath
the author of, among other books, “British
Dr Aurelien Mondon is a Senior Lecturer Multiculturalism and the Politics of
in politics at the University of Bath. His Representation”, and he works on identity
research focuses predominantly on the politics and representation.
impact of racism and populism on liberal
Dr Aaron Winter, University of East
democracies and the mainstreaming of far-
right politics through elite discourse. His
first book, “The Mainstreaming of the Aaron Winter is Senior Lecturer in
Extreme Right in France and Australia: A Criminology at the University of East
Populist Hegemony?” was published in London. His research examines racism,
2013 and he recently co-edited “After anti-Semitism and Islamophobia, the far-
Charlie Hebdo: Terror, racism and free right, terrorism and hate crime. Most
speech”. His new book project with Aaron recently, he has been involved in the
Winter, “Reactionary democracy: project ‘Step Up to Stop Hate’ in Newham,
populism, liberal and illliberal racisms, the East London. He is co-editor of
far right and the lack of political “Discourses and Practices of Terrorism:
imagination”, will be published in 2019. Interrogating Terror, Reflexivity in
Criminological Research: experiences with
Ilyas Nagdee, NUS Black Students the powerful and powerless and Historical
Perspectives on Organised Crime and
Ilyas Nagdee is the NUS Black Students Terrorism”. His most recent article
Officer where he leads work around is “Articulations of Islamophobia: from the
institutional racism, combatting state extreme to the mainstream?” with
violence and challenging the Prevent Duty Aurelien Mondon in “Ethnic and Racial
as part of the #StudentsNotSuspects Studies”. His new book project with
coalition. He graduated from the Aurelien Mondon, “Reactionary

democracy: populism, liberal and illliberal Noor-ul-Hassan Sarodia, Senior Policy
racisms, the far right and the lack of Analyst
political imagination”, will be published in Noor-ul-Hassan holds a first-class degree
2019. in Economics and Statistics from
MEND Contributors University College London. Prior to
joining MEND, he worked in the Civil
Isobel Ingham-Barrow, Head of Policy Service as a statistician and data analyst
Isobel received her BA (Hons) in Arabic gaining experience across a number of
and Middle Eastern Studies with Persian, different government departments.
an MA in Middle East and Islamic Studies, Dr Antonio Perra, Senior Policy Analyst
and an MRes in Middle East Studies from
the University of Exeter. Alongside her Dr Antonio Perra studied Politics and
work with MEND, she lectures at the International Relations at the University of
University of Exeter and is a postgraduate Cagliari, Italy, before obtaining his PhD
researcher in Area and Development from the Department of Middle Eastern
Studies at the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies at King's College London. Prior to
Studies. Her PhD research project is an joining MEND, Antonio worked as
exploration of masculinity within British Lecturer at Birkbeck, University of London
Muslim communities. and King's College London, where he is
currently an Associate Lecturer and a
Dr Shazad Amin, CEO & Consultant Visiting Research Fellow respectively.
Psychiatrist Antonio has authored several papers on
Dr Shazad Amin is Chief Executive of Middle Eastern Affairs, as well as a book
Muslim Engagement & Development. He titled "Kennedy and the Middle East: The
recently retired as an NHS Consultant in Cold War, Israel and Saudi Arabia"
Adult Psychiatry based in Manchester. He (London, New York: I.B. Tauris, 2017).
works as a Court Expert Witness, mainly in Zeeshan Ali, Media and Policy Analyst
the area of Clinical Negligence. He is also a
Chair of the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Zeeshan holds a first-class degree in MSci
Service, which makes decisions about a Pharmacology from University College
doctors’ fitness to practise. He is a Care London. During his master’s year, he was
Quality Commission Specialist Advisor. elected UK National Policy Officer of a
student-led NGO, Universities Allied for
Aman Ali, Head of Community Essential Medicines, which prompted him
Engagement and Development to pursue a career in policy analysis. He is
Having spent two years as MEND’s passionate about empowering members of
Regional Manager for London, Aman Ali is the community and tackling
now MEND’s National Community Head. discriminatory narratives and policies
Aman currently is undertaking his within the socio-political field. Other
master’s studies at UCL’s Institute of causes of interest include access to
Education, having initially graduated from medicines.
Queen Mary University with a BSc in Huma Malik, IRU Hate Crime
Biology with Psychology. He has many Caseworker
years of experience working with various
Muslim youth organisations, having Huma has completed a Master’s degree in
started out as a Muslim youth worker at African politics, history, and economic
the age of 17. He then moved onto various development at the School of Oriental and
roles including being previously Head of African Studies. Here, she completed a
Media at FOSIS and teaching science at research project in grassroots
secondary level. peacebuilding initiatives across East
Africa. Her interests include international

development, human rights,
environmental, and social justice
campaigning. Before joining MEND, she
worked at the Living Wage Foundation
providing advice and support to low wage
workers. Huma has developed a passion
for the non-profit sector, from her track
record of working in many international
NGOs and charities.
Zarah Sultana, Parliamentary Officer
Zarah graduated from the University of
Birmingham with a first-class BA (Hons) in
International Relations with Economics.
During her time at University, she was
elected onto the National Union of
Students’ National Executive and the NUS
Black Students’ Campaign. Prior to joining
MEND, Zarah has worked in a variety of
roles in marketing, communications and
campaigns. She is passionate about
promoting greater involvement of
marginalised communities with the
political process and tackling inequalities
in accessing education and employment.

Muslims, and to discriminate against
Foreword Muslims in the employment and
educational sectors. Islamophobia has also
Last January, I taught a study translated into increasing levels of violence
abroad course called Islam in Europe. A as anti-Muslim hate crimes have climbed
colleague and I brought twenty-five over the past two decades, reaching
American students to five European disturbing levels in the past several years.
countries to study the political and cultural
Islamophobia poses one of the
tensions pertaining to Muslim minority
greatest political and moral challenges of
communities and to gain insight into how
our time precisely because it is so widely
Muslims were responding to these
accepted. By most metrics, hostility toward
tensions. The last country on our itinerary
Muslims in the UK and other Western
was the UK.
nations is only getting worse. Until
While sitting in our hotel lobby in policymakers develop a better
London one morning, a British gentleman, understanding of Islamophobia and
also staying at the hotel, sat across from prioritize efforts to counter it, we can
one of my students and struck up a expect the situation to worsen in the
conversation. Noticing that she was foreseeable future.
reading a book called The Fear of Islam, and
Under these circumstances, the
assuming it was an anti-Islam book (when
MEND report, More Than Words:
in fact it was a book about Islamophobia),
Approaching a Definition of Islamophobia, is
he immediately started complaining.
both timely and essential. The report offers
“We’re having LOTS of problems with
a nuanced definition of Islamophobia that
Muslims in Britain,” he said to her,
will help policymakers better to
lamenting both the plight of Muslim
understand and respond to the problem of
women forced to wear a hijab and the loss
anti-Muslim prejudice. It also addresses
of British values and culture in the wake of
the various cultural, social, and political
Muslim immigration. He said all of this as
manifestations of Islamophobia along with
casually as if he were commenting on the
the real impact of Islamophobia on the
weather outside.
lives and livelihoods of Muslims and those
When my student told me about perceived as Muslims. And it does all of
the conversation, I thought to myself, this by drawing on the expertise of some of
“Baroness Warsi was right. Islamophobia the most prominent scholars and analysts
‘has passed the dinner table test’ in the of Islamophobia.
UK.” Her famous quip from 2011 was a
The MEND report goes a long way
reminder that articulating Islamophobic
toward helping policymakers do their part
beliefs was now acceptable in polite British
to ensure Islamophobia no longer has a
society, whether in the family home or in
place at the proverbial dinner table, or in
the Houses of Parliament.
the halls of Parliament for that matter.
Without a doubt, in the twenty plus
years since the Runnymede Report on
Islamophobia was released, Islamophobia Professor Todd Green
has gone mainstream and become
Luther College, USA
normalised. It has been used on both sides
of the Atlantic to win elections, to justify June 2018
restrictions on refugees and immigrants, to
encourage teachers to “monitor” Muslim
students for signs of radicalisation, to
validate the surveillance and profiling of

all its social, economic and political
Executive Summary forms.
 Contrary to some claims, it has not
Defining Islamophobia
historically, nor should it presently, be
Defining the phenomenon of Islamophobia seen as attempt to stifle free speech
is important as it will provide much- and, in particular, an effort to curtail all
needed clarity in legislation and policies questioning or criticism of religion.
that are intended to protect vulnerable
minorities. However, it is also an act of Assumptions of Islamophobia
recognition. For British Muslims, it While not every instance of Islamophobia
demonstrates that the Government may embody all of the underlying
recognises the hardships they face and has assumptions discussed within this report,
given them a name. It officially validates they are common themes that drive and
their experiences and cements these infiltrate Islamophobic narratives
experiences as undeniable facts in need of surrounding Muslims and their place in
address. Furthermore, it reassures Muslim society. Such assumptions include:
communities that these hardships can and
will be tackled in a critical and dedicated  Muslims are a monolithic group with
manner. static views, beliefs and practices. Such
a stance ignores the huge diversity
Whilst providing a full working definition between Muslims in terms of beliefs,
of Islamophobia on page 22, MEND practices, ideologies, ethnicities,
defines Islamophobia as a prejudice, cultures, languages and values.
aversion, hostility, or hatred towards
Muslims and encompasses any distinction,  Muslims are not only different, but this
exclusion, restriction, discrimination, or difference also makes them inferior;
preference against Muslims that has the uncivilised, irrational, violent and
purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing sexist. As such, they have no place in
the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on the civilised West unless they
an equal footing, of human rights and denounce their barbaric and illogical
fundamental freedoms in the political, ways in order to progress to an
economic, social, cultural or any other field enlightened Western way of life.
of public life.  Racial discrimination is normalised
within political and public debate as
Why “Islamophobia”
something deemed necessary due to
Despite longstanding semantical debates the perceived threat of Muslims to
and proposals of alternative terms, such as security. Moreover, prejudiced and
“anti-Muslim hatred”, MEND argues racist comments about Muslims have
unequivocally that the term increasingly become normalised.
“Islamophobia” is the most appropriate Rather than being considered bigoted
terminology to use in this debate for a and inappropriate, such views are
variety of reasons. frequently seen as justified and normal.
 It is an established terminology in  Western commentators are justified in
academic, activist, advocacy, and criticising Muslim individuals and
victim vocabularies. countries for their beliefs, practices,
 It is a terminology with an existing policies and behaviours, however, the
broad conceptual understanding. reverse is unjustified and baseless.
Therefore, it is a holistic descriptor that
explicitly identifies the phenomenon in

Islamophobia, Xenophobia, Britain’s colonial past. Therefore, to fully
understand Islamophobia in any
Racism, and Anti-Semitism meaningful way, there must be an
While animosity towards the religion is acknowledgement of the relationship
frequently used as a justification for between Islamophobia, Orientalism, and
Islamophobic sentiments, this hostility is empire.
also a product of animosity towards race,
Orientalism is a mechanism through which
ethnicity and culture. In this way, Muslims
to gain cultural and civilising power over
collectively have become racialised
Muslim populations. Islamophobia
through their religious identities.
thereby becomes the conduit through
Therefore, rather than viewing
which Muslims are regulated into
Islamophobia in a vacuum, it is important
hegemonic Western conceptions of
to view it through the lens of racisms. As
modernity. Muslims who resist such
Runnymede’s recent report attests,
Western appropriation are deemed a threat
Islamophobia should be understood as an
to the stability of the state and are thus
anti-Muslim racism.
placed in the dichotomy between the good
In analysing Islamophobia, critical “moderate” Muslims (those who
perspectives are enlightening. Indeed, unquestioningly adhere to the sensibilities
there needs to be an understanding of the of Western identity constructs) and the bad
history and the social, political, and “extremist” Muslims (those who threaten
economic processes through which the Western hegemonic notions of modernity
behaviours, practices and identities through maintaining their religious-
Muslims have become regulated at a social, cultural identities or through questioning
political, and legislative level. For example, the status quo of this hegemony).
understanding how institutional racisms
Islamophobia is often portrayed as
within stop and search procedures or
completely distinct from anti-Semitism.
integration strategies are used to normalise
However, this is a misunderstanding of
racisms and regulate Muslim identities.
hatred and racisms. Islamophobia, anti-
Xenophobia plays an integral role in the Semitism, racism, xenophobia, sexism,
development of Islamophobias. British homophobia and other forms of hatred are
Muslims, even those whom have been born all mechanisms of social regulation and
in the UK and whose parents were born in control of minorities. Therefore, they need
this country, may be perceived to be as to be understood in the interconnectivity of
foreign as someone born halfway around their logics, manifestations, and
the world. The reason for this foreignness consequences.
is found not only in distinctions of
ethnicity, but also in a perceived conflict of Driving Islamophobic
views, values, norms, practices, beliefs, Narratives: The Islamophobia
and behaviours that all culminate in a Industry
threat or an insult to the Western identity
and way of life. Furthermore, there is an The term “Islamophobia Industry” (also
intimate link between Islamophobia and known as the “Counter-jihad movement”)
xenophobia that cannot be dislocated from encompasses a largely interconnected and
the perceived decentring of Western power well-funded network of think tanks (for
and erosions of Western and White example, the Henry Jackson Society),
privilege as an existential threat. media outlets (such as Breitbart and Rebel
Media), public figures, politicians, and
Islamophobia in the UK is not an policy-makers that advance, disseminate
ahistorical phenomenon, rather, it must be and perpetuate negative discourses about
contextualised within the history of Muslims and Islam for economic and

political gains. Commonly guided by right- It is, therefore, essential that effective
wing and neoconservative ideologies, the regulation is examined and implemented
Islamophobia Industry employs the to hold publishers accountable.
rhetoric of an array of “experts” in order to
Within broadcasting, the lack of diversity
disseminate misinformation and fear about
and inclusive images stemming from a lack
Muslims and Islam, primarily by
of minority representation results in a
perpetuating the myth of an Islamic
vision which neglects segments of society
invasion of the Western world. Through
and thus alienates and marginalises
this kind of propaganda, the industry is
minority communities. Therefore, industry
able to influence and hijack political
initiatives that promote diversity are of
discourses, to influence voting patterns,
upmost importance in fostering a shared
and even to set the basis for legislative
sense of national identity and in order to
debates and drafting.1
tackle stereotypes that result from the lack
Grassroots organisations, such as the EDL of normalised images of minority groups.
or Football Lads Alliance, who are often
guided by strong nationalistic sentiments, Racial and Religious Hate Crime
subscribe to the anti-Muslim discourse Hate crime is in many ways the most overt,
advanced by these experts and fuelled by visible, and undeniable symptom of the
the statements of media and political Islamophobia prevalent across certain
figures, thus giving this divisive rhetoric a segments of society. Over recent years,
voice among broader society. British Muslims have suffered from
increasing levels of hate crime in
Moral Panic, Media, and conjunction with seemingly obsessive
Broadcasting demonisation in the media and an
Considering the overly negative increasing presence of online hate speech
representation of minorities and British on social media platforms. Major socio-
Muslims within the British press, the political events, such as terror attacks and
media’s monopoly on public the EU referendum, often mobilise acts of
understanding has detrimental impacts hostility towards Muslims and the impacts
which are acutely felt by minority social, of these crimes are long-lasting, with many
ethnic and religious communities, and victims left feeling anxious and fearful for
Muslims in particular. This leads to their safety.
potentially dangerous repercussions in In tackling anti-Muslim hate crimes, it is
terms of hate crime, discrimination, and important to address the disparity in
marginalisation. protections afforded by the Racial and
Furthermore, the level of bias, Religious Hate Crime Act, 2006, on
misinformation and distortion within grounds of race versus the protections
reporting on British Muslims has fostered afforded to religious groups. At the same
a sense of distrust in the media institutions time, effective strategies and primary
amongst parts of the Muslim community, legislation need to be enacted to tackle
and for many individuals, has led to a online hate speech whilst protecting
disengagement from traditional media. freedom of speech.
Meanwhile, this Muslim disengagement is Youth and Education
often accompanied by a sense of
frustration and insecurity with regards to Islamophobia in the education system is a
their perceived place and value in society. serious problem which impacts Muslim
children and their development in a wide

1Nathan Lean, The Islamophobia Industry: how the right manufactures fear of Muslims, 2nd
Edition, (S.I. : Pluto Press, 2017)

variety of ways. From being bullied misguided policies predicated upon
explicitly in reference to their faith, to Islamophobic assumptions and discourses
being stigmatised and reported to the is an area that is in need of immediate
PREVENT strategy for views they may address.
hold, and to being interminably
Processes of securitising Muslim identities
questioned on their apparent divergence
have intersected with vague definitions of
from (thus far ill-defined) “British Values”,
“extremism”, “radicalisation”, and
Muslim children are struggling to navigate
“Fundamental British Values” to result in
this complex maze. Meanwhile,
damaging policies such as the PREVENT
controversies such as the apparent “Trojan
strategy, which are based on flawed
Horse” affair and Amanda Spielman’s
evidence and serve to stigmatise Muslims
recent proposals to question schoolgirls
and marginalise their voices within
who wear the hijab highlight the obsessive
democratic debates.
scrutiny and problematisation of Muslims
within the sphere of education. The Crime, Policing and the Criminal
impacts of these experiences can be long- Justice System
term, damaging their ability to achieve
success in the employment sphere and Institutional Islamophobia relating to
inhibiting their participation in wider civic discriminatory practices ingrained within
society and the political arena. the Criminal Justice System is particularly
significant because of both its disruption to
Economic Exclusion: the lives of many Muslims and for its long-
Islamophobia and the Labour term consequences to their future social
Market engagement as equal members of society.

It is necessary to examine Islamophobia in While noteworthy and commendable steps

terms of its ability to economically exclude have been made to improve equalities in
Muslims from the labour market, thereby the Criminal Justice System since the
furthering socio-economic divides. Indeed, publication of the Macpherson report in
numerous studies in recent years have 1999, Muslims and ethnic minorities
researched the failure of Muslims to remain over-represented and demonstrate
progress and reach levels of success in the lower levels of trust in the system.
workplace which their non-Muslim Furthermore, homogeneity within the
counterparts enjoy. These studies have Criminal Justice system needs to be
pointed to a combination of Islamophobia, examined as conduit for potential biases
racism and discrimination as reasons for and as a hindrance to understanding the
Muslims to be paid less than their non- experiences of Muslim offenders, thereby
Muslim counterparts, less likely to be in obstructing meaningful strategies to
work, less likely to be in skilled and approach Muslim socio-economic mobility
professional occupations, and less likely to and the driving forces behind criminality.
break through the glass ceiling to access As such, Islamophobia must be examined
top level executive positions. as a mechanism potentially maintaining
inequalities at all levels of the Criminal
Securitising Muslim Identities: Justice System.
Security and Counter-Terror Political Representation and
The lens through which Muslims are Exclusion
repeatedly and forcefully portrayed as
security threats is a narrative desperately Islamophobia should be understood as a
in need of recalibration. Meanwhile, the mechanism which marginalises and
damaging consequences that result from excludes Muslims from being able to fully
participate in social, political and civic life.

While barriers have been broken by strategy, within which examples of
individuals such as Mohammad Sarwar, Islamophobic assumptions and
Sayeeda Warsi, Naz Shah, Yasmin institutional racism can be readily
Qureshi, Shabana Mahmood and witnessed regarding the treatment of
Rushanara Ali, to name but a few, Muslim Muslim communities.
representation of 2% of the House of
The Government’s current approach
Commons still lags far behind what is
towards integration heavily relies on the
proportional considering the population of
highly criticised 2016 Casey Review. As a
British Muslims, which stands at 4.4%
consequence, its analysis and suggested
according to the 2011 census.
strategies are inherently tainted by the
Furthermore, divisive security strategies same flawed evidence and lack of
such as PREVENT have been utilised by understanding. This has resulted in the
certain groups (such as the Henry Jackson infiltration of Islamophobic narratives and
Society and its project Student Rights) to assumptions which have directed the
shut down Muslim voices, particularly on development of this strategy, and
university campuses which are intended to therefore, limit its potential to make a
be the epicentres of critical debate and positive difference.
engagement of ideas. The result is that
Of particular concern are its overlap with
young Muslims in particular are actively
counter-terror strategies, its prescribed
discouraged from being politically active
views of “acceptable Islam”, the de-
and engaging with the debates that are
contextualisation of challenges facing
integral to a democratic society.
minorities, and an absence of introspection
Moreover, it is essential that the concerning Government strategies such as
Government’s policy of disengagement “hostile environment” policies, austerity,
with credible mainstream Muslim cuts to healthcare and policing, or the
organisations and be urgently reversed so cancellation of Leveson Part II.
that the relationship between Government
Furthermore, despite the protections
and Muslim communities may be
afforded by the ICCPR, the ECHR and the
Human Rights Act, 1998, recent years have
Public Exclusion, Integration and witnessed numerous controversies,
scandals, and vicious public debates that
Minority Rights have challenged Muslim religious practice
Britain has always claimed to embody a and observance in the UK context.
proud history of supporting Particular public controversy has
multiculturalist principles advocating surrounded the right to halal meat, the
respect and celebration of the multitude of building of mosques, and the right to
diverse ethnic and religious identities that religious dress, amongst other topics of
have led themselves to a British identity public interest. Such debates demonstrate
built upon pluralism and collaboration. how religious practices, whilst protected
However, recent years have seen by national and international legislation,
simmering resentments and debates can still be contested and the discourse
surrounding national identity and a around them used as a proxy argument to
perceived “ghettoisation” of minorities. marginalise minority communities and
Muslims specifically.
In line with the development and
consequences of moral panic, these fears The model to tackle
have culminated in calls for the UK to
reassess its policies towards
multiculturalist principles. The result is an To solve a society-wide problem, a
increasingly restrictive integration combination of legislative change,

Government and industry initiatives, Employment: The barriers to Muslim
Muslim community empowerment, and economic empowerment is an area that
wider community engagement is required. needs to be tackled by both governmental
As such, MEND humbly proposes the and industry initiatives designed to
following initiatives and policy changes to address religious, racial and gendered
tackle the causes, driving forces, and discrimination in the workplace through
impacts of Islamophobia, targeted interventions at all stages of
recruitment, retention and promotion,
Legislative changes
including through the use of name-blind
Press regulation: We call on policy makers applications.
to ensure the commencement of the second
Media and broadcasting: There needs to
part of the Leveson inquiry. Furthermore,
be emphasis on promoting positive and
Leveson II should place explicit emphasis
normalised images of Muslims within
on including an investigation of
media and broadcasting. It is also essential
Islamophobia in the press as a mandatory
that support is given to educative and
industry initiatives designed to attract
Counter-Terror legislation: It is Muslim and BAME individuals into the
imperative that the Government commits spheres of journalism and broadcasting.
to an independent review of PREVENT
Public exclusion: It is imperative that
and all counter-terrorism legislation
public figures show greater maturity and
enacted since 2000 with a view to curbing
responsibility when discussing integration
the encroachment of counter-terrorism
debates and take care not to cause hysteria
policies on civil liberties.
for the sake of political popularity and
Incitement to Religious Hatred agendas. Meanwhile, especially
legislation: Considering the disparities considering the unclear status of human
between the protections afforded for racial rights commitments within Brexit
and religious hatred, it is essential to negotiations, we must ensure that the
review the 2006 Racial and Religious tenants of the European Convention on
Hatred Act with a view to strengthening Human Rights and the Human Rights Act
legal protection afforded to religion and are preserved within UK law post-Brexit.
equalise it with those granted to race.
Crime and policing: Areas in need of
Primary legislation to deal with social government support include:
media offences and online hate speech:
The Government should consider primary  Tackling the high number of Muslim
legislation to deal with social media prisoners through schemes to facilitate
offences and work with social media rehabilitation, cut re-offending and
companies to protect free speech while develop pathways for social inclusion.
developing an efficient strategy to tackle  Launching research into the
online hate speech online. underlying reasons for the
Government and industry initiatives disproportionately high numbers of
Muslim prisoners, including issues of
Racial and religious equality: In the socio-economic deprivation and
context of current Brexit negotiations, structural issues within the judicial
attention needs to be given to supporting system.
the principles of the EU Equal Treatment
Directive to advance protection against  Supporting educative and industry
discrimination on the grounds of religion initiatives to attract BAME individuals
to education, healthcare, housing, access to into the police force.
goods and services and social protection,
within UK law post-Brexit.

Muslim community empowerment  Prioritising PSHE and PSRE in the
The Government’s current disengagement national curriculum to prepare young
policy is a clear barrier to British Muslim’s people for life in a diverse and
participation in social and political life. It is pluralistic society.
essential that the Government mends its  Developing training programmes and
broken relationship with Muslim resources for teachers focussed on
communities by committing to engaging tackling bullying based on race,
with and listen to a wider spectrum of religion, disability or sexuality.
representative Muslim grassroots
 Developing teaching materials to
organisations, such as MEND and MCB.
educate young people on the dangers
Muslims themselves have a responsibility of Islamophobia, racism, anti-
to ensure that they are engaging with Semitism, homophobia and other
processes of democracy to overcome the forms of hatred.
challenges they face. As such, there are a
 Supporting community and school-led
number of ways in which British Muslim
programmes that encourage cultural
communities may be empowered to play
exchange between pupils of different
their full role as civic actors. Strategies to
racial, religious, ethnic and other
achieve this include:
 Supporting educative and industry
initiatives designed to attract Muslims  Supporting academic freedoms and
initiatives to decolonise education,
and BAME individuals into the spheres
whilst giving greater emphasis within
of politics, the civil service, media, and
the national curriculum to shared
histories and the contributions of
 Placing greater emphasis on minority communities in building our
educational programs aimed at society.
empowering minority communities to
be actively engaged within politics and
 Encouraging grassroots and
community-led movements to
overcome barriers to reporting hate
crime and encourage maximum
reporting of Islamophobic incidents to
the police.
Wider community engagement
Islamophobia, like all forms of hatred, is an
issue of social justice, and therefore, it is
inherent upon every member of society to
contribute towards ending it. As such,
there are certain areas that MEND feels
should be addressed:
 Promoting a greater awareness of
 Promoting greater inter-community

Part I: Introducing
MEND’s Definition of

A Call for a Definition of “Islamophobia” .... 17

A Message from our CEO .............................. 19
MEND’s Definition of Islamophobia ............ 20
Understanding MEND’s Definition of
Islamophobia .................................................. 22
Diversity of Terminology: Why use
“Islamophobia”? ............................................. 24
Understanding British Muslim
Communities .................................................. 27
MUSLIMS IN BRITAIN ................................. 29

It is now time to afford official recognition
A Call for a Definition to a definition of Islamophobia so that the
of “Islamophobia” same progress will be afforded to the
efforts to tackle the prejudices, hostilities,
An important part of the movements to fight discriminations, and barriers faced by
anti-Semitism, racism, and homophobia in this Muslims on account of their ethno-
country was the development of terminologies religious identities. As such, a working
to identify these biases. The stigmatization of definition is important for the following
Jews, African-Americans, and the LGBTQ reasons:
community existed long before we had words to
describe it, but the formulation of these words  It is a critical tool for awareness raising in
— anti-Semitism, racism, and homophobia — communicating to the public the serious
and their usage by prominent figures, was a prejudice and discrimination faced by
critical step in communicating to the public the Muslims.
serious prejudice and discrimination these  It is an asset in formulating effective and
groups faced.2 meaningful legal protections.
The Bridge Initiative, “Islamophobia: The  It encourages a full and holistic exploration
Right Word for a Real Problem”, 2016
of the phenomenon, which in turn presents
In 2018, the All Party Parliamentary Group effective methods for approaching and
for British Muslims launched an inquiry challenging it.
into a definition of Islamophobia. Such a
 It is also an act of recognition. For British
development is hugely important and a
Muslims, it demonstrates that the
significant step in tackling the prejudice
Government recognises the hardships they
and discrimination facing British Muslims,
face and has given them a name. It
and, indeed, many Muslims across the
officially validates their experiences and
cements these experiences as undeniable
Why is a definition important? facts in need of address. Furthermore, it
reassures Muslim communities that these
Defining the phenomenon of Islamophobia hardships can and will be tackled in a
is important as it will provide much- critical and dedicated manner.
needed clarity in legislation and policies
that are intended to protect vulnerable  While being an act of recognition for
minorities. As duly observed by victims of Islamophobia, it also forms a
Gottschalk and Greenberg, “movements basis for countering the vocal minority in
against discrimination do not begin until a our society who deny Islamophobia’s very
commonly understood label evolves that existence, despite overwhelming evidence
brings together under one banner all forms to the contrary.
of that particular prejudice”.3 Once This report is intended to provide critical
established, terms such as sexism, analysis to the following:
homophobia, racism and anti-Semitism
became important tools to oppose and  The roots and causes of Islamophobia.
tackle the various discriminations and  The manifestations of Islamophobia.
prejudices these labels embody; prejudices
 The socio-political and personal
and discriminations which at one time
consequences of Islamophobia.
were considered normal and thus
remained unchallenged.  Potential solutions to tackling

2 "Islamophobia: The Right Word for a Real Problem," The Bridge Initiative | A 3 Peter Gottschalk and Gabriel Greenberg, Islamophobia Making Muslims the Enemy
Research Project on Islamophobia, September 08, 2016, accessed June 19, 2018, (Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2008), p11.

It is our hope that the discussions
contained in this report will advance
conceptual understandings of
Islamophobia that will, in turn, assist
policymakers in approaching a holistic
appreciation and an all-encompassing
working definition of Islamophobia.

hateful words to murder, to economic
A Message from our Islamophobia, from the overlooked
CEO promotion to the sustained campaigns of
bullying and harassment. At a higher level,
Dr Shazad Amin we see media Islamophobia from vile
tweets to an incessant barrage of articles
and full-blown documentaries. Finally, we
have professional and structural
Islamophobia, whereby the apparatus of
the state and other institutions conspire to
deny Muslims opportunities to play their
full part in the political and civic life of this
We must call out all of these examples, but
to do so we need a definition that captures
Islamophobia in its many colours and
shades. I believe that in this report from
MEND, supported by a variety of excellent
contributions from guest authors, we have
“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, not only produced a comprehensive
in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I definition, but have highlighted the socio-
choose it to mean—neither more nor less.”
political context in which it sits.
“The question is,” said Alice, “whether
you can make words mean so many different I hope that whatever definition is
things.” “The question is,” said Humpty eventually proposed it captures the
Dumpty, “which is to be master—that’s all.” essence of this report. We owe it to the next
generation and beyond to tackle this
Through the Looking Glass, ChVI, Lewis
Carroll, 1872 scourge of our society in the most robust
way possible.

A couple of centuries on from Lewis

Carroll’s immortal words, words are even
more important than ever. We are now
living in an era of globalised instant
communication where ideas, emotions,
hopes, and tragedies are communicated to Dr Shazad Amin
others in an instant, and words can indeed
mean so many things. The potential for CEO, MEND
miscommunication, misunderstanding,
obfuscation and distortions is enormous.
As such, when we are tackling the big ideas
of the modern era the importance of
precision within definitions is paramount,
and the need to define “which is to be
master” has never been greater.
As this report shows, Islamophobia is
much more than the common perception of
a woman with hijab being verbally abused
in the street. It has many faces, from the
criminal Islamophobia ranging from a few

the religious sphere may include (but are in
MEND’s Definition of no way limited to):
Islamophobia  Causing, calling for, aiding, or justifying
the killing or harming of Muslims or those
Short Definition: perceived to be Muslim due to their
Islamophobia is a prejudice, aversion, religious identity.
hostility, or hatred towards Muslims and  Causing, calling for, aiding, or justifying
encompasses any distinction, exclusion, the killing or harming of individuals due to
restriction, discrimination, or preference their perceived or actual connection to or
against Muslims that has the purpose or support of Muslims.
effect of nullifying or impairing the
recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an  Charging Muslims with conspiring to
equal footing, of human rights and harm humanity and/or the Western way
fundamental freedoms in the political, of life or blaming Muslims for the
economic, social, cultural or any other field economic and social ills of society.
of public life.  Making mendacious, dehumanising,
vilifying, demonising, or stereotypical
Working Definition: allegations about Muslims.
Islamophobia (in line with anti-Semitism,
 Objectifying and generalising Muslims as
racism, homophobia, sexism and other
different, exotic or underdeveloped, or
forms of hatred and discrimination) is a
implying that they are outside of, distinct
tool used to gain and maintain power. It is
from, or incompatible with British society
inextricably linked with socio-economic
and identity.
factors, and frequently reflects the
underlying inequalities within society.  Espousing the belief that Muslims are
inferior to other social or religious groups.
Islamophobia is a prejudice, aversion,
hostility, or hatred towards Muslims and  Accusing Muslims as a collective of being
encompasses any distinction, exclusion, responsible for real or imagined
restriction, or preference against Muslims wrongdoing committed by a single
that has the purpose or effect of nullifying Muslim person, group or nation, or even
or impairing the recognition, enjoyment or for acts committed by non-Muslims.
exercise, on an equal footing, of human
 Applying double standards by requiring of
rights and fundamental freedoms in the
Muslims a behaviour not expected or
political, economic, social, cultural or any
demanded of any other social, religious or
other field of public life.
ethnic group.
As such, Islamophobia is demonstrated in,
 Applying ethnocentric approaches to the
and articulated through, speech, writing,
treatment of Muslims (judging another
behaviours, structures, policies, legislation
culture solely by the values and standards
or activities that work to control, regulate
of one's own culture). For example,
or exclude Muslim participation within
evaluating Muslim women’s choice of
social, civic, economic and political life, or
dress exclusively through the speaker’s
which embody hatred, vilification,
expectations and without reference to the
stereotyping, abuse or violence directed at
personal cultural norms and values of the
women in question.
Taking into account the overall context,
 Acts of aggression within which the
examples of Islamophobia in public life,
targets, whether they are people or
the media, schools, the workplace, and in
property – such as buildings, schools,
places of worship and cemeteries – are

selected because they are, or are perceived
to be, Muslim(s) or linked to Muslims.
While criticism of Islam within legitimate
realms of debate and free speech is not in
itself Islamophobic, it may become
Islamophobic if the arguments presented
are used to justify or encourage vilification,
stereotyping, dehumanisation,
demonisation or exclusion of Muslims. For
example, by using criticism of religion to
argue that Muslims are collectively evil or

perceived culprit is assigned
Understanding responsibility, which frequently escalates
MEND’s Definition of to the scapegoating of whole communities.
Part Two of this report explores how and
Islamophobia why Islamophobia exists and is
manifested. As such, we will analyse
Deconstructing MEND’s themes such as:
 Islamophobia and its relationship to
MEND’s working definition of xenophobia, racism, and anti-
Islamophobia is 480 words long, while Semitism.
even our short definition consists of 58
 Perceptions of collective threat and
words. This may seem rather long for a
processes of securitisation.
definition, however, in order to encompass
the full breadth of Islamophobia and its  The counter-jihad movement and
consequences, clarity is required; and such Islamophobia as a mechanism for
clarity requires a lengthy explanation. control.
While we have attempted to achieve this
 Moral panic, the media and
clarity in our definition, we would like to
take this opportunity to introduce the
reasoning and multiple layers of Islamophobia is a prejudice, aversion, hostility,
understanding contained within this or hatred towards Muslims and encompasses
definition. As such, the following any distinction, exclusion, restriction, or
discussion seeks to deconstruct our preference against Muslims that has the
definition and contextualise it within the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the
wider framework of this report. recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal
footing, of human rights and fundamental
Islamophobia (in line with anti-Semitism, freedoms in the political, economic, social,
racism, homophobia, sexism and other forms of cultural or any other field of public life.
hatred and discrimination) is a tool used to gain
and maintain power. It is inextricably linked As this report attests, Islamophobia
with socio-economic factors, and frequently encompasses far more than simply
reflects the underlying inequalities within hostility and hate crime. Islamophobia
society. infiltrates every aspect of public life and
creates barriers to Muslims (or those
Hatred and discrimination are used as perceived to be Muslim) in overt ways, but
tools to oppress, restrict, control, regulate, also in ways that are subtler, and thus
exclude and deprive those against whom
much harder to detect and demonstrate.
they are directed. They are frequently used For example, hatred and physical abuse on
as mechanisms to distract society from the streets is overt and impossible to
wider socio-economic issues. A glaring ignore. However, the CV that is passed
example of this is when the Nazi Party over because it boasts a Muslim sounding
used anti-Jewish propaganda to scapegoat name; or the British-Pakistani man who is
innocent Jewish communities and distract repeatedly assumed a threat at the airport
from Germany’s economic struggles on the basis of his beard; or the child who
following WWI. feels unable to ask questions in class
Often, hatred and discrimination may also because she is worried she may be swept
be a reaction to real or imagined threats to up into the apparatus of PREVENT, these
economic, political, social and ideological are examples that may be harder to detect,
interests and may stem from a fear of but which have dire repercussions on
losing one’s longstanding privilege or British Muslims’ daily enjoyment of
benefits. In response to these threats, the freedoms.

Part Three of this report thus explores the While criticism of Islam within legitimate
consequences of Islamophobia on British realms of debate and free speech is not in itself
Muslims. Within this section, we will Islamophobic, it may become Islamophobic if
attempt to highlight the impacts of the arguments presented are used to justify or
Islamophobia in terms of: encourage vilification, stereotyping,
dehumanization, demonization or exclusion of
 Racial and religious hate crime Muslims. For example, by using criticism of
 Youth and education religion to argue that Muslims are collectively
evil or violent.
 Economic exclusion
It is important to note that criticism of
 Security and counter-terror religion is excluded from our definition of
 The criminal justice system Islamophobia. “Islamophobia” as a term, is
often wrongly accused of being an attempt
 Political exclusion to stifle legitimate arguments surrounding
 Public exclusion religion. The 1997 Runnymede report
“Islamophobia: A Challenge for Us All”4
As such, Islamophobia is demonstrated in, and
highlighted the need to recognise the
articulated through, speech, writing,
contrast between “open views” of
behaviours, structures, policies, legislation or
legitimate criticism of Islam, and the
activities that work to control, regulate or
“closed” views that constitute
exclude Muslim participation within social,
Islamophobia. It is these “closed” views
civic, economic and political life, or which
embody hatred, vilification, stereotyping, abuse that MEND’s definition is attempting to
or violence directed at Muslims. address. Further analysis will be given to
this issue in later discussions.
In other words, Islamophobia can be found
in and may be upheld by a variety of There is also frequently concern that the
mediums. For example: word “Islamophobia” is being used as a
tool to hinder freedom of speech.
 Speech: such as political statements or However, within MEND’s proposed
individual verbal abuse. definition as an example, there is no
 Writing: such as in opinion articles and conflict with freedom of speech that
online hate speech. extends any further than what already
exists. Indeed, the only potential
 Behaviours: such as aggressive and limitations to speech within our definition
unreasonable acts, or attitudes towards already have existing legal precedents, for
Muslim employees. example, legislation that protects racial
 Structures: such as the minorities from abuse, and legislation that
underrepresentation of Muslims in restricts calling for the causing of harm.
upper echelons of business, politics,
and teaching.
 Policies: such as questioning Muslim
girls who wear the hijab.
 Legislation: such as security legislation
that excludes the need for reasonable
suspicion in stop and search, and thus
relies on ethnic, racial and religious

4 Islamophobia: A Challenge for Us All, Summary, The Runnymede Trust, 1997,

However, the long-standing existence and
Diversity of usage of “Islamophobia” as a descriptive
Terminology: Why use tool for approaching and explaining these
experiences means that the term has
“Islamophobia”? accepted credibility amongst those whom
it affects. Meanwhile, due to this wide and
Islamophobia is a term that consistently established legitimacy, it has a galvanising
produces a wide range of responses and and mobilising force within the realms of
emotions. For some time, there has been activism.
considerable debate as to whether such a
Therefore, it is not a term that will be easily
term is appropriate, accurate or even
replaced within political, activist or victim
counterproductive when it comes to
vocabularies. As such, there is merit in the
discussing processes of hatred and
efficiency of using the most widely
discrimination facing Muslim individuals
recognised and used linguistic tools to
and communities. This has led individuals
challenge urgent socio-political issues.
and organisations to propose the use of
other terms such as “anti-Muslim hatred” While others have suggested “anti-Muslim
as alternative descriptors. hatred” as a replacement, this would be
counter-productive as it would involve
However, MEND argues unequivocally
forcing a new terminology into the place of
that the term “Islamophobia” is the most
a well-established concept. Consequently,
appropriate terminology to use in this
at this point, it is far more prudent to
debate for a variety of reasons. The
devise a strong and comprehensive
following discussion sets out MEND’s
definition for the word “Islamophobia”,
arguments for why the term Islamophobia
than to attempt to force a new terminology
remains the most effective linguistic tool to
into the language of advocacy and
understand and tackle the roots,
manifestations, and consequences of
hatred, discrimination, and exclusions An all-encompassing
facing Muslim communities in the social,
economic and political fields.
Differences between terms such as
An established terminology Islamophobia and “anti-Muslim hatred”
While Islamophobia is a term around reflect differences in focus and
which linguistic debates may centre, there understanding of the phenomenon.
is a great deal of conceptual clarity and Therefore, they produce different
understanding. In other words, while there approaches and priorities in tackling it.
may be a definitional problem, no such “Anti-Muslim hatred” does not have the
problem exists conceptually. As such, what same conceptual understanding attached
is needed is a label to be attached to this to Islamophobia. Therefore, while “anti-
concept. Muslim hatred” may be used to describe
Islamophobia is a term that already holds hate crime, verbal abuse, and harassment,
currency within public discourse and is it obfuscates the damaging effects of
well established within public and popular political and media discourses and the
understanding. Consequently, it has an dangers of discrimination and socio-
existing legitimacy and emotional power. political exclusion. Anti-Muslim hatred
Many individuals affected by thus should not be divorced from the roots
Islamophobia may not have the technical from which in emanates.
vocabulary nor the theoretical framework Consequently, understanding the hatred,
to fully articulate the roots, causes or the discrimination, and exclusions facing
precise definition of their experiences.

Muslim communities as Islamophobia under colonial rule were perceived and
provides a holistic understanding that treated by the French colonizers. In this
explicitly identifies the phenomenon in all instance, Islamophobia is about people,
its social, economic and political forms. about Muslims, not about religion.
Furthermore, because this definition
Islamophobia truly entered mainstream
makes it possible to identify Islamophobia
political discourse with the publication of
in all its forms, it is a useful tool in
the 1997 Runnymede report
extrapolating specific areas for address,
“Islamophobia: A Challenge for Us All”.7
approaches, and priorities in tackling it.
Within this report, Runnymede
It is worthy to note that the term “anti- unwaveringly defined Islamophobia as
Muslim racism” is a term that could also being about the believers and not the
potentially encompass this full and holistic religion. Indeed, they exerted considerable
understanding. However, due to the effort in highlighting the need to mitigate
previously mentioned arguments the dangers of Muslim belief and practice
surrounding Islamophobia as an becoming beyond the realm of critical
established and credible linguistic tool, we inquiry. As such, they stressed the need to
do not feel that “anti-Muslim racism” can recognise the contrast between “open
be easily co-opted as an activist concept views” of legitimate criticism of Islam and
into the public understanding with the the “closed” views that constitute
same efficiency as Islamophobia. Islamophobia. It should also be noted that
Furthermore, it risks precipitating although the term Islamophobia has been
distracting semantic and legal arguments used in public discourse for over 20 years
that Muslims are not a race, in the same it has not hitherto stifled debate or free
way that Jews and Sikhs have been defined speech.
as by UK case law.
Islamophobia should not be understood as
Islamophobia is not about a protection against questioning or
criticising religion. Nor should it be seen as
prohibiting criticism of religion an attempt to enforce restrictions on
Islamophobia, as a term, is often wrongly freedom of speech beyond what is
accused of being an attempt to stifle free necessary for civil society to protect
speech and, in particular, an effort to individuals from abuse and violence –
curtail all questioning or criticism of protections for which there already exists a
religion. However, it has never historically, vast array of legal precedents.
nor should it presently, be seen in this
Whilst cherishing the right to freedom of
speech in an open democratic society, one
The historical usage of Islamophobia can must not allow individuals to hide behind
be found in colonial communications as far the free speech argument to peddle anti-
back as the turn of the 20th Century. One of Muslim and racist agendas. There is
the earliest examples can be found in the currently no absolute right to free speech
writing of French colonialist Maurice that harms others, and we would support
Delafosse in his discussion of that position.
“Islamophobie” in 1910. Delafosse discusses

Islamophobia as “a principle of indigenous

administration.”6 As such, Islamophobia
was a reference to how Muslims living

5 Over time, the French “Islamophobie” became translated into English as 6 Abdoolkarim Vakil, “Is the Islam in Islamophobia the same as the Islam in Anti-
“Islamophobia”. This follows the same pattern set by the term “Judeophobie” and Islam; Or When is it Islamophobia Time?” in S. Sayyid and Abdoolkarim Vakil,
“xenophobie”, which later became anti-Semitism and xenophobia. eds., Thinking Through Islamophobia, (New York: Columbia University Press, 2010), 38.

7 Islamophobia: A Challenge for Us All.

The beauty of lexically non- not all Jews are Semites and not all Semitic
people are Jews. However, anti-Semitism is
sensical terms a terminology that is well established and
Another criticism often levied against the conceptually understood (much in the
use of the term Islamophobia is concern same way as Islamophobia), and therefore,
over the use of “phobia” and the idea that is considered unproblematic.
it means “a phobia of Islam”. This is clearly
Lexically, Islamophobia may not be ideal.
not what is meant by Islamophobia as the
However, it is by far the most ideal term
term has always had the conceptual
we have as a label for a concept that is well
meaning of hostility and discrimination
understood, and which is popularly called
towards people who embody an identity
based on a certain practice or belief (in this
case Islam), much the same way as
hostilities and discriminations are
manifested within homophobia and
Secondly, some have pointed to the use of
“phobia” in arguing that the term
incorrectly implies some kind of mental
illness, thereby causing objections to the
idea that it is an “irrational fear of Islam”.
It is useful in this regard to remember that
Islamophobia shares this suffix with both
homophobia and xenophobia, neither of
which are intended to imply a mental
However, despite not implying any mental
illness, it is worth remembering that a great
deal of public discourse surrounding
Muslims stemming from certain elements
of society serves the explicit purpose of
engendering extreme or irrational fears of
Islam in others, hence the term is not
without some descriptive value in this
regard. As such, examples of Islamophobia
do include attempts to promote and
propagate the spreading of heightened and
irrational suspicion, hostility and fear of
Islam and its adherents amongst the public
English is a beautiful and interesting
language in its inconsistencies as much as
in its logic. It is not uncommon to find
words that, at best, take a great deal of
effort to understand (the fact that the
words “flammable” and “inflammable”
mean the same thing, for example), and, at
worst, are lexically non-sensical. Anti-
Semitism is a good example of this. Indeed,

London. The first mosque in Britain is
Understanding British believed to have been established at Glyn
Muslim Communities Rhondda Street in Cardiff in 1860.12
During the 19th century, Victorian high-
Britain has a relationship with Muslims society were attracted to the teachings of
that expands over 1000 years, with British Islam. George Allanson-Winn, the fifth
Muslims today comprising of roughly 4.4% Baron of Headley and a noted civil
of the population. While in no way engineer who constructed the road
comprehensive (several volumes could be between Baramula and Srinagar in the
written on this topic), this section attempts mountainous region of Kashmir converted
to provide an insight into the history, to the faith; as did William Quilliam, a
contributions and vast diversity of British lawyer and poet who established a mosque
Muslims.8 and orphanage in Liverpool; and novelist
A (very brief) history of British and translator of the Holy Qur’an,
Muhammad Marmaduke Pickthall.
Muslim communities Britain’s first purpose-built mosque was
Britain’s relationship with Islam can be designed by architect Gottlieb Leitner and
seen from Elizabeth I to Elizabeth II; from opened in Woking, Surrey, in 1889.13
shops offering sherbets in Shakespeare’s By the 1950s, Muslims responded to the
London to Muslims holding influential shortfall in labour and the need to rebuild
positions as today’s Ministers and British infrastructure following the Second
Mayors.9 World War. This saw large-scale migration
Indeed, Muslims have played a valuable largely from South Asia, which still
role in Britain for over 1000 years. In the constitutes the large majority of British
eighth century, King Offa minted coins Muslim communities today. These groups
bearing the Islamic Arabic inscription “In mainly settled in the inner-city areas of
the name of God, the Most Merciful, the London, the industrial towns of the
Most Beneficent”. Some seven centuries Midlands and the textile towns of
later, Queen Elizabeth I asked Ottoman Lancashire, Yorkshire and Strathclyde.
Sultan Murad for naval assistance against Today, Muslims living in Britain originate
the Spanish Armada,10 and the Moroccan from a vast range of national and cultural
ambassadors Ahmed Bilqasim and backgrounds. The population also includes
Muhammad An-Nuri both visited London a significant number of British and
between 1589 and 1600.11 European converts to Islam. Others have
The rise of the British Empire saw a come from war-torn countries to find a
deepening relationship between Britain better life in Britain.
and Muslims. By 1841, around 3,000 Moroccan Muslims have been present in
Muslim seaman, or “lascars”, visited significant numbers in England since the
Britain every year and an increase in trade 1960s. Nigerian Muslims arrived in the
following the opening of the Suez Canal in 1950s and then again during the 1990s,
1869 led to a number of seaman from mainly for economic reasons. Small
Yemen settling in the port cities of Cardiff, numbers of Egyptians and Saudi Arabians
Liverpool, South Shields, Hull, and have also been present in the UK for

8For a more comprehensive insight into the history of British Muslims, see Humayun 11 "The First Muslims in England," BBC, March 20, 2016,
Ansari, The "infidel" Within: The History of Muslims in Britain, 1800 (London: C. Hurst,
12 "History of Islam in the UK."
9 "British Muslims - Working for the Common Good," Muslim Council of Britain,
accessed June 19, 2018, 13 "History of the Mosque - Part 1," Shah Jahan Mosque, accessed June 19, 2018,
10 "Religions - Islam: History of Islam in the UK," BBC, September 07, 2009,

decades. The Somali Muslim community, are Muslim. Muslims living in London
numbering over 100,000, form Britain’s make up 1 in 8 of the population of the
largest refugee population. In more recent UK’s capital, exceeding 1 million.19
times, Muslims have arrived in the UK
Blackburn with Darwen also contains the
from Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria as a
most concentrated area of Muslims across
result of war and societal breakdown.14
the whole of the UK, with the council
Demographics wards of Bastwell and Shear Brow both
having local Muslim populations above
The 2011 Census provides the most up-to- 75%.20
date and comprehensive data available on
the characteristics of the UK’s Muslim The age structure of the Muslim
population, following the introduction of a population in the UK is much younger
religion identifier in the 2001 Census. The than the general population, with only 4%
data revealed that the UK’s Muslim of Muslims of retirement age compared to
population had risen 75% over the 16% of the overall population. Almost half
intervening period, from 1.6 million in of UK Muslims are under the age of 25,
2001 to 2.8million by 2011.15 compared to a third of the UK
Muslims make up 4.4%, or less than 1 in 20,
of the overall UK population. The Muslim toddlers under the age of 5 make
overwhelming majority of UK Muslims, up 9% of all children in this age range,
95%, live in England. 3% of Muslims live in indicating that young Muslims will have
Scotland, 1.6% in Wales, while just 0.1% an increasing influence in society as time
reside in Northern Ireland.16 progresses.22

Despite making up a relatively low This trend is more acutely seen in areas of
proportion of the overall population, high Muslim populations, with over 80%
Muslims are concentrated in specific areas of children under 5 in the Birmingham
of the UK. Half of Muslims in England and wards of Washwood Heath, Bordesley
Wales reside in the cities of London, Green and Sparkbrook being Muslim.
Birmingham and Bradford17, while almost More than 50% of children in Tower
60% of Scottish Muslims live in Glasgow or Hamlets, and 40% in Newham, are
Edinburgh.18 Muslim.23

Certain council areas such as the London British Muslims are very diverse in terms
boroughs of Tower Hamlets and Newham, of ethnicity, culture, and language. Two-
and Blackburn with Darwen in the North thirds of UK Muslims are of Asian
West of England, feature Muslim ethnicity, with 10% being of Black ethnicity
populations above 25%. Just under a and 7% being of Arab ethnicity, while
quarter of Bradford residents are Muslim, White British Muslims comprise 3% of the
while 22% of the population of UK Muslim total.24 The range of languages
Birmingham, the UK’s second largest city, spoken by British Muslims is also vast,
including but not limited to, Arabic,

14Jawad Iqbal, "The Diverse Origins of Britain's Muslims," BBC, January 18, 2016, Britain, January 2015, accessed May 10, 2018, content/uploads/2015/02/MCBCensusReport_2015.pdf.

15Aisha Gani, "Muslim Population in England and Wales Nearly Doubles in 10 Years," 18 Scottish Muslims in Numbers.
The Guardian, February 11, 2015, accessed May 10, 2018, 19 British Muslims in Numbers.
20 Ibid.
16Khadijah Elshayyal, Scottish Muslims in Numbers: Understanding Scotland’s Muslim
Population through the 2011 Census, report, The Alwaleed Centre, The University of 21 Ibid.
Edinburgh, December 2016, accessed May 10, 2018, 22 Ibid.

17Sundas Ali, British Muslims in Numbers: A Demographic, Socio-economic and Health 23 Ibid.
Profile of Muslims in Britain Drawing on the 2011 Census, report, Muslim Council of
24 Ibid.

Punjabi, Urdu, Bengali, Gujarati, Turkish, relatives ‘back home’ remain strong via
Somali, Kurdish, and Pashto. transnational marriage and remittances.
Finally, British Muslims are hugely diverse Until 2001, statistic information about the
in their ideologies, beliefs and practices. demography of Muslim communities in
While the majority of Muslims in the UK Britain was largely a matter of guesswork.
follow the Sunni schools, an estimated 1 in Extrapolation from Census data about
10 classify as Shia.25 ethnicity provided some clues, alongside a
number of large-scale quantitative studies
One of the key features of Islamophobia is
that included attention to questions of
to treat Muslims as a homogenous group.
religion.26 But with the introduction of a
However, diversity in the reasons for
question on religion in the 2001 Census,
migration, ideology, culture, background
researchers interested in Muslims in
and language all show that Muslims in the
Britain could begin to map their socio-
UK are a community of communities, and
economic situation in detail.27 Analysis of
arguably the most diverse religious
the 2001 Census data was conducted by
community of all.
researchers at the University of Bristol, in
The Demographics of Muslims in collaboration with the Muslim Council of
Britain Britain.28 This volume provided an
invaluable contribution to the field of
British Muslim Studies, and
Professor Sophie Gilliat-Ray complemented extensive qualitative
Director, Centre for the Study of Islam in the understanding. Since 2001, demographic
UK information about Muslim communities in
Britain has been essential for policy-
It is difficult to summarise in a few
makers, Muslim organisations, and
sentences the complex picture that
academics. Arguably, the successful
emerges from the most recent
campaign for the (voluntary) ‘religion’
demographic/Census data in relation to
question in the Census was an important
Muslim communities in Britain. Broadly
driver for the incorporation of ‘religion and
speaking, however, we are talking about
belief’ as one of nine ‘protected
‘communities’ that are unevenly
characteristics’ of the Equality Act 2010.
distributed around the UK,
demographically ‘young’, suffering A question on religion was retained in the
disproportionate socio-economic 2011 Census, thereby enabling the
disadvantage compared to other faith beginning of some longitudinal
groups, and reflecting a wide range of comparisons. Data has been subject to
ethnic, racial and linguistic backgrounds. detailed analysis, with the Muslim Council
Nearly half the Muslim population in of Britain again having a significant role in
Britain was born here, and about two interpretation of the findings.29 There is
thirds originate from the Indian now a considerable body of research that
subcontinent. Despite this, links with investigates Muslim demography, both
methodologically30 and empirically.31
Census data is not the only source of
25 "The Diverse Origins of Britain's Muslims." 29 British Muslims in Numbers.

26Tariq Modood et al., Ethnic Minorities in Britain: Diversity and Disadvantage - Fourth 30Clive D. Field, "Measuring Religious Affiliation in Great Britain: The 2011 Census
National Survey of Ethnic Minorities, report, Policy Studies Institute, 1997, in Historical and Methodological Context," Religion 44, no. 3 (2014): 357-382, doi:10.1080/0048721x.2014.903643.

27Jamil Sherif, "A Census Chronicle – Reflections on the Campaign for a Religion 31Abby Day and Lois Lee, "Making Sense of Surveys and Censuses: Issues in
Question in the 2001 Census for England and Wales," Journal of Beliefs & Values 32, Religious Self-identification," Religion 44, no. 3 (2014): 345-356,
no. 1 (2011): 1-18, doi:10.1080/13617672.2011.549306. doi:10.1080/0048721x.2014.929833.

28Serena Hussain, Muslims on the Map: A National Survey of Social Trends in Serena Hussain and Jamil Sherif, "Minority Religions in the Census: The Case of
Britain (London: Tauris Academic Studies, 2008). British Muslims," Religion 44, no. 3 (2014): 414-433,

demographic information about British involved in the production of information
Muslims, however. Other large-scale about Muslim communities.
quantitative surveys, such as the Ethnic
The production of reliable statistical data
Minority British Election Survey, provide
about Muslim communities in Britain is
important information on voting
crucial for Islamic organisations involved
behaviour and attitudes to political issues,
with representing community interests in
for example.
civil society, and advocating on their
While the 2011 Census data on Muslims is behalf. Demographic information about
extremely detailed, there have since been Muslim communities paints a clear picture
demographic developments that will only of disproportionate socio-economic
be enumerated via the next Census in 2021. hardship and discrimination, but also the
This means that certain statistical cumulative disadvantage that arises from
information in the intervening ten-year the intersection of such things as poor
period can only be estimated using other housing quality, ill-health, economic
methods. Where datasets are produced inactivity, or low educational attainment.
featuring information on ethnicity and not Islamophobia and anti-Muslim hatred may
religion, a common method is to be difficult to measure quantitatively at a
extrapolate estimates from ethnic groups national level. But we now have sufficient
with large Muslim representation. For evidence – both qualitative and
example, with over 90% of Pakistani and quantitative – to suggest that it has a
Bangladeshi individuals recording their compounding effect on other aspects of
religion as Muslim, these ethnic groups British Muslim experience and
provide insight into Muslim experiences. disadvantage and its effects justify new
However, these groups comprise just over systematic high-quality research.
50% of the overall UK Muslim population
and, therefore, they often cannot provide a
Muslim contributions to Britain
full picture.
The British Muslim community is a vibrant
Amid the generation of new datasets and
and heterogeneous one, whose
qualitative studies of British Muslims, it is
contributions to Britain are numerous and
essential to critically evaluate
multi-layered. Muslim contributions to
methodology, techniques of data analysis,
Britain include but are in no way limited to:
interpretation of findings, and the
‘interests’ that lie behind the  There are more than 13,400 Muslim-
commissioning of new research. Who is owned businesses in London alone,
engaged in the production of demographic creating over 70,000 jobs. As such,
information about Muslim communities, Muslim owned firms represent a third
and with what authority, knowledge, of small to medium enterprises in the
power and evidence? Peer-review, capital.32
triangulation (using more than one method
 British Muslims donate more to charity
on the same topic), and appropriate ethical
than any other group, donating an
scrutiny, are some of the hallmarks of
average of £371 each.33 Indeed, during
reliable, high-quality, academic research.
Ramadan 2016, British Muslims
Through the particular emphasis given to
research methodology, students of our MA
in Islam in Contemporary Britain at Cardiff
University are schooled to question data
sources, and the credentials of those

32The Muslim Pound: Celebrating the Muslim Contribution to the UK Economy, report, 33Tom Moseley, "Which Religion Gives The Most To Charity?," HuffPost UK, October
Muslim Council of Britain, 2013, 03, 2013,
content/uploads/2014/10/The-Muslim-Pound-FINAL.pdf most_n_3630830.html.

donated £100 million, which is Torkia, Rimla Akhtar, and James Caan
equivalent to £38 per second.34 in all realms of life, be it within sports,
media, politics, criminal justice or
 British Muslims contribute over £31
billion to the UK economy.35
Meanwhile, the halal food industry in However, despite their important social,
Britain is worth £1 billion, with the economic, and civic contributions and the
global halal food market estimated to fact that 95% of Muslims feel a strong sense
be worth £685 billion.36 of loyalty to the country, as evidenced by a
targeted BBC poll,40 Muslims are
 The public sector draws heavily on
frequently engulfed in a climate of
skilled professionals from Muslims-
suspicion; are often accused of being a
majority countries, with 26% of doctors
community possessing little interest in
working in the NHS being Asian or
being a full part of British society; and face
Asian British.37
high levels of discrimination and socio-
 Muslims are eager to participate in economic barriers to their active
society and support their communities. participation in social, political, civic, and
In the last month alone, two Muslims economic life. It is the role of Islamophobia
have been appointed Mayor: Mayor of within these anti-Muslim hostilities,
Swindon, Junab Ali, was re-elected in discriminations, and barriers that this
May 2018 for a fourth term and Magid report seeks to address.
Magid was elected in Sheffield.
 There are currently 650 British Muslims
soldiers in the British Army.38 In 2006,
Jabron Hashmi became the first British
Muslim soldier to die in Afghanistan.
He was 24 years old. His older brother,
Zeeshan, who had also worked in the
British Army, said: “Jabron was a
committed soldier and a committed
Muslim. He was fiercely proud of his
Islamic background and he was
equally proud of being British and was
very proud to live in Britain.”39
 A number of high profile Muslims
excel in all realms of British public life.
One need not look far to witness the
contributions of Muslim figures such as
Sayeeda Warsi, Naz Shah, Rushanara
Ali, Nazir Afzal, Mohammed Farah,
Mohammed Salah, Nadiya Hussein, Dr
Saleyha Ahsan, Mishal Husain, Dina

34Nick Donaldson, "Ramadan – making a real difference," Charity Commission, July 37Haroon Siddique, "Figures show extent of NHS reliance on foreign nationals," The
14, 2016, Guardian, January 26, 2014,
35 Asa Bennett, "British Muslims Add Over £31 BILLION To UK Economy," The
Huffington Post, October 29, 2013, 38 "About Us." Armed Forces Muslim Association. Accessed June 4, 2018.
39 "British Muslim soldiers." The Open University. Accessed June 27, 2017.
36The Muslim Pound: Celebrating the Muslim Contribution to the UK Economy, report,
Muslim Council of Britain, 2013,
content/uploads/2014/10/The-Muslim-Pound-FINAL.pdf. 40“Most British Muslims 'oppose Muhammad cartoons reprisals'”, BBC News, accessed

Part II: The
Manifestations, Logics,
and Mechanisms that
Fuel Islamophobia

The Assumptions of Islamophobia............. 33

ISLAMOPHOBIAS ........................................... 36
Islamophobia, Xenophobia, Racism, and
Anti-Semitism ................................................ 38
CULTURAL RACISM .................................... 38
ANTI-SEMITISM .............................................. 45
AND ANTISEMITISM?.................................... 46
Driving Islamophobic Narratives: The
Islamophobia Industry ................................. 49
Moral Panic, Media, and Broadcasting ...... 66
VICTIMS OF PRESS ABUSE ............................ 72

assuming that the desires, ideologies,
The Assumptions of political standpoints and values are
Islamophobia universal across Muslims, the guilt of a few
is frequently attributed to all Muslims. A
Part II of this report is intended to explore case in point is when innocent Muslims are
the manifestations, logics, and mechanisms considered culpable and blameworthy for
that fuel Islamophobia. In opening this the reprehensible violent actions
exploration, it is useful to briefly explore committed by individuals such as
some of the underlying assumptions that Muhammad Emwazi, Salman Abedi,
underpin the logics of Islamophobia. While Michael Adebolajo, or Khalid Masood.
not every instance of Islamophobia may Indeed, following acts of terrorism where
embody all of the assumptions discussed the perpetrator is Muslim, there is the
below, they are common themes that drive invariable suggestion that Muslims should
and infiltrate Islamophobic narratives come out in condemnation of the atrocity –
surrounding Muslims and their place in as if they do not condemn it in the same
society. way as everyone else. This has culminated
“All Muslims are the same” in a 712-page Google document and
website listing the times that Muslims have
One of the key features of Islamophobic condemned violence. The absurdity of this
narratives is that Muslims are a monolithic suggestion is strikingly obvious when one
group with static views, beliefs and makes the parallel suggestion that all
practices. Such a stance ignores the huge White people should apologise for the
diversity between Muslims in terms of atrocities committed by white
beliefs, practices, ideologies, ethnicities, supremacists such as Anders Breivik,
cultures, languages and values. Darren Osborne, Thomas Mair, Pavlo
By ignoring this vast diversity, the result is Lapshyn, David Copeland, Alexandre
that the acts and examples of a few are Bissonnette, and James Harris Jackson.
extrapolated to being considered This translation of guilt is an issue
representative of over a billion believers. In discussed in Part Three by Todd Green in
other words, the example of a small his article “Islamophobia and the
minority of Muslims is considered Presumption of Muslim Guilt in
applicable to the whole Muslim Terrorism”.
population. One example of this is when
the treatment of women in Saudi Arabia is Islamophobia includes:
portrayed as the collective treatment of all
Muslim women, ignoring the freedoms the Making mendacious, dehumanising, vilifying,
women enjoy in Muslim-majority demonising, or stereotypical allegations about
countries such as Indonesia, or the Muslims.
empowering examples of British Muslim Accusing Muslims as a collective of being
women such as Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, responsible for real or imagined wrongdoing
Naz Shah, Rushanara Ali, Nadia Hussein, committed by a single Muslim person, group
Dr Saleyha Ahsan, Mishal Husain, Dina or nation, or even for acts committed by non-
Torkia, or Rimla Akhtar, and too many Muslims.
other pioneering British Muslim women to
name. Muslims are the inferior “Other”
As a consequence of generalisation,
Within the logics of Islamophobia,
Muslims become vulnerable to
Muslims are presented as “different” and
stereotyping, vilification and
as sharing none of the core values of
dehumanisation. Furthermore, in
Western culture, such as respect for

freedom of belief. This perspective is part of Dar al-Islam, the 'House of
epitomised in the lauding of “British Submission'. Widely accepted Islamic theology
Values” as something distinct from based in Koranic doctrine explicitly requires
Muslim values and something that that Islam be spread by any and all means
Muslims are reluctant to embody, so must necessary, including by violence and mass
be forced to accept. The issue of “Othering” slaughter, in a process known as jihad, or holy
Muslims within the ongoing debates war. The fact that many Muslims do not
concerning integration will be discussed in support or engage in violent jihad is not
greater depth within “Political and Public germane.”41
Exclusion” of Part Three. The counter-jihad movement (also known
According to Islamophobic assumptions, as professional Islamophobia and the
Muslims are not only different, this Islamophobia Industry) is fuelled by the
difference also makes them inferior; belief that Islam and Muslims living in
uncivilised, irrational, violent and sexist. Europe are a threat to “Western
As such, they have no place in the civilised civilisation”. This logic of the “clash of
West unless they denounce their barbaric civilisations” and Muslims as the enemy is
and illogical ways in order to progress to narrated through the claim that the West is
an enlightened Western way of life. being subjected to an aggressive and
politicised Islamic invasion.
Inferiorisation is a time-tested tool of
racisms and is a mechanism for controlling This invasion is exemplified by the
and regulating groups whom there is a apparent removal of Christian or Jewish
concern they may disrupt the delicate symbols and the imposition of Islamic
balance of socio-economic power. This traditions, for example the building of
theme of inferiorisation will be returned to mosques, the appearance of Islamic dress
in following discussions of Islamophobia, in public, and the accessibility of halal
racism and xenophobia. meat.
According to those who espouse this fear,
Islamophobia includes: European culture is in a state of decline due
Objectifying and generalising Muslims as to infiltration by Muslims who seek to
different, exotic or underdeveloped, or destroy European national identities and
implying that they are outside of, distinct values.
from, or incompatible with British society and Perceptions of collective threat, processes
identity. of securitisation and the counter-jihad
Espousing the belief that Muslims are inferior movement will be discussed further in
to other social or religious groups chapters surrounding the Islamophobia
Industry in Part 2 and Counter-Terror in
Part 3 of this report
Muslims are the manipulative
enemy and hatred of Muslims is Islamophobia includes:
justified Charging Muslims with conspiring to harm
"Islam is above all a totalitarian political humanity and/or the Western way of life, or
ideology, sugar-coated with the trappings of a blaming Muslims for the economic and social
primitive desert religion to help veil its true ills of society.
nature. The publicly stated goal of Islamic
theology and political ideology is to impose the
rule of Islam over the entire world, and make it

41 "The Counterjihad Manifesto," Gates of Vienna, accessed July 05, 2017,

Islamophobia and racial Racial profiling, racial discrimination, and
racist exclusionary policies are in direct
discrimination is normal conflict with the principles of equality.
As the later chapter on Islamophobia, However, this is an example of where
Racism, Xenophobia and Anti-Semitism racial discrimination has become
attests, Islamophobia is frequently normalised within political and public
conflated with racism. In Britain, debate as something deemed necessary.
longstanding prejudices against Moreover, prejudiced and racist comments
Pakistanis, for example, have become about Muslims have increasingly become
inter-mingled with anti-Muslim sentiment normalised. Rather than being considered
to the point that they are often difficult to bigoted and inappropriate, such views are
separate. frequently seen as justified and normal. As
Baroness Sayeeda Warsi commented in
These compounded hostilities are further
2011, “Islamophobia has passed the dinner
augmented by heightened fears of security.
table test.”43
The consequence of this is that the focus on
the apparent threat of Muslims serves to Muslim criticisms of the West are
justify suspicion of anyone who could
potentially be Muslim – anyone who
“looks” Muslim. This results in issues such There is an attitude amongst certain
as racial profiling at airports. In the UK segments of political and public
context, profiling is frequently defended commentators who appear to perpetuate
on the basis of the statistical probability of the view that Western commentators are
a Muslim being of certain ethnicities. justified in criticising Muslim individuals
Therefore, the security threat justifies and countries for their beliefs, practices,
increased suspicion of South Asians, for policies and behaviours, however, the
example. reverse is unjustified and baseless.
Former UKIP candidate, Raheem Kassam, One area that is a good example of this is
(who was the first British politician to meet the way in which arguments surrounding
Donald Trump upon his inauguration freedom of speech are applied. Indeed,
alongside Nigel Farage and, until recently, organisations such as Student Rights, a
was the editor of Breitbart News UK before project of the Henry Jackson Society, claim
resigning to challenge Sadiq Khan in the to protect the freedom of speech when they
next mayoral election) has repeatedly have expressed opposition to university
voiced support for Donald Trump’s anti- student unions’ “no-platform” policy for
Muslim policies and has been an advocate far-right speakers from organisations such
of racial profiling at airports. He has stated as the BNP.44 However, it has
that “I get worried when I’m not profiled simultaneously severely criticised Muslim
in an airport”.42 students who criticise the current
PREVENT strategy.45
Issues of racial profiling will be explored
further in discussions surrounding
Schedule 7 in the later Chapter “Muslims
and Counter-Terror” in Part Three of this

42Jim Waterson, "Raheem Kassam: Meet The Right-Wing Ex-Muslim Who Wants To 44"London Student issue 10 (March 1st 2010)," Yudu - Your Digital editions, accessed
Save UKIP," BuzzFeed, accessed July 26, 2017, July 27, 2017,
ukip?utm_term=.roxPV116Q#.tipNk8829. /index.htm.

43 “Lady Warsi claims Islamophobia is now socially acceptable in Britain”, The 45"Salford Student President who opposes Prevent reveals troubling views on social
Guardian, January 20, 2011, accessed 20.06.2018, media," Student Rights, accessed August 08, 2017,
muslims, -prejudice poses_prevent_reveals_troubling_views_on_social_media.

Liberal and Illiberal conceptual and analytical framework and
tool to come to grips with the diversity,
Islamophobias46 contradictions, transformation and
slipperiness of Islamophobia(s), and
Dr Aurelien Mondon racism itself, in order to combat it more
University of Bath effectively. Currently, the signifiers
‘Muslim’ and ‘Islam’ are constructed
and Dr Aaron Winter
through different modes of articulations,
University of East London from the most extreme to the seemingly
In recent years we have seen a rise in progressive, but ultimately create an
suspicion and hate directed at Muslims inchoate and yet clear Other used as a
and Islam across Europe and North template to single out homogenised,
America. It has manifested in a wide suspect communities. We argue that it is
variety of ways, from hate speech, hate only through the dual offer of what we
crimes and far-right activism, to more define as illiberal and liberal
insidious forms of systemic and state Islamophobias that this racist discourse
racism, such as surveillance, profiling and can become naturalised and common
attempted travel and clothing bans.47 sense, since it allows for those espousing
Added to these, we have also witnessed a the liberal position to justify their racist
rise of Islamophobic discourse based on discourse by opposing it to the illiberal
the defence of traditionally progressive articulation, even though both are part of
tropes such as free speech,48 secularism the same exclusionary paradigm. It is
and women’s rights.49 In addition to this, worth noting that our distinction between
we have seen ongoing difficulties and the liberal and illiberal articulation here is
debates over how to define this not so much based on political and
phenomenon, as Islamophobia or anti- ideology theory, but rather on the
Muslim racism,50 and the evolving nature perceived quality and level of acceptability
of racism, which anti-Muslim discourses of each concept in the mainstream
have in part fed on and utilised. discourse within modern liberal
To make sense of the contemporary
landscape of anti-Muslim racisms, and Illiberal Islamophobia commonly emerges
diverse, seemingly contradictory and from exclusivist ideologies, discourses and
changing articulations of Islamophobia, we identities associated with easily
have developed our analytical concepts of recognisable forms of racisms, typically
liberal and illiberal articulations of originating on the far-right and within
Islamophobia.51 Our aim with these ultra-conservative circles. This type of
concepts is to provide a more nuanced Islamophobia is closest to traditional
racism and often presents Islam as

This report is based on and builds upon the previously published article: Aurelien
46 50 Claire Alexander, “The Muslim Question(s): Reflections from a Race and Ethnic
Mondon and Aaron Winter, “Articulations of Islamophobia: From the Extreme to the Studies perspective”, The New Muslims, eds. C. Alexander, V. Redclift and A. Hussain
Mainstream?”, Ethnic and Racial Studies Review, 40, 13 (Oct. 2017). (London: Runnymede Trust, 2013), 5-7; Chris Allen “Islamophobia: From K.I.S.S. to
R.I.P.”, Thinking Through Islamophobia: Global Perspectives, eds. S. Sayyid and A. Vakil
47Arun Kundnani, The Muslims are coming: Islamophobia, Extremism and the domestic war (London: C. Hurst & Co, 2010), 51-64; Nasar Meer and Tariq Modood, “Refutations of
on terror (London: Verso, 2014); Mondon and Winter, “Articulations of Islamophobia; racism in the ‘Muslim Question’”’, Patterns of Prejudice no. 43, 3-4 (2009), 332–351;
Aurelien Mondon and Aaron Winter, “Normalized Hate”, Jacobin (Aug. 2017); Naaz Mondon and Winter, “Articulations of Islamophobia”; Runnymede Trust,
Rashid, Veiled Threats: Representing the Muslim woman in public policy discourses (Bristol: Islamophobia: a challenge for us all (London: Runnymede Trust, 1997); Runnymede
Policy Press, 2016); Runnymede Trust, Islamophobia: still a challenge for us all (London: Trust, Islamophobia (2017);
Runnymede Trust, 2017).
Raymond Taras, “‘Islamophobia never stands still’: race, religion, and culture”, Ethnic
Gavan Titley, Des Freedman, Gholam Khiabany and Aurelien Mondon, After Charlie
48 and Racial Studies, 36, 3 (2013), 417-433; Pnina Werbner, “Folk devils and racist
Hebdo: Terror, Racism and Free Speech (London: Zed, 2017). imaginaries in a global prism: Islamophobia and anti-Semitism in the twenty-first
century”, Ethnic and Racial Studies, 36, 3 (2013), 450-467.
49Christine Delphy, Separate and dominate: Feminism and Racism after the War on Terror
(London: Verso, 2015); Sara Farris, In the Name of Women's Rights: The Rise of Mondon and Winter, “Articulations of Islamophobia”; Mondon and Winter, Charlie

Femonationalism (Durham: Duke University Press, 2017); Mondon and Winter, Hebdo.
“Articulations of Islamophobia”; Aurelien Mondon and Aaron Winter, “Charlie
Hebdo, Republican Secularism and Islamophobia”, After Charlie Hebdo: Terror, Racism 52 Mondon and Winter, “Articulations of Islamophobia”.
and Free Speech, eds. G. Titley, D. Freedman, G. Khiabany and A. Mondon. “London:
Zed Books, 2017), 31-35; Irene Zempi and Neil Chakraborti, Islamophobia, Victimisation
and the Veil (London: Palgrave, 2014).

monolithic and innately threatening and line to satisfy such demands is arbitrary,
inferior (in terms of ‘race’ if not also and always moving out of reach.
culture) and takes the form of open threats,
It emphasises the apparent and limited
hate attacks, calls for repatriation or ethnic
inclusion of other ethnic and religious
cleansing. Illiberal Islamophobia is thus
groups typically hated by the far-right and
‘illiberal’ inasmuch as it is not only rejected
traditional racists. The presentation of
by the liberal norm, but denounced as
criticism of Islam and Muslims as
unacceptable and alien to our post-racial
reactionary as a defence of women’s and
societies,53 thus allowing the legitimisation
LGBT rights for example provides a veneer
of other, more insidious and less racialised
of tolerance and progressivism. The
forms, which also rely on cultural
victimisation is only partially
acknowledged, in order to be diverted onto
Contrary to illiberal and more extreme a particular scapegoat: those racialised and
forms of Islamophobia, liberal stigmatised groups can join if ‘They’
Islamophobia is anchored in a pseudo- decide to integrate through hate.
progressive discourse in the defence of the
While it is crucial that liberal Islamophobia
rule of law based on liberal equality,
posits itself clearly in opposition to the
freedom and rights (e.g. liberal versions of
reviled illiberal articulation, the mask slips
freedom of speech, gender and sexual
easily and often. The focus of public debate
equality). We see its clearest articulations
on Muslim garments and their ban has
in calls to ban the hijab or burka and the ‘Je
often led to attacks on Muslim women
suis Charlie’ phenomenon.54 To gain
wearing head coverings. Similarly, the ‘Je
legitimacy, it is thus crucial that liberal
suis Charlie’ moment has not led to the
Islamophobia goes beyond its attacks on
liberalisation of speech for all, but the
Muslims, and appears to challenge
increased securitization of Muslims and
traditional far-right and ultra-conservative
the reinforcing of privileges and whiteness
discourses and ideologies. In its self-
as a norm.55 In turn, the tactical and racist
proclaimed yet limited opposition to the
use of potentially progressive ideals such
reviled ‘racists’, ‘sexists’ and
as free speech, feminism or secularism
‘fundamentalists’ of all kinds, it enables far
against Muslims has allowed the far right
greater mainstream and even progressive
to mainstream itself and its discourse
Two aspects thus make the liberal
We believe that our framework is essential
articulation of Islamophobia distinct from
to understand the current dynamics of
illiberal forms:
racism and exclusion. Only with a full
It allows for limited distinctions between picture of these diverse and seemingly
‘Islam’ as a religion or set of ideas and contradictory articulations, can we both
‘Muslims’ as a people, and where people understand the complex and evolving
are implicated, as they always are, between nature of racism, but also provide
‘good’ (redeemable) and ‘bad’ Muslims progressive movements with the tools to
subject to a loyalty test. The test operates fight racism at a time when mainstream
through (demands for) explicit expressions movements, media, policy and discourse is
of opposition to ideas and practices trying to hijack their language and causes
projected on to Muslims and apologies for reactionary ends.
from ‘moderate’ Muslims, even though the

53Alana Lentin and Gavan Titley, The Crises of Multiculturalism: Racism in a neoliberal 54 Titley et al, After Charlie Hebdo.
age (London: Zed, 2011).
55 Mondon and Winter, Charlie Hebdo; Titley et al, After Charlie Hebdo.

to view it through the lens of racisms. As
Islamophobia, Runnymede’s recent report attests,
Xenophobia, Racism, Islamophobia should be understood as an
anti-Muslim racism.
and Anti-Semitism In Todd Green’s seminal work “The Fear of
Islam”, he states that, “Islamophobia is not
Earlier in this report, we laid out our
racially blind, nor is it simply a
argument of Islamophobia being distinct
manifestation of older forms of racism
from criticism of religion – it is not a fear of
rooted in biological inferiority. It is an
Islam, it is a fear of Muslims. This is an
example of what some scholars have
important point as a misunderstanding of
labelled “cultural racism”. This form of
this magnitude obscures the roots and
racism incites hatred and hostility based on
causes of Islamophobic sentiments, thus
religious beliefs, cultural traditions, and
inhibiting opportunities to address them.
ethnic backgrounds.”56
It would be possible to write many
In this manner, Muslims collectively have
volumes on the interconnectivity and
become racialised through their religious
symbiotic relationship between
Islamophobias, racisms, anti-Semitism,
xenophobia, and other forms of hatred. Islamophobia: a form of cultural
This is clearly beyond the limits of what is
possible in one report. Therefore, this
chapter seeks instead to touch upon (albeit
very briefly) a non-exhaustive exploration Tariq Modood, MBE, FBA, FAcSS, FRSA
of a number of theories, themes, and University of Bristol
approaches that are all useful in fully
Islamophobia is the racialising of Muslims
exploring Islamophobia as a phenomenon.
based on physical appearance or descent as
Cultural Racism members of a community and attributing
to them cultural or religious characteristics
From a policy perspective, Islamophobia is to vilify, marginalise, discriminate or
a hostility that is directed at and serves to
demand assimilation and thereby treat
exclude people. While animosity towards them as second class citizens.
the religion is frequently used as a
justification for these sentiments, this It was not very long ago that Anglophone
hostility is also a product of animosity scholars of racism understood it in terms of
towards race, ethnicity and culture. A case biology, and specifically in terms of the
in point is the conflation between ethnic black-white binary. At the same time, other
and religious insults (such as the scholars, especially in continental Europe,
application of “p*ki” when the pejorative understood racism in terms of anti-
term is expressed in hostility towards a semitism, especially in the recent
Muslim as well as an ethnic identity), or the biologised forms that Europe has
reality that British Sikhs have frequently manifested. When it began to be clear that
been the unfortunate targets of these two paradigms were failing to
Islamophobic abuse on the basis of their capture some contemporary experiences,
ethnicity and assumed connection to a such as anti-Asian cultural racism in
Muslim identity. Britain or anti-Arab cultural racism in
France, some scholars began to move away
Therefore, rather than viewing
Islamophobia in a vacuum, it is important
56Todd H. Green, The Fear of Islam: an Introduction to Islamophobia in the West 57This is a shortened version of a submission to the All-Party Parliamentary Group on
(Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2015), 27. British Muslims, 1 June 2018, in response to the call for evidence on ‘Working
Definition of Islamophobia'.

from these paradigms.58 Yet, following the treatment of Muslims clearly has a
assertive Muslim agency triggered off by religious and cultural dimension it, equally
The Satanic Verses affair and other Muslim clearly, bears a physical appearance or
controversies, as Muslims responded to ancestral component. For while it is true
such hostilities and articulated their that ‘Muslim’ is not a (putative) biological
misrecognition, they were constantly told, category in the way that ‘black’ or ‘south
especially in Britain, that there is no such Asian’ (aka ‘Paki’), or Chinese is, neither
thing as anti-Muslim racism because was ‘Jew’. In that instance it took a long
Muslims are a religious group and not a non-linear history of racialisation to turn
race. Hence Muslims could legitimately an ethno-religious group into a race. More
ask for toleration and religious pluralism precisely, the latter did not so much as
but not for inclusion in anti-racist replace the former but superimposed itself
egalitarian analyses and initiatives. While because even though no one denied that
this view continues to be expressed even Jews were a religious community, with a
today, and some deny that there is a racism distinctive language(s), culture(s) and
that could be labelled ‘Islamophobia’, it no religion, Jews still came to be seen as a race,
longer has the hegemony it once had. and with horrific consequences. Similarly,
Bosnian Muslims were ‘ethnically
While a number of Anglophone authors,
cleansed’ because they came to be
including myself, started using the concept
identified as a ‘racial’ group, that is to say,
of Islamophobia in the late 1980s and early
as having a perceived line of descent by
1990s, it was the Runnymede Trust, with
people who actually were phenotypically,
its 1997 report, ‘Islamophobia: a challenge
linguistically and culturally the same as
to us all’, which launched the career of the
themselves. The ethnic cleanser, unlike an
term as a concept of public discourse in
Inquisitor, wasted no time in finding out
Britain and much beyond it. It presented
what people believed, if and how often
Islamophobia as ‘a useful shorthand way
they went to a mosque and so on: their
of referring to dread or fear of Islam – and
victims were racially identified as Muslims
therefore to fear or dislike of all or most
in terms of community membership based
Muslims’. While the report was ground-
on a perceived line of descent.
breaking and played a crucial role in
getting people to think about anti-Muslim Race, then, as I understand it is not just
prejudice I felt it did not sufficiently locate about biology or even ‘colour’, for while
Islamophobia as a racism, like say, anti- racialization has to pick on some features
semitism. I continued to write about of a people related to physical appearance
Islamophobia as a form of cultural racism, and ancestry (otherwise racism cannot be
which may be built on racism based on distinguished from other forms of
physical appearance (e.g. colour-racism) groupism) it need only be a marker. This is
but was a form of racism in its own right – illustrated in the conceptualisation of
like anti-semitism.59 This also became the cultural racism as what I have called a two-
approach of UNESCO and I am pleased to step process.60 While biological racism is
see that it has been explicitly embraced by the antipathy, exclusion and unequal
the new Runnymede Trust report of treatment of people on the basis of their
November, 2017. physical appearance or other imputed
physical differences, saliently in Britain
Islamophobia is a form of cultural racism
their non 'whiteness', cultural racism
because while the perception and
builds on biological racism a further

Introduction and Chapter 1 in Modood, T, Multicultural Politics: Racism, Ethnicity and

58 60 Modood, Multicultural Politics…, Intro and chp 1
Muslims in Britain, Edinburgh, 2005.

59 Modood, Multicultural Politics…, Intro and chp 1; N. Meer and Modood, ‘For
‘’Jewish’’ Read ‘’Muslim’’? Islamophobia as a Form of Racialisation of Ethno-Religious
Groups in Britain Today’, Islamophobia Studies Journal, 1(1), Spring 2012: 36-55.

discourse which evokes cultural the West is not reduced to racialisation or
differences from an alleged British, any other ‘Othering’ theoretical frame such
'civilised' norm to vilify, marginalise or as Orientalism. By definition ‘othering’
demand cultural assimilation from groups sees a minority in terms of how a dominant
who may also suffer from biological group negatively and stereotypically
racism. As white people's interactions with imagines that minority as something
non-white individuals increased, they did ‘other’, as inferior or threatening, and to be
not become necessarily less conscious of excluded. Indeed, the dominant group
group differences but they were far more typically projects its own fears and
likely to ascribe group differences to anxieties on to the minority. Minorities,
upbringing, customs, forms of socialisation however, are never merely ‘projections' of
and self-identity than to biological dominant groups but have their own
heredity. subjectivity and agency through which
they challenge how they are
Cultures and cultural practices are usually
(mis)perceived and seek to not be defined
internally diverse, containing and omitting
by others but to supplant negative and
various “authentic” elements, and
exclusionary stereotypes with positive and
adaptations and mixes. So to racially
prideful identities. Oppressive
group all Jews or Muslims together as one
misrecognitions, thus, sociologically imply
cultural ‘race’ or as one ethnoreligious
and politically demand recognition. Our
entity, it follows that the culturalized
analyses therefore should be framed in
targeting is expansive, rather than purist,
terms of a struggle for ‘recognition’ – the
aiming to catch most if not all cultural
recognition of one’s own identity.62
minorities in that targeted group. For
example, a non-religious Muslim might The danger of reducing Muslims to
still be targeted as a cultural Muslim or racialised identities is particularly high at
Muslim by community, which of course the moment because the Islamophobic
means Muslim by background, which ‘othering’ of Muslims is acute, and if
means birth and ancestry. Hence my point anything, rising. This can be seen in how
that Muslims, no less than Jews, are aggressive negative portrayals of Muslims
identified ‘racially’ and not simply in terms is standard in so much right-wing
of religious beliefs or behaviour. Moreover, nationalism, whether in President Trump’s
if we accept that racism does not Muslim bans, Marine Le Pen’s Front
necessarily involve attributing qualities National, Alternative fur Deutschland in
which inhere in a deterministic law-like Germany or in various parties in central
way in all members of a group, then we do and eastern Europe. I do worry, however,
not have to rule out cultural racism as an that just as in the 1970s and 1980s some
example of racism. As such we should anti-racists, including academics, reduced
guard against the characterisation of blackness to a form of anti-racism, anti-
racism as a form of biological determinism Islamophobia activism and studies risks
which leaves little space to conceive the seeing Muslims only in terms of
ways in which cultural racism draws upon racialisation and anti-racialisation. Because
physical appearance as one marker like all ethnic or religious groups Muslims
amongst others.61 are not merely created by their oppressors
but have their own sense of identity too.
While understanding some contemporary
Multicultural inclusivity means
treatment of Muslims and aspects of their
recognising and respecting these identities.
societal status in terms of ‘racialisation’
clearly is an advance, we should beware Recognition of course does not mean
that the conceptualisation of Muslims in thinking of Muslims as a group with

61 Modood, Multicultural Politics, Intro and chp 1 62 Modood, Multicultural Politics, Intro and chp 1

uniform attributes or a single mind-set, all As such, critical race theories examine
having the same view on religion, personal society and culture as they relate
morality, politics, the international world to categorisations of race, law, and power.
order and so on. Muslims are just like any Ultimately, these theories are concerned
other group – they cannot be understood in with how racial inequalities are preserved
terms of a single essence. Groups do not through social structures that appear
have discrete, nor indeed, fixed boundaries normal and inconspicuous. In particular,
as these boundaries may vary across time this involves an exploration of how racial
and place, across social contexts and will power is maintained over time, and the
be the subject of social construction and role of policies and legislation in the
social change – and Muslims are no process through which racisms become
different in this respect. This ‘anti- normalised.
essentialism’ is rightly deployed in the
In other words, in terms of Islamophobia,
study of Islamophobia and Muslims. It is a
there needs to be an understanding of the
powerful way of handling ascriptive
history and the social, political, and
discourses, of showing that various
economic processes through which the
popular or dominant ideas about Muslims,
behaviours, practices and identities of
just as in the case of, say, women, gays etc,
Muslims have become regulated at a social,
are not true as such but are aspects of
political, and legislative level. For example,
socially constructed images that have been
understanding how institutional racisms
made to stick on to those groups of people
within stop and search procedures or
because the ascribers are more powerful
integration strategies are used to normalise
than the ascribed. Anti-essentialism is an
racisms and regulate Muslim identities.
intellectually compelling idea and a
powerful resource in the cause of equality. These structures and processes are
important because Islamophobia and other
Islamophobia is the racialising of Muslims
forms of racism cannot be examined purely
based on physical appearance or descent as
as a matter of personal prejudices. A police
members of a community and attributing
officer may not be prejudiced, but the
to them cultural or religious
parameters of their role dictate that they
characteristics to vilify, marginalise,
discriminate or demand assimilation and must reinforce and replicate institutionally
thereby treat them as second class citizens. racist policies and procedures.
Likewise, a teacher or academic may not be
Critical Race Theory personally prejudiced, but within their
syllabi, they are required to teach the
Critical race theories are a useful lens canonical teachings of predominantly
through which to explore Islamophobia. White men from a handful of Western
Critical theorists are concerned with how countries, thereby continuing an education
history, political economy, and social system predicated upon ethnocentric
processes exert direct and indirect assumptions and perspectives.
domination over the social, political,
cultural, and economic expressions and Therefore, a critical examination of history,
practices of individuals and groups. This political economy, and social processes is
requires a focus on the ways in which necessary to fully comprehend the full
gender, sexuality, class, culture, religion, breadth and consequences of
race, ethnicity, nationality, and power Islamophobia and other forms of racism.
intersect to shape inequalities. Of Xenophobia
particular interest is the impact of power
on minority groups and/or those groups In his exploration of the Islamophobia
who remain marginalised without power. Industry (a topic that will be explored in
the next chapter of this report), Nathan

Lean observes that, “The arch of prejudice At the same time, this supposed
and anti-Other discrimination is a long incompatibility with Western culture
one. Societies in Europe and North makes Muslims inferior and, therefore,
America have, over the course of their undeserving of the freedoms and
histories, grappled with populations that privileges of Western life. As Lean explains
they felt were not truly a part of the it, “capitalist economic values that overlap
essential national fabric in an ugly way. At with social ideals breed suspicions that
the root of much or all of this intolerance is ethnic, racial, and religious minorities
xenophobia, the fear or intense dislike of want to take advantage of freedoms and
foreigners… The predominant sentiment opportunities for prosperity that are
among many right-wing Americans, for thought to be uniquely American or
instance, is that they are not welcome in European.”64
“our” country. Such ferocity and dogged
These negative assumptions are
nationalism is predicated on the
channelled into racist expressions directed
assumption that Muslims are immigrants
at Muslims.
and that the religion of Islam is not a fluid
or borderless belief system, but rather Commentators such as Daniel Pipes
originates from afar and has, with the exemplify this conflation between
relocation of populations from Morocco to foreignness and Muslim identities. As far
Bahrain, invaded the United States.”63 back as 1990, Pipes stated that, “Western
societies are unprepared for the massive
It is important to note that being
immigration of brown-skinned peoples
considered “foreign” is not necessarily an
cooking strange foods and not exactly
attribute limited to those born outside of
maintaining Germanic standards of
territorial borders. Rather, someone seen as
hygiene… All immigrants bring exotic
foreign is anyone who is deemed to be
customs and attitudes, but Muslim
outside the dominant group identity.
customs are more troublesome than most.
Therefore, British Muslims, even those
Also they appear most resistant to
whom have been born in the UK and
whose parents were born in this country,
may be perceived to be as foreign as White revanchism
someone born halfway around the world.
As previously discussed, within
The reason for this foreignness is found not
xenophobic narratives, the rhetoric of
only in distinctions of ethnicity, but also in
Islamophobia is often predicated upon the
a perceived conflict of views, values,
inferiority of minorities and the desire to
norms, practices, beliefs, and behaviours
“take back” one’s country.
that all culminate in a threat or an insult to
the dominant identity and way of life. Revanchism is usually understood as the
political manifestation of a will to reverse
Moreover, there is the divisive assumption
territorial losses incurred by a country,
that the threat that Muslims pose cannot be
often following a war or social movement.
overcome through relationship building
and inter-community engagement. Rather, Extreme revanchist ideologues often
Muslims are particularly problematic in suggest that the desired objectives of
comparison to other “foreign” groups as reclaiming what has been lost can be
achieved through the positive outcome of
they are uniquely unwilling or incapable of
conflict with whomsoever has been
adapting to Western society.
identified as those responsible for the
perceived loss.

63Lean, Nathan The Islamophobia Industry: How the right manufactures fear of Muslims. 64 Lean, The Islamophobia Industry, p6
(London: Pluto Press. 2012), p5
65 Cited in Lean, Nathan The Islamophobia Industry, p5

In this context, White revanchism should between Islamophobia, Orientalism, and
be viewed as a largely white supremacist empire.
ideology intended to “take back” the
Between the specific forms of medieval
privileges and power that its adherents
xenophobia and prejudices that
have perceived to have been deprived of.
characterised the Crusades, the Orientalist
However, this ideology is not limited to
discourses of colonial powers, and
White supremacists alone. Indeed, the
securitisation of Muslim identities in the
arguments, grievances, and logics are
context of the current threat of ISIS,
frequently adopted and/or reinterpreted
contemporary anti-Muslim hostilities and
to represent the loss of Western hegemonic
racisms are situated within a long history
power and also the erosions of male
of imperial rivalry and conflict. Perhaps
privilege in the face of women’s
the most significant major development
within this trajectory of anti-Muslim
Global socio-political and economic animosity is the emergence of the modern
developments stretching from the decline nation state and the subsequent ability of
of the British Empire, the Cold War, global governments to successfully
economic recessions, and conflicts in the institutionalise racist policies and practices
Middle East have destabilised a previously to a far greater extent than previously
secure sense of Western hegemonic power. possible.66 However, contemporary
Muslim identities in Western contexts, Islamophobia cannot be divorced from its
therefore, represent a physical precursors within its historical lineage, for
manifestation of the destabilisation of the example, the imagery of the violent and
supremacy of Western hegemonic notions angry Muslim that was so embedded
of identity, culture, norms, and socio- within the rhetoric of the Crusades which
economic and political power. has endured to this day.
As such, there is an intimate link between As a general introduction, Orientalism
Islamophobia and xenophobia that cannot may roughly be understood as the way in
be dislocated from the perceived which the West, particularly through the
decentring of Western power and erosions use of colonial and imperial knowledge
of Western and White privilege as an production and discourses, essentialises
existential threat. In other words, the fears non-Western societies as static and
and hostility directed at minorities and undeveloped. This constant depiction of
Muslims in particular should be examined other cultures and peoples fabricates and
alongside a crisis within White supremacy reinforces a perception of Western
and Western nation states’ abilities to society’s inherent nature as developed,
regulate themselves. rational, flexible, and superior, which is in
direct contrast to the “Other” – largely
Colonialism, Orientalism, and Muslims and previous subjects of
“Othering” colonialism – who remain innately
backwards, barbaric, under-developed
Islamophobia in the UK is not an
and in need of Western enlightenment;
ahistorical phenomenon, rather, it must be
“the White man’s burden”.
contextualised within the history of
Britain’s colonial past. Therefore, to fully However, the concept of “Orientalism” is
understand Islamophobia in any not a static and undisputed concept. While
meaningful way, there must be an first promoted by Edward Said as a
acknowledgement of the relationship discourse through which imperialist
knowledge was produced and sustained

66Narzanin Massoumi, Tom Mills, David Miller, eds.. What is Islamophobia?: Racism,
Social Movements and the State, (Pluto Press, 2017), p. 50.

surrounding the Muslim world, many Western hegemonic notions of modernity
scholars regard it more as an ideology. For through maintaining their religious-
example, Arun Kundnani refers to it as an cultural identities or through questioning
ideology which “offers an everyday the status quo of this hegemony).
‘common sense’ explanatory framework
The consequences of such a “good vs bad
for making sense of mediated crisis events
Muslim” distinction can be seen in the
(such as terrorist attacks) in ways that
political exclusion of Muslims and the
disavow those events’ political meanings
British Government’s current
(rooted in empire, racism and resistance)
disengagement policy regarding
and instead explain them as products of a
mainstream Muslim organisations. This is
reified ‘Muslimness’. Thus, Islamophobia
an issue that will be explored in greater
involves an ideological displacement of
depth throughout this report.
political antagonisms onto the plane of
culture, where they can be explained in This problematic situating of Muslim
terms of the fixed nature of the ‘Other’.”67 identities is also seen in the ways in which
states will often emphasise and give
In other words, by essentialising the innate
prominence to Muslim individuals when
backwardness of the “Other”, Orientalist
they are in a position to be co-opted as
narratives act as a mechanism for
agents of the state agenda. Again, this is
regulating and controlling minorities.
seen in the Government’s position
Taking the example of reducing terrorism
regarding their engagement with and
to an issue purely of religion or innate
promotion of only a hand-picked selection
barbarity without reference to other socio-
of Muslim organisations and individuals
political and economic factors, Orientalist
who support their established policy
depictions of Muslim populations allow
those with power over the narrative to
exclude Muslims from critical discussions Islamophobia and anti-Semitism
and representative analysis. As such, this
Islamophobia is often portrayed as
method of obscuring grievances and
completely distinct from anti-Semitism.
justifying the regulation of Muslim
identities casts Orientalist narratives as a However, this is a misunderstanding of
hatred and racisms. Islamophobia, anti-
form of structural violence representing
Semitism, racism, xenophobia, sexism,
the intersection between knowledge,
homophobia and other forms of hatred are
power, and discourse.
all mechanisms of social regulation and
Orientalism is thus a mechanism through control of minorities. Therefore, they need
which to gain cultural and civilising power to be understood in the interconnectivity of
over Muslim populations. Islamophobia their logics, manifestations, and
thereby becomes the conduit through consequences. Moreover, it is important
which Muslims are regulated into that all forms of hatred are understood as
hegemonic Western conceptions of mechanisms of control and are, therefore,
modernity. Muslims who resist such opposed with equal vigour. Failure to do
Western appropriation are deemed a threat so merely results in allowing hatred to
to the stability of the state and are thus manifest itself differently once one form
placed in the dichotomy between the good has been tackled, thus transforming and
“moderate” Muslims (those who redirecting itself at other vulnerable
unquestioningly adhere to the sensibilities groups.
of Western identity constructs) and the bad
Moreover, in line with the liberal
“extremist” Muslims (those who threaten
Islamophobias discussed previously by
67Cited in: Narzanin Massoumi, Tom Mills, David Miller, eds.. What is Islamophobia?:
Racism, Social Movements and the State, (Pluto Press, 2017), p. 50.

Aurelien Mondon and Aaron Winter, imageries in the context of contemporary
accusations of Muslim anti-Semitism are Europe have been made in the past decade
often used as a justification to discriminate by scholars who focused on the diasporic
further against Muslims collectively. conditions of contemporary Muslims.
These contributions come from a wide
It is imperative that both anti-Semitism
range of disciplines and have involved
and Islamophobia are fully viewed and
drawing parallels between the historical
understood for their consequences and are
experiences of the Jewish people and the
tackled collaboratively by Muslims, Jews
current experiences of Muslims in Europe.
and people of all faiths and none.
For instance, historian Dan Diner has
Islamophobia in its Relation to observed that ‘Muslims today, like Jews in
Anti-Semitism the past, face the task of transforming their
all-encompassing religion into a confessio,
an abstract faith community among other
Dr Yulia Egorova faith communities’.71 Sociologist Sara
Durham University Farris in her essay From the Jewish
Question to the Muslim Question argues
Scholars have made important
that nowadays in Europe it is the Muslims,
interventions into the study of
rather than the Jews that are seen as a
Islamophobia in its relation to anti-
group allegedly behaving as a separate
Semitism. Edward Said had famously
constituency within Western nations and
described Orientalism as the ‘Islamic
discriminated against on account of this
branch’ of anti-Semitism, 68 and suggested
alleged behaviour.72 Finally, philosopher
that ‘hostility to Islam in the modern
Brian Klug asks the broader question about
Christian West has historically gone hand
whether the analogy between the anti-
in hand with, has stemmed from the same
Semitism of the past and the Islamophobia
source, has been nourished in the same
of the present is analytically valid, and
stream as anti-Semitism, and that a critique
concludes that within limits it is worth
of the orthodoxies, dogmas, and
asserting, because it usefully sheds light on
disciplinary procedures of orientalism
the multiple social and political realities
contribute to an enlargement of our
that Europe faces at the moment.
understanding of the cultural mechanisms
of anti-Semitism’.69 At the same time, Western mass media
often portrays Muslims as the main
More recently, Gil Anidjar has shown how
victimisers of European Jews, and presents
in Europe the figure of the enemy is
the attacks on Jewish persons and property
contingent on the way Europeans had
where perpetrators were Muslim as further
related to both Jews and Arabs, who in
evidence of Muslim immigrants’
contemporary Western imaginary became
susceptibility to extremist ideologies and
associated with Muslims, and argued that
failure to integrate.73 Moreover, in recent
it is these attitudes that had set up in
decades European right-wing
motion processes which had resulted in
commentators started constructing the
current conflicts in Europe, the Middle
Jews and the Muslims as polar opposites
East and the United States.70
with the former being presented as a model
Important attempts to explore the minority, and in some cases as the allies of
relationship between Jewish and Muslim

68 Edward W. Said, Orientalism, (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1979), 28. 72Sara Farris, “From the Jewish Question to the Muslim Question. Republican
Rigorism, Culturalist Differentialism and Antinomies of Enforced Emancipation”,
69 Edward W. Said, “Orientalism Reconsidered”, Cultural Critique, 1985, 99. Constellations 2017, 21 (2): 296-307.

70 Gil Anidjar, The Jew, the Arab. A History of the Enemy. 73Paul Silverstein, “Immigrant Racialization and the New Savage Slot: Race,
Migration, and Immigration in the New Europe”, Annual Review of Anthropology,
71Dan Diner, ‘Reflections on Anti-Semitism and Islamophobia’, in Matti Bunzl “Anti- 2005, 34: 367
Semitism and Islamophobia”, 52

the Christian West74 and the latter as Islamophobia and antisemitism both
inassimilable strangers.75 Judaism is thus involve the suspicion, dislike or hatred of
essentialized and othered, but portrayed as Jewish or Muslim individuals or groups.
more compatible with life in Europe than This can be attitudinal or structural, and
Islam. proceeds from a real or assumed
‘Jewishness’ or ‘Muslimness’ respectively.
These tropes show that while in the past,
Both therefore reflect a racial and not just
Jews and Muslims in Europe were put
theological character, and can take a
together into one category of a threatening
number of forms spanning behaviour,
other, in recent decades their identities
discourse and state policy.
have become polarized in the European
public and political discourse, which For these reasons it is accurate to say that
created a rhetorical dichotomy between the both antisemitism and Islamophobia are
‘well-integrated’ and ‘law-abiding’ Jews similar in drawing upon signs of race,
and the ‘violent’ and ‘inassimilable’ culture and belonging. As such they are not
Muslims failing to adjust to the conditions limited to hostility to a religion alone, but
of liberal democracy. are tied up with pressing issues of
community identity, stereotyping, socio-
I suggest that though at first glance such
economic location, and political conflict
discourses construct Jews and Muslims as
amongst other dynamics.76
members of two opposing categories, they
still at the same time configure them both Self-evidently therefore, Muslim and
as the ‘other’, even though they associate Jewish minorities have a clear and pressing
with them different imageries of alterity. In rationale for collaborating further and
contemporary European imagination, Jews tackling both together.
and Muslims are thus both juxtaposed as
What does the comparative data tell us
social groups allegedly adhering to about mass attitudes to both groups?
radically different social and cultural
values and religious practices, but at the One of the best available data sets offering
same time are also conflated as static and a statistical comparison of attitudes
unchanging minorities who, no matter towards Jews and Muslims can be found in
how different they may be from each other, the Pew Global Attitudes Project (PGAP),77
are also unmistakably unalike the which surveyed almost 25,000 people
perceived host society. This phenomenon across 24 countries. Among its findings, it
highlights the porousness of conceptual reports:
borders between anti-Jewish, anti-Muslim “A strong relationship between anti-
and other forms of prejudice and Jewish and anti-Muslim sentiments in the
problematises attempts at drawing rigid West. Indeed, among the U.S. and the six
definitional boundaries around terms such European countries included in the survey,
as anti-Semitism and Islamophobia. the correlation between unfavorable
opinions of Jews and unfavorable opinions
What is the relationship between of Muslims is remarkably high.”78
Islamophobia and Antisemitism? The expression of anti-Muslim and anti-
Jewish attitudes therefore emerges not
Professor Nasar Meer FAcSS
separately but instead as a conjoined
University of Edinburgh activity. Indeed, and in the most up to date

74Matti Bunzl, Anti-Semitism and Islamophobia: Hatreds Old and New in Europe. (Chicago: 77 Disclosure note: The author in an academic advisor to Pew.
Prickly Paradigm Press, 2007)
78PRC (Pew Research Center) (2008) Pew Global Attitudes Project: Unfavorable Views of
Nasar Meer and Noorani Tehseen “A Sociological Comparison of Anti-Semitism and
75 Jews and Muslims on the Increase in Europe. Washington DC: PRC. Summary available
Anti-Muslim Sentiment”, The Sociological Review 56 (2): 195-219. from: P. 9.

76 Meer, N. (ed.) (2013) Racialization and Religion. London: Routledge

2018 data, Pew confirms that “those who Monitoring Centre on Racism and
express negative views of Muslims are also Xenophobia shortly after 9/11. Its authors,
more likely to express negative views of Chris Allen and Jorgen Nielsen, identified
Jews”.79 This is a trend first discovered a a rise in the number of “physical and
decade ago where Pew data showed that verbal threats being made, particularly to
opinions of Muslims in almost all of the 24 those visually identifiable as Muslims,
European countries surveyed were more especially towards women wearing the
negative than they were of Jews, with more hijab”.82 What is of particular note is that
than half of Spaniards and half of Germans despite variations in the number and
stating that they did not like Muslims, correlation of physical and verbal threats
while the figures for Poland and France directed at Muslim populations among the
were 46% and 38% for those holding individual nation states, one overarching
unfavourable opinions of Muslims. feature that emerged among the 15 EU
Indeed, while Americans and Britons countries was the tendency for Muslim
displayed the lowest levels of women to be attacked because of how the
antisemitism, one in four in both countries hijab signifies an Islamic identity.83
was hostile to Muslims. This means that in
It is a finding that raises problems for
the USA, France and Germany,
people who want to distinguish between
unfavourable views of Muslims are
antipathy towards Muslims and antipathy
roughly at twice the rate of unfavourable
towards Islam. What is common to such
views of Jews, while in Poland and Spain
findings is that these are overlapping and
the former are only a few percentage points
interacting – rather than distinct.
What are the implications?
While quantitative surveys do not always
provide the best accounts of prejudice and Although they are not passive objects of
discrimination, they can be useful in racism, Muslim and Jewish identities are
discerning trends – alerting us in this case not free of external pressures,
to the widespread prevalence of anti- objectification and racialization.
Muslim feeling. In British Social Attitudes What is required therefore are conceptions
survey data, for example, Voas and Ling of Islamophobia and antisemitism that are
reported that one fifth of the total able to explain how prejudice
population responds negatively only to simultaneously draws upon signs of race,
Muslims, and that relatively few people culture and belonging in a way that is by
feel unfavourable towards any other no means reducible to hostility to a religion
religious or ethnic group on its own.80 alone, and compels us to consider how
The visibility of Muslims, in terms of religion has a social and political relevance
sometimes distinctive dress and because of the ways it is tied up with issues
appearance, is frequently the means of community identity stereotyping, socio-
through which Islamophobic feeling is economic location, political conflict and so
turned into Islamophobic behaviour.81 forth.
A good European-wide illustration may be
found in the summary report on
Islamophobia published by the European

79 “Being Christian in Western Europe”, PRC, May 29, 2018, accessed 20.06.2018, 82 Cristopher Allen and Jorgen S. Nielsen, Summary Report on Islamophobia in the EU15 after 11 September 2001, (Vienna: European Monitoring Centre for Racism and
Xenophobia, 2010), p. 16.
80David Voas and Rodney Ling, “Religion in Britain and the United States”, in British
Social Attitudes: The 26th Report, 2010 Alison Par ed., 65–86, (London: SAGE), pp. 80, 83 Ibid p. 35.

81 Nasar Meer, Claire Dwyer and Tariq Modood, “Embodying nationhood?

Conceptions of British national identity, citizenship and gender in the ‘veil affair’”, The
Sociological Review, 2010, 58(1): 84–111.

This is not an unproblematic cluster of
issues to hold together, and good public
policy here needs to draw on both the
theoretical and empirical materials that are

threat can increase levels of prejudice
Driving Islamophobic against the outgroup.
Narratives: The Perceptions of threat

Islamophobia Industry As previously mentioned, perceived

threats may be threats that exist in reality
Xenophobic, racist, Islamophobic and anti- (ie. genuine and real threats), or they may
Semitic sentiments do not become be threats that are imagined. Regardless of
activated in a vacuum. While there are whether these threats are real or imagined,
many wide-ranging theories surrounding perceptions of threat can be broadly
how and why hatred becomes embraced understood in two categories:
and articulated, the following discussion Realistic threats
will focus on one potential avenue through
which Islamophobic narratives and Realistic threats are threats that pose a
attitudes84 have become normalised danger to the in-group’s well-being. These
amongst sections of the public; collective may include:
prejudice and intergroup threat. Following Physical threats: In terms of prejudice
this discussion, this chapter will then against Muslims, an example of this
examine how themes of collective perceived threat is the narrative that
prejudice and intergroup threat are utilised presents Muslim men as innately sexually
by the Islamophobia Industry to violent and culpable to praying on Western
manufacture, propagate and maintain women and girls, thereby creating the
Islamophobia across the West. impression that “our women” are at risk of
Collective prejudice and sexual violence and exploitation at the
hands of Muslim men.
perceived inter-group threat
Threats to economic power: For instance,
Intergroup threat theory (or integrated the perception that Muslim refugees and
threat theory), is a theory used in illegal as well as legal Muslim migrants are
sociological and psychological studies creating job insecurities; the idea visited
exploring perceptions of threat which may earlier that they are “stealing our jobs”.
lead to hostility, prejudice, and tensions
between social groups. Threats to political power: This can be
found in the idea of “creeping Shariah”
Perceived threats include any threat that which is a prominent theme of counter-
members of a group (whether it is the jihadist rhetoric. Proponents of the
dominant or a minority group) believe Islamophobia Industry frequently use the
they are experiencing, regardless of argument that Muslims are making
whether those threats are real or imagined. political moves to impose “Shariah Law”
For example, people may feel their on Western societies.
economic well-being is threatened by
an outgroup “stealing their jobs” even if, in Threats to existence: Perhaps the most
reality, the outgroup has no effect on their prominent example of this kind of
job opportunities. This is often an perceived threat is found in fears
argument seen in debates surrounding surrounding terrorism and threats to
immigration which frequently ignore other national security.
factors influencing labour insecurity, such Symbolic threats
as economic crisis and industry changes.
Symbolic threats largely arise from a
Regardless of other factors, perceptions
perceived threat to the
that the job security of the ingroup is under

84 And other forms of hatred.

ingroup's worldview as a consequence of more dangerous, or that Muslim women
perceived differences between wearing the hijab are oppressed.
group morals, values, standards, beliefs,
In reality of course, perceptions of threat
practices, and attitudes. These differences
are mediated by a combination of
can create the impression that the
conscious and unconscious biases, that
outgroup poses a threat to the ingroup’s
have a complex and symbiotic interaction
sense of identity and accepted system of
at an individual level.
values and customs. This is a significant
theme promoted by the Islamophobia Consequences of perceptions of threat
Industry, within which those promoting The consequences of perceptions of threat
anti-Muslim agendas often promote the manifest in diverse ways on both the
perception that Western and European psychological and individual level, as well
culture is in a state of decline due to as on the wider sociological level.
infiltration by Muslims who seek to However, two concepts are useful for
destroy Western identities and values. exploration at this point; intergroup
Conscious and unconscious bias: anxiety and negative stereotypes.
Perceptions of threat are mediated and Intergroup anxiety: One of the
compounded by both conscious and consequences of perceptions of threat is the
unconscious bias. As previously development of anxieties in the face of
mentioned, perceived threats may be interacting with members of the outgroup
threats that exist in reality or they may be and the expectation that this interaction
threats that are imagined. Regardless of will result in a negative experience.
whether these threats are real or imagined, Intergroup anxiety is, therefore, a fear that
perceptions of threat are often mediated intergroup interaction will result in
through bias. Bias is defined as inclination feelings of discomfort, embarrassment, or
or prejudice for or against one person or insecurity, or that those interacting may
group, especially in a way considered to be become judged by members of both the
unfair. Bias can be conscious or explicit, or outgroup as well as their own ingroup.
unconscious or implicit. Negative stereotypes: The response to
Conscious biases are well recognised perceived threats often involves the
and utilised widely by the Islamophobia construction of stereotypes depicting the
industry to influence others. For designated enemy outgroup. These
example, attribution bias explains why stereotypes allow the outgroup to be
people believe that violence perpetrated demonised and dehumanised to further
by Muslims is due to religious factors justify prejudicial and discriminatory
whereas in reality the causes are largely policies, practices, and attitudes directed
socio-political. Confirmation bias is the towards them. Stereotypes also often allow
tendency to search for or the causes of a complex situation to be
present information that confirms one’s simplified and presented. In this manner,
own existing beliefs, and can be seen in the the understanding of overwhelmingly
media, where criminal acts by persons of a complex issues and social ills are
certain ethnic or religious background are frequently reduced to being the product of
highlighted whilst those same acts by one root cause – in this case, Muslims.
members of the White community
are ignored.
The ‘Islamophobia Industry’
Unconscious bias is much more difficult to Dr Hilary Aked
measure but can be a powerful influence
on how make assumption about minority PhD University of Bath
groups, for example, that Black people are

The term ‘Islamophobia industry’ was ‘conditions for Muslims in Europe must be
popularised in the US context by author made harder across the board’.87
Nathan Lean’s 2012 book of the same
Despite this and other patently
name.85 In the UK, the so-called
Islamophobic statements, his
Islamophobia industry consists primarily
organisation’s influence has continued. In
of a network of think tanks and pressure
2015, then Conservative Prime Minister
groups in civil society whose activities
David Cameron made a speech about
contribute to fomenting Islamophobic
alleged extremism at UK universities.
narratives and putting in place policies
Sections of the Downing Street press
which exclude and discriminate against
release accompanying the speech appeared
to have been copied, virtually verbatim,
It includes a spectrum of actors affiliated to from a report by Student Rights – the
overlapping movements, incorporating campus-monitory arm of the Henry
neoconservatives, far-right Jackson Society.88 Such manifestations of
‘counterjihadists’, elements of the Zionist influence raise serious concerns in part
movement and even some left-liberal because of the highly questionable nature
currents. Such actors often play an of much of the research produced by
important role in feeding xenophobic and Islamophobia industry groups. A widely-
racist stories to the media, particularly in reported Student Rights study on gender
debates around immigration, integration, segregation on campus, for example, used
terrorism and ‘extremism’. The more a biased sample to produce figures which
‘respectable’ wing of the movement also supported its claim that a significant
seeks to work through the state and proportion of Islamic societies at UK
successfully exerts considerable influence universities practiced gender
within the political elite and on 89
segregation. Another similar think tank,
government policy. Policy Exchange, was exposed by BBC
Take the Henry Jackson Society, amongst Newsnight for having partly based a report
the most influential groups in this about alleged extremist material in UK
category. Its predecessor think tank, the mosques on fabricated evidence.90
Centre for Social Cohesion, was cited five Also concerning are some of the European
times in the 2011 Prevent strategy, and transatlantic links that UK
demonstrating its impact on the coalition Islamophobia industry groups maintain.
government’s revised version of this The Gatestone Institute, for example, is a
harmful policy which went beyond deeply Islamophobic New-York based
targeting violence to pursuing so-called policy institute and website founded by
‘non-violent extremism’.86 Douglas Nina Rosenwald. It publishes numerous
Murray – who was founder of the Centre ‘fake news’ articles with titles like ‘Islamic
for Social Cohesion and later became cannibalism’, ‘UK Islamic Takeover Plot’
associate director of the Henry Jackson and ‘Soon the Muslims will be Kings of the
Society when the latter incorporated the World’.91 Yet the Henry Jackson Society,
former – is infamous for having said that together with Conservative Friends of

85 Lean, The Islamophobia Industry

86 HM Government Prevent Strategy, June 2011, p.23. Available at: 89 Hilary Aked, ‘Student Rights “Campus Extremism” Study: Dishonest Pseudo-
/97976/prevent-strategy-review.pdf. Science in Support Of a Toxic Narrative’, Huffington Post, 15 May 2013. Available at:
87Mehdi Hasan ‘We mustn't allow Muslims in public life to be silenced’, Guardian, 8 study_b_3277503.html.
July 2012. Available at: 90Peter Barron, “Disastrous misjudgement?”, BBC News - The Editors, December 13,
abuse. 2007, accessed 20.06.2018,
88Jack Grove, ‘Prevent strategy: naming and shaming of universities sparks concern’,
Times Higher Education, 1 October 2015. Available at: 91 “Gatestone Institute”, accessed 20.06.2018,

Israel, co-hosted an event with the perpetuate negative discourses about
Gatestone Institute in parliament in 2016.92 Muslims and Islam for economic and
It has received financial donations from political gains. Commonly guided by right-
Nina Rosenwald’s Abstraction Fund, via wing and neoconservative ideologies, the
its US arm, too.93 Among Gatestone’s UK Islamophobia Industry employs the
contributors are the author of the above- rhetoric of an array of “experts” in order to
mentioned Policy Exchange report, Denis disseminate misinformation and fear about
MacEoin, the Henry Jackson Society’s Muslims and Islam, primarily by
Douglas Murray and Student Rights’ perpetuating the myth of an Islamic
former director Raheem Kassam. Kassam invasion of the Western world. They
also has close ties to the ‘alt-right’ US- frequently claim that the ultimate aim of
based website Breitbart and to UKIP, this Muslim takeover is the
which has long harboured Islamophobic implementation of Sharia law across all
sentiments. liberal societies.95 Through this kind of
propaganda, the industry is able to
In December 2015 at the Home Affairs influence and hijack political discourses, to
Select Committee’s inquiry into countering influence voting patterns, and even to set
extremism, Labour MP Chuka Umunna the basis for legislative debates and
challenged another UK organisation, the drafting.96
Quilliam Foundation, on its links to
Gatestone.94 In the past, this self-declared Grassroots organisations, often guided by
‘counter-extremism’ body has received strong nationalistic sentiments, subscribe
millions in government funding. That it to the anti-Muslim discourse advanced by
should associate with a body like these experts and fuelled by the statements
Gatestone demonstrates the proximity of of media and political figures, thus giving
‘counter-extremism’ rhetoric and this divisive rhetoric a voice among
Islamophobia, suggesting that while broader society.
discriminatory government programmes This section explores the many facets of the
like Prevent remain in place, providing a Islamophobia industry, highlighting the
respectable language for racism, the way in which it sustains and spreads
Islamophobia industry – which is product hatred against Muslims and Islam.
as well as progenitor of such policies – will
continue to thrive and grow. Neoconservatives at heart
The ideological framework underpinning
The Islamophobia Industry and the logic of the Islamophobia industry can
largely be traced back to
the Islamophobia Network neoconservativism. Neoconservativism
The term “Islamophobia Industry” (also has often been described as “Wilsonianism
known as the “Counter-jihad movement”) on steroids”97 to indicate a hard-line,
encompasses a largely interconnected Christian crusader-like approach to protect
network of think tanks, media outlets, western values and interests, defeat
public figures, politicians, and policy- adverse ideologies, and export the
makers that advance, disseminate and American model of liberal democracy

92 ‘Alan Dershowitz addresses supporters in parliament At CFI-HJS-Gatestone 95Wajahat Ali et all, “Fear, Inc. The Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America”,
Institute event’, Conservative Friends of Israel, 23 September 2016. Available at: Center for American Progress, August 2011, accessed 01.05.2018,
gatestone-event. content/uploads/issues/2011/08/pdf/islamophobia.pdf

93 David Miller and Tom Mills, ‘Misinformed expert of disinformation network?’, 96 Lean, The islamophobia Industry
OpenDemocracy, 15 January 2015. Available at: 97Most famously in Walter Russell, Mead, Power, Terror, Peace, and War: America's Grand
mills/misinformed-expert-or-misinformation-network. Strategy in a World at Risk, (New York: Knopf, 2004.)

94 Tom Griffin, ‘The problem with the Quilliam Foundation’, OpenDemocracy, 7

November 2016. Available at:

everywhere through an interventionist therefore all European Muslims are a
foreign policy. threat.101
In relation to the Arab world specifically, Funding and Network
neoconservatives believe in an almost
The Islamophobia Industry is sustained by
messianic mission to defend the interests of
an intricate network of alliances and
Israel and defeat Islam, which is framed
patronages worth over $57 million in the
within a Huntington-like view of a “Clash
United States alone. In the United States,
of Civilizations” between liberal
Donors Capital Fund, a non-profit
democracies and Islamic societies.98
organisation that distributes funds to
Huntington theorised that, with the fall of
conservative and often right-wing
the Soviet Union, liberal societies would be
organisation, contributes with over $27
challenged by different civilisations in
million to the Islamophobia network, and
wars of cultures and identities, with the
is presided by prominent neoconservative
Islamic world posing the greatest threat
figures such as Arthur C. Brooks, the
alongside the Asian world.
president of the American Enterprise
British neoconservativism does not differ Institute, and John A. Von Kannon, vice
greatly from the American one, yet as president and senior counsellor at the
pointed out by Lee Jarvis and Michael Heritage Foundation.102 Scaife
Lister, British neoconservatives are far Foundations, a neoconservative
more careful in labelling themselves in organisation that contributes to, among
such a way due to the very negative others, American Foreign Policy Council (a
association of the term, in Europe strong advocate of American
particularly, with George W. Bush and the interventionism abroad), raised nearly
“deceptions of the war in Iraq.”99 Even so, $10.5 million to fund Islamophobic
they fully embrace the concept of the organisations such as Center for Security
West’s struggle with “the Other”, as well as Policy, and the Counterterrorism &
the domestic mission of protecting society Security Education and Research
from the perceived threat posed by Islamic Foundation. Other organisations, such as
ideologies, and the foreign one of ensuring Lyne and Harry Bradley Foundation and
Israel’s interests.100 Rosenwald’s Abstraction Fund also
contribute tens of millions of dollars to
Recurrent themes such as “Islamic
funding Islamophobic think tanks that
terrorism”, “Islamic threat”, and “Muslim
spread conspiracy theories against
invasion” are used to legitimise anti-
Muslims and Islam.
Muslim measures within the realm of both
foreign and domestic politics, leading to In the UK, two major think tanks are part
the marginalisation and containment of of this network, Policy Exchange and The
Muslims, and to the justification of foreign Henry Jackson Society (HJS), which are
interventionism in Muslim-majority renowned for their neoconservative stance
countries. In this way, the Islamophobia on foreign policy, support of military
Industry often strategically conflates interventionism in the Middle East,
legitimate concerns of “Islamist” rejection of multiculturalism, opposition to
terrorism with issues such as geopolitics, Muslim agency, and portrayal of Muslims
refugees, and economy, resulting in claims and Islam as antithetic to the values of
that Islam is inherently dangerous and neoliberal societies.103 As exposed by

98G.John Ikenberry et al., The crisis of American foreign policy: Wilsonianism in the 101 “Countering the counter-jihad”, RUSI, August 15, 2008, accessed 10.05.2018,
twenty-first century, (Princeton, N.J.; Oxford: Princeton University Press, cop. 2009.

99Lee Jarvis, Michael Lister, Critical Perspectives on Counter-terrorism, (London, New 102 “Donors Capital Fund and Donors Trust”, accessed 29.05.2018,
York: Routledge, 2015), p. 192.

100 Ibid. 103Tom Mills, Tom Griffin and David Miller, “The Cold War on British Muslims”,
Spinwatch, August 2011, accessed 10.05.2018,

Spinwatch, their growth “has been strongly British Islam: How Extremist Literature is
assisted by a number of Conservative and Subverting Mosques in the UK”.108
pro-Israel donors”, including a number of
Through this significant stream of money
American neoconservative groups that
and network of international alliances and
have come under scrutiny for falsifying
patronages, the Islamophobia Industry
evidence in support of their anti-Muslim
reaches out to journalists, politicians, and
literature.104 HJS receives funds from US
media outlets to spread and normalise
organisations such as the Abstraction
narratives demonising Muslims. Both in
Fund, presided by Nina Rosenwald.
the United States and in the UK, a number
Famously dubbed “the Sugar Mama of
of individuals who occupy prominent roles
anti-Muslim Hate”, Rosenwald is the
in Islamophobic think tanks engage with
founder and director of the right-wing
policy-makers and the public by
Gatestone Institute. Since 2000, Rosenwald
presenting themselves as “experts”. In the
has used nearly $3 million to finance the
US, these include personalities such as
Gatestone Institute, the Center for Security
Robert Spencer, co-founder of Stop
Policy, Project Ijtihad, the American
Islamization of America (SIOA), and
Islamic Forum for Democracy, the Middle
director of Jihad Watch, and who is
East Forum, the Clarion
renowned all over the world for his
Fund, Commentary magazine and
“bigoted”, “hateful” and “disgusting”
the Hudson Institute. All these institutions
comments aimed at “relentlessly
have the common goal of fanning “the
demonizing all Muslims.”109 Others
flames of Islamophobia.”105
include David Horowitz, who has been
Policy Exchange (rated “E” for funding dubbed the “godfather of the anti-Muslim
transparency – the lowest possible score) is movement”, and who is the founder and
strongly associated with the British CEO of the David Horowitz Freedom
Conservative Party, and was chaired by Center.110
Michael Gove, who holds, as a former
In the UK, similar figures include Alan
conservative chairwoman confessed,
Mendoza, the Director of the Henry
“crazy” anti-Muslim views and policies.106
Jackson Society. In June 2011, Mendoza
Although not much is known about Policy
addressed AIPAC by raising fears about
Exchange funding stream, part of its
Muslim demographic growth in Europe.
donors include The Charles Wolfson
He contended that “The European Muslim
Charitable Trust, which has funded other
population has doubled in the past 30
right-wing think-tanks including Civitas,
years and is predicted to double again by
the Social Affairs Unit, the Institute of
2040” and that “it has been difficult for
Economic Affairs and the Adam Smith
European countries to absorb immigrants
Research Trust.107 Policy Exchange was
into their society given their failure to
exposed by the BBC for fabricating the
integrate newcomers”.111 The argument
findings of its report “The Hijacking of 107Tom Mills, Tom Griffin, David Miller, “The Cold War on British Muslims: An
df examination of Policy Exchange and the Centre for Social Cohesion”, Spinwatch,
September 2011, accessed 29.05.2018,
104David Miller et all, “The Henry Jackson Society And The Degeneration Of British
Neoconservatism: Liberal Interventionism, Islamophobia And The ‘War On Terror’”,
Spinwatch, June 2015, accessed 10.05.2018, 108 Ibid.
and Eli Clifton and Ali Gharib, 'Iranium' or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and 109Charles Johnson, “Spencer: Teaming Up with Euro-Supremacists Again”, accessed
Love the 'Military Option'”, PBS, January 26, 2011, accessed 10.05.2018, 29.05.2018, _Teaming_Up_with_Euro-Supremacists_Again
110 “Robert Spencer”, Islamophobia Network, accessed 29.05.2018,
105“The Sugar Mama of Anti-Muslim Hate”, The Nation, June 14, 2012, accessed, and
29.05.2018, “David Horowitz”, Islamophobia Network, accessed 29.05.2018,
106“Michael Gove has same 'crazy' anti-Muslim policies as Donald Trump, former
Tory chairwoman says”, The Independent, March 25, 2017, accessed 29.05.2018, 111Tom Griffin Hilary Aked David Miller Sarah Marusek, “The Henry Jackson Society And The Degeneration Of British Neoconservatism: Liberal Interventionism,
baroness-warsi-anti-muslim-crazy-tory-chairwoman-a7649411.html Islamophobia And The ‘War On Terror’”, Spinwatch, June 2015, p. 39, accessed

was later proven to be completely untrue, immigration, refuse any special
and nothing more than a “hyperbolic and accommodations for Islam in public spaces
inflammatory claim” largely based on data and institutions, and forbid intrusive
manipulation.112 Two years later, in March public displays of Islamic practices.
2013, he suggested that “the increasing
Furthermore, counter-jihadists have
European Muslim population was to
adapted the meaning of “jihad” to convey
blame for Europe's ‘anti-Israel feelings’”,113
the idea of being threatened with a
yet again demonstrating a manipulative
“Muslim invasion” that is taking a variety
narrative that distorts facts to aid a highly
of forms:
neoconservative political agenda.
Demographic Jihad: threat from a
Themes and arguments of the counter-
growing Muslim population.
jihad movement
Stealth Jihad: the notion of insidious
The focal point of the Islamophobia
Islamic influence in society.
network is the alleged Islamisation of the
Western world, intended as an attempt to Rape Jihad: the imaginary idea that
overturn liberal ideologies and replace Muslim men are responsible for rape and
them with the Sharia law. Sharia is seen as violent crime in Europe.
a “totalitarian ideology committed to Welfare Jihad: the use of state welfare and
destroying western civilization”, and the benefits to fund terrorist activities.
Islamophobia network contends that its
implementation would result in the Faecal Jihad: the idea that Muslims are
establishment of “a radical Islamist damaging Europe through low hygiene
caliphate that will subordinate and punish standards.116
all non-Muslim adherents.”114 Free Speech
The Islamic threat is characterised by an A key rallying cry of the global counter-
alleged ideological incompatibility jihad movement is that of “free speech”,117
between the Western world and the Islamic with organisations such as the
world, whereby the West is seen as liberal, International Free Press Society and
democratic and progressive, while Islam is International Civil Liberties Alliance
associated with submission to Allah, claiming that free speech is under threat
totalitarianism and ultra- from Islam. Since 2005, when the Danish
conservativism. 115 In this sense, the newspaper Jyllands-Posten published
Islamophobia network fully embraces the derogatory cartoons of the Prophet
“clash of civilisation” theories proposed by Mohammad causing a global uproar,
Samuel Huntington. defending the perceived “right” to offend
According to the rhetoric of the (usually by demeaning minorities) has
Islamophobia Industry/counter-jihad become a favoured pastime of counter-
movement, in resisting the further jihadists.
Islamisation of Western countries, it is Counter-jihadists present anti-racism
necessary to eliminate Muslim campaigners’ attempts to strengthen hate

03.11.2017, 114 “Sharia hysteria”, Islamophobia Network, accessed 29.05.2018,

112“Why the Muslim 'No-Go-Zone' Myth Won't Die”, The Atlantic, January 20, 2015, 115S. Jonathon O'Donnell, “Islamophobic conspiracism and neoliberal subjectivity: the
accessed 10.11.2017, inassimilable society”, Patterns of Prejudice, 52:1, pp. 1-23.
fox-over-no-go-zone-comments/384656/ See also Doug Saunders, The Myth of the 116“Udo Ulfkotte and Fecal Jihad: Asymmetric Warfare or Crazy Conspiracy Theory?”,
Muslim Tide: Do immigrants threaten the West?, (Toronto: Vintage Canada, 2013). See June 20, 2018, accessed 20.06.2018,
also John Feffer, Crusade 2.0: The West's Resurgent War on Islam, (New York: City Light
Books, Open Media Series, 2012). asymmetric-warfare-or-crazy-conspiracy-theory/

113“Labour should cut its ties with the illiberal Henry Jackson Society”, The Guardian, Sindre Bangstad (2014) Anders Breivik and the Rise of Islamophobia, London: Zed

May 20, 2013, accessed 07.11.2017, Books.

speech legislation and laws against immigration and counter-extremism, there
Islamophobia as stifling critiques of Islam are significant overlaps in approach. While
at best, and apologism for terrorism at no government has gone as far as the
worse.118 Thus, the well organised and counter-jihad movement would like
well-funded Islamophobia Industry has (indeed, it frequently maintains that
pushed back with financial aid often political elites are naïve, complacent and
stemming from the USA. failing to address the imminent ‘threat’
that Islam actually poses to the West) it
An example of this is seen in the workings
applauds moves by some governments
of Student Rights (a project of the Henry
towards limiting immigration and
Jackson Society, which will be discussed
institutionalising Islamophobia. For
further below). Student Rights have
example, a broad range of counter-
frequently been responsible to obstruct
jihadists, including Katie Hopkins,
speakers invited to university campuses by
Melanie Phillips, Oliver JJ Lane, David
Islamic or Palestinian societies on the
Littman, Gerard Batten and Raheem
grounds of accused extremism, whilst
Kassam, have supported Donald Trump
simultaneously utilising the arguments of
and his anti-Muslim policies both
free speech to oppose no-platform policies
throughout his presidential campaign and
directed at far-right speakers.119
during his presidency.
Complicity from the State
The Islamophobia Industry has viciously
As previously mentioned, European sought to push the centre of politics to the
governments do not appear to see right. A unique feature of the movement
members of the Islamophobia Industry as that serves to give it some kind of
an inherent threat and are thus failing to legitimacy is that, unlike any Islamist or
counter them. Perhaps part of the reason jihadist movement or any neo-Nazi
for this is that counter-jihadists are not party,121 it has supporters in influential
fundamentally opposed to the state. Their positions in Western governments and
outlook on the “inevitability” of violent wider circles. In the US, prominent
civil war is more focused on defending examples include Steve Bannon and Walid
national identity, than on revolution. Phares, (Donald Trump’s strategist and
Indeed, it has been observed that members Middle East policy advisor), as well as
of the Islamophobia industry are more Frank Gaffney, (from the Center for
likely to engage in what may be considered Security Policy and a former Reagan
‘pro-state violence’.120 Far right violence is administration official, who has links to
often deemed to be ‘lone wolf’ violence and several Trump administration officials
is rarely given a media prominence including Attorney General Jeff Sessions).
comparative to that of religiously inspired As Spinwatch points out:
“[h]ere lies the counterjihad movement’s
This tacit leniency towards the alarming strength: it is a ‘spectrum’ with
Islamophobia Industry may also result ‘street-fighting forces at one end’ (such as
from the fact that many right-wing the English Defence League) and ‘cultural
Western governments actually share conservatives and neoconservative writers
aspects of the counter-jihadist analysis to at the other’ (from Daniel Pipes to Douglas
some extent. In two major policy areas, Murray). As well as flourishing in the

118For example: Denis MacEoin, ‘The Impact of Islamic Fundamentalism on Free 14.06.2018,
Speech’, Gatestone Institute, 19 June 2016. media-mistakes_b_3303703.html -
accessed 2 November 2016. 120José M. Atiles Osoria (2012) ‘Pro-State Violence in Puerto Rico: Cuban and Puerto
Rican Right-Wing Terrorism from the 1960s to the 1990s’. Socialism and Democracy, 26:1.
119“Student Rights Group Claims Media 'Mistakes', Conflation with Extremism 'Not
the Fault' of its Gender Segregation Report”, The Huffington Post, July 19, 2013, accessed 121 At least in north-western Europe.

blogosphere, it has publishing houses (eg. Across Europe, parliamentarians with
Encounter Books) and newspapers (eg. counter-jihadist allegiances or sympathies
Dispatch International), produces films have advocated anti-Islam legislation,
(eg. Fitna and Obsession), establishes often in the name of security and counter-
foundations and even ‘charities’ (eg. terrorism concerns. These policies and
Victims Of Islamic Cultural Extremism, or legislative developments are often related
VOICE UK).” The combined effects of to sharia law, women’s clothing or mosque
these top-down and bottom-up forces may construction.
prove extremely dangerous.
In this manner, rather than opposing the
This wing of elites lends an element of state, the counter-jihad movement pursues
respectability to the counter-jihad its goals through official channels. Liz
movement’s grassroots and allowed it to Fekete observes that the Islamophobia
carve out a niche within mainstream Industry is thus “using state power
politics. For example: to…put into place legal and administrative
structures that discriminate against
 At least one counter-jihad event has
been held in the European Parliament
building, courtesy of an MEP from Radical right parties with close links to the
Belgium’s far right Vlaams Belang Islamophobia network and counter-
party. jihadist ideologies have long been seeking
to seize power via elections. Several have
 Baroness Caroline Cox has hosted
become significant players in European
Anne Marie Waters of Sharia Watch
governments: for instance, the Danish
UK in the House of Lords.
People’s Party became the country’s
 Together with fellow British peer Lord second biggest party in 2015 and the PVV
Finkelstein and former US ambassador became the second largest party in the
to the UN, John Bolton, Baroness Cox Dutch House of Representatives following
also sits on the board of the New York elections in March 2017. In Germany,
think-tank, the Gatestone Institute, Alternative for Germany (AfD) boasts 97
which publishes many counter-jihad seats in the Bundestag, 158 in State
writers cited in Anders Breivik’s Parliaments, and a membership of over
manifesto. 30,000 people.
 President Miloš Zeman of the Czech A Transnational Movement
Republic spoke at a ‘Bloc Against
Despite its strong association with
Islam’ rally in November 2015.
nationalist politics, the counter-jihad
 In 2016, Conservative MP Bob movement is structurally organised
Blackman hosted in Parliament Tapan through “dispersed, decentralised, non-
Ghosh, an Indian Hindu-nationalist hierarchical networks” of blogs, think
who praised the genocide of Rohingya tanks and protest groups, with “no set
Muslims in Burma. command and control hierarchy” and few
 Conservative MP Mike Payne shared a leaders.123 This versatility allows it to
“Muslim parasites article on social organise across borders and thus hugely
media. increases its destructive potential. As Farid
 Conservative MP Alexander van Hafez has argued:
Terheyden called Islam a “violent
political ideology”. “While the main focus on an exclusive
identity politics in the frame of nation-
states previously divided the far right and

122Liz Fekete (2006) ‘Enlightened fundamentalism? Immigration, feminism and the Andreas Önnerfors, cited in Nigel Copsey, “Conference Report: Fascist Ideologues,

Right’, Race & Class, 48:2, 2. Past and Present”, Fascism: Journal of Comparative Fascist Studies, 2013, 2:2, 268.

complicated transnational cooperation, a connections to political and media
shared Islamophobia has the potential to institutions that the opinions of these so-
be a common ground for strengthening the called “experts” are capable of driving and
transnational links of right-wing influencing national policies and political
parties.”124 agendas.
Transnational organisation of the The Henry Jackson Society (HJS)
Islamophobia Industry frequently occurs
In the UK, arguably the most divisive
at the grassroots as the same ideas are
think-tank is the Henry Jackson Society
mobilised across borders under different
(HJS). The ideological framework
names. For example:
underpinning the activities of HJS is best
 The Stop the Islamisation of Denmark exemplified by Douglas Murray, the think
movement has spawned SIO Europe, tank’s associate director. Murray is the
SIO Deutschland, SIO France, SIO author of a book conveniently titled
England and Stop the Islamization of “Neoconservatism: Why We Need It”, in
America, collectively known as Stop which he discussed at length the morality
the Islamisation of Nations (SION) of neoconservativism and its value for
 The English Defence League (EDL) was Western societies. Neoconservativism, in
replicated in Scotland, Germany and his view, “is not a political party… but a
Norway, amongst others, and a way of looking at the world”, which frames
European Defence League was his political orientation within the wider
launched in Aarhus, Denmark in 2012, discourse on the global war on terror, the
though without much success. threat posed by Islam, and the need to
 The German movement PEGIDA has protect “Us” from “Them”.
inspired copycat movements in many In this regard, particularly concerning is
countries including Austria, Sweden Murray’s opinion that “A Muslim
and the UK. immigrant into the United States who
A blueprint of the Islamophobia claims the same rights as those enjoyed by
an American whose family have lived in
Industry the country for generations presents an
Aside from its considerable funding, the even greater challenge”,125 which
structure of the Islamophobia Industry unmistakably outlines his discriminatory
makes it incredibly effective in delivering views on immigration and inter-racial and
its message at all levels of society. The inter-religious community relations.
following section explores the primary Murray was not new to controversial
elements of this structure; “experts” and stances. During a speech in 2006, when he
think-tanks, reformed or “moderate” was director of the Centre for Social
Muslims, politicians, media figures, and Cohesion (CSC – now part of HJS), Murray
grassroots organisations. said that, “Conditions for Muslims in
Europe must be made harder across the
“Experts” and think-tanks
board: Europe must look like a less
Well-funded “experts” and think-tanks attractive proposition.”126 Following the
provide a “respectable face” to anti- speech, the Conservative front bench was
Muslim agendas and discourses. It is duly forced to sever all formal relations
through the pseudo-research of these with both Murray and CSC.
organisations and through their prominent

Farid Hafez (2014) ‘Shifting borders: Islamophobia as common ground for building
124 126“Paul Goodman: Why the Conservative frontbench broke off relations with Douglas
Pan-European right-wing unity’, Patterns of Prejudice, 48:5, 479. Murray – and what happened afterwards”, Conservative Home, October 17, 2011,
accessed 03.11.2017,
Douglas Murray, Neoconservativism: Why We Need It, (New York: Encounter Books,
2006) p.105 the-struggle-against-islamist-extremism-demands-from-the-start-the-separation-of-

In 2015, he wrote: “The claim that Islam is internalized its imprisonment. It takes time
a religion of peace is a nicety invented by for bird to escape, even after someone has
Western politicians so as either not to opened the doors to its cage.”130 In a 2015
offend their Muslim populations or simply interview for the New York Post, she went
lie to themselves that everything might yet as far as saying: “The assumption is that, in
turn out fine. In fact, since its beginning Islam, there are a few rotten apples, not the
Islam has been pretty violent.”127 entire basket… I’m saying it’s the entire
Reformed or “moderate” Muslim
validators In the UK, similar figures include Ed
Husain and Maajid Nawaz, founders of the
The views perpetuated by these well-
Quilliam Foundation – which now receives
funded think-tanks are then legitimised by
funds from neoconservative American
Muslim or former Muslim activists and
organisations – Sara Khan of Inspire and
validators, who accept the idea of an
now UK counter-extremism chief, Amina
inherently dangerous side of Islam and
Lone, Co-Director of the Social Action and
legitimise anti-Muslim discourses. In the
Research Foundation (SARF), Raheem
US, these include figures such as Nonie
Kassam, and Fiyaz Mughal, founder of Tell
Darwish, a Senior Fellow at the Center for
MAMA. To various degrees, they all
Security Policy and founder and president
shared opinions accepting that Islam has in
of Arabs for Israel. She was raised in the
fact a problematic face, or that interfaith
Gaza Strip and grew up a Muslim. Her
and interracial relations are not working.
opinion is that Islam “should be
For example, Nawaz openly declared that
annihilated” because “is a poison to a
“multiculturalism has failed”;132 Mughal
society. It’s divisive. It’s hateful. ... Islam is
rejected the entire concept of
going to be brought down… because Islam
Islamophobia; and Khan is one of the
is based on lies and it’s not based on the
strongest supporter of the highly
truth".128 Others include Tawfik Hamid – a
controversial counter-terror strategy,
self-described “Muslim reformer” and an
alleged former member of the Egyptian
terrorist organization al-Gama’a al- Meanwhile, Raheem Kassam, former
Islamiyya – who believes that Muslims editor-in-chief of Breitbart News London
“prefer this violent traditional teaching of and former chief advisor to UKIP
Islam."129 leader Nigel Farage, said white converts to
Islam are “the nuttiest”.135 A former
Perhaps amongst the most widely known
Muslim who now holds a highly
of these figures is Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a
controversial stance on Islam, Kassam is
Somalia-born Dutch politician currently
the author of “No Go Zones: How Sharia
employed by the American Enterprise
Law Is Coming to a Neighborhood Near
Institute, who wrote in her book Infidel
that, “Islam was like a mental cage. At first,
when you open the door, the caged bird In recent times, Ed Husain, co-founder of
stays inside: it is frightened. It has the highly controversial Quilliam
127“'Religion of peace' is not a harmless platitude”, The Spectator, January 17, 2015, 132 “Maajid Nawaz Says Multiculturalism Is Dead”, accessed 11.06.2018,
accessed 11.06.2018
133 “Let’s not confuse anti-Muslim hate with Islamophobia”, The Times, May 14, 2018,
128“Video: Nonie Darwish Says Islam Should be 'Annihilated' (CAIR)”, accessed
29.05.2018, islamophobia-85977vgcg

129 “Tawfik Hamid”, Islamophobia Network, accessed 29.05.2018, 134“The latest Prevent figures show why the strategy needs an independent review”, The Guardian, November 10, 2017, accessed 11.06.2018,
130 Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Infidel, (New York, London: Free Press, 2007) statistics-independent-review-home-office-muslims

131 “‘In Islam, they are all rotten apples’: Ex-Muslim’s call for religion’s reboot”, New 135“Raheem Kassam: Meet The Right-Wing Ex-Muslim Who Wants To Save UKIP”,
York Post, March 22, 2015, accessed 14.06.2018, Buzzfeed, October 28, 2016, accessed 14.06.2018,
islam/ ukip?utm_term=.jxnDP2Vpqe#.vyzgvjKAl1

Foundation, has attracted criticism for an policies as politicians respond to societal
article published in The Telegraph, in influence.
which he dismissed legitimate concerns
The English Defence League (EDL)
over Islamophobia in the Conservative
Party calling it a “political card”. He The EDL is a far-right street
further blamed Labour Leader Jeremy protest movement which exists solely to
Corbyn for “pitting Britain's Muslims oppose to Islam and what it considers to be
against Jews”.136 a spread of Islamism and Sharia in the
United Kingdom. It was founded by
Diversity in beliefs and practices in terms
Tommy Robinson, a far-right activist who
of faith is a natural characteristic of British
was repeatedly convicted for “breaching
Muslim communities and nothing to be
the peace” and a number of other
concerned about. However, the problem
emerges when individual Muslims are
used and promoted for the purpose of The stated objectives of the EDL are:
justifying the stigmatisation and  To act, lead and inspire in the struggle
marginalisation of Muslims as a whole. against global Islamification
Establishing themselves as spokespeople
for “liberal Muslims”, individuals such as  To stand for democracy and the rule of
those mentioned above justify heightened law by opposing sharia
scrutiny of Muslims and anti-Muslim  To stand for English cultural norms by
policies “thus justifying, seemingly from a opposing sharia
Muslim’s perspective, concerns about
those Muslim communities who hold  To oppose the Islamic distinction
different views from theirs.”137 between Muslims and non-Muslims

Grassroots  To demand effective action against the

threat of terrorism in the UK
The ideas pronounced by experts and
justified by Muslim validators influence  To educate the British public about
grassroots movements, media, and in turn Islam
politicians.  To reject politically correct depictions
In the United Kingdom, grassroots of Islam in Britain
organisations that subscribe to the views of  To promote an open debate about
the Islamophobia Network include the Islam in British life
English Defence League (EDL), Britain
First, PEGIDA UK, and the relatively  To promote a balanced depiction of
recently emerged Football Lads Alliance Islam as a religion and ideology.139
(FLA). Largely through the leveraging of Several investigations have demonstrated
issues such as identity and British the EDL’s tactics in perpetuating and
nationalism, the scope of these grassroots amplifying the divide between Muslims
movements is to spread and perpetuate and non-Muslims in Britain. In January
anxieties about Muslims among the 2010, an undercover investigation by The
general public. Finding consensus among Guardian, revealed the group’s plan “to hit
the masses allows these groups to increase racially sensitive areas in attempt to
societal divide and potentially swaying provoke disorder over summer”.140 More

136“Jeremy Corbyn is pitting Britain's Muslims against Jews”, The Telegraph¸ June 6, 138 “Far-Right Criminals”, accessed 29.05.2018, https://far-
2018, accessed 14.06.2018,
muslims-against-jews/ 139 “About Us”, English Defence League, accessed 29.05.2018,
137“How the Islamophobia Industry Silences Voices of Dissent”, Counterpunch, March
30, 2018, accessed 29.05.2018, “English Defence League: Inside the violent world of Britain's new far right”, The

Guardian, May 28, 2010, accessed 11.06.2018,

recently, in June 2017, the EDL clashed I looked into the religion that I thought,
with police officers during a march in this is what it is. It’s got to do with
Manchester, during which supporters Islam.”145
brandished a pig's head – an act aimed at
In 2012, Robinson left the EDL after a high
taunting Muslims.141
profile “deradicalisation” that was
Together with marches and public attributed to the Quilliam Foundation. At
demonstrations, the EDL maintains a the time, Robinson stated that he had
strong presence on social media through decided to “counter Islamist ideology…
which it galvanises support by fuelling not with violence but with better,
anti-Muslim hatred online. On Twitter, democratic ideas”.146 It later emerged that
several accounts continue to be associated the Quilliam Foundation had paid Tommy
with the EDL, despite ongoing efforts by Robinson £2000 a month in order to take
the platform to shut down its leaders’ credit for his resignation from the EDL.147
pages.142 Similarly, the EDL has managed
During this time, Robinson assumed a
to maintain some presence on Facebook,
somewhat more conciliatory tone,
with pages such as “English Defence
apologising for the climate of anti-Muslim
League London Division II” attracting
hatred he contributed to creating, and even
thousands of people.143 These pages, which
agreed “with a vision of multiculturalism
are filled with fake news, conspiracy
inclusive of a variety of ethnic and
theories and pseudo-nationalistic
religious groups”.148
sentiments that depict Muslims as
threatening enemies, also include However, by 2015 this conciliatory period
potentially thousands of other accounts set seems to have ended. That year, he took
up by EDL members privately. part in an anti-Islam rally in Holland
organised by the Patriotic Europeans
Tommy Robinson
Against the Islamisation of the Occident
Tommy Robinson, one of the EDL (PEGIDA). During the speech, Robinson
founders and most charismatic leaders, declared that “he was proud’ to have set up
was permanently banned from Twitter for the EDL”, and that his aim is to “bring
“hateful conduct” in March 2018, after he people together and we are going to enter
wrote in a post: “Islam promotes killing into a new era in Europe where everyone is
people.”144 Robinson formed the EDL in going to unite against the Islamisation of
2009 with the aim of sheltering Luton – and our countries.”149 In January 2016 Robinson
by extension Britain – from the “Islamic duly set up PEGIDA UK, with the
threat”. As he commented in an interview: inaugural rally attended by roughly 200
“I always knew there was a hostility
coming from that community, and I never
really knew what it was. I didn’t know
anything about the religion. It’s only when 145“Who is the real Tommy Robinson?”, The Telegraph, October 18, 2103, accessed
guardian-investigation 11.06.2018,
141“EDL protesters holding pig's head in anti-Muslim slur clash with police at counter-
terror march in Manchester”, The Telegraph, June 12, 2017, accessed 11.06.2018, 146“EDL leader Tommy Robinson quits group”, BBC, October 8, 2013, accessed 11.06.2018,
147“Tommy Robinson, Former EDL Leader, Claims Quilliam Paid Him To Quit Far-
142“Twitter suspends EDL’s account in latest ‘purge’ of the far-right”, Metro, December Right Group”, The Huffington Post, December 10, 2015, accessed 11.06.2018,
18, 2017, accessed 11.06.2018,
edls-account-latest-purge-far-right-7169683/ paid-him-to-leave-edl_n_8710834.html

143 See “Ex-EDL leader Tommy Robinson says sorry for causing fear to Muslims”, The

408618569264988/ Guardian, October 11, 2013, accessed 11.06.2018,

144“Tommy Robinson permanently banned by Twitter”, The Guardian, March 28, 2018,
accessed 11.06.2018, 149“EDL founder Tommy Robinson addresses Pegida anti-Islam rally in Holland”, The Independent, October 12, 2015, accessed 11.06.2018 ,

people – half the number expected by the London Bridge, Meighan “felt strongly
police.150 that something needed to be done”.153 The
group was set up as an “anti-extremism”
Robinson was sentenced to 13 months in
movement, but soon become associated
prison in May 2018 for contempt of court
with far-right activists. During a FLA
proceedings after he live streamed filming
march in Birmingham in March 2018,
of defendants in an active criminal trial.
witnesses reported “threatening behaviour
PEGIDA UK towards Asian bystanders and heard
PEGIDA UK was born with the same speeches attacking Muslims in Britain.”
ideological objectives of the EDL, although Interestingly, the march was attended by
it sought to distance itself from the “loutish Tommy Robinson as well.154
behaviour and alcohol-fuelled violence” As reported by The Guardian, the FLA’s
that characterises EDL’s activities.151 Facebook page is filled with posts “calling
Through PEGIDA UK, Tommy Robinson for Khan, London’s first Muslim mayor, to
hoped to attract the same demographic be “hanged” and for Abbott, Britain’s first
that PEGIDA had attracted in black female MP, to be “run over”. There
Germany: middle-class, educated are also posts claiming mosque attacker
individuals able to articulate a rational Osborne is a “scapegoat” and suggesting
opposition to Islam, and organise he was right to plot to kill Labour leader
themselves in a sophisticated group Jeremy Corbyn.”155 In April 2018, Meighan
capable of legitimisation. As he stepped down, justifying his decision by
commented: “We are taking the whole saying he needed to “re-focus my energies
football culture, which was embedded in into my personal and professional life”.156
the EDL, out of it and we are trying to Despite Meighan announced that the
create a safe environment”, also adding company would be dissolved after his
“After going out to Germany, I felt resignation, FLA website and GoFundMe
ashamed of the way we'd conducted page remain active.157
ourselves as Englishmen… I stood there in
Britain First
Dresden and spoke to 40,000 people. There
was no aggression. They had discipline. Following the nationalistic tendencies of
There was unity.”152 PEGIDA UK does not other anti-Muslim grassroots
have any official online presence, which organisations, Britain First is a far-right
possibly indicates the organisation has group describing themselves as a "patriotic
been dissolved. political movement", which campaigns
primarily against multiculturalism and
The Football Lads Alliance (FLA)
against the Islamisation of the United
The Football Lads Alliance (FLA) is a Kingdom. Britain First’s leaders, Paul
relatively new organisation which was Golding and Jayda Fransen, were both
founded by John Meighan in 2017. convicted of religiously-aggravated
Following the attacks in Manchester and harassment.158 While having a broader

150“Pegida UK supporters stage anti-Islam silent march in Birmingham”, The Guardian, 155“Secret Facebook page reveals violence at heart of forum for ‘football fans”, The
February 6, 2016, accessed 11.06.2018, Guardian, March 17, 2018, accessed 12.06.2018,
birmingham facebook-page-racism-violence-sexism

151“Tommy Robinson: The man behind the British version of Pegida”, BBC, January 156“Football Lads Alliance: ‘We could have a civil war in this country’”, BBC, May 9,
29, 2016, accessed 12.06.2018, 2018, accessed 12.06.2018,
152 Ibid.
157“Leader of Football Lads Alliance resigns amid charitable donations row”, BBC,
153“Meet the man behind Britain’s new street movement (with a difference), Shy April 30, 2018, accessed 12.06.2018,
Society, June 27, 2017, accessed 12.06.2018,
movement-with-a-difference/ 158“Britain First supporters launch tirade after leaders jailed”, Far-Right Criminals,
accessed 29.05.2018,
154“Premier League clubs warned over ‘far-right’ Football Lads Alliance”, The Times, supporters-launch-tirade-after-leaders-jailed/
March 30, 2018, accessed 12.06.2018,

political agenda, Britain First is as An important media outlet, which became
concerned with Islam as the EDL. Its goals world famous following the appointment
include “the maintenance of British of its chairman, Stephen Bannon, to the
national sovereignty, independence and Trump administration, is Breitbart News,
freedom”, preserving Britain’s “ancestral an American news, opinion and
ethnic and cultural heritage, traditions, commentary website. The website showed
customs and values”, opposing political or just how far the far-right can go with anti-
religious doctrines including Marxism, Islam hysteria. In 2016, it published an
Liberalism, Political Correctness, Euro article in which it lied about President
Federalism and Islam.159 Obama being Muslim;162 one year later, it
published another fake story about an
These grassroots movements are
alleged group of Muslims setting fire to a
particularly insidious for society. Their
church in Dortmund, Germany.163 As
incessant campaign of misinformation and
noted previously, Raheem Kassam served
their operations at street level, combined
as chief editor for Breitbart’s UK branch,
with their social media presence, are
Breitbart London.
capable of potentially influencing and
mobilising thousands of individuals, while Considering the ideological positioning of
their divisive rhetoric has very real Breitbart, it is perhaps unsurprising that
consequences leading to acts of violence. the website is filled with references to
Indeed, Darren Osborne, the perpetrator of Douglas Murray’s articles in The
the terrorist attack on Finsbury Park last Spectator,164 a conservative magazine that
year, was reportedly radicalised to has been exposed for its “purple-faced,
violence after watching a series of videos pro-fox-hunting, climate-change-denying,
by Tommy Robinson, EDL and Britain insidiously Islamophobic worldview”.165
First.160 The magazine differs slightly from
Breitbart in its ability to hide its
Media figures
Islamophobic agenda through seemingly
The Islamophobia Industry’s ability to erudite writings. However, it hosts a
disseminate anti-Muslim sentiments is variety of controversial authors including,
furthered by a network of journalists, together with Murray, Melanie Phillips
media outlets, and commentators. These and Rod Liddle, author of several highly
individuals and outlets offer an echo- controversial pieces, including one in
chamber for these Islamophobic narratives. which he described Muslims as
In the US, Fox News is one of the biggest “savages”.166 While continuing to write for
and most influential anti-Muslim voices, The Spectator, Liddle went on to hosting
with journalists such as Jeanine Pirro equally controversial TV shows, such as
calling Islam a “cancer” and describing the The New Fundamentalists and
Paris attacks as part of a “Christian Immigration is a Time Bomb.
Less mainstream media outlets include
Rebel Media (known as The Rebel), an

159“Principles Of The Britain First Movement”, Britain First, accessed 29.05.2018, breitbart-story-of-mob-setting-fire-to-dortmund-church

160 “Darren Osborne: How Finsbury Park terror attacker became 'obsessed' with 164See “Spectator: Will the BBC go back to ignoring grooming gangs after Darren
Muslims in less than a month”, The Independent, February 1, 2018, accessed 29.05.2018, Osborne?", Breitbart News London, February 4, 2018, accessed 15.06.2018,
attack-who-is-tommy-robinson-muslim-internet-britain-first-a8190316.html ignoring-grooming-gangs-after-darren-osborne/

161 “Fox News Channel”, The Islamophobia Network, accessed 12.06.2018, 165“Can a leftie read The Spectator”, The Guardian, April 3, 2008, accessed 15.06.2018,
162“Alt-Right Gathering Exults in Trump Election With Nazi-Era Salute”, The New York
Times, November 20, 2016, accessed 14.06.2018, 166“Liddle under fire over ‘racist’ blog”, The Independent, December 7, 2009, accessed 15.06.2018
“German police quash Breitbart story of mob setting fire to Dortmund church”, The

Guardian, January 7, 2017, accessed 14.06.2018,

online political and social continues to spread far-right, poisonous
commentary media website founded in ideas against Muslims and liberals. In a
February 2015 and which was described as recent blog entry about her speech given to
“a global platform for an extreme anti- a Tea Party group in Michigan, entitled
Muslim ideology”.167 “We are big and bad, and liberals should
be afraid”, she said in reference to Muslims
It is interesting to note that Rebel Media
in the UK, “The second thing we can do is
employs Tommy Robinson as well as Katie
to arm ourselves…I have bullets inside my
Hopkins, who has made a name for herself
car… we must look for our own truth”.172
through her divisive, anti-refugee and
Islamophobic remarks. Today, Hopkins Political parties and figures
boasts nearly 900,000 followers on Twitter.
Between the advice of the “experts”, the
In May 2017, Hopkins was fired from the vocal pressure from far-right journalists,
British radio station LBC – with LBC staff and the mass support of anti-Muslim
breaking into “massive cheers and grassroots movements, political
applause” – after her tweet called for a representatives and policymakers are
“final solution” in response to the susceptible to influence from these anti-
Manchester bombing.168 Shortly after, in Muslim agendas.
November 2017, Mail Online refused to
However, political parties, such as the
renew her contract after her defamatory
United Kingdom Independence Party
remarks against a teacher forced the
(UKIP) are also conversely capable of
newspaper to pay substantial damages and
purposefully fuelling anti-Muslim
legal costs.169
sentiment in order to further garner
Katie Hopkins is well-known for several political support and legitimacy.
articles appearing in tabloids such as The
At its core, UKIP maintains an anti-
Sun, including one that prompted the UN establishment, Euro-sceptic stance
to denounce it as resembling Nazi
founded upon a strong national identity
propaganda. In the article, later taken that resonates well with the British
down by The Sun, Katie Hopkins described working-class.173 UKIP was instrumental
migrants escaping the wars in the Middle in the triumph of the Brexit vote of June
East as “cockroaches”.170 In 2017, Hopkins
2016, with an incessant campaign
took part in a far-right event organised by
targeting, among other things, Muslim
the David Horowitz Freedom Center,
migrants. Nigel Farage, UKIP former
giving a speech, during which she attacked
leader, capitalised on an anti-migrant
Muslims and urged the participants to
poster showing Muslim migrants under
“fight for their country”.171
the sign “Breaking Point” to spread the
Through her latest endeavour, an online idea that Britain had to “take back control”
blog called Hopkins World, Hopkins of its borders.174 What followed was the

167Richard Warnica, “INSIDE REBEL MEDIA: How Ezra Levant built an extreme
media juggernaut, became a major player in the far-right movement — and watched cockroach-migrants-denounced-united-nations-human-rights-commissioner
it all begin to unravel”, National Post, accessed 12.06.2018, 171“Katie Hopkins gave speech attacking Muslims to far-right group days before
leaving Mail Online by ‘mutual consent’”, The Independent, November 27, 2017,
168“Katie Hopkins to leave LBC 'immediately': staff broke into ‘massive cheers and accessed 13.06.2018,
applause’ when news controversial radio presenter was out broke”, The Independent, hopkins-muslims-far-right-speech-mailonline-racism-islamophobia-david-horowitz-
May 26, 2017, accessed 12.06.2018, freedom-center-a8078356.html
radio-cheers-applause-presenter-fired-final-solution-manchester-attack- 172 “(FULL SPEECH) Katie Hopkins: “We are big and bad, and liberals should be
a7756961.html afraid”, Hopkins World, May 31, 2018, accessed 13.06.2018,
169“Mail Online to pay damages to teacher over Katie Hopkins column”, The Guardian, liberals-should-be-afraid/
November 28, 2017, accessed 12.06.2018, 173Robert Ford, Revolt on the Right: Explaining Support for the Radical Right in Britain,
teacher-katie-hopkins-column (London: Routledge, 2014).

“UN human rights chief denounces Sun over Katie Hopkins ‘cockroach’ column”,
170 174“Nigel Farage’s anti-migrant poster reported to police”, The Guardian, June 16, 2016,
The Guardian, April 24, 2015, accessed 13.06.2018, accessed 13.06.2018,

highest spike in racially and religiously play the role of the insidious, backwards,
motivated hate crimes, from 40,741 to and evil perpetrators of a degradation of
49,921 in the eleven months following the Western physical security, economic
vote.175 wellbeing, identity, values, and norms.
This collective network is therefore
Although he left the party following the
incredibly dangerous due to their ability to
Brexit vote – even expressing concern
influence policy decisions and to drive
about UKIP’s increasingly stronger far-
political agendas to the detriment of
right stance – Farage is in no way
innocent and vulnerable minority
dislocated from Islamophobic sentiments.
In 2015, for example, he stated that there
was “an increasing level of concern
because people do see a fifth column living
within our country, who hate us and want
to kill us”.176
UKIP is currently headed by Gerard
Batten, a renowned Islamophobe and
Tommy Robinson’s supporter who
described Islam as a “violent death cult”.
In his speech, Batten argued that non-
Muslims should have a “perfectly rational
fear” of Islam, a “cult” that “propagates
itself by intimidation, violence and
conquest.”177 UKIP currently holds one
seat in the House of Commons.178
As discussed in a later chapter on Public
Exclusion, Integration, and Minority
Rights, UKIP is also responsible for
proposing severely anti-Muslim and
discriminatory integration policies. For
example, in an effort to rebrand itself as
“an anti-Islam party”, and as part of its
new post-referendum agenda, UKIP
suggests, among other measures, a ban on
full face veil.179

Fuelling Islamophobia
Between its considerable funding and a
structure incorporating all elements of
society, the Islamophobia Industry is
highly efficient in promoting and
maintaining a perception of inter-group
threat. Within this paradigm, Muslims

175“Brexit vote sees highest spike in religious and racial hate crimes ever recorded”,
The Independent, July 7, 2017, accessed 13.06.2018, row-death-cult-remarks-gerard-batten-paul-nuttall
to-record-high-after-brexit-vote-new-figures-reveal-a7829551.html 178 “Current State of the Parties”, Parliament UK, accessed 13.06.2018,
176 “Farage’s Muslim ‘Fifth Column’ remarks must not go unchallenged”, The Guardian, parties/
March 12, 2015, accessed 13.06.2018, 179 “UKIP leader Paul Nuttall hints he will not stand in election”, The Guardian, April
fifth-column-ukip 24, 2017, accessed 13.06.2018,
“UKIP MEP’s ‘death cult’ remarks spark new Islamophobia row”, The Guardian,
177 questions-on-whether-he-will-stand-in-election-ukip
April 29, 2017, accessed 13.06.2018,

are all symptomatic of the same
Moral Panic, Media, underlying problem.
and Broadcasting  The creation of a dichotomy between
“us” vs “them” and the assertion that
Moral panic there are no shared interests, values or
In an earlier chapter of this report, we commonalities between the two.
discussed the concepts of collective  A strengthened sense of moral
prejudice and theories of integrated inter- indignation being attributed to the
group threat. As previously mentioned, in dominant group (the idealised “us” vs
response to real and imagined threats, a demonised “them”).
enemies are constructed to bear the guilt
and responsibility for the conditions under  Media exaggeration, sensationalism
which society finds itself. This construction and distortion.
of scapegoats involves inciting a moral  A pervasive sense of an almost
panic. apocalyptic “slippery slope” and the
Through the spreading of moral panic, idea that cultural and societal change is
individuals or groups emerge as a out of control.
designated threat to societal values, norms,  A culminating call for restrictions,
identities, security and interests. This punitive laws, and the curtailment of
moral panic is then disseminated and the suspect community’s civil liberties
maintained by the mass media’s and freedoms.180
promotion of stereotypical, stylised and
It is difficult to examine the
distorted representations. Meanwhile, it is
aforementioned elements of moral panics
amplified and given credence by
without acknowledging how all of them
politicians, public figures and those
considered experts. The result is are salient features of the ways in which
Muslims are presented, commented upon
overwhelming scrutiny and media
and evaluated within public, political and
negativity centred around the created “folk
media discourses.
devils” of society.
However, nowhere is this framework of
According to Robin Richardson, the
discourse more acutely visible than in the
features of moral panics include:
media. Editors and journalists are under
 The construction of folk devils who constant pressure to meet their commercial
become the metaphorical embodiment responsibilities. However, they should also
of evil and deviancy from societal be aware of their ethical responsibilities to
values. report, explain, and inform the public
 Criticism of those who are accused of without inflaming and pandering to public
not understanding, appreciating or panic and social tensions.
admitting the threats that society faces, The following section will examine the
in particular, officials, religious figures treatment of Muslims in the media and
and activists (the “bleeding hearts and broadcasting and aims to explore the role
do-gooders”), and academics in their of these institutions in the fuelling of
apparent ivory towers. Islamophobia.
 The connecting of a series of unrelated
threats, with the implication that they

180Robin Richardson, “Islamophobia or anti-Muslim racism – or what? Concepts and

terms revisited”, Instead, accessed 20.06.2018,

Islamophobia and the British Muslims and derive much of their
information from the media. A YouGov
press poll conducted in 2018 by the Muslim
In conducting research for our submission Council of Britain (MCB) found that of the
to the House of Lords select committee 1,629 Britons surveyed, 90% had not been
inquiry into citizenship and civic inside a mosque, in recent years.183
engagement,181 MEND noted that one of Another poll conducted by YouGov in 2002
the greatest barriers faced by Muslim found that of the Britons surveyed, 74%
communities was felt to be a toxic knew “nothing or next to nothing about
atmosphere of hatred that is fuelled and Islam” and 64% stated that what they did
maintained by the moral panic whipped know was “acquired through the
up print and online media. media”.184
Indeed, studies have shown that, with 21 Considering the overly negative
negative references to Muslims within representation of minorities and British
British media output for every single Muslims within the British press (which
neutral or positive reference,182 the media will be discussed further below), the
plays an integral role in spreading media’s monopoly on public
prejudice, stereotypes and xenophobic understanding has detrimental impacts
views of vulnerable groups, including which are acutely felt by minority social,
those portraying British Muslims as being ethnic and religious communities, and
backwards and illiberal. These negative Muslims in particular.
representations of Muslims are incredibly
Evidence of Islamophobia in the British
important for community cohesion and the
subsequent ability of British Muslims to
fully participate and engage as equal The prevalence of Islamophobia within the
members of society. British press has been highlighted by
several studies, including that of Paul
The consequences of misrepresentation on
Baker, Tony McEnery, and Costas
public understanding
Gabrielatos.185 In conducting a discourse
In the fast-paced world we live in, the analysis on over 200,000 newspaper
majority of the public lacks the time and articles from 11 newspapers mentioning
resources to go out of their way to fully “Islam” or “Muslims”, this study
research, critically analyse, and evaluate highlighted the frequency with which
every article they read. Therefore, the Muslims and Islam were associated with
repetitive negative misrepresentation of a conflict, with “Islam” and “terror” co-
particular community by newspapers occurring in more than one-third (37.9%) of
inevitably results in distorted the texts analysed. This led to the authors
understandings and, ultimately, the concluding that, “[the] most salient finding
fostering of prejudices. is that the British Press most frequently
positions Islam and Muslims in stories or
Indeed, a number of polls have shown that
contexts that relate to conflict”.
the British public in general are quite ill-
informed about the Islamic faith and

181 “MEND submission to the House of Lords Select Committee Hearing on
Citizenship and Civil Engagement”, MEND, September 8, 2017, accessed 20.06.2018, this-weekend/
House-of-Lords-Select-Commitee-Hearing-on-Citizenship-and-Civil- 184Chris Allen, “A review of the evidence relating to the representation of Muslims
Engagement_v1.pdf and Islam in the British media”, University of Birmingham, October 24, 2012, accessed
See Baker, Paul, Costas Gabrielatos, and Tony McEnery. Discourse analysis and
182 sciences/social-policy/IASS/news-events/MEDIA-ChrisAllen-APPGEvidence-
media attitudes: the representation of Islam in the British Press. Cambridge: Oct2012.pdf
University Press, 2013.
185Paul Baker, Costas Gabrielatos and Tony McEnery, Discourse Analysis and Media
“90% of people haven’t been inside a mosque – change that this weekend!” Muslim
183 Attitudes: The Representation of Islam in the British Press, (Cambridge: Cambridge
Council of Britain (MCB), February 13, 2018, accessed 20.06.2018, University Press, 2013).

Similarly, another study by Cardiff the high-profile terrorist attacks of Al-
University186 found that the bulk of Qaeda, the ensuing “war on terror”, and
coverage on British Muslims was focussed more recently, the threat of ISIS. As such,
on “Muslims as a threat (in relation to there has been a marked popular
terrorism), a problem (in terms of fascination with - and fear of - media
differences in values) or both (Muslim representations of “angry”,
extremism in general)”. The study noted “fundamentalist” and “dangerous”
that in more than a quarter of the articles Muslim masculinities. Examples of
investigated, Islam was posed as being Muslim masculinity has thus centred on
“dangerous, backward or irrational” and figures such as Saddam Hussain, Osama
being in contrast to British Values. Bin Laden, Abu Hamza, Abu Musab al-
Zarqawi, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and
This securitisation of Muslim identities
Mohammed Emwazi. As Louise Archer
will be further discussed in the later
observed in the early 2000s, “Balanced and
chapter on Securitising Muslim Identities:
positive images of ‘normal’ Muslim
Security and Counter-Terror.
masculinity appear to be rather thin on the
Studies have also demonstrated that ground.”188 Nearly two decades later, this
within media discourse, Muslim men and situation has made little - if any - progress.
women are consistently presented as
This media negativity creates a hostile
homogenous and unitary groups to fit a
image of British Muslims and minorities,
particular narrative that portrays the
thus sowing Islamophobia, xenophobia,
former as misogynistic, angry and violent
and racism into the milieu of British
extremists and the latter as passive,
society. Notable tabloid publications that
oppressed victims. Referring once again to
have thus developed an infamous
the study conducted by Baker, McEnery
reputation for publishing controversial,
and Gabrielatos,187 the authors made a
xenophobic and Islamophobic stories
number of interesting observations on the
including The Sun and The Daily Mail;
portrayal of Muslim women in the media.
both being singled out for criticism by
They found that the veil was the most
name by the European Commission
frequent topic that was directly associated
against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI).189
with Muslim women, with a total of 9,681
The ECRI accused the Daily Mail, of
references to the word veil. According to
playing a “prominent role in encouraging
the data, the most frequent construction is
prejudice” against vulnerable groups,
of Muslim women being forced to wear the
whilst also reporting that both the Daily
veil. Issues surrounding Muslim women
Mail and the Sun “are responsible for most
and veiling practices will be further
of the offensive, discriminatory and
discussed later in a chapter on Public
provocative terminology”. Concluding
Exclusion, Integration, and Minority
that “hate speech in some traditional
media continues to be a serious
During the Salman Rushdie affair of the problem”,190 the report highlighted articles
late 1980’s, Muslim men acquired the such as the Sun’s “Rescue boats? I’d use
image of violent, book burning youths gunships to stop migrants”, in which the
rioting on Britain’s streets. This columnist, Katie Hopkins, likened
representation has since been fuelled by migrants to cockroaches, and also

186Kerry Moore, Paul Mason and Justin Lewis, “Images of Islam in the UK: The 189“ECRI Report On The United Kingdom”, Council of Europe, October 4, 2016, accessed
Representation of British Muslims in the National Print News Media 2000-2008”, 20.12.2017,
Cardiff University, July 7, 2008, accessed 20.06.2018, country/united_kingdom/gbr-cbc-v-2016-038-eng.pdf
190“ECRI Report On The United Kingdom”, Council of Europe, October 4, 2016, accessed
187 See Baker et al., Discourse analysis and media attitudes 20.12.2017,
188Louise Archer, Race, Masculinity and Schooling: Muslim Boys and Education
(Maidenhead, Berkshire, England: Open University Press, 2003), 1.

highlighted The Sun’s front-page headline The impacts of media negativity on
“1 in 5 Brit Muslims’ sympathy for jihadis” Muslim communities
which was subsequently found to be
MEND’s definition of Islamophobia
wholly inaccurate and a forced retraction
focusses on processes that work
and apology was issued. Furthermore, in
(intentionally or otherwise) to exclude
2017, the Daily Mail was banned as a
Muslims from enjoying the freedoms and
reliable source on Wikipedia due to its
rights that come with full participation in
“reputation for poor fact checking and
all spheres of public life. As such, the
impact of Islamophobic narratives within
Highlighting the role of certain elements of the media needs to be fully examined.
the British press in fuelling moral panic,
Firstly, the level of bias, misinformation
the United Nations Refugee Agency
and distortion within reporting on British
(UNHCR) pointed to the disturbing
Muslims has fostered a sense of distrust in
journalism of the Sun and the Daily Mail,
the media institutions amongst parts of the
arguing that, “The two right wing tabloids
Muslim community, and for many
in our sample, the Daily Mail and Sun,
individuals, has led to a disengagement
were unlike anything else in our study…
from traditional media. This further
what really differentiated these two titles
compounds a lack of understanding of
was their aggressive editorialising around
Muslim communities within the media as
threat themes, and in particular how they
suspicion creates an unwillingness to
presented refugee and migrants as a
engage even with journalists who do
burden on Britain’s welfare state. Both
genuinely wish to honestly represent a
papers also featured humanitarian themes
nuanced understanding. Thus, even
at a much lower level than any other
genuine journalists are deprived of the
newspapers in our study. Overall, this
opportunity to represent diverse
meant that the Sun and the Daily Mail
exhibited both a hostility, and a lack of
empathy with refugees and migrants that Secondly, this Muslim disengagement is
was unique.”192 often accompanied by a sense of
frustration and insecurity with regards to
However, the Sun and the Daily Mail are
their perceived place and value in society.
reflective of a wider problem. Indeed, the
Thus, a sense of a lack of social value
United Nations High Commissioner for
develops in reaction to accusations of
Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al-Hussein,
Muslim incompatibility with a national
drew similar conclusions in 2015, when he
noted that “decades of sustained and
unrestrained anti-foreigner abuse, Finally, the culmination of distorted
misinformation and distortion” were images and the ultimate impact on public
identified as a major problem in British understanding of Muslims and Islam can
press. He called on all European countries only lead to severe damage to the
to take a firmer line on racism and relationships between Muslims and wider
xenophobia which “under the guise of communities. Such misunderstanding has
freedom of expression, are being allowed a variety of consequences, including, but
to feed a vicious cycle of vilification, not limited to:
intolerance and politicization of migrants, Hate crime: The Home Affairs Select
as well as of marginalized European Committee on Hate Crime and its Violent
minorities”. Consequences has specifically looked into

191Jackson, Jasper. " Wikipedia bans Daily Mail as 'unreliable' source." The Guardian. 192“Press Coverage of the Refugee and Migrant Crisis in the EU: A Content Analysis
February 8, 2017. of Five European Countries”, UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), accessed 20.12.2017,
mail-as-unreliable-source-for-website. refugee-migrant-crisis-eu-content-analysis-five-european.html p. 253.

the impact of media representation of data breaches occurred at a number of
minority communities and hate crime other titles.
levels, recognising the unambiguous link.
Amongst other findings, Sir Brian Leveson
Rt Hon Baroness Warsi of Dewsbury,
concluded that the existing Press
giving evidence on the impact of media
Complaints Commission (PCC) was unfit
representation on hate crime, noted “There
for purpose and complaints about the
is evidence to show that this does play into
press were not being taken seriously
the way people react on the street, the kind
enough. Meanwhile, even when an
of things people quote back when they
apology was agreed, newspapers pursued
engage in hate crime”.193
their own vengeance through "high-volume,
Discrimination: As a later chapter on extremely personal attacks on those who
economic exclusion will demonstrate, challenge them".195 As such, Leveson
stereotypes of Muslims and resulting recommended the establishment of a new
workplace discrimination has a vastly regulatory body to hold the media to
detrimental impact to Muslims ability to account which was independent and free
fully realise their potential in the labour from both government and press influence.
market. He further stated that this regulator must
have the following:
Marginalisation: As our previous
discussion on moral panic suggests, the A group complaints position. Under the
fuelling of public misunderstanding of current regulator (which is now IPSO),
Muslims often culminates in calls for only the individual affected by a published
restrictions, punitive laws, and the story can make a complaint about
curtailment of their civil liberties and discrimination. In practice, this means that
freedoms.194 This can readily be seen in there is no protection against whole groups
issues surrounding areas such as – such as Muslims or refugees – being
integration and security, both of which are demonised or stereotyped. Furthermore, in
discussed later in this report. respect to accuracy and other code-
breaches, the individual most-closely
Lack of accountability and protection
affected must bring the complaint. This
With the aforementioned negativity and means that a person cannot defend
damaging impact on British Muslims and themselves against inaccurate reporting if
minorities, it is worthwhile to briefly they are in a coma, for example. Leveson
examine the role of regulation in recommended resolutions to these
upholding accountability and protecting deficiencies.
minorities from press abuses.
The power to sufficiently remedy
The Leveson Inquiry breaches to the editors’ codes of practice
In July 2011, following revelations about and enforce sanctions where necessary.
phone hacking and other illegal practices He recommended that the new regulator
committed by News of The World, the should have the power to decide on the
Leveson Inquiry was established to look placement and size of corrections, settled
into the culture, practices and ethics of the by an independent board, the power to
press. During the course of the inquiry, it require apologies to be published, and the
became evident that hacking had occurred power to fine newspapers up to £1m.
at various Mirror Group titles, and that A whistle-blower hotline: Leveson further
recommended that a whistle-blowing

193“Oral Evidence: Hate crime and its violent consequences”, Home Affairs Committee, 194 Richardson, “Islamophobia or anti-Muslim racism…”
February 20, 2018, accessed 20.06.2018, 195 Ibid.

hotline should be established for do not support or endorse the way in
journalists who feel under pressure to do which the poll’s findings have been
unethical things or to otherwise act against interpreted.”196 Four months after
the editors’ code. complaints were lodged to IPSO, they
required the publication to print a short
IPSO failings
piece buried on page 2 with the vague title
Despite Leveson’s recommendations, the “Ipso ruling upheld”, in which the nature
regulator which arose to replace the PCC of the complaint was obscured. Given the
was the Independent Press Standards misleading and deeply damaging impact
Organisation (IPSO). IPSO fails to be of the original headline, a more
Leveson-compliant and routinely fails to appropriate response would have been for
investigate articles, fails to demonstrate IPSO to require a prompt front-page
adequate professionalism in dealing with correction in The Sun. The failure to give
complaints, and fails to impose the correction equal prominence in a
punishments that are proportionate to the timely fashion did nothing to limit the
significance of the story contested. damage that this piece of fake news had
Pointless remedies: the corrections already done.
demanded by IPSO for breaches in the Inaction: IPSO frequently fails to act upon
Editors’ Code of Practice are typically complaints in a way that seems to defy
severely delayed and far less prominent both common sense and their duty to
than the original inaccuracy. This is regulation. Indeed, in February, the Home
especially so where the whole story is false, Affairs Committee inquiry into hate crime
or the headline is part of the breach. A case and its violent consequences heard
in point is that IPSO has never ordered a evidence that since IPSO’s inception it had
front-page correction for a front-page received around 18,666 complaints on
breach. Therefore, there is no real claims of discrimination, of which only 7
consequence for publishers who publish have been upheld as being a breach of
what is effectively “fake news”. IPSO’s Editors’ Code of Practice.197
An example of this can be found in IPSO’s By way of example, in August 2017, the
dealing with The Sun in 2015. In November Times printed a story headlined “Christian
2015, The Sun published a front-page story child forced into Muslim foster care”. The
with the misleading and inflammatory article made a number of misleading
headline ‘1 in 5 Brit Muslims’ sympathy for statements and provided an inaccurate
jihadis’. This article was run 10 days after account of the situation. For example, the
the Bataclan terrorist attack, during a time article falsely claimed that the child was
when British and European Muslims were fostered by a family who “don’t speak
experiencing increased anti-Muslim English”, while the London Borough of
suspicion and hostility. The Sun’s article Tower Hamlets stated that the child was
did not accurately report on the poll that it fostered by an “English-speaking family of
cited. The actual poll asked individuals mixed race in this temporary placement”.
whether they had sympathy with “young In response, MEND submitted eight
Muslims who leave the UK to join fighters individual concerns to ISPO regarding the
in Syria”. The Sun’s reporting failed to inaccurate and distorted content of the
point out that “sympathy” is not the same article under Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the
thing as “support” or “agreement” and Editors’ Code. IPSO stated that it would
that not all fighters in Syria are jihadis. The not investigate any of these complaints due
polling company itself stated, “Survation to its concern about the effect investigating

196“Statement on Survation’s Poll of Muslims for The Sun”, Survation, accessed 197 “Oral Evidence: Hate crime and its violent consequences…”

the facts of the case would have on the function as a genuinely independent and
child. This justification for refusal to effective regulatory body.
investigate is unreasonable, given that the
Times had already published stories on the Leveson and the Government’s
subject, and given the extensive wider failure to keep its promises to the
public debate that had subsequently victims of press abuse
occurred. For IPSO, taking no action to
verify the information published is an
Nathan Sparkes
abdication of its responsibility and
demonstrates inadequate commitment to Hacked Off Campaign
upholding press standards and ethics. The Leveson Inquiry was established
Lack of impartiality: This is an issue that is following revelations of widespread
well highlighted in the case of Fatima illegality at the News of the World, and
Manji. In July 2016, Fatima Manji reported since the report of Part One of the Inquiry,
on the Nice terror attacks for Channel Four. it has been revealed that the criminality
In response, Kelvin MacKenzie wrote a included other newspaper groups.
piece in the Sun attacking Channel Four for But the inquiry exposed another scandal
having a Muslim woman wearing hijab altogether: a breakdown in ethical
while reporting on a terrorist incident. standards, and a total absence of regulation
When Manji and ITN filed an IPSO across the British press.
complaint on the basis of discrimination,
harassment, and inaccuracy, IPSO rejected So the Leveson Inquiry was about much
the complaint,198 stating that MacKenzie’s more than illegality. It was also about
comment that Islam “was clearly a violent coverage and newsgathering activities
religion” was his opinion and could not, which are not illegal, and which no one is
therefore, be deemed inaccurate. campaigning to make illegal, but which
Furthermore, IPSO board member, Trevor nonetheless are abusive, unethical,
Kavanagh, publicly defended MacKenzie damaging to the public interest and which
and stated that Manji had “made a fool of rightfully require remedy.
herself.”199 A cross-party group of MPs and A leading example of this unethical
peers subsequently wrote to IPSO, conduct is the treatment of Muslims by
expressing concern that Kavanagh made some elements of the press. This consists of
these comments while sitting on the pejorative or abusive coverage based on
regulator’s board. IPSO responded that race or religion, often combined with
while Kavanagh sits on its board, he is not deliberate or reckless inaccuracy which
a member of the Complaints Committee goes wholly or mostly uncorrected.
that passes judgements and therefore “has
no involvement in any rulings made by
IPSO. The views expressed by Mr Firstly, while innocent errors are made by
Kavanagh in his column following the journalists all the time (and no one is
IPSO ruling on Manji v The Sun were made suggesting sanctions for every occasion
in a personal capacity and do not represent some minor detail is misreported), where
the view of IPSO”.200 This response from damaging inaccuracies are deliberate or
IPSO brings into question its ability to reckless the fact of a standards breach must
be recorded, and there ought to be
consequences – whether that is steps taken
198Decision of the Complaints Committee 05935-16 Manji v The Sun , IPSO, accessed
10.01.2018, we-just-dont-like-being-conned/
200 “Response to Trevor Kavanagh’s column in yesterday’s Sun”, IPSO, accessed
“Gary Lineker forgets that we’re not racist – we just don’t like being conned, The
199 10.01.2018,
Sun, October 24, 2016, accessed 20.06.2018, to-trevor-kavanagh-s-column-in-yesterday-s-sun/

to root out malice and incompetence, or Lacking the necessary powers and
educating those making editorial independence, IPSO has never ordered an
decisions. equivalent prominence frontpage
correction against a national title. It has no
Secondly, where inaccuracies or
power to require published apologies.
distortions are significant, they should be
Whereas Leveson insists that regulators
corrected with equivalent prominence and
have the power to launch investigations
apologised for where appropriate.
where code breaches are serious or
Thirdly, when distortions, lies, systemic, IPSO allows them only where
misrepresentations or avoidable errors breaches are both serious and systemic,
cause harm to a specific group of people, and it has never launched a single
such as Muslims, then investigations investigation in its four-year existence.
should be initiated to address the systemic
In terms of discriminatory and hateful
breaches of ethical standards.
articles, IPSO’s rules and record are even
Discrimination worse.
The Standards Code covering newspapers Lumbered with an ethics code which it
needs to protect vulnerable groups from does not write – a code which instead is
newspaper coverage which is equivalent to written almost exclusively by newspaper
hate speech. The Code itself should be the editors – IPSO is prevented from applying
responsibility of an independent regulator the discrimination clause in the code to
which is capable of crafting a rule that groups of people. The effect is that an
balances freedom to criticise ideas article which discriminates or is pejorative
(including religions) and groups of people against an individual is subject to the code,
where there is a legitimate public interest yet an article which smears and abuses an
(such as members of organisations which entire group, such as Muslims, is not
promote violent extremism), with the need covered by the Code.
for vulnerable groups to be protected from
hate speech and discrimination. While there may be some cases where it is
a close judgment between prejudicial and
Leveson recommended that an offensive coverage which may offend, but
independent regulator be established for is justifiable in the public interest, and that
the press, which has; which is not, there should be an
 The power to require published independent regulator able to make that
apologies, judgement as Leveson recommended.

 Sufficient independence to order For example, in August 2017 Trevor

published corrections of equivalent Kavanagh used the phrase “The Muslim
prominence to the original breach, Problem” in an article linking Muslims
with child abuse. A clear reference to
 The ability to mount investigations rhetoric used by the Nazi Party about
where breaches of the regulator’s code Jewish people, this was not only offensive,
are serious or systemic, it was abusive and discriminatory and
 And control of the Code, so that it can should clearly have been subject to
be amended to meet the public interest regulatory sanction.
(for example in protecting vulnerable Yet IPSO refused to uphold any complaint.
groups from hate speech). It could do nothing because it is subject to
But most newspapers have rejected a Code written by a group of editors who
Leveson’s recommendations, and instead have always refused to outlaw
joined the industry body IPSO, which fails unjustifiable hate speech, while IPSO itself
Leveson’s tests and does none of the above. has not been sufficiently independent to

request a change in the Code (this is not Broadcasting
surprising as Kavanagh was on the board
of IPSO at the time). Media broadcasting is crucial in nurturing
a nation’s sense of shared identity, history,
When the Leveson Inquiry was and social norms. It is the mirror though
established, the Prime Minister of the time, which the nation recognises and
David Cameron, promised to victims of continually evaluates itself. With the
press abuse, Parliament, and the public consequent potential for societal cohesive
that reform would come. Yet six years on, benefit being so tremendous and indelible,
most newspapers are members of the same it is essential that we construct, develop
complaints-handler as before the Inquiry and maintain popular images that are
began, albeit having been renamed. An inclusive of our highly diverse and
absence of regulation for newspapers multicultural nation. The lack of inclusive
persists. images because of a lack of minority
The consequences of this are not abstract or representation results in a vision which
hypothetical. They are felt profoundly both neglects segments of society and thus
by individuals who are targeted by the alienates and marginalises minority
press, and by groups who suffer daily communities. The problem is exacerbated
hostility from a powerful and with the few BAME actors who do manage
unaccountable industry. to break through the barriers being cast in
stereotypical roles, with the BFI Creative
Instead of standing up to the press, this Director, Heather Stewart, noting in 2016
Government has conspired with press that the “types of films in which they
owners and executives to block reform. In [BAME actors] have had leading roles
a craven act of cover-up and supplication, suggests stereotyping. Colour-blind
the Government has cancelled the second casting across genres does not really exist
half of the Leveson Inquiry, which - in on the big screen…”201 Therefore, the
addition to investigating the illegality simultaneous absence of minority
which gave rise to Part One of the Inquiry representation and normalised images of
and has emerged since – could have minority communities means there is a
investigated the rise of Islamophobic press persistent development of a broadcast
coverage. narrative which at worst excludes and at
The Government and press editors and best stereotypes minority communities.
executives should, in a democracy, be the One historical example of this is the
worst of enemies. But on press regulation, blockbuster 2017 film Dunkirk, “that told
they have operated in partnership to the story of the mass evacuation of Allied
prevent reform at the expense of the public soldiers in World War II, contained no non-
interest. white actors. It has thus been criticised for
To protect the public, and to support whitewashing the brave contribution of
working journalists – who can only benefit Muslim and black soldiers”.202
from the Leveson reforms – the Various studies have shown that there is a
Government should implement the considerable lack of minority
Leveson recommendations and begin Part representation in the British film industry,
Two of the Inquiry immediately. with high levels of discrimination
experienced by BAME individuals
attempting to enter the industry and those

201 “New BFI research reveals representation of black actors in UK film over last 10 Robert Fisk, “When you watch Dunkirk, remember that it’s a whitewashed version

years”. BFI: 06/10/2016. Accessed on: 12/06/2018. which ignores the bravery of black and Muslim soldiers”, The Independent, August 3, 2017, accessed 20.06.2018,
bfi-research-reveals-representation-of-black-actors-in-film-2016-10-06.pdf. 1940-french-soldiers-algeria-commonwealth-white-wash-a7874501.html

within the industry. One study concerned levels within the TV industry. The study by
with diversity within the British film Directors UK (2015), noted that of the
industry and conducted by the CAMEo programmes sampled at the time only 1.5%
Research Institute at the University of were made by a BAME director.206
Leicester,203 found that BAME workers Furthermore, the study also added that
comprised 4.4% of the broadcasting “analysis at sub-genre level revealed there
workforce, compared to 13% of the UK are a number of areas where 0% of
population. This figure was even lower episodes have been made by a BAME
when considering BAME directors which director”. This included genres such as
was limited to 3.5%. Another study, by sketch shows, children’s comedy, reality,
Grugulis & Stoyanova (2012), found that and period drama, amongst others.
“members of ethnic minorities or working Therefore, the question is not one of
class were less likely to secure jobs and whether or not there is a problem, rather, it
were often restricted in the jobs they is an issue of how it is being monitored,
held”.204 Numerous other studies investigated and tackled.
corroborate these findings, giving rise to
A study conducted from 2006-2016 found
the conclusion that BAME individuals are
that of the British films produced in the
heavily underrepresented, restricted to
period nearly 60% failed to cast a single
particular jobs and denied progression
Black actor.207 In 2014, a number of British
within the field.
BAME actors and writers who had left the
These findings are paralleled in studies UK for international markets wrote an
which have investigated minority open letter to the heads of the British TV
representation in the television industry, industry calling for greater diversity, with
with significant concern arising from the signatories including the likes of Idris Elba
failure of broadcasters to adequately and David Oyelowo, who had travelled to
monitor the diversity of their workforce. A the US to make their major breaks.208
study by Ofcom, the UK’s communication
An excellent analysis of this lack of
regulator, found that broadcasters
diversity has been produced by Campion
surveyed were only able to provide
who explores the reasons behind it based
ethnicity data on 81% of the industry’s
on interviews with over 100 media
employees and religious data for only 33%
professionals and her own extensive
of employees.205 As there is a considerable
experience in the industry. She argues that
lack of data monitoring on the contribution
there are many factors underpinning the
of minorities within the field, it is difficult
lack of cultural diversity in this area,
to accurately analyse the diversity of the
including conservative commissioners
industry. Perhaps the only firm judgement
leading to “safe” conservative
one can make is that the procedures
commissioning and a lack of BAME faces
through which broadcasters are currently
at a senior level, especially in senior
organising and collating data on diversity
creative and editorial roles. She cites
and minority representation are
challenges at recruiting and then retaining
thoroughly inadequate. That said, there is
talented BAME professionals, and the
still ample evidence to suggest that BAME
problem of them leaving due to
groups are under-represented at particular
203“Workforce Diversity in the UK Screen Sector: Evidence Review”, Cameo Research 206“UK Television Adjusting the Colour Balance: Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic
Institute: Leicester, 2018, accessed 20.06.2018, Directors in UK Television Production”, Directors UK, accessed 20.06.2018,
in-uk-screen-sector-evidence-review-2018-03.pdf os03d6qe4pmsra4i-7c96b125575ce06ca956559154962a0a%2FDirectors+UK+-
Irena Grugulis and Dimitrinka Stoyanova, “Social Capital and Networks in Film

and TV: Jobs for the Boys?, Organization Studies, Vol. 33, Issue 10, 2012. 207 “New BFI research reveals representation of black…”

205Diversity and Equal Opportunities in Television”, OFCOM, September 14, 2017, 208“Letter to BBC and other broadcasters: actors and writers call for action over
accessed 20.06.2018, diversity”, The Guardian, August 20, 2014, accessed 20.06.2018,
opportunities-television actors-writers-diversity-bame

disillusionment, especially in large and BAME actors were restricted to
traditional organisations such as the BBC. “largely socially caricatured roles”.211
The solution to the problems, she argues, Though it may be tempting to treat these
lies in embedding the concept of “cultural figures as abstract and inconsequential to
intelligence”, which is defined as a “way of society, there is significant evidence
valuing diverse cultural knowledge and highlighting the very tangible impact of
experience in programme-making”, and the underrepresentation of minorities and
which includes sensitive and intelligent the the systemic inequalities prevalent in
portrayal of marginalised groups, broadcast media. Repercussions of
reflecting “authentic voices” from those underrepresentation include the
groups, helping to understand others and disenfranchisement of viewers from
therefore ourselves. minority communities and the departure
of actors from minority backgrounds to
She states that cultural intelligence needs
international markets.
to be built into each stage of programme
making, including commissioning, Research conducted by Webber, a
production, scheduling, and promotion. specialist research and insight consultancy,
She also advocates the use of cultural in 2016212 found that audiences from
intelligence master classes to promote such minority communities were generally less
a dialogue and instil change.209 likely to watch major TV channels
compared to the general population, with
Taking into account the lack of minority
the gap increasing if the particular channel
representation in the industry, the problem
demonstrates lower levels of on-screen
of minority representation is worsened
diversity. The study found that BAME
further by type-casting of BAME actors to
audiences were 14.1% less likely to watch
stereotypical roles. Research conducted by
BBC One’s News at Six compared to all
BFI between 2006 and 2016 found that
individuals investigated and were 2.4%
Black actors were highly unlikely to be
more likely to watch Channel Four’s News
casted into lead roles of dramas (255 out of
at Five compared to all individuals
387 films failing to cast any black actor,
investigated. The difference between the
66%), comedies (178 out of 287, 62%) or
two news channels being that the latter has
thrillers (100 out of 169, 59%), but were
introduced a number of BAME reporters
very likely to be cast as lead in crime films
including: Fatima Manji, Symeon Brown,
(69 out of 107 films featured black actors,
Keme Nzerem, Jamal Osman, Assed Baig,
65%), fantasy (24 out of 39, 61%) and
as well as others.
musicals (8 out of 15, 53%).210 The study
stated that the most frequent themes of the These restricted roles available to BAME
productions in which Black actors were actors which represent highly varied
featured included “slavery, racism, minority communities means that harmful
colonialism, crime and gangs” and noted and prevalent stereotypes bias the way
that this “suggests a pattern in which black society perceives these communities and
actors are being cast mainly in how the community members perceive
stereotypical stories”. Another study by themselves. In 2011, a study, “Media
Sam Friedman and Dave O’Brien found Representations and Impact on the Lives of
that there was an “oversupply of leading
roles for white, male, middle-class actors”

209Mukti Jain Campion, “Look who’s Talking. Cultural Diversity, Public Service 211 Sam Friedman and Dave O’Brien, “Resistance and resignation: responses to
Broadcasting and the National Conversation”, Nuffield College Oxford, October 2005, typecasting in British acting”, Cultural Sociology, 2017, 11 (3), accessed 20.06.2018,
accessed 20.06.2018,

210 “New BFI research reveals representation of black…” 212Trevor Phillips, “British media: not quite black and white”, Open Democracy, March
2, 2016, accessed 20.06.2018,

Black Men and Boys”,213 looked into the Now everywhere the old order is in flames,
impact of stereotypical roles of Black males right? Whether in film and television with
on “their actual life chances”. The results the advent of streaming and a globalised
demonstrated that the portrayals marketplace or whether at the ballot box
reinforced general antagonism towards with the ascendance of populism, some
Black males, reduced attention to people like to call it.
structural and other big-picture factors,
…We’re in search of a new national story.
and exaggerated views related to
It needs updating. The old one stopped
criminality and violence associated with
making sense to people, it stopped giving
BAME communities. They further noted
meaning to the complex reality and the
that the images resulted in BAME
new realities that they’re facing and I’m
community members being “demoralised”
here to ask for your help. I’m here to ask
and having “reduce[d] self-esteem”.
for your help in finding a new national
Abstract from Riz Ahmed’s story that embraces and empowers as
many of us as possible rather than
speech at Channel 4’s annual excluding us and alienation large sections
diversity lecture in Parliament214 of the population. In this, like it or not, we
need each other.
Now, as a lot of the politicians in the room Now, what’s at stake? I just want to take a
might know, it’s sometimes the most
moment to kind of reframe what we’re
fantastical and unrealistic stories that make
talking about. What’s at stake here, I mean,
the biggest impact. But even in those
in this age of populism it can sometimes
stories, what people are looking for is a
seem like talking about diversity is kind of
message that they belong; they’re part of
swimming against the current, going
something; that they are seen and heard
against the grain, “is political correctness
and that despite – or perhaps because – of
gone mad?” and all that kind of thing,
the uniqueness of their experience they are
It’s an added extra, it’s a frill, it’s a luxury.
They want to feel represented.
That’s what diversity can sound like. The
That’s really what we do, that’s what we very phrase actually turns me off a little bit.
have in common, that’s the game we’re in. It sounds like there’s a call, a benchmark,
We’re here to represent. It’s that simple. against which everything is measured and
then there’s a little bit of something you
And in that task, it pains me to say we have
could sprinkle on top. A little bit of salt, a
little bit of spice…it’s something you can
It’s been a noble failure, we’ve been taking live with, but you can also live without.
large strides in the right direction, And to me that really doesn’t put into focus
sometimes a bit slower than we’d like, how crucial what we are talking about
sometimes a bit too incremental, really is.
sometimes not really seizing the bull by its
We’re talking about representation, not
horn but we have fallen short of the mark
diversity. Representation is not an added
and when we fail to represent people
extra. It’s not a thrill. It’s absolutely
switch off. They switch off on telly, they
fundamental to what people expect from
switch off at the ballot box and they retreat
culture and from politics.
to other fringe narratives which are
sometimes very dangerous.

“Media Representations and Impact on the Lives of Black Men and Boys”, The
Opportunity Agenda, October 2011, accessed 20.06.2018, and-Boys-OppAgenda.pdf

214 Watch at

What’s at stake isn’t just whether or not I just take a minute to kind of understand
get the next acting role I want (although how much it means to someone who
that would be nice). Audience member asks doesn’t, to see themselves reflected back.
“what do you want?”. Oh, it’d be nice to
Every time you see yourself in a magazine,
have a Star Wars prequel, actually.
in a billboard, TV, film, it’s a message that
What’s really at stake here is much, much you matter, you’re part of a national story,
bigger than that. that you’re valued, you feel represented.
After the Brexit vote hate crimes went up Now if we fail to represent people in our
41%, against Muslims it went up 326%. In mainstream narratives, they’ll switch off,
the 1930s we had a very similar situation to they’ll retreat to fringe narratives to filter
what we have today: political polarization, bubbles online and sometimes, even off to
economic disenfranchisement after a big Syria. In the mind of the ISIS recruit, he’s a
financial crash, rising inequality, version of James Bond, right? In their
systematic scapegoating of certain mind, everyone thinks they’re the good
minorities. guy. Have you seen some of these ISIS
propaganda videos? They’re cut like action
What’s at stake here is whether or not we
movies. Where’s the counter narrative?
will move forward together or whether we
Where are we telling these kids that they
will leave people behind. That’s what’s at
can be heroes in our stories? That they’re
stake if we don’t step up and represent.
Now if we fail to represent, I think we’re in
I saw an interesting survey recently. It was
danger of losing out in three ways, the
a Gallup poll, it was a survey of a billion
three Es:
Muslims, and it took years and years to get
 One we’re going to lost people to done. I’m citing Dalia Mogahed here. And
extremism. it was really interesting, they asked a
 Second, we’re going to lose out on an billion Muslims what are their key
expansive idea of who we are as grievances with the “West”. I’ve problems
individuals and as a community. with that term, but what are the Key
grievances? And number one… the
 And thirdly, we’re going to really lose disconnect between the West-stated values
out on the economic benefits that and their foreign policy. We’ll talk about
proper representation can bring to our that another day (if you’d invite me back).
economy. But number two on the list of grievances
Let me just start off this first point of was the depiction of Muslims in the media.
extremism. I remember when, my mum I mean that’s massive. I mean, of a billion
and sister are here right now; I remember Muslims in the world that is a number two
when they’d be watching TV downstairs in grievance.
the lounge and I’d be upstairs you know,
This isn’t just a signal to give me more
playing my Gameboy or whatever and all
acting work. It’s something that should
of a sudden, I’d hear one of them call out
give us pause and realise how important it
and they’re watching TV: “Asiaaaaan!”
is to feel represented.
And you quickly press pause on the
Now that’s extremism, it’s not just
Gameboy, turn it off and run downstairs
important to show people themselves and
just to go and look: Sanjeev Bhaskar in
to send a signal that they are valued and
Goodness Gracious Me; Meera Syal, Bhaji
worthwhile and represented. It’s also
on the Beach; Parminder Nagra, Bend it
really important, I think, to show people
like Beckham; Jimi Mistry, “East is East”. If
characters and stories that don’t resemble
you’re used to seeing yourself reflected in
culture, you really…I really want you to

them at all. If we don’t, we lose out on the to find work. I meet with producers here,
second E, an expansive idea of who we are. meet with directors, I think they’re being
honest when they say they want to work
…The power of stories to allow us to relate
with me, but they say “we just don’t have
to stories that don’t resemble our own is
anything for you, all our stories are set in
phenomenal and every time we see those
Cornwall in the sixteen hundreds”.
experiences, it reminds us than what unites
us is far, far greater than what divides us. Never mind that Cornwall already had a
really busy Indian takeaway at that point,
Culture is a place where you can put
you just don’t want to tell that story. But
yourself in someone else’s shoes; and a
it’s weird because I mean, Asians are such
one-size shoe shop just doesn’t make any
a proportion of the population here, right?
It’s such a small comparative proportion of
…Just a quick aside – I think some of this is the population in America ... And yet, it
about history. Looking up at this beautiful takes American remakes of British shows
painting over here I’m going to assume its to cast someone like me.
World War One? World War One, maybe?
There was a report recently, I think that
Over a million Indians fought and died for
Ruby McGregor Smith turned in that Sajid
Great Britain in World War One. No one
Javid MP commissioned and it was about
ever told me that at school, we never
diversity in our economy as a whole. What
learned about the British Empire, we never
it showed is that if black minority ethnic
learned about whose blood, sweat, tears,
professional workers were afforded
hopes and fears are baked into the bricks in
promotion at the same rate and with the
this building. If we did learn about that,
same frequency as their white counterparts
maybe we wouldn’t think about diversity
it could add 24 billion pounds to our
and throwing people crumbs out of
economy each year. It’s not a zero-sum
politeness, maybe we’d think about giving
game, there’s room for everyone up there.
people their due, and representing them.
And if you look at the box office, a study
It was only recently that I learnt the first
recently by the Bunche Foundation
Indian MP was in the 1850s, the first black
showed that the most diversely cast and
footballer was in the 1860s, Edward the
made films are the ones that do best in the
Seventh had a black trumpeter, ironically
American box office. It just taps into
named John Blanke, and actually even our
different markets.
England’s first border patrol force was a
North African legion fighting for the …So those are the things we are missing
Italian Roman army to keep the Scots on out on if we fail to represent properly:
the other side of Hadrian’s Wall. So even we’re losing people to extremism, we’re
our anti-immigration movement has been losing out on an expansive idea of who we
really multicultural for thousands of years. could be, and in the eyes of the world, and
That’s how deep it goes, so we’re missing we’re losing out on the economic benefits.
out, we’re losing people to extremism, So how are we doing?
we’re losing an expansive idea of who we
We’ve heard some figures already, I’m not
are. But most importantly, given the Brexit
going to go into too much detail…I will say
bill we’re facing that we’ve got to pay,
this: sometimes it’s very easy to look at the
we’re losing out on money!
screen and go “oh look, things are
We’re losing out on my taxes. I can tell you changing so much…Look there’s Riz,
from my own experience anecdotally and there’s Idris, there’s Michaela Coel doing
David Oyelowo spoke about this recently Chewing gum”. These examples are often
at Black Star symposium, Idris spoke about prominent because they are the exception
this last year. We end up going to America

that proves the rule. Prominent successes problem. A lot of people, I’m hearing this
can mask structural problems. from a lot of people anecdotally, what I’ve
seen, is actually this is the case. We all have
Obama was in the White House and you
unconscious bias. Ruby McGregor Smith’s
still needed the Black Lives Matter
report into our economy as a whole
movement. I’m getting on a plane to LA to
showed that unconscious bias is
attend the Star Wars premiere and I still get
responsible for stopping career
that second search before I board the plane.
progression of minorities.
By the way, if you’ve never had the
Now we can train against unconscious bias
experience of being asked for a selfie by
or even better I propose, if you’ll humour
someone who’s swabbing you for
me, tying public money to proper
explosives…I’d recommend it. Really
representation targets, so that decision-
quite, quite thrilling. Do they love me? Do
making rooms, the rooms in which
they hate me? Oooh not sure…
decisions are made are representative of
Gains are hard won and we have to fight our community, of our nation, and tell a
hard to keep them. story that represents us all. So that when
Only 1-4.5% of directors of TV dramas are everyone ends up exercising their
from black and minority ethnic unconscious bias, somewhere in the wash
backgrounds. For period drama which we it works out being kind of representative.
love making so much of, and long may it It just makes sense.
continue, it’s good for our economy as Centre forwards are valued on how many
well, the figure is 0%. So it completely goals the score, we are in the business of
shuts out form helping to shape our representation. If we don’t represent,
national narrative and the history of who you’ve got to go. It’s really that simple.
we are. That is what we’re here to do.
Meanwhile, the participation of people I really think that Government has to step
from private schools, such as myself, I got in. It’s only Government that’s going to
a government assisted place to attend a have the long view and see the really,
private school, is 14% when they’re 7% of really big picture… People making
the population. television programmes often are trying to
…if I look at my own journey two things turn out a hit and worried about their jobs
jump out on me: one, we need to safeguard in a competitive industry. I get it. It’s only
the opportunities and access to the creative when government steps in to set the rules
industries amongst marginalised and of the game that you will foster true
underrepresented groups. innovation, the same way that you do in
the arms industry, the same way you do
Yes, this is about mentorship, it’s about when you support the Olympics and it
skills, it’s about training. brings a massive boom to how we’re seen
…We need to preserve the access and around the world. They’ll thank you for it
funding in community centres, we need to in the long run; you won’t be handcuffing
make sure that a hike in tuition fees doesn’t them to anything, because what’s at stake
stop people from going to drama school here is whether or not we can move
and pursuing careers in the creative forward together. We’re really at a very
industries, otherwise we’ll all lose. critical moment in our nation’s history.

Now, that’s the skills and training We can feel it.

argument, but there’s another argument. If we don’t step up and tell a representative
The other argument is that actually we’ve story, we’re going to start losing people,
got enough people who are skilled and we’re going to start losing people to other
well trained to hire, it’s just a hiring

stories; we’re going to start losing British
teenagers to the story that the next chapter
in their lives is written with ISIS in Syria.
We’re going to start losing MPs like Jo Cox,
who are murdered in the street, because
we’ve been sold a story that is so narrow
about who we are and who we’ve been and
who we should be…
We’re at this critical moment, let’s not
allow future generations to look back and
judge us when centrifugal forces were
threatening to tear us apart, because they
really are. I can feel it, I know a lot of you
can too.
We need to step up decisively and act.
Let’s do what’s right: let’s represent.

Part III: The Socio- BENEFITS OF PARTICIPATION .................. 140

Political and Personal Public Exclusion, Integration and Minority

Rights ............................................................. 142


MYTH OF MUSLIM DISTANCE .................. 145
Racial and Religious Hate Crime ................ 83 WOMEN AND ISLAMOPHOBIA ................ 151
TO BE A MUSLIM ............................................. 83 UNIVERSITY CONTROVERSY AND MUSLIM
MENTAL HEALTH .......................................... 90
Youth and Education .................................... 92
EDUCATION .................................................... 93
REFLECTION AND DIALOGUE .................. 95
TROJAN HORSE AFFAIR ............................. 97
Economic Exclusion: Islamophobia and the
Labour Market ............................................. 101
Securitising Muslim Identities: Security and
Counter-Terror ............................................ 104
TERRORISM ................................................. 106
UNIVERSITY ................................................... 117
........................................................................... 123
Crime, Policing and the Criminal Justice
System........................................................... 127
Political Representation and Exclusion.... 135

Part of the problem is self-inflicted. There
Racial and Religious are issues with extremism, with perceived
Hate Crime poor integration amongst some, with
disproportionately being involved in drug
Challenging times to be a crime, for example, which contributes
heavily to the over-representation in
Muslim prison. The Muslim communities are
extraordinarily diverse but that also causes
Nazir Afzal, OBE issues – in London, they come from more
Former Chief Prosecutor for North West than 60 countries, whilst in the North they
England mostly come from two. Too often, the
reluctance of community members to deal
Not a day goes by without some overt with these issues is because they feel it
show of anti-Muslim hatred in parts of our gives ammunition to the Muslim haters.
society. Whether it’s the conflating of the That, in my view, is short-sighted – bigots
actions of one or more people who happen don’t need an excuse to hate.
to be Muslims into a statement about all
Muslims or somewhat sinister The Hate Crime legislation does not help
interpretations of Islamic culture and provide reassurance. Whilst Muslims are
theology to generate fear or mistrust. Most not considered a “race,” victims have to
often it’s in the day to day experience of rely on religious hate crime laws that
Muslims and people who “look” like require a higher threshold of intent and
Muslims – which can be violence, abuse or harm before prosecutions can follow. Only
discrimination. violence and threats of violence trigger the
incitement to religious hate offence and I
I look at my own experience. Nobody remember meeting with a British National
refers to me as the “Muslim” Pro- Party lawyer a decade ago who informed
Chancellor of Brunel University or Patron me that they knew where the line was and
of several NGOs or Chair of an FE college, always pushed up to it. That’s continued
but contrast that with my influential with the advent of social media – though
decision-making roles such as Chief many haters don’t care about the line
Prosecutor or Chief Executive of Police & anymore and rely upon perceived
Crime Commissioners, where the word anonymity, bots, and limited police
“Muslim” is often pre-fixed in the media. resources to just keep generating hate.
Why is my faith relevant in some roles and The noise is so loud that it radicalises the
not others? Why was I specifically targeted vulnerable far-right extremist but it also
by Far-Right groups despite getting all the creates the atmosphere of grievance
decisions right in the grooming gang cases amongst many young Muslims that is
and delivering justice when others failed often exploited by those who wish to
to? Could it have anything to do with me radicalise them. Lose-Lose on both fronts.
damaging the Far-Right narrative, that all
Muslims are the same? This country’s extraordinary tolerance and
acceptance of diversity is our biggest
Despite the immense contributions of weapon in minimising and ultimately
Muslims to civic life, to our economy, to eliminating hate.
our communities, there is a knee-jerk
reaction to attack Muslims whenever
possible and inconsistently, to rarely Hate Crime
mention their faith when they’ve done As MEND’s definition of Islamophobia
good. goes to great pains to enunciate,
Islamophobia is in no way limited to hate

crime. It does, in fact, infiltrate all realms of 2016/17. Three-quarters of these hate
public, political and economic life, crimes were racially aggravated, while 7%
resulting in the exclusion and were religiously aggravated.216 The
marginalisation of Muslim communities number of religiously aggravated offences
from enjoying the freedoms to which they numbered 5,949, a 35% increase from 4,400
are entitled. Having said that, hate crime is religiously aggravated hate crimes
by no means an area that can be ignored. It recorded in 2015/16.217
is in many ways the most overt, visible,
While racially or religiously aggravated
and undeniable symptom of the
offences were more likely to be dealt with
Islamophobia prevalent across certain
via a charge or court summons than non-
segments of society.
aggravated offences, the figures still
Over recent years, British Muslims have indicate relatively low outcomes. Overall
suffered from increasing levels of hate less than 20% of racially or religiously
crime in conjunction with seemingly aggravated hate crimes result in suspects
obsessive demonisation in the media and being charged or being summonsed to
an increasing presence of online hate appear in court.218
speech on social media platforms.
The number of racially and religiously
This has culminated in Muslims being aggravated cases referred by the police to
abused and assaulted in the street, being the Crown Prosecution Service has also
thrown into the path of oncoming trains, fallen over the past year, along with the
places of worship being vandalised by number of completed prosecutions.
arson and brick attacks, and Muslims being Religiously aggravated crimes referred by
deliberately run over by far-right terrorists. the police to the CPS fell by 11% between
2015-16 and 2016-17, with the number of
The statistics expose this increase in hate
completed prosecutions down
crime incidents. Islamophobic hate crimes
considerably by 20% over the same
recorded by the Metropolitan Police Force
in London numbered 1,115 in 2015/16. The
number of recorded incidents increased A recent report from Citizens UK, focusing
13% to 1,266 in 2016/17, while the most on the impact of hate crime in Nottingham,
recent year has seen an even larger increase found that 3 in 5 of the city’s Muslim
of 32%. 1,665 Islamophobic hate crimes population have been victims of hate
were recorded in London in 2017/18, crime, more than any other religious group
meaning that Islamophobic hate crimes in in the city.220
the capital have risen 50% overall in just
The study “Still No Place for Hate”
two years.215
revealed that Muslim women in particular
This picture is also seen at a national level, were often the targets of vulgar abuse and
where the number of hate crimes increased criminal acts.221 Researchers revealed that
by 29% between 2015/16 and 2016/17. one respondent had been told to take off
There were 80,393 offences recorded by her “f****** head scarf” in the city centre.
police forces in England and Wales in Another Muslim woman said, “I wear the

215 ‘MPS FY 2016/17 Crime Statistics,’ Tableau Public, accessed May 08, 2017, 219 Crown Prosecution Service, “Hate Crime Annual Report 2016–17”, report,!/vizhome/MPSFY GOV.UK, October 2017, accessed May 10, 2018,
216Home Office, Hate Crime, England and Wales, 2016/17, by Aoife O'Neill, October 17,
2017, accessed May 10, 2018, 220Andy May, "Nottingham Citizens Hate Crime Study Reveals Surge in Verbal and Physical Harassment," Citizens UK, accessed June 20, 2018,
217Home Office, "Hate Crime, England and Wales, 2015 to 2016," GOV.UK, October
13, 2016, accessed June 20, 2018, 221Jason Pandya-Wood, "Still No Place for Hate: Analysis of the Findings of the
crime-england-and-wales-2015-to-2016. Nottingham Citizen's Hate Crime Survey including Recommendations," Nottingham
Citizens, May 10, 2018, accessed June 20, 2018,
218 Ibid.

Islamic dress and the perpetrator was criminal agencies, with some highlighting
shouting that I was hiding a bomb. On that the police did not take the incident
another incident whilst driving in my car, seriously enough or failed to display a
a passer-by was shouting and calling me suitable level of empathy towards them.
Bin Laden.”222 These responses highlight how poor police
responses can exacerbate the level of
Other victims reported being called a
suffering and trauma suffered by hate
“terrorist s***” and being spat on their
crime victims.
hijab. One woman described travelling on
the bus with her sons, aged two and four, A number of wider contextual factors were
and being told by a fellow passenger that given by participants as driving hate crime
she was raising terrorists.223 in the city, including media coverage of
terrorist events and general media bias
The impacts of these hate crimes are long-
against minority communities. The most
lasting, with many victims left feeling
frequently cited factor, however, was
anxious and fearful for their safety. One
Muslim victim who wears a hijab said she
had been left feeling “unsafe and In the wake of the June 2016 referendum,
unwelcomed and scared because of the in which the public narrowly voted to
way I dress” while another said she leave the European Union, there was a
contemplated taking her hijab off as she considerable increase in hate crimes
feels “very anxious at times especially nationally. Home Office statistics detailed
when a national terrorist incident a 44% rise in racially or religiously
happens”. aggravated offences in the month
following the referendum result compared
Victims also highlighted how being
to the same month the previous year.225
attacked led them to become acutely aware
of the prejudice that exists around them, as One survey respondent elucidated how the
well as feeling emboldened into tackling referendum result “led to people feeling
the injustice. One victim said, “I feel like more entitled to be open about their
something positive needs to be done to racism, religious hate, and hatred towards
address the anger the white working-class anyone who is different.” Survey
[sic] men are feeling towards Muslim respondents explained how the political
women. We know it’s deliberate targeting context was embedding an “us versus
of a soft target.” them” dichotomy, with Brexit fuelling the
ability for people to express views which
The overwhelming majority (79%) of hate
may have been challenged previously.226
crime victims in the study did not report
the incident to the police. Reasons victims The second most common factor given for
gave for not reporting the crime included influencing hate crime was media coverage
believing it would be pointless and feeling of terror attacks, with most respondents
too traumatised in the aftermath of the feeling that the reporting of events led to
crime to report the incident. an increase in hate crime directed at
Muslims. One participant stated that
Hate crime victims who did report crimes
attacks “heightened people’s wariness of
to the police presented a mixed picture as
each other”, with the reporting of terrorist
to whether this resulted in a positive
attacks making “ordinary Muslims feel
outcome. A number of respondents had
negative experiences with police and

222 Ibid. 225Full Fact Team, "Hate Crime in England and Wales," Full Fact, October 17, 2017,
accessed June 20, 2018,
223 Ibid.
226"Still No Place for Hate: Analysis of the Findings of the Nottingham Citizen's Hate
224 Ibid. Crime Survey including Recommendations".

While the Home Office has highlighted statements generally associating Muslims
several peaks in hate crime following and Islam with terrorism.227
events such as the Charlie Hebdo shooting
in Paris and the Westminster Bridge attack Inadequate legal protections
in London, participants also explained that Current legislation that enables the
the sensationalised and biased coverage in prosecution of anti-Muslim hate crime is
newspapers led to Muslims being unfairly an extension of established race and
blamed for all terrorist attacks. relations legislation where ‘religiously
“Muslims are always portrayed as a aggravated’ crimes have been added to the
problem to society by the media as existing racial motives for prosecuting
terrorists, rapists or traffickers. If it’s an offenders. Since Muslims do not form a
offence committed by a Muslim then the racial group, race relations legislation
religion is always highlighted, yet anyone which protects communities such as Jews
else committing such crimes never have and Sikhs, does not extend to Muslims.
their religion mentioned. The word Furthermore, the Racial and Religious
terrorist gets quickly attached to Muslims Hate Crime Act 2006, contains a disparity
and not non-Muslims committing terrorist between the protections afforded on
acts. This media brainwashing of course grounds of race versus the protections
causes hate towards Muslims.” afforded to religious groups. In terms of
Participants mentioned how media racial hatred, a person is protected against
coverage of Muslims creates resentment abusive, insulting, or threatening words or
and frustrations which are then “meted out behaviour. However, the protections
to Muslims women because they are afforded on the basis of religion only
perceived as soft targets.” This perception extend to threatening words or behaviour.
is borne out by the reports received by This specifically excludes the protection
MEND’s Islamophobia Response Unit from abusive or insulting words or
(IRU), amongst which the majority of behaviour that is included under racial
Islamophobic hate crime victims are hatred.
female. Moreover, within the protections against
While newspaper narratives around Islam religious hatred, there is an added
and Muslims contribute to the negative condition that intent must be proven. In
way some people perceive Muslims, this other words, it must be proven that the
narrative is expounded further online perpetrators intention was to stir up
through hate speech perpetrated via an religious hatred. This differs from
array of social media streams. Researchers incitement to racial hatred, wherein the
at Demos catalogued 144,000 derogatory likelihood that the offence would have
and anti-Islamic tweets sent from the UK stirred up racial hatred is enough to
between March 2016 and March 2017, a prosecute; there is no need to prove that
daily average of almost 400. Half of the the perpetrator intended to stir up racial
tweets analysed were derogatory anti- hatred.
Islamic slurs, often directed at a specific This requirement of intent makes the
individual. Just under 2 in 5 of these tweets burden of proof within this legislation
framed Muslims as the “enemy” dedicated almost unachievably heavy. Indeed, the
towards cultural and social destruction of intention of the perpetrator is virtually
the West. Finally, around 1 in 5 of the impossible to ever prove. The consequence
tweets analysed related to derogatory is that, since the legislation was enacted in

227"Anti-Islamic Content on Twitter - Demos," Demos: False Stereotypes of Young

People Holding Them Back from Getting Jobs - Demos, accessed June 20, 2018,

2006, only a small handful of successful experiences and where they can receive
prosecutions have occurred under advice, support and referral services.
incitement to religious hatred legislation.
The IRU serves three main functions:
Furthermore, social media offences and
 Data collection and monitoring,
hate speech online is a growing area of
concern as more and more people utilise  The provision of free legal advice and
the anonymity of the web to share or post police liaison,
hate messages online. As such, there
 Provision of basic emotional support,
remains a great deal of scope to ensure hate
and signposting to further professional
crime is efficiently tackled on social media.
sources of emotional support if
Currently, due to the sheer scale of social required.
media sites, the only way abusive posts are
Exploring hate crime
brought to the attention of social media
companies is if users themselves report it. Data collection and monitoring of hate
However, not all instances of online hate crime is important as it allows us to map
would be reported for their racist or instances of Islamophobia. For example, by
Islamophobic content online. Therefore, recording the location of attacks and the
much more needs to be done to tackle this profiles of typical victims and perpetrators,
issue head on. we can come to an understanding of the
national picture of Islamophobia and begin
In April 2017, the Metropolitan Police set to develop successful and informed
up a new team of specialist police officers policies for tackling it.
to investigate abuse on social media sites
such as Facebook and Twitter. The team of Hate crime is perhaps the most overt
five officers, who will support victims and manifestation of Islamophobia. According
identify online abuse, will cost £1.7 million to the Government’s definition, “The term
and has received £452,000 from the Home 'hate crime' can be used to describe a range
Office. of criminal behaviour where the
perpetrator is motivated by hostility or
More actions like these are required, and demonstrates hostility towards the victim's
the Government needs to prioritise disability, race, religion, sexual orientation
formulating a strategy that allows for a or transgender identity. These aspects of a
crackdown on hate speech, while person's identity are known as 'protected
continuing to ensure freedom of speech. characteristics'. A hate crime can include
An update from the verbal abuse, intimidation, threats,
harassment, assault and bullying, as well
Islamophobia Response Unit as damage to property. The perpetrator can
(IRU) also be a friend, carer or acquaintance who
exploits their relationship with the victim
Introducing the IRU for financial gain or some other criminal
The Islamophobia Response Unit (IRU)
was founded by MEND in response to In its first year since opening, the IRU has
rising anti-Muslim attacks across Europe received almost 300 reports from victims of
and a growing tide of anti-Muslim Islamophobic hate crime and
sentiment. The IRU is a platform for discrimination. 70% of these reports are
victims to report and share their hate crime related. It is common for the
IRU to experience a surge in reports

228 "Hate Crime," The Crown Prosecution Service, accessed June 20, 2018,

following major incidents, such as last Muslim women are overwhelmingly the
year’s attacks in Manchester and London targets of acts of violence and aggression.
Bridge. For example, following the As the perpetrators are overwhelmingly
Manchester Arena attack, the IRU males, it is clear how gender violence and
witnessed a 388% increase in reports. This hierarchical structures of gendered power
demonstrates the vulnerability and are intrinsic to Islamophobic hate crime.
backlash received by the Muslim Female victims are almost exclusively
community in periods following such visibly Muslim, meaning they were
events. wearing the hijab, niqab or abaya when
they were targeted in public.
The data the IRU collects has revealed an
interesting picture of hate crime in the UK.
We have learned the following: The emotional impacts of
 Of all the hate crime reports the IRU Islamophobia
has received, the majority involve acts The emotional impacts of hate crime on
of verbal abuse. This includes street victims are vast but the effects of
harassment, where Muslims are Islamophobia on mental health are largely
publicly called racial slurs (P**i, unexplored in research. As such, the
terrorist, infidel scum, etc) or even trauma associated with these types of
receive death threats. crimes remain poorly understood.
 The second largest form of our hate Testimonies from victims reporting to the
crime reports involve physical acts of IRU reveal a picture of social isolation,
aggression. Common forms are depression and anxiety. Many victims of
spitting, shoving, being thrown to the Islamophobic hate crime report that they
ground, slapping, and hijabs being choose to stay indoors more, take time off
pulled off women’s heads. work, and avoid public spaces – revealing
how hate crime can impede their
 After terror attacks, the number of
participation in public life. Many discuss
physical attack reports and mosque
how they avoid crowded spaces and public
targeting reports rise sharply.
transport. Also reported is some female
 Our data also shows that incidents on victims’ desires to remove the hijab after
public transport and cases of being targeted. This points to a loss in
harassment by a neighbour are confidence and an underlying fear that
common areas of abuse. Indeed, 40% of displaying a symbol of their faith in public
our hate crime reports involve will make them more prone to abuse. Panic
incidents on public transport and 25% attacks, flashbacks, sleeplessness, and
are from victims experiencing anxiety are also commonly observed
Islamophobic abuse by a neighbour. psychological impacts.
 IRU victim and witness testimonies Victim Experiences
show that over 80% of Islamophobic
hate crime perpetrators are white
A Muslim Convert Experience,
males and the perpetrators of
Islamophobic hate crime are usually Female 25, London
individual actors or private citizens. I have suffered to some degree with social
The gendered dynamic of Islamophobia is anxiety for many years, but over the past
also worth exploring. 75% of reports to the few years having started wearing the
IRU come from Muslim women. This headscarf, this has become worse. I have
number rises to 80% when just looking at never suffered from what I would describe
physical attacks alone - meaning that as a “hate crime,” although I have been
verbally abused. I’ve been told to “go back

to my own f***ing country,” I’ve had “f*** carriage I was in. I wore my scarf pulled
Allah” being screamed out a car window back (some may describe this as a turban
amongst other types of religiously or style) as I anticipated there might be some
racially motivated comments – such as a fans and wanted to look less “visibly
man muttering “terrorist” under his breath Muslim.” During the journey a man started
or another saying to me “I bet you speak ranting loudly about how Muslims were
Afghanistan”. The above I have come to taking over our country, raping ‘our’
accept as normal. women, killing people and a whole host of
other Islamophobic commentary. I was
I have good and bad days, but I generally
with my husband and I was terrified that
am hyper-aware and alert when in public
he or I would be attacked. We contacted
and I am quite often anticipating being
BTP who told us on arrival to London that
verbally if not physically abused. Because
nothing could be done as the man would
of this anxiety I have started to change my
say “he was just having a conversation
behaviour or take “precautions”.
with his mates.”
Some of the minor behavioural changes I
I think the next behavioural change I will
have adopted to deal with anticipated
take to help with my anxiety is to learn
abuse is always having headphones in
how to drive.
when I am out alone as not to hear any
comments or abuse. I try my best not to
travel alone in the evenings and I am much
less inclined to leaving the house alone
unless I have to – i.e. to go to work or pick Spitting incident victim,
up groceries. It really affects the way I feel Female, 32, Birmingham
in the public space. On particularly bad
days, especially when there have been “After the attack, I’ve been afraid to leave
terrorist attacks I have swapped my the house. I spend most of my time
headscarf for a beanie when travelling indoors. I don’t even want to go out and do
which gives me a bit of peace to some the shopping. I hate being out even in my
degree, but also makes me feel angry. I own local area. I don’t feel safe anymore.”
have occasionally thought about no longer
wearing a headscarf.
I see my umbrella not just as something to
protect me from the elements, but also Victim on public transport,
something I could use to hit someone with Female, 24, London
if they were to attack me. (Much how many
“I don’t want to take the tube or buses
women think of their keys.) I started taking
anymore. I feel really anxious in public
martial arts classes, and also prefer to wear
spaces after being targeted in this way. I
trousers over skirts in case I am physically
just try to walk everywhere or get a lift
attacked and need to be able to better
from a family member.”
defend myself. I feel most alert and
concerned when in train stations, or when
I’m on the tube, or train.
On one occasion I travelled from Cardiff to
Victim of physical assault,
London on the train (there was a football
match with a London team that has a Female 28, London
particularly bad reputation.) I got a train “I feel so paranoid walking the streets, I
that was leaving before their match ended feel like everyone is out to attack me. I’m
and hoped there wouldn’t be too many super self-conscious in public now.”
fans – there were and they came into the

Islamophobia and Mental Health 29% physically attacked more than three
times in the same period. In terms of
Dr Shazad Amin impact, the survey found a variety of
responses. For some people it made them
Consultant Psychiatrist
feel more vulnerable, anxious, angry and
The above examples of experiences led to social withdrawal, but for others it
reported to the MEND Islamophobia motivated them to take positive action
Response Unit show that hate crimes have through community engagement via
considerable negative mental health specialist groups and charities. Certainly
consequences for victims. Research has anecdotally, we have witnessed this in
shown that the psychological impacts of MEND, with several people joining our
hate crime are greater than for non-hate organisation as a direct result of adverse
crime offences. Reported data from the personal Islamophobic abuse or attacks.
Crime Surveys of England and Wales
Under indirect effects of hate crime, 83% of
showed that victims of hate crimes were
Muslim participants reported that they
almost three times as likely (36% versus
knew someone who had experienced hate
13%) to report being “very much”
crimes. The reactions were similar to those
emotionally affected by the incident than
who had directly experienced hate crimes,
victims overall and were twice as likely to
with a cumulative effect of those who had
experience symptoms such as difficulty
experienced both. This suggests a degree of
sleeping, anxiety, depression, or panic
identification with victims by people who
share the same characteristic.
Since the Muslim community is also the
One of the most worrying adverse
most likely to be victims of religiously
community consequences of hate crimes is
motivated hate crimes compared to victims
that of avoidance behaviour following an
of other religious groups, this suggests that
attack, e.g. avoiding certain roads or areas
there is likely to be considerable
or stopping going out altogether. In a study
psychiatric morbidity arising as a result.230
of racial discrimination on mental health
Whilst there is a considerable corpus of Wallace et al found high rates of avoidance
research on the impact of racism on mental behaviour after incidents of racial
health there is precious little on discrimination.232 The rates of avoidance
Islamophobia. However, in the first study were highest in the Bangladeshi and
of its kind, researchers at the University of Pakistani groups with rates of 10-20%
Sussex examined the direct and indirect reported. Whilst the research did not
effects of hate crimes on both Muslim and record the nature of the incidents, it is
LGBT communities.231 likely that some of this abuse was
Concerning the direct effects of hate crime, religiously rather than racially motivated,
71% of Muslim respondents said they had noting slightly lower rates in the Indian
been victim of hate crimes, predominantly group. It is well recognised that
consisting of verbal and online abuse. perpetrators may conflate race with
More surprising was the numbers of religion, (and indeed there may be dual
people who were victims of repeat attacks motivations), hence in the absence of more
– 45% had been verbally abused more than religiously focussed research, ethnicity
three times over the past three years and

229 Hannah Corcoran, Deborah Lader, and Kevin Smith, "Hate Crime, England and
Wales, 2014/15," Home Office, October 13, 2015, accessed June 20, 2018, http://report- report.pdf&site=430.
Stephanie Wallace, James Nazroo, and Laia Bécares, "Cumulative Effect of Racial
230 Ibid. Discrimination on the Mental Health of Ethnic Minorities in the United
Kingdom," American Journal of Public Health 106, no. 7 (2016),
231Jenny Paterson et al., "THE SUSSEX HATE CRIME PROJECT," University of Sussex, doi:10.2105/ajph.2016.303121.
January 2018, accessed June 20, 2018,

may serve as a proxy for religion in this stimulating mental health research in this
respect.233 neglected area.
Avoidance behaviour is an important
phenomenon since it shows how a hate
crime against an individual can vicariously
affect the mental health of a whole
community. We witnessed this
phenomenon recently with the tragic
attempted murder of Zaynab Hussein, a
Somalian Muslim lady in Leicester in 2017,
for which her attacker, Paul Moore, was
sentenced earlier this year. He ran over
Mrs Hussain twice in an attack that left the
local community fearful of going out, a
classic case of avoidance behaviour by the
local community.
Islamophobia can thus also be viewed as a
public health problem, and as such we
have to look at wider factors to address it
such as the toxic ‘Islamophobic’ political
and media climate developing in recent
years. The recent rise in the political far
right across Europe and in the USA, with
some political parties such as PEGIDA,
AfD and UKIP espousing openly hostile
policies towards Muslims and Islam, has
led to a state of apprehension and fear
across Muslim communities as a whole. In
a qualitative study Ali (2017) found that
marginalisation and “othering” of
Muslims in the USA led to a variety of
psychological symptoms including fear,
stress, worry, and insecurity.234
It is clear that we desperately need more
research into the impact of Islamophobia in
all its forms on the mental health of
individuals, families and communities. We
can then begin to target interventions both
at an individual level, but also at a
community level to help build resilience
amongst affected Muslim communities.
We are confident that a definitive
understanding of what Islamophobia is,
will provide a firm foundation for

Maureen McBride, "A Review of the Evidence on Hate Crime and Prejudice:
233 234Areeza Ali, "The impact of Islamophobia on the Muslim American community:
Report for the Independent Advisory Group on Hate Crime, Prejudice and accounts of psychological suffering, identity negotiation, and collective trauma"
Community Cohesion," The Scottish Centre for Crime & Justice Research, September (2017). Theses, Dissertations, and Projects. 1879
2016, accessed June 20, 2018,

behaviour amongst students, including
Youth and Education name calling and stereotyping. In addition,
Islamophobia in the education system is a 31% of respondents admitted to witnessing
serious problem which impacts Muslim racist attitudes or behaviour among
children and their development in a wide teachers.237
variety of ways. From being bullied Incidents of bullying, motivated by racism,
explicitly in reference to their faith, to are likely to stifle the potential of students
being stigmatised and reported for views in attainment and subsequently affect their
they may hold, Muslim children are life chances in the future. The capability of
struggling to navigate this complex maze. teachers to deal with bullying incidents is
The impacts of these experiences can be therefore of vital importance so that
long-term, damaging their ability to schools are environments in which
achieve success in the employment sphere children may flourish and prosper, not
and inhibiting their participation in wider ones they fear or avoid.
civic society and the political arena.
Young people are shown to be more at ease
Bullying with diversity and are less likely to hold
views that are intolerant or prejudicial
Despite praiseworthy academic
towards those of other backgrounds. As
achievements, Muslim pupils frequently
such, schools are an important place where
encounter worrying levels of religiously
diversity, difference and prejudice can be
and racially motivated bullying. This is
discussed, and young people may be made
often particularly acute following episodes
aware of the dangers of hatred of
of violence and terrorist incidents such as
minorities. However, the low priority
the attack on Manchester Arena in May
given to religious education in the national
2017. Childline have reported that it held
curriculum inhibits the ability of schools to
over 2,500 counselling sessions for children
create environments in which pupils can
concerned about race and faith-based
learn about other religions and cultures
bullying over the past three years.235
and appreciate their significance to fellow
However, they noted a sharp increase in
pupils and members of their local
calls following attacks in London and
Manchester in 2017. Children as young as
nine reported being called terrorists and PREVENT
enduring abuse and threats of violence.
Meanwhile, the charity also reported that These sentiments are exacerbated via the
girls who wear the hijab had frequently Government’s statutory implementation of
been victimised for their religious dress, the PREVENT duty, which has seen
with some expressing a desire to self-harm thousands of Muslim students
as a result of the cruel treatment they had unnecessarily referred to authorities on the
received.236 erroneous basis of being at risk of
“radicalisation” or “extremism”.238
Furthermore, a report compiled by Show
Racism the Red Card on bullying in schools The levels of Muslim students attending
found that 83% of 48 teachers who university has risen significantly over the
completed a survey questionnaire said past decade, with Muslims constituting
they had witnessed racist attitudes or 10% of all first year UK university entrants
in 2016.239 The PREVENT duty, however, is
235May Bulman, "Muslim Children as Young as Nine Branded Terrorists in Wake of 237The Barriers to Challenging Racism and Promoting Race Equality in England’s
Recent Terror Attacks, Reveals Childline," The Independent, June 27, 2017, accessed Schools, report, Show Racism the Red Card, June 21, 2011,
May 10, 2018,
attack-a7810051.html. 238 Ibid.

236 Ibid. "Religion and Belief," Higher Education Funding Council for England, accessed

May 15, 2018,

having a tangible effect on students’ years. Teachers more so than ever have an
abilities to engage whole-heartedly in their incredible responsibility to not only deliver
university experience, with an NUS study outstanding teaching and learning but are
revealing that students are hesitant to also responsible for dealing with societal
participate in classroom debates on topical pressures that young children and their
issues concerning counter-terrorism and families face. This article will draw on key
foreign policy for fear of being referred to instances where Islamophobia is
PREVENT by their lecturers or teachers.240 perpetuated within the education sector
and provide pragmatic solutions to tackle
An overwhelming majority of respondents
Islamophobia within the education sector
to a recent NUS survey disagreed that
and beyond.
lecturers and education institutions should
monitor and report students’ attitudes, The Prevent Duty
behaviours, prayer room activities and
The revisions made to the Prevent Duty in
email or online activity. The report also
2015 meant that schools, along with other
describes the correlation of the visibility of public institutions, are legally required to
Muslim women and how they are
monitor signs of extremism and
impacted by PREVENT as notable, with radicalisation amongst pupils and even
those wearing hijab or niqab more likely to staff members. In reality, this means that
have been affected. This gives weight to
teachers, after receiving a few hours of
arguments that PREVENT magnifies a
training on the topic, are responsible for
variety of existing biases and prejudice
this task. The education sector alone has
among staff who are obligated to exercise
made the most referrals to Prevent, making
the duty.
up a third of all referrals in the year 2016-
Additionally, the research findings suggest 2017 (1976 out of 6093 referrals). This is
that Muslim students who have been largely due to the fact that Prevent in
affected by PREVENT are significantly schools is embedded within broader
more likely than others to believe there is statutory safeguarding duties as well as the
no safe space on campuses to discuss issues recent escalation in terrorist attacks in the
that affect them. These students are also UK which inevitably heightened anxieties.
significantly more likely to not be The number of cases discussed at the
comfortable being involved in student Channel panel is much less, with only 386
debates around topical areas including cases examined and only 126 individuals
racism, Islamophobia, Muslim student subsequently receiving Channel support.
provision, terrorism, Palestine or My research so far indicates that many
PREVENT. professionals within the education sector
are approaching the Prevent Duty as a
The impact of PREVENT is explored more
‘better safe than sorry attitude’, much like
fully later in the report chapter entitled
other safeguarding measures.
Securitising Muslim Identities: Security
and Counter-Terror. It has already been widely reported
through the media and various reports that
Islamophobia and education Muslim students will be mostly effected by
the Prevent Duty. The Prevent Duty is
Shereen Fernandez ultimately about power; it relies on
Queen Mary University teachers and other educational staff
members to use their ‘professional’
Our public education systems have discretion to make referrals. Considering
transformed greatly over the last few that the bulk of referrals made to Prevent

The Experience of Muslim Students in 2017-18, report, National Union of Students,

March 18, 2018, accessed May 10, 2018, 2017-18/download_attachment.

via the education sector pertain to ‘Islamist
extremism’, questions must be asked about
the training provided and how they are
evaluated. For example, does the Prevent
Duty perpetuate an anti-Muslim climate in
educational settings? What knowledge(s)
are produced through the training
materials and how do we ensure that
students from certain backgrounds are not
unfairly targeted because of their
perceived culture or religion? This must be
asked wherever Prevent operates within
educational contexts.
Trojan Horse
The Trojan Horse affair in 2013, where a
number of schools in Birmingham were
alleged to be promoting Islamist
ideologies, has left a lasting impact on the
educational landscape. The subsequent
media reporting of the affair (see figure 1
as an example) provoked an innate fear
amongst the public that Muslim teachers
were capable of an ‘Islamist’ takeover of
Figure 1: Cartoons from The Daily Telegraph and The Sunday
schools, which inevitably cast suspicion on Times via Cartoon Archive
visible Muslims in particular, working
Ofsted Hijab Ban
within the education sector. For Muslim
teachers that I interviewed for my research, In late 2017, Amanda Spielman announced
the Trojan Horse affair has left many that Ofsted inspectors will soon be tasked
feeling paranoid about their Islamic with questioning young girls in primary
identities in their workplace. Some spoke schools who wear the hijab. Her reasons
about having to downplay their Muslim for doing so was allegedly to ensure that
identities whereas others felt that along Muslim girls were not being forced to wear
with the Prevent Duty, they were being the hijab and that they received equal
unfairly scrutinised and watched closely. opportunities when it came to teaching and
The Prevent Duty outlines that schools and learning. The lack of consultation with
other educational institutions should be Muslim parents and branding those who
safe spaces but what is often ignored in opposed the measure as ‘extremists’ led to
discussions around Prevent and a national debate on the role of Ofsted in
hyperbolic, sensationalised media intervening on religious issues,
reporting is the impact on Muslim particularly when those who are at the
teachers. There is already a teacher receiving end of such measures have been
recruitment crisis in schools and hostile excluded from such conversations and
environments like this may contribute to antagonised.241 Furthermore, such a
such a decline. measure could further alienate Muslim
families from engaging with schools if they
feel that their children are unfairly
targeted. Developing solid relationships

241“What should the role of Ofsted be?”, The Guardian, February 6, 2018, accessed

with minority communities is essential and Funding has been severely slashed in
parents and carers must be treated as schools nationally and programmes aimed
partners. Ultimately, families want their at increasing parental engagement in
children to succeed and will work with schools are struggling. By funding
whoever is able to do so, but implementing programmes and initiatives to incorporate
rash measures will further divide and hard to reach and marginalised
isolate marginalised groups and achieve communities in primary and secondary
the opposite. schools will not only help them develop
skills and relationships, but will improve
Possible Solutions
parental engagement and student
Increase the number of BME staff wellbeing. If parents feel like they can
members: The Runnymede Trust has access schools freely, this will only have a
reported that in 2015, BME teachers made positive impact on their children’s
up 7.6% of the total teaching workforce in education. Schools should also be safe
England which does not adequately reflect spaces for parents and carers.
the BME student body.242 Increasing the
number of BME staff in schools across Address hyperbolic and sensationalised
media reporting: It is of utmost
geographical areas should be a priority to
importance that media outlets are
reflect diversity of British society. Schools
responsible in their reporting and news
will also be better prepared in dealing with
coverage. In the last few years, there have
the diversity of cultures and religions in
been a number of recorded incidents where
their schools if their staff body mirrors this.
journalists and writers have used their
Include anti-racist training as part of platforms to spread divisive messaging
‘diversity and inclusion’ training in and increase intolerance towards minority
schools: Anti-racism curriculums must be communities.244 This is then reflected in
firmly embedded within schools to tackle schools and in the playground, where
racial prejudice. Schools have taken on similar discourse is regurgitated. Schools
Black History month and some have even should be places of change which are
adopted Islamophobia Awareness Month dedicated to improving the lives of
but such initiatives are reductive if the root younger generations and better society as a
causes of racism and discrimination are not whole.
addressed seriously. Schools in Wales have
recently recognised the need to address
Islamophobia in the classroom and similar Britishness, belonging and
programmes should be implemented Islamophobia: reflection and
nationally.243 Considering that the Prevent dialogue
Duty has reportedly divided communities
in recent years, anti-racist training for all
Dr Sadia Habib
staff members is essential in order to
combat any preconceived ideas and to Times may have moved on since a teacher
provide them with better understandings referred to an ethnic minority student as a
on race and religion. ‘wog’,245 but today young Muslims are
now in fear of being branded as ‘terrorists’
Increase access participation programmes
by their teachers.246 Yet it is concerning that
for hard to reach and minority groups:

242“Visible Minorities, Invisible Teachers: BME Teachers in the Education System in
England”, Runnymede Trust, p. 9 accessed 14.06.2018, british-press-issue-got-to-be-kidding
Muhammad Anwar, “Between Cultures Continuity and Change in the Lives of
243“Schools urged to help tackle Islamophobia”, BBC News, January 15, 2018, accessed Young Asians” (Florence: Taylor and Francis, 2002).
Tom Pettifor, "Teacher Sacked 'for Calling Muslim Schoolboy Terrorist after He
244Miqdaad Versi “Islamophobia not an issue in the British press? You’ve got to be Complained about Detention'," Mirror, January 28, 2016, accessed June 20, 2018,
kidding”, The Guardian, April 27, 2018, accessed 14.06.2018

teacher training and school professional people could examine how over time
development courses, in the UK, fail to ‘Islamophobic representations have been
give issues of multiculturalism and constructed as ideological tools to
diversity due time and attention.247 A big legitimate campaigns of political, social,
challenge for schools and teacher economic, and military domination’. 251
education institutions then is how to
After investigating historical
respond to trainee teachers and existing
Islamophobia, young people and teachers
classroom teachers consistently reporting
can move onto drawing connections
that they are inadequately guided or
between what they have learned about the
trained to teach young people about
past and how this impacts the present lived
multiculturalism and social inequalities.248
experiences of young Muslims. How do
Hostile racial examples, like ‘It’s our
young people express a sense of belonging
country meant for white people’ or ‘p**i’,
to contemporary Britain? Belonging refers
that feature in young people’s discourses
to acceptance and recognition within a
of belonging to Britain, highlight the
group or society. Its multiple layers are
urgency of anti-racist and anti-
illustrated by ‘the interplay of the
Islamophobia education. 249
subjective self, collective agency and
Islamophobia is not a new phenomenon, structural positioning’, while its multiple
and not a new racism. It is important for facets mean we can ‘belong to a
young people to explore how community, a locality or a nation’, but also
Islamophobia has existed for hundreds of experience ‘a transnational sense of
years. To begin with, classroom activities belonging’.252 How do young people
can, for example, focus upon historical negotiate these multiple belongings and
examples of Islamophobia. For example, what support do they require from societal
the ways in which Islamophobia infiltrated institutions?
narratives surrounding the crusades
By applying a critical perspective, young
during the medieval period, or the impact
people from all backgrounds can use the
of European colonisation on Muslims
safe spaces of their classrooms to challenge
throughout the world. 250 By examining the
‘monovocals, master narratives, standard
historical dimensions of Islamophobia and
stories, or majoritarian stories’ by
placing emphasis on its existence pre-9/11
contributing counter-narratives about
and pre-7/7, young people can better
Islamophobia and racism in contemporary
understand that Islamophobia has been
used ideologically for centuries. Young Sarah Pearce, "Confronting Dominant Whiteness in the Primary Classroom:

7266677. Progressive Student Teachers Dilemmas and Constraints," Oxford Review of
Education 38, no. 4 (2012): doi:10.1080/03054985.2012.710546.
Rachael Revesz New York, "A Teacher Told Her Muslim Pupil He Was a 'terrorist'
after He Laughed during a Film," The Independent, April 04, 2016, accessed June 20, Eleanor Stokes and Barbara Nea, "Shaping the Future: Getting the Best for Black,
2018, Asian and Minority Ethnic Children and Young People," Race on the Agenda,
muslim-pupil-a-terrorist-as-he-laughs-watching-bend-it-like-beckham- December 2013, accessed June 20, 2018,
John Shammas, "Muslim Student Claims Teacher Told Him: 'Stop Talking, You
Terrorist' as Council Launches Investigation," Mirror, December 08, 2015, accessed 248Sadia Habib, Learning and Teaching British Values Policies and Perspectives on
June 20, 2018, British Identities (Cham: Springer International Publishing, 2018).
Peter Sanderson and Paul Thomas, "Troubling Identities: Race, Place and
247Kalwant Bhopal and Jasmine Rhamie, "Initial Teacher Training: Understanding Positionality among Young People in Two Towns in Northern England," Journal of
‘race,’ Diversity and Inclusion," Race Ethnicity and Education 17, no. 3 (2013): Youth Studies 17, no. 9 (2014): doi:10.1080/13676261.2014.901491.
250Jasmine Zine, "Anti-Islamophobia Education as Transformative Pedadogy:
Bruce Carrington et al., "Recruitment of New Teachers from Minority Ethnic Reflections from the Educational Front Lines," American Journal of Islamic Social
Groups," International Studies in Sociology of Education 10, no. 1 (2000): Sciences 21, no. 3 (June 2004): 110.
251 Ibid.
Richard Race, Advancing Race and Ethnicity in Education (Basingstoke: Palgrave
Macmillan, 2016). 252Ellie Vasta, "Do We Need Social Cohesion in the 21st Century? Multiple
Languages of Belonging in the Metropolis," Journal of Intercultural Studies 34, no. 2
Alistair Ross, Citizenship Education: Europe and the World; Proceedings of the (2013): doi:10.1080/07256868.2013.781983.
Eighth Conference of the Childrenś Identity and Citizenship in Europe Thematic
Network (London: CiCe, 2006).

Britain.253 What are young people’s own education as a means of raising the
experiences of Islamophobia and racism in aspirations and opportunities for their
British society? What are their everyday families and wider community. The first
lived experiences? What institutional and Muslim school, Darul Uloom Al-Arabiya
structural policies and practices do they Al-Islamia was opened in Lancashire in
deem to impact upon their identities as 1979, but it took another 18 years for the
Muslims? How do they respond to racist first state funded Muslim school, Islamia
and Islamophobic discourses they Primary School, to open in London in
encounter through different forms of social 1997.257
media? These are some of the critical
The progress of Muslim schools in recent
questions that need to be urgently explored
years has been noteworthy, with a number
in anti-Islamophobia education.
of schools achieving excellent results and
My own research into Britishness and nationwide accolades. Tauheedul Islam
British values found that young people Boys and Girls Schools in Blackburn, run
from a range of cultural, religious and by the Tauheedul Educational Trust, were
ethnic backgrounds are keen to explore ranked 1st and 2nd in the country in 2016 by
British identities and belongings. Teachers the Government’s Progress 8 measures.
and students benefit from using the This means the schools were the highest
principles of critical pedagogy254 in the rated for improving pupils’ attainment
classroom to critically analyse what it across the whole country.258
means to belong to contemporary
Despite the overwhelming achievements
Britain.255 Critical pedagogy is also
of many of these schools, Islamic schools
practised as liberatory, empowering, or
have frequently been the topic of intense
radical pedagogy.256 Critical pedagogy
scrutiny. This has intensified in the wake of
empowers teachers and students to
the infamous Trojan Horse affair.
collaborate; they can work together to
create a schooling space that emboldens The Birmingham Trojan Horse
students’ voices, stimulates dialogue, and Affair
recommends reflection and action to attain
goals of social justice. Such potentially
powerful outcomes make critical Professor John Holmwood
pedagogy a significant approach to University of Nottingham
become embedded in anti-Islamophobia
The Birmingham Trojan Horse affair began
in early 2014 with sensationalist media
reporting of a supposed Islamic plot to take
Islamic schools over schools in Birmingham, Bradford and
Manchester. This was apparently
Since the first wave of Muslim migrants
evidenced by a leaked letter and document
began bringing their wives and children to
sent to Birmingham City Council naming 3
the UK, Muslims have invested in

253"Critical Race Methodology: Counter-Storytelling as an Analytical Framework for Paulo Freire, Ana Maria Araújo Freire, and Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of Hope: Reliving
Education Research," Philosophy of the Social Sciences, accessed June 20, 2018, Pedagogy of the Oppressed (Vancouver, B.C.: Langara College, 2016).
255“Learning and Teaching British Values Policies and Perspectives on British
Paulo Freire, The Politics of Education: Culture, Power, and Liberation (South
254 Identities”
Hadley, MA: Bergin & Garvey, 1985).
Gary Tate et al., A Guide to Composition Pedagogies (New York: Oxford

Paul Freire, "Reading the World and Reading the Word: An Interview with Paulo University Press, 2014).
Freire," Language Arts 62, no. 1 (January 1985): 15-21
257Serving Muslim Schools | Serving Future Generations, report, Association of Muslim
Paulo Freire et al., Pedagogy of the Oppressed (New York: Bloomsbury Academic, Schools UK, December 2013, accessed May 10, 2018,
2018). content/uploads/2013/12/AMS-Brochure.pdf.

Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of Freedom: Ethics, Democracy, and Civic Courage (Lanham: 258Richard Adams, "Two Blackburn Faith Schools Top Charts for GCSE Progress," The
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2001). Guardian, October 13, 2016, accessed May 10, 2018,

schools.259 This gave rise to the Secretary of been gathered by the Clarke inquiry but
State at the Department for Education not reported by him.261
(DfE) ordering Ofsted reports on 21
The background to the affair was Prime
schools in Birmingham all with a high
Minister David Cameron’s speech to the
proportion of pupils from Muslim
Munich security conference in 2011 when
backgrounds. An Education Funding
he declared that ‘multiculturalism had
Agency review was instigated into Park
failed’ and that the country had tolerated
View Educational Trust (and its 3 schools)
the growth of “segregated communities
and two reports were commissioned, one
behaving in ways that run completely
reporting to Birmingham City Council
counter to our values”.262 No evidence for
(Kershaw Report), the other to Parliament
this claim was provided – indeed there was
through the Secretary of State (Clarke
and is none - and, under the constraints of
Report).260 These reports investigated 14
the then coalition government, no
schools and claimed to find evidence of
legislative action was taken to modify
undue religious influence, with the Clarke
regulatory requirements on schools.263
Report claiming evidence of extremism
However, schools had been required to
and actions to undermine British values.
teach shared values under a Duty to
The latter recommended that professional Promote Community Cohesion (effective
misconduct cases be brought against from 2008).264 The Clarke Report, however,
teachers. In the event, proceedings were treated the Munich speech as providing the
brought against 12 teachers in 4 separate context of its inquiry and regarded a
hearings by the National College of concern with community cohesion not as a
Teaching and Leadership (NCTL), the regulatory requirement but as a form of
agency of the DfE responsible for teacher political correctness which had prevented
standards. The teachers were all connected Birmingham City Council from
to Park View Academy which had intervening (as it should have done, or so
emerged as the school at the centre of the Clarke believed).
plot, although by now its tentacles were
considerably retracted. The case against In 2015, under a Conservative-majority
the leaders of Park View Education Trust Government, a new Counter Extremism
collapsed in May 2017 when serious strategy was outlined where the only
improprieties were discovered in the example of the problem it was to address
conduct of the case by NCTL, including was that of the Birmingham Trojan Horse
giving misleading statements and failing to affair.265 In addition, a new requirement on
disclose exculpatory evidence that had schools to promote ‘fundamental British
values’ was introduced.266 The most
259A detailed account is provided by John Holmwood and Therese O’Toole, Countering 262David Cameron, ‘PM’s speech at Munich Security Conference’, (5 February 2011).
Extremism in British Schools? The Truth about the Trojan Horse Affair (Bristol, Policy Press, Available at:
2018). The introduction is available free online: conference.
introduction.pdf. 263 See, for example. Saffron Karlsen, and James Y. Nazroo, ‘Ethnic and religious
differences in the attitudes of people towards being “British”’, (Sociological Review,
260Education Funding Agency, Review of Park View Education Trust, (9 June 2014). 63(4) 2015). The Government uses evidence from the Casey Review. See, Dame Louise
Available at: Casey, ‘The Casey Review: a review into opportunity and integration. An independent
educational-trust; Ian Kershaw, ‘Investigation Report: Trojan Horse Letter. Prepared report for the Department of Communities and Local Government’, (5 December
for Birmingham City Council’, (Published by Eversheds LlP, July 2014). Available at: 2016). Available at: review-intoopportunity-and-integration. This Review has been widely discredited.
_letter_the_kershaw_report; Peter Clarke, ‘Report into Allegations concerning See, Stephen Crossley, ‘Telling it Like it Is’? A critical perspective on the Casey Review
Birmingham Schools arising from the ‘Trojan Horse’ Letter’, (London, House of into Opportunity and Integration’, (Discover Society, no 56, May 2018). Available at:
Commons HC576 July 2014). Available at: on-the-casey-review-into-opportunity-and-integration/.
264Department for Schools, Children and the Families, ‘Guidance on the duty to
261Professional conduct panel outcome: Panel decision and reasons on behalf of the promote community cohesion’, (London, 2007). Available at:
Secretary of State for Education in respect of applications for the proceedings to be
discontinued’, (May 2017). Available at: 20promote%20community%20cohesion%20in%20school.pdf.
monzoor-hussain-mr-hardeep-sainimr-arshad-hussain-mr-razwan-faraz-ms- Home Office, Counter-Extremism Strategy, (19 October 2015). Available at:


266Department for Education, ‘Promoting fundamental British values as part of SMSC

in schools. Departmental advice for maintained schools’, (London: Department for
Education, November 2015). Available at:

significant aspect of the affair, however, with Park View Academy is significant to
was that there was neither fire nor smoke understanding what had in fact been
and no basis to the claims made against the taking place. The school was a failing
teachers and the schools, all of which were school in 1996 (the beginning of the plot’s
hearsay. timeline according to Clarke) yet by 2012 it
was in the top 14% of all schools in England
The Clarke Report was deeply and self-
for academic achievement,
evidently flawed, yet no media outlet
notwithstanding that 72.7% of pupils were
addressed those flaws, not even after the
in receipt of free school meals, just 7.5%
cases against the teachers had collapsed.
had English as a first language and its
Nor did the Parliamentary select
pupil intake was below the national
committee that reviewed the Trojan Horse
average in academic performance on entry.
affair.267 For example, there was no
It is for this reason, that it was asked by the
discussion in the report of the statutory
DfE working together with the school
requirements on schools for religious
improvement team at BCC to takeover two
education and compulsory daily acts of
other schools, to become a multi-academy
collective worship. While the latter is
trust and ultimately incorporate other
required to be Christian in character it can
failing schools.
be varied under a determination provided
by the local Standing Advisory Committee The ‘takeover plot’ that Clarke discovers,
on Religious Education (SACRE). Park then, was at the behest of the DfE and
View had had such a determination since directly under its supervision to extend its
1996, which had lapsed in 2012 (they are good practices to other schools. Evidence
renewable every five year) at the time it associated with the involvement of DfE
became an academy, when responsibility officials and evidence provided by
passed to the DFE. It made no provisions Birmingham SACRE was not presented in
for this part of its duties toward academy the report, but it was its disclosure that
and free schools. The school had also caused the NCTL hearing to collapse. The
continued to teach the locally agreed ‘Islamic plot’ to takeover schools in
religious education curriculum. Birmingham, then, is better described as a
moral panic engendered by the
Nor did the Clarke Report establish what
Government’s attack on multiculturalism
the responsibilities of schools were under
and its promotion of unevidenced claims
Prevent (there were none), yet Ipsos Mori
that British Muslims are at odds with
had conducted a review of schools for the
British values. It also indicates a failure by
DfE which showed that most schools
media and Parliament to discover the truth
understood it as part of their duty to
behind an injustice visited on teachers and
promote community cohesion.268 Indeed, if a calumny against a community, its values
Clarke – or his advisers from the DfE - had and the success of its local school.
referred to this review they would have
discovered that Park View was doing The current HM Chief Inspector of Schools,
more, and had more teachers trained in Amanda Spielman, continues the hostility
Prevent, than was typical for schools in toward schools with an Islamic ethos
England. (reflecting their communities). In a recent
speech,269 she praised the religious ethos of
Finally, the shrinking nature of the ‘plot’
Church of England (and Catholic) schools
from 21 to 14 to 4 schools, all associated 268Chris Phillips, Daniel Tse, Daniel and Fiona Johnson, ‘Community Cohesion and
/SMSC_Guidance_Maintained_Schools.pdf. PREVENT. (Ipsos Mori Research Report 0085 for the Department for Education, 2011).
Available at:
267House of Commons Education Select Committee, ‘Seventh Report, Extremism in
Schools: the Trojan Horse Affair’, (11 March, 2015). Available at: tachment_data/file/182300/DFE-RR085.pdf.
m. 269Amanda Spielman, ‘Speech at the Church of England Foundation for Education
Leadership’, (1 February 2018). Available at:

writing that one of ‘British values’ is,
“‘mutual respect for and tolerance of those
with different faiths and beliefs and for
those without faith’. It is a happy fact that
almost every Church of England school we
visit takes that value seriously.” However,
she went on, “tolerance and respect does
not mean that we should privilege all belief
above criticism. Ofsted inspectors are
increasingly brought into contact with
those who want to actively pervert the
purpose of education. Under the pretext of
religious belief, they use education
institutions, legal and illegal, to narrow
young people’s horizons, to isolate and
segregate, and in the worst cases to
indoctrinate impressionable minds with
extremist ideology.” Finally, she stated,
“there should not, indeed cannot, be a
trade-off between school ethos and school
outcomes... Sadly, I am afraid that it does
not match with the reality in all of our
schools today.”
The real lesson of the Birmingham Trojan
Horse affair is that Park View School was
undermined despite its successful
outcomes because of hostility to its Islamic
ethos. Yet it is precisely those outcomes
that served the integration of its pupils.

feeling forced to work “10 times as hard”
Economic Exclusion: as their white counterparts in order to
Islamophobia and the achieve equivalent levels of success.272
Employer attitudes have also been given as
Labour Market a reason for failure to progress in the
workplace in research by BBC “Inside
Numerous studies in recent years have Out”, which found that CVs submitted
researched the failure of Muslims to under a non-Muslim name were three
progress and reach levels of success in the times more likely to be offered an
workplace which their non-Muslim interview than those with a Muslim
counterparts enjoy. These studies have name.273
pointed to a combination of Islamophobia,
The findings are particularly galling given
racism and discrimination as reasons for
that academics found a strong work ethic
Muslims to be less likely to be in work, less
and high resilience among Muslims which
likely to be in skilled and professional
“resulted in impressive results in
occupations, and less likely to break
education”. These achievements are not
through the glass ceiling to access top level
translated into the workplace
executive positions. Indeed, only 6% of
unfortunately, with previous data showing
Muslims in the workplace were in higher
that only 20% of Muslim adults were in
managerial, administrative and
full-time employment, compared to 35% of
professional occupations, compared to
the general population.274
10% of the overall population.270
Research has also found that Muslim
Studies also show that Muslims have been
women face greater difficulty in being
disproportionately confined to unskilled
accepted in the workplace. The Social
professions or those jobs with limited
Mobility Commission noted how this
opportunities for progression.271 Census
adversity was amplified for Muslim
data shows that, while a fifth of people are
women wearing headscarves. Researchers
employed in the highest category of socio-
found that women were confronted with
economic classifications, such as higher
situations ranging from “assumptions they
managerial and higher professional
were forced to wear the headscarf to jokes
occupations, this proportion falls to just 1
and casual comments in the workplace
in 8 for Muslims. More jarringly, while
about Muslims”. Muslim workers were
only 4% of the adult population had never
also hit with “a feeling of a need to
worked, this figure was five times higher
apologise and explain” every time a terror
for Muslims, with 21.3% of Muslim adults
attack occurred.275
having never worked.
In 2016, the House of Commons Women
The Government’s Social Mobility
and Equalities Committee stated that
Commission, chaired by former Labour
Muslim women face a triple penalty in the
minister Alan Milburn, cited a number of
employment sphere, due to being women,
barriers to success for Muslims in the
being from an ethnic minority background
employment sphere, including ethnic
and for being Muslim. Another study
minority sounding names being less likely
found that 1 in 4 employers admitted to
to be offered interviews and Muslims
being reluctant to hire Muslim women, due

270"Young Muslims in the UK Face Enormous Social Mobility Barriers," GOV.UK,
accessed June 20, 2018, uk-muslims-in-workplace-study-finds.
273Zack Adesina and Oana Marocico, "Is It Easier to Get a Job If You're Adam or
271Roger Dobson, British Muslims face worst job discrimination of any minority group, Mohamed?" BBC News, February 06, 2017, accessed May 10, 2018,
according to research”, Independent, November 30, 2014, accessed June 12, 2018,
worst-job-discrimination-of-any-minority-group-9893211.html. 274 Ibid.

272Anushka Asthana, "Islamophobia Holding Back UK Muslims in Workplace, Study 275 Ibid.
Finds," The Guardian, September 07, 2017, accessed May 10, 2018,

to concerns they would prioritise their and Bangladeshi people were also the most
family commitments above professional likely to be unemployed. Indeed, 11% of
duties.276 Pakistani and Bangladeshi people were
unemployed in 2016, almost three times
One of the more disturbing revelations
the rate (4%) of unemployment amongst
from research into the difficulties ethnic
White British people.280
minority women face in entering
employment was that 1 in 8 Pakistani Alongside this, the National Equality Panel
women had been illegally asked about previously found that Muslims receive, on
marriage and family aspirations in job average, 13-21% less pay than their White
interviews, compared to 1 in 30 White Christian counterparts with equivalent
women, demonstrating the levels of qualifications.281
preconceived bias and racially and
The Race Audit showed that while 74% of
religiously shaped assumptions that
people from White ethnic groups were
Muslim women face.277
employed in 2016, only 64% of those from
Discrimination for Muslim women also other ethnic groups were similarly
continues once they enter the workplace. employed. This means that the difference
Research conducted by MEND in 2016 in the employment rate for ethnic
revealed that more than 60% of Muslim minorities compared with the overall
women who wear a hijab felt they had been population, also known as the
treated differently at work due to religious “employment rate gap”, was 10 percentage
discrimination.278 points.282 This represents a slow
improvement from the 15-percentage point
The Government published its Race
gap recorded over ten years previously, in
Equality Audit in late 2017, amalgamating
2004, but highlights how much
research and data from various sectors to
intervention is still required to give people
shine a light on the disparities ethnic
from BME backgrounds the opportunity to
minorities face in the UK. The employment
both enter and then succeed in fulfilling
audit showed that people of Pakistani and
their potential in the workplace.
Bangladeshi ethnicity suffered the most
with regards to unemployment and low Given the younger age profile of the BAME
pay.279 and Muslim demographic than the wider
population, there are serious opportunities
Amongst all minorities, Pakistani and
for Government and businesses to harness
Bangladeshi workers were more likely to
the growth in the BAME population and
be concentrated in the three lowest-skilled
tap into the high levels of talent available.
occupation groups, with more than 2 in 5
With more BAME students going to
Pakistani and Bangladeshi workers in
university, there should be no tolerance for
these lower-skilled occupations, compared
employers excluding people based on their
to 1 in 4 of White workers. Bangladeshi and
religion or the colour of their skin rather
Pakistani employees also earned the
than on their merits and achievements.
lowest average hourly pay, £11.42,
compared to £13.75 per hour received by The EU Agency for Fundamental Rights
their White counterparts. Finally, Pakistani published a survey in 2017, in which 10,000

276Siobhan Fenton, "6 Charts Which Show the Employment Barriers Faced by British 280 "Findings of 'Race Disparity Audit' Call for Action against Racial Inequality in
Muslims," The Independent, August 11, 2016, accessed May 10, 2018, Britain." Muslim Engagement and Development. November 17, 2017. Accessed June 12, 2018.
be-unemployed-than-any-other-social-group-in-the-uk-mps-warn-a7185451.html. inequality-britain/.

277 Ibid. 281John Hills et al, An Anatomy of Economic Inequality in the UK, report, National
Equality Panel, January 2010, accessed May 10, 2018,
278Tackling Racism and Employment Discrimination in the UK, Presentation, MEND
282"Employment," GOV.UK Ethnicity Facts and Figures, accessed June 20, 2018,
279 Cabinet Office, Race Disparity Audit, October 2017, accessed June 12, 2018, benefits/employment/employment/latest.

Muslims in Europe were questioned on  A Muslim teacher who was falsely
how religious discrimination impacts their accused of gender segregating a
everyday lives. Workplace discrimination classroom.
had the largest impact, but plenty of other
 A Muslim candidate in a job interview
forms of discrimination emerged from the
is asked “How he feels working under
survey, including: access to public and
private services, housing, accessing
healthcare, being turned away from school  A Muslim woman who was asked to
for wearing the niqab and being asked to remove the face veil in an interview.
remove the niqab for meetings and when
The IRU has played an active role in many
dropping children off to school.283
of these cases. We have participated in
An update from the many employment tribunals where we
have won thousands of pounds worth of
Islamophobia Response Unit settlements for employment
(IRU) discrimination victims.
For example, in one case dealt with by the
MEND’s Islamophobia Response Unit IRU a Muslim teacher was unfairly
(IRU) deals with not only hate crime, but
dismissed from his role after being falsely
discrimination as well. The unit is accused of introducing gender segregation
fortunate to benefit from the invaluable
into the classroom. The IRU supported him
skills and experience of a team of dedicated and helped him take the case to an
legal professionals from leading law firms
employment tribunal. We helped prove
across London who offer pro-bono legal that the allegations were wholly incorrect
advice and support to those affected by and secured him £5,000 as a settlement.
Islamophobic discrimination. This team of
talent provides the IRU with the The impacts of this form of discrimination
intellectual capital it needs to challenge on victims can be long lasting. Many
those institutions who oppress and victims report to us that they suffer a loss
discriminate against Muslims. of confidence in the workplace, poorer job
prospects, and a desire to work in more
Employment based discrimination is the
diverse work settings.
largest area of our discrimination work at
the IRU. 60% of our Islamophobic It appears clear that in order for Muslims,
discrimination reports are from those who and Muslim women in particular, to
have been mistreated at work because of progress with their careers, clear changes
their faith. are required at both employer and
government levels in order to remove
In the IRU’s data monitoring of reports we barriers and give Muslims the
have discovered that, while 60% of our opportunities to achieve their career
hate crime reports come from Muslim aspirations.
women, the data we have collected on the
discrimination side reveals that over 70%
of our discrimination reports come from
Muslim men.
We have received a variety of employment
discrimination reports at the IRU. Some

Second European Union Minorities and Discrimination Survey (EU-MIDIS II): Muslims
- Selected Findings, report, European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, survey-muslims-selected-findings_en.pdf.
September 2017, accessed May 16, 2018,

perpetrator, resulting in an attitude of "us"
Securitising Muslim vs "them". The intent of religiously
Identities: Security and motivated attacks further reinforces the
mindset of a division between the believer
Counter-Terror and the
dominant non-believing

MEND has no intention of undermining

The act, as a consequence, is not only an act
the severity of security threats that our
of violence but is also assault on the
nation currently faces and wholeheartedly
dominant group identity. However, when
commend those who dedicate their lives to
it comes to incidents such as the murder of
ensuring the safety and security of each
Jo Cox (which was also designated an act
and every citizen.
of terrorism), the identity of the attacker
However, we also believe that the lens means that he was already part of the "us"
through which Muslims are repeatedly of the dominant group and the intent was
and forcefully portrayed as security threats not an overt assault upon the interests of
is a narrative desperately in need of this dominant group.
recalibration. The damaging consequences
Therefore, within the above framework,
that result from misguided policies
religiously inspired terrorism is an attack
predicated upon Islamophobic
on society and state and, by extension, an
assumptions and discourses is an area that
attack on freedom and a way of life.
is in need of immediate address. Therefore,
Meanwhile far-right, white-supremacist,
this chapter focusses on the process of
or ultra-nationalist terrorism is an attack
securitisation and resulting legislation that
on a minority and not society as a whole.
serves to marginalise and demonise British
Within the public (and often political)
imagination, this leads to a perception that
Labelling the threat religiously inspired terrorism is a matter of
security, while far-right, white-
It is difficult to ignore the level to which supremacist, or ultra-nationalist terrorism
Muslim communities and individuals have is a public order concern.
come to be seen through the lens of
security and counter-terror. It is not It is also worth remembering previous
uncommon to hear the wildly inaccurate discussions of moral panic. As mentioned,
adage that “not all Muslims are terrorists, the perpetuation of moral panic leads to
but all terrorists are Muslim”. Such public calls for restrictions, punitive laws, and the
misconceptions create the impression that curtailment of the suspect community’s
security concerns are solely in the domain civil liberties and freedoms. The
of Muslim aggression, while other forms of culminating effect is a process of
violence are frequently overlooked, securitisation wherein Muslims become
minimalised or at least framed in a very transformed into subjects of security.
different and de-prioritised manner.
Processes of securitisation
Perhaps a reason for this should be seen in
Securitisation is the process through which
an amalgamation of identity and intent.
state actors transform subjects into matters
Recalling earlier discussions surrounding
of security. In the case of British Muslims,
race, ethnicity, and identity, it is not
this is the way in which politicians,
uncommon for xenophobic sentiments to
policymakers and public figures (state
(consciously or unconsciously) influence
actors) construct public narratives,
the public evaluation of a Muslim

284Following the logics of Islamophobia, in instances where this perpetrator is Muslim,

the rest of the Muslim population is also tainted with this assumption of difference by

legislative recommendations, and policies or cocaine. One really must question how
which permanently frame Muslims within much positive coverage is being given to
the lens of counter-terror (thus, cancer and cocaine to make them be seen
transforming them into matters of more positively than Muslims.286
Once a subject has been securitised within
Due to the emotive nature of security, the public, political, and media discourses, it
result of an individual or group being becomes necessary for policies to be
predominantly framed and referenced created to mitigate the security risk they
within debates of security is that they are claimed to pose. In the UK landscape,
receive disproportionate amounts of this has led to a series of questionable
attention and resources. For example, counter-terror legislation, including the
terrorism committed by Muslims affects Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015
far fewer people than the numbers killed and the Terrorism Act 2006.
by car accidents, heart disease, breast
However, such securitised rhetoric is not
cancer, smoking, or alcohol. Indeed,
limited to counter-terror strategies, it has
studies in the US have shown that you are
also infiltrated the Government’s approach
more likely to be killed by brain-eating
to integration and community cohesion as
parasites, texting whilst driving, toddlers,
well. Indeed, the Ministry of Housing,
lightning, furniture, falling out of bed,
Communities, and Local Government’s
alcoholism, food poisoning, choking on
“Integrated Communities Strategy Green
food, prescription medication, a financial
Paper; Building Stronger, More United
crash, obesity, medical errors or autoerotic
Communities” is littered with references
asphyxiation than by Muslim terrorists.285
and allusions reminiscent of counter-terror
While security threats are a real and crucial strategies. This conflation between
concern, the attention given to the dangers integration and security is then furthered
presented by Muslims in the Western within the Home Office's updated counter-
context, particularly the attention afforded terror strategy "CONTEST: The United
by the media, far outweighs that of any of Kingdom's Strategy for Countering
the aforementioned issues that pose equal, Terrorism", which explicitly mentions this
if not greater threats. Reflecting back to the Green Paper in outlining its strategy. It is
mechanics of the media industry and the imperative that strategies of community
dynamics of moral panics, perhaps a integration and of counter-terrorism do not
reason that the above dangers are not overlap, as this can only result in the
afforded the same emotive reaction is further securitisation of an already
because they are not considered as problematic tripartite relationship between
newsworthy as terrorism committed by government, society, and minorities. The
Muslims. Consequently, the level of media Government's integration strategy will be
coverage affects the average member of the discussed further in a later chapter on
public’s perception of levels of importance. Public Exclusion, Integration, and
Thus, they become unable to accurately Minority Rights.
weigh relative risks, and therefore
overinflate the risk of terrorism compared
to other threats.
A case in point is that a recent study of the
New York Times revealed that Muslims
are presented more negatively than cancer

285 "You're 55 Times More Likely to be Killed by a Police Officer than a Terrorist," 286"Study: 'NYT' Portrays Islam More Negatively than Alcohol, Cancer, and Cocaine,"
Washington's Blog, accessed April 12, 2017, Mondoweiss, March 06, 2016, accessed June 20, 2018,
officer-terrorist.html. alcohol-cancer-and-cocaine/.

Islamophobia and the What we also know from scholarly
examinations of young people in Britain
Presumption of Muslim Guilt in and other Western nations who end up
Terrorism joining terrorist organizations is that few of
them are literate in Islam. In Britain, this
Dr Todd Green, PhD religious illiteracy was first brought to the
public’s attention after a classified study
Luther College (USA)
from MI5’s Behavioural Science Unit was
In a BBC One television interview in 2015, leaked. This study found most terrorist
then Business Secretary Sajid Javid insisted recruits were novices concerning Islam and
British Muslims have a special were not observant practitioners.290 The
responsibility to “combat the poisonous Oxford scholar, Lydia Wilson, had similar
ideology” fuelling Islamist terrorism. findings in her study of imprisoned Islamic
Refusal to do so, insisted Javid, would be State fighters in Iraq.291 We’ve even seen
equivalent to leading Muslim children “to evidence of this in the news. When two
the door” of terrorists.287 That same year, young men from Birmingham, Yusuf
Prime Minister David Cameron accused Sarwar and Mohammed Ahmed, made
some British Muslims of “quietly plans to travel to Syria to join a terrorist
condoning” an extremist ideology that organization in 2013, they logged on to
helped the Islamic State to recruit and Amazon and ordered books to help them
spread its message.288 prepare for the ensuing jihad, including
Asking Muslims to condemn terrorism, or Islam for Dummies and The Koran for
insinuating Muslims are guilty of Dummies.292 Their choice of literature
condoning terrorism unless they prove speaks volumes about what little they
otherwise, has become a permanent fixture knew about Islam even after they had
in public and political discourse. But there made their decision to travel to Syria.
are three important reasons why we A second reason to stop asking Muslims to
should avoid calling out Muslims and condemn terrorism is that Muslims
asking them to condemn terrorism. condemn terrorism all the time, in word
The first reason is that the question and in deed. A simple Google search yields
wrongly assumes Islam is the driving force countless links to news releases, videos,
behind terrorism. Most social scientists and social media posts with Muslims
argue that politics factors heavily into the speaking out against terrorism. From the
motives behind Islamist terrorist 7/7 and London bridge attacks in the UK,
organizations, from the Islamic State to al- to 9/11 in the US, to the Paris attacks of
Qaeda to Hamas. Most of these 2015, Muslim individuals and
organizations are responding to Western organizations have routinely condemned
imperialism or to the real or perceived terrorist attacks.
occupation of territory by foreign Muslims go beyond making public
powers.289 statements. Plenty of Muslims have taken
the fight to terrorists abroad by serving in
the armed forces of Western nations and

287Peter Dominiczak, “Sajid Javid: British Muslims Who Don’t Condemn Terrorists Jihad: Terror Networks in the Twenty-First Century (Philadelphia: University of
Are ‘Taking Children to the Door,” The Telegraph, July 12, 2015, Pennsylvania Press, 2008).
Alan Travis, “MI5 Report Challenges Views on Terrorism in Britain,” The Guardian,
288Nigel Morris, “David Cameron: Some Muslim Communities ‘Quietly Condoning’ August 20, 2008,
Extremist Ideology – Instead of Confronting It,” Independent, June 18, 2015, 291Lydia Wilson, “What I Discovered from Interviewing Imprisoned ISIS Fighters,”
The Nation, October 21, 2015,
289Robert Pape, Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism (New York:
Random House, 2005); Jessica Stern and J.M. Berger, ISIS: The State of Terror (New 292Vikram Dodd, “Two British Men Admit to Linking Up with Extremist Group in
York: Ecco, 2015); John Horgan, Walking Away from Terrorism: Accounts of Syria,” The Guardian, July 8, 2014,
Disengagement from Radical and Extremist Movements (New York: Routledge, 2009);
Donatella della Porta, Social Movement Studies and Political Violence (Aarhus, Denmark:
Centre for Studies in Islamism and Radicalisation, 2009); Marc Sageman, Leaderless

dying in the line of duty for this cause. This genocide – has characterized Western
was the case with Lance Corporal Jabron nations. The Crusades, the Inquisition, the
Hashmi, a British Muslim soldier who died European witch trials, slavery, lynchings,
at the hands of the Taliban in Afghanistan Jim Crow, colonial violence, torture,
in 2006.293 genocide – all of this is a part of “our”
history, and much of it has been justified
Muslims have also become police officers
within a Christian framework. Some of
charged with protecting their nations
these episodes, moreover, are not stuck in
against terrorist threats. Some 2,000
the distant past but are very much a part of
Muslims constitute Britain’s National
the present. During the war on terror, for
Association of Muslim Police. Ordinary
example, Amnesty International
Muslim citizens help the police and other
documented instances in which the UK
intelligence agencies in their work against
was complicit in the torture of suspects
terrorism. In the years leading up to the
held abroad.297
2017 Manchester attack, members of the
Muslim community reported the future What ties these three reasons together is
perpetrator, Salman Abedi, to law the presumption of guilt. Muslims as a
enforcement on multiple occasions, while whole are presumed guilty of harboring
the Didsbury Mosque banned Abedi from terrorist sympathies until they prove
attending the most because of his extremist otherwise (if that’s even possible). Asking
views.294 Muslims to condemn terrorism is a form of
racist scapegoating that allows Western
Muslims have raised money for victims of
nations to avoid coming face to face with
terrorist attacks. Muslims United for
the complicated political factors driving
London raised over £25,000 in 48 hours for
terrorism and the need to recognize and
victims of the Westminster Bridge attack in
make amends for their own record of
2017.295 Similar fundraising efforts took
unjust violence. As a manifestation of
place after the Orlando and Manchester
Islamophobia, the question ultimately says
more about the questioners than Muslims
The evidence is overwhelming. Muslims themselves.
are speaking out and taking action against
terrorism all the time. Why so many
politicians and journalists are unaware of
Understanding the terminology
these actions is perhaps a more relevant of security
question to ask. It is important to clarify certain
The final reason to stop asking Muslims to terminologies used within security
condemn terrorism is that the question is a discourses. Much of the terminology used
distraction. It puts Muslims on the has the potential to become politicised or
defensive so that Western nations need not applied incorrectly thus disadvantaging,
come to terms both with their violent past victimising or stigmatising individuals if it
and their ongoing complicity in a violent is not used in a critical and reflexive
world order. manner. This is especially concerning
when certain words, such as “extremist”
Pretty much every category of violence
become absorbed in the public imagination
attributed to the Islamic State – persecution
as being exclusively applicable to Muslims.
of religious minorities, rape, torture,

293Jacqueline Maley and Sam Jones, “Jabron Hashmi, the British Muslim Soldier Killed Lotifa Begum, “How British Muslims United for London,” Huffington Post (UK),

Fighting the Taliban,” The Guardian, July 3, 2006, March 28, 2017,

Aine Fox and Beth Abbit, “Manchester Bomber Salman Abedi Was Banned from a
294 296MEND itself raised £38,000 for the victims and families of the Manchester Arena
Mosque and Reported to Authorities for His Extremist Views,” Manchester Evening attack.
News, May 25, 2017,
297 “Annual Report: United Kingdom 2013,” Amnesty International,

Such a unilateral positioning serves to their relationship with the issue under
distort and misrepresent vital issues of examination.
security, whilst simultaneously
It is also useful to remember that various
marginalising and demonising Muslim
points in history have seen different
communities within discussions.
positions labelled as “extremist”
Extremism and “fundamental British depending upon the majority social
values” sentiment of the time. For example, those
who advocated for women’s and LGBTQ
Turning to dictionary definitions,
rights were once considered outside the
extremism means “the quality or state of
mainstream and “extreme”. In this way,
being extreme” or “advocacy of extreme
while some may regard choosing to wear a
measures or views”. In the context of the
hijab and religious dress as an indicator of
current discussion, the term is mostly used
“extremism”, others view it as a
in a political or a religious sense, usually
mainstream religious norm.
referring to an ideological stance that is
deemed outside of the currently accepted Since 2011, the Government has defined
mainstream attitudes of society. extremism as: “vocal or active opposition
to fundamental British values, including
Since extremism is a relational concept, in
democracy, the rule of law, individual
discussing and defining what it is to be
liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of
“extreme”, one needs a benchmark,
different faiths and beliefs. We also include
something that is more “ordinary”,
in our definition of extremism calls for the
“centrist”, “mainstream” or “normal” for
death of members of our armed forces,
relative comparison. As such, the labelling
whether in this country or overseas.”299
of activities, people, and groups as
"extremist", and the defining of what is Within this framework for extremism,
"ordinary" in any setting is always a “fundamental British values” become the
subjective and political matter. Therefore, yardstick against which views are
while the term "extremist” can be used in a measured and evaluated. The obvious
purely descriptive, academic and non- problem with this is that “fundamental
condemning way, it is usually used British values” remains ill-defined and
pejoratively and with the intention of open to interpretation. With no explicit
expressing great disapproval. guidance on what constitutes “British
values”, the terminology implies that it is
Indeed, we all have a tendency to
the Government’s prerogative to set a
overestimate the extent that others think
threshold for acceptable cultural, religious,
like we do; this is a social bias known as the
and social values. This raises questions
“false consensus” effect.298 We therefore
surrounding how one measures and
have a tendency to assume that others
identifies ideologies relative to British
should also think like we do and, therefore,
values, particularly considering that the
tend to assume that our own position is
concept appears to be a nebulous and
shared by the majority of other
elastic yardstick. For example, aside from
“reasonable” individuals. However, what
religious dress, how does religious
one person considers to be “reasonable”
slaughter, personal sexual ethics, or fasting
will substantially differ from others
fit into this evaluation?
depending on the observer's values,
politics, moral scope, and the nature of In absence of reliable guidance on which
values are to be supported and which are
to be deemed at odds with the views of

298Marks, Gary; Miller, Norman (1987). "Ten years of research on the false-consensus UK, HM Government, The Prime Minister's Task Force on Tackling Radicalisation

effect: An empirical and theoretical review". Psychological Bulletin. American and Extremism, Tackling extremism in the UK (2013).
Psychological Association. 102 (1): 72–90. doi:10.1037/0033-2909.102.1.72.

mainstream society, this approach sanctions other than the threat of violence.
ultimately exposes minority communities, Such non-violence as an activist strategy
and Muslims specifically, to the risk of goes beyond passive, peaceful resistance: it
being subject to increasing scrutiny and involves an array of direct individual and
marginalisation, not for potentially violent collective political actions, such as hunger-
behaviour, but for not conforming to the strikes, demonstrations, sit-ins, blockades,
Government’s views on what should be acts of civil disobedience and other
mainstream society’s values. persuasive and even coercive tactics (such
as non-cooperation in the form of strikes) -
Radicalism and non-violent extremism
but all falling short of the use of violence
Another clarification to be made is the against persons or objects (other than one’s
difference is between “extremist” and self). Both means and ends of adherents of
“radical”. These two terms are often used this political philosophy are non-violent.
interchangeably, particularly by
In the sense of the above, “non-violent
politicians, but even by political scientists
extremism” is, therefore, a misleading
who should know better. It is tempting to
term. Gandhian non-violence is radical but
define radicals as “non-violent extremists”
not extreme. However, even such a
under the banner of “extreme by goal but
statement hinges on where we draw the
not by method” – “acceptable” extremists,
line between the concepts of “radicalism”
as it were. However, a more accurate
and “extremism”, which many use
distinction between “extremism” and
interchangeably – particularly in the
“radicalism” can be gleaned through
manner in which such terms are used in
examining the history of ideas
political discourse, as both terminologies
surrounding these terms. From this point
indicate a position at some distance from
of view, extremists tend to be closed-
“centrist”, “mainstream” or “moderate”
minded supremacists and radicals tend to
be open-minded egalitarians.300
Correct appreciation for the nuances
The term violence is often a taken for
contained in terms such as “non-violent
granted category, therefore, we often
extremism” is, therefore, of vital
assume non-violence to be simply the
importance. Acts such as letter writing,
absence of violence. However, violence
petitioning, organising or participating in
itself is by no means a clear-cut
peaceful demonstrations, and various
terminology. Violence by organs of the
other forms of campaigning are integral
state may be labelled as "force", thus
strategies within peaceful activism for
constituting a "defensive" form of violence
social change within democratic systems.
and ascribing an aura of legitimacy to the
However, for many, a problem occurs
infliction of physical harm. A closer look at
when Muslim individuals and
violence reveals a multitude of nuances
organisations use these “non-violent”
and meanings, especially in combination
methods to advocate for causes considered
with adjectives like physical,
“outside” of mainstream views.
psychological, structural, cultural, direct or
indirect, criminal, political, non-lethal and A particularly acute example of this can be
lethal.301 seen in the treatment of Muslim
organisations that criticise elements of
Non-violence in the Gandhian tradition
counter-terror strategies. A great deal of
refers to an activist and at times even
campaigning has been undertaken by both
militant mode of conflict waging, based on
Muslim and non-Muslim organisations

300For more information, see "Radicals and Radicalism." Dictionary of American Schmid, Alex P. Violent and Non-Violent Extremism: Two Sides of the Same Coin. The

History. Accessed March 6, 2017. Hague: International Centre for Counter-Terrorism (2014).

and individuals to highlight problems support terrorism and violent extremism
within the UK's stance on counter-terror. and, in some cases, then join terrorist
However, Muslims who do engage with groups.”302
peaceful advocacy work in this area are
Although most political discourse and
frequently labelled as "non-violent
academic literature focus on radicalisation
extremists" because their views are at odds
to "violent extremism", radicalisation can
with the current status-quo, but their
be both violent and non-violent. As
methods are within the realms of
previously discussed, attempting to
democratic engagement.
restrict progression to non-violent
This has culminated in the Government’s extremism has potentially problematic
disengagement policy with Muslim applications and consequences.
organisations that it considers “non- Specifically, there is a danger that
violent extremists”. The ultimate focussing on "non-violent extremism"
consequence is that Muslims who wish to could be used as a tool to restrict legitimate
fully participate in the democratic system debates and criticism within democratic
are stigmatised and excluded from having engagement which could disrupt current
their views and interests heard. status quos. Once again, the Islamophobic
implications of excluding Muslim political
The political exclusion of Muslims (as
engagement are of great concern.
discussed in a later chapter of this report)
is a fundamental consequence of The impacts of counter-terror
Islamophobia. Therefore, it is imperative
that the terminologies of security are fully
legislation on Muslim
understood in both their meaning, usage, communities
and their implications. Current counter-terror legislation is
Radicalisation centred upon the idea that, because the
magnitude of the terrorist threat is too
One of the issues with defining great to rely on traditional post-crime
radicalisation is the importance of context jurisprudence, measures and policies need
in determining what is perceived as to exist that pre-empt violent acts of terror
radicalisation. Therefore, radicalisation and criminalise individuals who are
can mean different things to different believed to be in the process of committing
people. As such, there is no universally such acts. This transition was one of the
accepted definition of radicalisation in key consequences of the War on Terror,
academia or Government. which has effectively resulted in the
On a basic level, radicalisation may be implementation of legislative systems that
considered to be the process by which an blur “the boundary between foreign and
individual or group comes to adopt domestic and between law enforcement
increasingly extreme political, social, or and military action.”303 However, due to
religious ideals and aspirations that reject the inherent difficulty in preventing and
or undermine the socio-political status pre-empting crime, the application of pre-
quo. In other words, it is the process criminal legislation results in an often
through which individuals are drawn to arbitrary and over-conjectural application
extremist ideologies and methodologies. of the law, whereby individuals perceived
to belong to a community at risk are
Within discussions on counter-terrorism,
increasingly problematised and even
the UK Government defines radicalisation
criminalised on the basis of acts that would
as “The process by which people come to

302House of Commons. "Communities and Local Government Committee, Sixth 303Jude McCulloch and Dean Wilson, Pre-crime: Pre-emption, Precaution and the Future,
Report: Preventing Violent Extremism." (2010). (London, New York: Routledge, 2016), p. 631.

not be considered criminal in different resilience in order to help with effective
circumstances. recovery in its aftermath.
In other words, attempts to predict crime PREVENT is delivered nationwide with a
inherently involve subjective judgements particular focus on areas considered to be
and hypotheses, ultimately culminating in at greatest risk, such as Newham,
issues of racial profiling and overt scrutiny Redbridge, Tower Hamlets, Birmingham,
on one “suspect” community – Muslims. Cardiff, and Manchester.304 Each priority
Within this subjective framework, it is, area then receives funding for a PREVENT
therefore, inevitable that innocent co-ordinator, who is supported by the
individuals will become suspect and Home Office to develop delivery plans
caught up in the apparatus of security relating to PREVENT objectives. Work
measures, purely on the basis of their includes disrupting extremist speakers,
religious, cultural, or ethnic identities. removing material online, intervening to
stop people being radicalised, and
The following discussion examines the
dissuading people from travelling to Syria
impacts of two elements of counter-terror
and Iraq and intervening when they
legislation on Muslim communities –
PREVENT and Schedule 7.
What does PREVENT mean in practice?
Ultimately, PREVENT enforces a statutory
What is Prevent? duty on certain public bodies to have due
PREVENT is one part of CONTEST, which regard to signs of potential radicalisation.
is the UK’s overarching counter-terror In other words, staff within schools,
strategy involving intelligence agencies universities, the police, the NHS, probation
and counter-terrorism policing. It is built services, local authorities, councils,
upon four pillars: prisons, colleges and other public
institutions have a compulsory duty to
Pursue: Stopping terrorist attacks by
report anyone they suspect may be
detecting, prosecuting and otherwise
vulnerable to becoming radicalised.
disrupting those who plot to carry out
attacks against the UK or its overseas Once individuals have been identified by
interests through intelligence gathering staff within these public bodies, they are
and surveillance. referred to a program called CHANNEL
and a support plan is created if it is deemed
PREVENT: Stopping people becoming
terrorists or supporting terrorism by
detecting those vulnerable to Guidance is provided by the Home Office
radicalisation. on how each body should implement the
PREVENT duty. For example:
Protect: Focusing on areas such as border
security, the transport system, national Local authorities should ensure that
infrastructure and public places in order to publicly owned premises are not used to
protect them and reduce their vulnerability disseminate extremist views.
to terrorist attack. Frontline school staff should understand
Prepare: Mitigating the impact of a PREVENT, be able to recognise
terrorist attack where that attack cannot be vulnerability to radicalisation, and know
stopped. This includes work to bring a where to go to seek further help.
terrorist attack to an end, and to increase

304Home Office, “Response to Freedom of Information request from M Norris”, 305 “Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill – Factsheet”, Home Office, accessed February
September 11, 2014, accessed 11.06.2018, 01, 2018,
_report.pdf /540540/CTS_Bill_-_Factsheet_7_-_Prevent.pdf

Universities should have policies and general Muslim population in the UK has
procedures in place for the management of been repeatedly criticised and has not
events on campus, and the use of all undergone the standard independent peer-
university premises, that apply to all staff, review process to give the research any
students, and visitors. validity.
Police should support individuals The PREVENT strategy focuses heavily on
vulnerable to radicalisation, for example ideology without consideration of other factors
through the CHANNEL programme, and influencing radicalisation
support partner organisations to deliver There is wide agreement amongst experts
PREVENT objectives. and academics that people are drawn into
Prisons should offer support to terrorism for a huge variety of reasons.
individuals vulnerable to radicalisation or However, PREVENT's heavy focus on
move them away from other individuals of ideology does not properly account for the
concern. Those who are at risk of impact of mental health issues, foreign
radicalising others should face the removal policy, individual isolation,
of privileges and segregation from unemployment, socio-economic
others.306 deprivation or a whole host of other factors
that could lead an individual to become
Problems with PREVENT
PREVENT has been heavily criticised by
PREVENT has no workable definitions
experts, academics, activists, and
politicians across all sectors of public life. As explored earlier in this chapter, the
The concerns primarily centre around its Government presently has no clear
lack of evidentiary basis leading to working definitions of extremism, non-
inadequate training, discriminatory violent extremism, British Values nor
application and the marginalisation of radicalisation. With roughly 600,000
Muslims. Ultimately, many have WRAP-trained staff attempting to identify
condemned the strategy as radicalisation with a view to tackling
counterproductive, with the extremism, this lack of objective
ineffectiveness of de-radicalisation understanding causes confusion in
programmes being illustrated by a 2018 PREVENT’s application. If a person
study conducted by the Behavioural doesn’t know exactly what extremism or
Insights Team (BIT), which found that 95% radicalisation are, how can they identify
of these programmes were ineffective and them?
counter-productive.307 PREVENT officers must rely on inadequate
PREVENT has no evidentiary basis training
The list of characteristics that PREVENT Considering that counter-terror is such an
requires practitioners to look out for is important component of public safety and
called the ERG22+ risk factors. The that it possesses a potential to impact
research underpinning the ERG22+ risk people in severe ways if not applied
factors was research conducted on a small correctly, it is imperative that the training
group of prisoners convicted of terrorism provided is of the highest quality.
offences. The use of this tiny sample of However, at present, PREVENT delivery
people – criminals who are officers receive only 45-60 minutes of
unrepresentative of British Muslims – in training to identify signs of radicalisation
order to draw conclusions about the (which, as previously mentioned, are

306 “Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill – Factsheet”… 307“Most programmes to stop radicalisation are failing”, The Times, June 6, 2018, accessed 11.06.2018,
/540540/CTS_Bill_-_Factsheet_7_-_Prevent.pdf radicalisation-are-failing-0bwh9pbtd

based on flawed science in themselves). correct practice across the PREVENT
Such basic training is only capable of a training.
generic overview of what radicalisation at
Unacceptable levels of collateral damage
best. This, in turn, creates a misleading
framework through which nurses, The lack of an evidentiary basis combined
teachers, and other public body employees with poor training has led to a situation
are required to attempt to identify where, everyday normative practices of the
radicalisation.308 Islamic faith (for example, wearing the
hijab) or taking an interest in politics
Indeed, this lack of effective training was
(criticising foreign policy) can be seen as a
highlighted by the Home Affairs
sign of radicalisation. Indeed, there have
Committee who noted “We are concerned
been numerous to dozens of cases where
about a lack of sufficient and appropriate
individuals have been falsely implicated as
training in an area that is complex and
being at risk of radicalisation. Indeed, of
unfamiliar to many education and other
the 7,361 individuals referred to PREVENT
professionals, compounded by a lack of in 2015/16, 4,997 were referred for
clarity about what is required of them.”309
“Islamist extremism”, but only 5% went on
Equally worrying is the fact that there to receive CHANNEL support for de-
appears to be no formative examination radicalisation – meaning that the
nor on-going assessment for PREVENT remaining 95% were eventually not
officers. Such a lack of unregulated quality considered to be at risk of radicalisation.311
assurance for procedures would never be In 2016/17, of the 6,093 individuals
tolerated as good practice in any other referred, 3,704 (61%) were again referred
workspace. for Islamist extremism, but only 184 (4.9%)
went on to receive CHANNEL support.312
Taking the NHS as an example, research
Some of these case studies will be
conducted by Warwick University has
discussed further below.
found that 70% of the respondents “were
‘likely’, or ‘very likely’” to refer someone There is a paucity of research on the effects
for the “possession of Islamic/Anarchist of a false referral on these individuals, but
philosophy books”. This is important as it is likely that the stigmatising effects of
the PREVENT training programme does being flagged as a “security risk” will be
not indicate this as a factor indicative of adverse, and affect individuals from a
radicalisation. The authors of the research, psychological, social, educational, and
in line with the overarching concerns employment perspective.
surrounding the PREVENT duty, conclude Targeting Muslims as a suspect community
that “respondents are drawing their
attitude from popular culture rather than Home Office data indicates that 5,000
official training or academic research”.310 individuals were referred to PREVENT for
Such findings are therefore concerning as “Islamist extremism” in 2015-16.
they are demonstrative of the lack of Assuming all of those referred for “Islamist
standardisation and reinforcement of extremism” were Muslim, this means that
roughly 1 in 500 Muslims were referred to

308 “E-learning – Prevent”, Home Office, accessed 01.02.2018, 311“Individuals referred to and supported through the Prevent Programme, April 2015 to March 2016”, Home Office, Statistical Bulletin 23/17, November 9, 2017, accessed
309House of Commons, “Radicalisation: the counter-narrative and identifying the
tipping point – Eighth report of Session 2016-17”, August 25, 2016, accessed June 20, /677646/individuals-referred-supported-prevent-programme-apr2015-mar2016.pdf
2018, 312“Individuals referred to and supported through the Prevent Programme, April 2016
to March 2017”, Statistical Bulletin 06/18, Home Office, March 27, 2018, accessed
310 Charlotte Heath-Kelly and Erzsébet Strausz “Counter-terrorism in the NHS: 19.04.2018,
29.05.2018, tachment_data/file/694002/individuals-referred-supported-prevent-programme- apr2016-mar2017.pdf

PREVENT during the year. A conservative Conflicts with safeguarding
estimate of the proportion of the White
PREVENT causes grey areas in
population referred for far-right concerns safeguarding. Ordinarily within
is less than 1 in 60,000, making the safeguarding, it is the welfare of the
likelihood of a Muslim being referred for individual person in question that is of
“Islamist extremism” more than 110 times
concern because you're trying to protect
the likelihood of a White individual being
that person; whereas, with PREVENT,
referred for ‘far-right extremism’ to the
you're protecting the state from that
person. This creates confusion in how to
As a consequence, numerous critics have approach safeguarding needs.
condemned the PREVENT strategy as
As concluded by the civil rights
being inherently discriminatory. Beyond
campaigners, Liberty, “while everyone in
issues of equality and social justice, such a
society has moral and ethical obligations to
discriminatory application may also prove
report suspected criminality, requiring
to be counterproductive. Indeed, MI5 has teachers and others in sensitive positions of
concluded that “experiences of inequality,
trust to report those with dissenting views
marginalisation, or victimisation, risks undermining professional obligations
particularly racial or religious attacks, both of confidentiality, sewing mistrust and
physical and verbal” play a direct role in
pushing those with grievances further
the radicalisation of individuals.313
PREVENT, unfortunately, seems to do
exactly that. The Impact of PREVENT
Indeed, Andy Burnham has described the Within the confines of this report, space
PREVENT strategy as contributing to does not allow a full examination of the
“creating a feeling in the Muslim impact of PREVENT in every area in which
community that it is being spied upon and it operates. However, the following
unfairly targeted. It is building a climate of discussion seeks to briefly highlight some
mutual suspicion and distrust. Far from of the key concerns arising from the
tackling extremism, it risks creating the application of PREVENT in three key areas
very conditions for it to flourish”.314 – schools, universities, and the NHS.
Regarding PREVENT in the NHS, a senior In Schools
NHS whistleblower recently revealed that With the majority of referrals to PREVENT
“I have never, ever had a concern raised to coming from the education sector (32% of
me about a white, non-Muslim or far-right all referrals in 2016/17),317 the impact of
person,” said the whistleblower. PREVENT in schools and on the learning
“Concerns have only ever been raised and development of children is of primary
about Muslims. This is a shockingly bad concern.
and damaging piece of legislation and in
my view it has no place in an advanced A lack of trust in the classroom: The
democratic country.”315 classroom environment is predicated upon
trust. If students feel that they are being
spied upon by their teachers, this destroys

313“The making of an extremist”, The Guardian, August 20, 2008, accessed 30.11.2017, 316“Liberty’s Second Reading briefing on the Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill…” p. 25.

314“Andy Burnham calls for 'toxic' Prevent strategy to be scrapped”, The Guardian, June 317“Individuals referred to and supported through the Prevent Programme, April 2016
9, 2016, accessed 01.02.2018, to March 2017”, Home Office, Statistical Bulletin 06/18, March 27, 2018, accessed 11.06.2018,
315Diane Taylor, "Hospice Staff 'trained to Report Dying Patients as Part of Terror apr2016-mar2017.pdf
Strategy'," The Guardian, June 11, 2018, accessed June 20, 2018,

the relationship of trust that is so “Prevent is a key issue for respondents’
important. Aside from the obvious damage ability to engage meaningfully with the
this has upon the student's ability to learn, structures of their institutions, unions and
if students do not feel that they can ask NUS, in particular around democratic
questions to their teachers, there is a engagement. It is particularly notable that
danger that they may resort to finding being affected by Prevent has a negative
answers online, where any kind of impact on respondents’ engagement with
distorted information can be found. political debates. This negative impact
persists whether or not respondents
Creating a pre-criminal space: Children
articulated that fear around Prevent was
require encouragement and nurturing to
the cause. This correlation demonstrates
flourish and achieve their potential.
the chilling effect of Prevent, and that
However, the pre-criminal space that is
being affected by Prevent accompanies an
created by PREVENT stigmatises students,
erosion in trust of institutions who have
thereby potentially damaging their self-
responsibility to combat Islamophobia.”319
confidence and their confidence in societal
structures and institutions. Thus, this highlights several key problems
with the implementation of PREVENT in
Schoolyard bullying: The previous
university settings:
chapter in this report on Youth and
Education outlined the levels of racially Impact on free-speech: Universities are
and religiously motivated bullying that intended to be centres of critical debate and
Muslim children are confronted by. learning. As such, the freedom to express
Schools should not enact policies that serve ideas and explore arguments is integral to
to further securitise and stigmatise this mission. Indeed, universities’ duties
students. Counter-terror strategies with respect to free speech are reflected in
infiltrating the school environment can the Education Act 1986,320 the Education
only result in furthering the bullying Reform Act 1988,321 the Human Rights Act
narratives of “bomber” and “terrorist”. 1998,322 and the Equality Act 2010.323
However, the requisites of the PREVENT
Hindrance to learning and development:
Schools should be environments where duty undermines these principles as
speakers and topics of discussion become
students feel safe, confident and
regulated. Moreover, Muslim students
supported. Therefore, the aforementioned
have reported a reluctance to engage with
concerns obviously have a great potential
certain discussions due to a fear they will
to severely impact the way in which
be referred to PREVENT. According to the
children perceive and interact with their
NUS report, one-third of surveyed
students reported being negatively
In Universities affected by PREVENT. This included
In 2017, the National Union of Students having been referred to authorities under
(NUS) launched a report into the the scheme, having organised events that
experience of Muslim students in British were cancelled or significantly changed
universities.318 The report concluded that because of it (30 percent of those affected)
or having disengaged from political debate

318 “The experience of Muslim students in 2017-18”, NUS, accessed 29.05.2018, 320 “Education Act 1986”, available at
6/The_Experience_of_Muslim_Students_in_2017- 321 “Education Reform Act 1988”, available at
322 "Human Rights Act 1998", available at
319 “The experience of Muslim students in 2017-18”, NUS, accessed 29.05.2018,
https://nusdigital.s3-eu-west- 323 “Equality Act 2010”, available at

specifically due to concerns around being simultaneously opposed no-platforming
reported under PREVENT.324 policies directed at far-right speakers, such
as the BNP. Again, the role of Student
Limiting political engagement: The NUS
Rights in excluding Muslim voices from
report noted the potential of PREVENT to
legitimate debates will be discussed
deter students from political engagement.
further in the later chapter on Political and
According to the findings, 43% of those
Public Exclusion.
who reported being affected by PREVENT
felt unable to express their views or be In the NHS
themselves and 30% do not feel
Alongside schools, the NHS comes into
comfortable attending NUS events.
contact with some of society's most
Islamophobia as a mechanism of political
vulnerable citizens. Therefore, they have a
exclusion is a topic that will be returned to
duty of care towards all patients. The
in a following chapter on Political
pressures of PREVENT, therefore, put
Representation and Exclusion.
undue strains on this duty of care,
Being used as a tool to shut down particularly in terms of safeguarding.
opposing voices: According to the Indeed, the research conducted by the
Department of Education at the University University of Warwick also noted that
of Oxford, “Criticising government policy, there is “evidence to suggest that the
expression of support for specific groups, mentally ill are being inappropriately
identifying causal relations between stigmatised as terrorism risks”.327 This
policies, processes and events, subjecting revelation has been further compounded
public arguments to evaluation and by the use of PREVENT to monitor
critique — these are all legitimate aspects terminally ill people and dementia patients
of academic work. They also contribute to in hospices and palliative care units.328
public and political debate.”325 Therefore, it
Unclear guidelines: The unclear
is clear by all academic standards that, in
guidelines laid out create a risk of ‘intuitive
voicing and debating concerns, students
reporting’ and unconscious bias.
perform their duty both as academics and
Ultimately, it is unavoidable that popular
as engaged members of civic society.
culture stereotypes will influence staff
However, there are organisations such as perception of radicalisation.
Student Rights (incidentally, a project of
Conflicts with safeguarding: PREVENT
the Henry Jackson Society),326 who present
causes grey areas in safeguarding. It is not
the criticisms of Muslim students –
transparent, there is no audit, and no
especially those in connection with
clinical governance. Ordinarily within
counter-terror or Palestinian rights – as
safeguarding, it is the welfare of the
threats to security. Furthermore, Student
individual person in question that is of
Rights has been accused of performing
concern because you are trying to protect
“witch hunts” against Islamic societies and
that person; whereas, with PREVENT, you
using the arguments of PREVENT to attack
are primarily protecting the state from that
societies and events that host speakers
person. This creates confusion in how to
with whom they disagree and
approach safeguarding needs. As
subsequently label as “extremist”. At the
previously mentioned, an NHS
same time, Student Rights have

324 “The experience of Muslim students in 2017-18”, NUS, accessed 29.05.2018, 326The Henry Jackson Society are discussed in the chapter on the Islamophobia
https://nusdigital.s3-eu-west- Industry of this report.
6/The_Experience_of_Muslim_Students_in_2017- 327 Charlotte Heath-Kelly and Erzsébet Strausz “Counter-terrorism in the NHS:
nature=5IoqW0HKBdTFvtkJCeSaU85FJpA%3D 29.05.2018,
325"Academic Freedom and Values," Oxford University Department of Education, minthenhs/project_report_draft_60pp.pdf
accessed June 20, 2018,
freedom-and-values/. 328 “Hospice staff ‘trained to report dying patients as part of terror strategy’”

whistleblower recently condemned the use Islamophobia, Prevent and
of PREVENT in the NHS, accusing the
Home Office of hijacking the term
“safeguarding” and redefining it in the
context of PREVENT. Safeguarding duties Hareem Ghani
only apply to adults deemed vulnerable, NUS Women’s Officer 2016 – 2018
with care and support needs, who are
Ilyas Nagdee
experiencing, or are at risk of, abuse or
neglect and are unable to protect NUS Black Students Officer 2017 – 2019
themselves against such treatment. The Hareem Ghani and Ilyas Nagdee are also coordinators of
whistleblower stated that, “Local the Students Not Suspects Campaign
authorities will dismiss a safeguarding Earlier this year, the NUS Black Students
concern if the individual does not meet and NUS Womens’ Campaign released the
those criteria…What is happening here is Muslims in Education Report which
‘thought police’; concerns are usually looked at the experiences of Muslim
raised about people who have made Students in Education. It was the first
comments about ongoing politics such as report of its kind and some of the headline
overseas wars.”329 results are below.
There is little doubt that repackaging or  One in 3 Muslim Students felt
framing PREVENT as an issue of negatively affected by Prevent and half
safeguarding has stifled dissent in the of those felt unable to express political
public sector, since very few professionals opinions and/or disengaged from
would dare to question the notion of political discussion altogether
 One in three respondents reported
No place in healthcare: the majority of having experienced some type of abuse
NHS staff (52%) do not think PREVENT or crime at their place of study and over
belongs in healthcare.330 Criticising a half experienced some form of online
PREVENT’s operation in the NHS the abuse.
recent whistleblower stated that “Patients
who don’t trust their doctor or nurse may  The responses were heavily gendered;
not seek advice from them, which could be women who wear a traditional Islamic
potentially life threatening. Prevent moves garment (e.g. a hijab, niqab or jilbab)
people’s focus away from care, treatment were significantly more likely to be
and support into areas that are police very worried about being abused or
business: counter-terrorism and attacked.
surveillance… This is a system that is We will expand on some of the findings
designed and run by the Home Office, around Prevent below.
which oversees it and to which
organisations are accountable. My belief is One-third of survey respondents felt
that the Home Office has no place being negatively affected by the Prevent strategy.
involved in day-to-day NHS work, or This included participating less in political
indeed education. In essence, this is ‘soft’ activity or debate; having events they have
surveillance.”331 organised being restricted or cancelled; or
being reported through Prevent. Whether
a Muslim student has been affected by
Prevent is a significant indicator of

329 Ibid.

330 Charlotte Heath-Kelly and Erzsébet Strausz “Counter-terrorism in the NHS:
EVALUATING PREVENT DUTY SAFEGUARDING IN THE NHS”, accessed 331 “Hospice staff ‘trained to report dying patients as part of terror strategy’”

whether they are involved in a wide comment.” (Woman, aged 22–23, Master’s
variety of student activities and their student)
opinions on a variety of matters. As such
“[When I was] getting a certain speaker for
we noted throughout the survey where
an event, Prevent were involved and had
these answers significantly differed from
to be present for the talk, in addition to
the rest of the respondents, had they been
police as well, shockingly.” (Man, aged 22–
affected by Prevent.
23, higher education student)
Students affected by Prevent highlighted
Muslim students most likely not to have
that their experience of Prevent has led to
been affected by Prevent include those not
them taking part in less political activity.
involved with their students’ union,
Muslim students feel strongly about what
international students and women who do
Prevent entails. An overwhelming
not wear religious garments (eg hijab or
majority of respondents disagreed that
niqab). Muslim women who wear a
lecturers and education institutions should
covering are significantly more likely to be
monitor and report students’ attitudes and
affected by Prevent during their time in
behaviours, prayer room activities and
education than those who do not; 40 per
email/online activity. Three in five
cent compared with 26 per cent. This kind
respondents disagreed that lecturers
of correlation may raise further questions
should report on their views and opinions.
regarding how the Prevent duty functions
Having personal experience of the impact
to highlight specific Muslim students
of Prevent heightens these responses.
relating to their demographics, rather than
Significantly more women who wore their behaviour, and in turn amplifies
religious coverings disagreed with facets of existing biases and stereotypes of Muslims.
the duty compared with those who do not.
Our research findings suggest that Muslim
For example, women wearing religious
students follow a similar pattern to other
garments are more likely to disagree that
students in terms of their general levels of
lecturers should be reporting to the
participation (both passive and active) in
government on their students’ views and
student union activities, including a small
opinions (69 per cent of women who wear
percentage who have no involvement
a garment versus 53 per cent for those who
whatsoever. Respondents who reported a
did not), or that institutions should be
complete lack of involvement in these
monitoring recording student emails and
activities are more likely to have reported
internet/web usage (72 per cent versus 56
being unaffected by Prevent. Conversely,
per cent respectively).
students who reported an acute awareness
Two out of five respondents (43 per cent) of their students’ union’s work are more
who reported having been affected by likely to have reported being affected by
Prevent told us that this experience made it Prevent. Muslim students affected by
harder to express their opinions or views. Prevent are more likely to disagree that
Nearly a third of students (30 per cent) who their students’ union understands their
have been affected by Prevent reported needs or reflects their views.
experiencing barriers to organising
speakers and events on campus.
PREVENT Case Studies
“In lessons I found myself not speaking my
Prevent Watch332 and Rights Watch UK333
true opinion because of fear of being
have detailed a number of cases where
misreported as a result, just for saying my
PREVENT has been used to identify and
opinion, and I worry that others will just

332 "Cases," PREVENT Watch, accessed March 20, 2017, 333Preventing Education? Human Rights and UK Counter-Terrorism Policy in Schools, publication, July 2016,

question students outside of standard containing “insufficient detail to provide
protocols and in unwarranted clear practical direction in an environment
circumstances. such as the University’s.”
Staffordshire Textbook case – March Farooq received a letter of apology from
2015334 the teacher that wrongfully questioned
him. The teacher said, "I do not possess any
Mohammed Umar Farooq was a 33-year-
particular knowledge or experience of
old postgraduate student enrolled on the
terrorism and radicalisation, and I have
Terrorism, Crime and Global Security
only attended a short training session on
Master’s program at Staffordshire
how to identify students who might be at
University. On 23 March 2015, he was
risk of being radicalised." She further
approached by two female staff while in
asserted that a "combination of the content
the library (Farooq initially assumed these
of our discussion and my lack of
staff members to be fellow students).
experience in this arena caused me to
According to Farooq, he was questioned
consider whether this was something that
about attitudes to homosexuality, ISIS, and
may fall within the ‘Prevent agenda’.”336
al-Qaida. He said his replies were "largely
academic but he stressed his personal The incident resulted in Farooq being so
opposition to extremist views". The tense unsettled that he chose not to return to the
conversation ended, and after a short course, stating that he had been “looking
while, a security guard approached over his shoulder” ever since.
Farooq, confirming that he had received a
There are many stories like this one where
complaint from staff members. The staff
the individual was not referred to a
told the security guard that "there is a man,
PREVENT officer and, therefore, it is not
who is Asian and with a beard, who is not
technically recorded as a PREVENT
a student and is reading a book on
intervention. However, the strategy itself
terrorism”. The staff went further to say,
and the training of those charged with
“check him out”, as she suspected he is a
enforcing it has led to a situation where
“radical terrorist”. The security guard
individuals like Farooq are at risk of
approached and recognised Farooq and
did not take any further action.
The Eco-Warrior (May 2015)
Farooq filed an internal complaint for
discrimination; he asked why the staff had A Muslim pupil was investigated by
chosen to question him, the only Muslim PREVENT officers for discussing
with a beard, holding books on terrorism. deforestation campaigners, eco-warriors,
The teachers refused to answer any of the and their tactics during a class debate
questions. about deforestation. The entire class
partook in a debate about eco-warriors,
In response to the complaint, the Academic
which was a topic they had researched for
Registrar and Director of Student
the debating society at school. During the
Experience responded by acknowledging
investigation, the pupil explained the
that the university has “a commitment to
context in which he used the word "eco-
secure freedom of speech and to prevent
terrorism", but things took a turn for the
people from being drawn into terrorism.”
worse when the PREVENT officers asked
They further described the PREVENT duty
the pupil if he was affiliated with ISIS.
as “very broad, devoid of detail” and
Following the event, the young pupil

334 "Postgraduate Student on Terrorism," Prevent Watch, October 19, 2015, terrorist-reading-book-terrorism.

335Randeep Ramesh and Josh Halliday, "Student accused of being a terrorist for 336 "CAGE releases exclusive video interview with student accused of terrorism,"
reading book on terrorism," The Guardian, September 24, 2015, CAGE, September 29, 2015,

became concerned that he could be house, or the remote control. And I said:
separated from his family and became ‘Don’t draw the remote!’”.341
reluctant to participate in class debates or
Trip to Saudi Arabia (Undated)
express his opinions.337
A recent study conducted by Warwick
Free Palestine (February 2016)
University over the application of the
16-year old Rahmaan Mohammadi was PREVENT duty in the NHS revealed
questioned by anti-terrorism police at misguided referrals made purely on a
home for wearing a “Free Palestine” badge conjectural basis. One referral involved "an
to school and for trying to raise money for Asian man" who was considered a risk
humanitarian aid for Palestinians. because he was planning a "future trip to
Bedfordshire police visited Mohammadi’s Saudi Arabia", which was interpreted by a
house with a folder of information about healthcare as a cause for concern. In truth,
his activities at school, and after consulting the "Asian man" was planning a Hajj trip to
with the young student and his parents, the holy city of Mecca, a pillar of Islam
concluded there was no sign of which all capable Muslims are expected to
radicalisation.338 Mohammadi alleges that complete at least once during their
the police warned him "not to talk about lifetime.342
Palestine in school", and that school staff
Watching Arabic news (Undated)
approached his brother and pressured him
to tell Rahmaan to "stop being Another referral highlighted by the
radical".339 “My education was being Warwick University research was made
ruined”, recalled Mohammadi some when a healthcare professional considered
months later, “PREVENT is doing more a child watching an “Arabic televised news
harm than good.”340 channel” at risk of radicalisation. On a
home visit to the patient, a healthcare
The cucumber cooker bomb (March 2016)
professional noticed a child watching TV in
A four-year-old child drew a picture of his Arabic, as well as Arabic literature lying on
father cutting a cucumber and was referred the floor. The family was “reported to
to PREVENT by the nursery staff who, on social care as a potential case of
questioning the child about what he had radicalisation”.343
drawn misheard “cucumber” as “cuker-
bum”, thus believing the picture showed Critics of PREVENT
his father making a “cooker bomb”. PREVENT has been criticised by Muslims
Eventually, no referral was made, but the and non-Muslims alike. These critics
child’s mother recalled how tragic the include (but are not limited to) three
experience was: “Initially I was so upset special rapporteurs to the UN, the NUT,
and distraught that I told him not to do any the NUS, the former Independent
more drawings … God bless him, he said: Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation, Rights
‘I won’t draw anything ... I’ll just draw a Watch UK, the Open Society Justice
Initiative, and more than 140 academics,

337 “The Eco-Warrior”, Prevent Watch, accessed 11.06.2018, 11.06.2018, anti-radicalisation-muslims-london-video

338Prevent Strategy 'Used To Target Young Muslims', Sky News, March 25, 2016, 341“Nursery 'raised fears of radicalisation over boy's cucumber drawing'”, The
accessed 18.04.2018, Guardian, March 11, 2016, accessed 11.06.2018,
young-muslims-10217460 news/2016/mar/11/nursery-radicalisation-fears-boys-cucumber-drawing-cooker-
339 “Anti-terror police question schoolboy for wearing pro-Palestine badge”, The
Independent, February 14, 2016, accessed 11.06.2018, 342 Charlotte Heath-Kelly and Erzsébet Strausz “Counter-terrorism in the NHS EVALUATING PREVENT DUTY SAFEGUARDING IN THE NHS”, Warwick
for-wearing-pro-palestine-badge-a6873656.html University, p. 26, accessed 11.06.2018,
340“The problem with Prevent: 'I was investigated by the government's anti- minthenhs/project_report_draft_60pp.pdf
radicalisation programme' – video”, The Guardian, August 26, 2016, accessed
343 Ibid. p. 25

politicians and experts in a single letter political opposition or ideological dissent
alone. from mainstream values…legislation
against extremism has in some instances
The National Union of Teachers (now the
been used against journalists, religious
groups or critics of state policy and this is
The NUT voted overwhelmingly to reject not acceptable”.349
PREVENT because it causes “suspicion in
Tendayi Achiume, UN Special Rapporteur
the classroom and confusion in the
on Contemporary Forms of Racism, Racial
staffroom.”344 The NUT claims that the best
Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related
role schools can play in countering
extremism is by encouraging discussion,
which is in fact inhibited by some aspects Concluding her recent visit to the UK, Prof.
of the Prevent strategy. Consequently, the Tendayi Achiume, singled out PREVENT,
NUT has called for a review of the slamming it as being "inherently flawed”
strategy.345 and noting that there was “no evidence
that PREVENT actually prevents
Maina Kiai, UN Special Rapporteur on the
extremism”. She added that the “vague
rights to freedom of assembly and
criteria” to identify individuals or groups
that are somehow “predisposed to terrorist
Maina Kiai stated that PREVENT has ideology and violence” and the “lack of a
“created unease and uncertainty around clear, workable definitions of “extremism”
what can be legitimately discussed in and “British values”” had led to “horrific
public”.346 He goes on to argue that “the consequences”.350
spectre of Big Brother is so large, in fact,
Diane Abbott, Shadow Home Secretary
that I was informed that some families are
afraid of discussing the negative effects of The Shadow Home Secretary, Diane
terrorism in their own homes, fearing their Abbott, recently condemned the use of
children would talk about it at school and PREVENT.
have their intentions misconstrued.”347
Speaking about its use in hospices and
Furthermore, he concluded that “by
dementia wards, she stated that, “The
dividing, stigmatising and alienating
public will not understand what business a
segments of the population, Prevent could
counter-terror programme has monitoring
end up promoting extremism rather than
dementia patients or people dying in a
countering it.”348
hospice… Ministers wax lyrical about how
Ben Emmerson, UN Special Rapporteur Prevent is focused on a need for
on the protection and promotion of ‘safeguarding’… If the government has
human rights while countering terrorism finally realised woeful inadequacies in
social work and social care provisions, they
Ben Emmerson, has previously said,
need look no further than their own
speaking on domestic counter-terrorism
scathing cuts. The Prevent strategy is
strategies, “some states have misused these
losing credibility and is not making the
poorly defined concepts to suppress

344Richard Adams. "Teachers back motion calling for Prevent strategy to be scrapped." 348 "Prevent strategy 'could end up promoting extremism'"
The Guardian. March 28, 2016. Accessed March 17, 2017. 349 United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner. “Do not
calling-prevent-strategy-radicalisation-scrapped. criminalise extreme views – UN Special Rapporteur on counterterrorism”. Accessed
June 11, 2018.
345"Prevent Strategy." National Union of Teachers. March 28, 2016. Accessed March
17, 2017. 9#.
350 Tendayi Achiume. “End of Mission Statement of the Special Rapporteur on
346 Damien Gayle. "Prevent strategy 'could end up promoting extremism'" The Contemporary Forms of Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related
Guardian. April 21, 2016. Accessed March 17, 2017. Intolerance at the Conclusion of Her Mission to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland”. United Nations Human Rights Office of the High
strategy-promoting-extremism-maina-kiai. Commissioner. Accessed on June 11, 2018.
347 Ibid. 3&LangID=E.

public any safer. It urgently needs a The National Union of Student (NUS)
fundamental rethink and a complete
The NUS claims that their opposition to
PREVENT rooted in the fact that the
Rights Watch UK strategy is “fundamentally racist and
Islamophobic, targeting the Muslim
A report from Rights Watch UK states that
community whilst eroding civil liberties for all
“Muslim children across the United
as part of a clampdown on political dissent and
Kingdom are self-censoring for fear of
undermining the space for critical discussion in
being reported under Prevent. Their fear is
our universities, colleges and schools.”355
not unwarranted. We have uncovered a
number of instances where children have Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater
been referred to Prevent for legitimately Manchester
exercising their right to freedom of Andy Burnham has described the
expression in situations where they pose PREVENT strategy as contributing to
no threat to society whatsoever.”351 “creating a feeling in the Muslim
The Justice Initiative community that it is being spied upon and
unfairly targeted. It is building a climate of
According to The Justice Initiative report
mutual suspicion and distrust. Far from
"Eroding Trust", the PREVENT strategy
tackling extremism, it risks creating the
risks human rights violations, including
very conditions for it to flourish”.356
the right against discrimination, as well as
the right to freedom of expression.352 It Hundreds of academics and experts
concludes that “Being wrongly targeted The Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University,
under Prevent has led some Muslims to Louise Richardson has stated that the
question their place in British society.”353 Government strategy is "wrong-headed”
David Anderson QC, the former because it prevents freedom of speech on
independent reviewer of terrorism university campuses and inhibits students
legislation from confronting speech they may find
objectionable.357 Similarly, numerous
Prevent has been heavily criticised for
academics signed an open letter criticising
sowing mistrust and fear in Muslim
the ERG22+ and for PREVENT’s focus on
communities. While he is not anti-
Islamist extremism and fixation on religion
PREVENT per say, the former independent
as the primary driver of terrorism, which
reviewer of terrorism legislation, David
has led to overwhelming attention on
Anderson, QC did stipulate that the duty
religious observance as an indicator of
on schools to identify radicalisation has
radicalisation.358 More recently, over 140
become a “significant source of grievance”
experts and academics signed an open
among British Muslims, encouraging
letter criticising the PREVENT
“mistrust to spread and to fester”.354
programme. Amongst those voicing
concerns are prominent academics

351Owen Bowcott and Richard Adams. "Human rights group condemns Prevent anti- "Preventing Prevent - We are Students Not Suspects @ NUS connect." NUS Connect.

radicalisation strategy." The Guardian. July 12, 2016. Accessed March 17, 2017. Accessed March 17, 2017. prevent-we-are-students-not-suspects.
356“Andy Burnham calls for 'toxic' Prevent strategy to be scrapped”, The Guardian, June
352"Eroding Trust: The UK's Prevent Counter-Extremism Strategy in Health and 9, 2016, accessed 01.02.2018,
Education." Open Society Foundations. October 2016. Accessed March 17, 2017. toxic-prevent-strategy-to-be-scrapped
357Rob Merrick. "Oxford University vice-chancellor says Prevent strategy 'wrong-
"Eroding Trust: The UK's Prevent Counter-Extremism Strategy in Health and
353 headed'" The Independent. September 22, 2016. Accessed March 17, 2017.
354David Batty. "Prevent strategy 'sowing mistrust and fear in Muslim communities'"
The Guardian. February 03, 2016. Accessed March 17, 2017. 358"PREVENT will have a chilling effect on open debate, free speech and political dissent." The Independent. July 10, 2015. Accessed March 17, 2017.

including Professor Noam Chomsky, fights new Trojan Horse Islamic schools
Professor Humayun Ansari, and Professor plot’361 made them feel judged for their
Tariq Ramadan, as well as numerous faith.
psychiatry experts.359
I had always tried to make the kids feel
Instead of being cast as a threat, welcome in our classroom. Working in a
predominantly Muslim community, this
Muslim solidarity could show us meant discussing the importance that the
all how to live together children placed on fasting, prayer and
pilgrimage. I did my best to accommodate
Rob Faure Walker religious practice by supervising the
school’s prayer room and had even read
PhD candidate at UCL Institute of Education
some Muslim teen fiction362 at the behest of
I became aware that there was a problem my students. After all, as Riley has
one morning in March 2014. As the explored in her book of the same name,
children in my classroom sat down for whose school is it anyway? 363 Though I
morning registration, gasps rose across the had previously tried to understand my
room as some of them noticed that the girls students’ experience, this was the first time
sitting in front of them had saliva on the I learned that the children felt unsafe
backs of their headscarves. This was the because of their faith. The concerns that the
morning that the since discredited children expressed led me to carry out
allegations that the schools in Birmingham research into the ‘Trojan Horse’ and the
had been taken over by so-called ‘Islamic policy that has emanated from it. 364 Like
extremists’ were on the front page of every others, I have seen how the Government
national newspaper. This supposed have contributed to the fear that my
‘scandal’ that became known as the ‘Trojan students described and how the situation
Horse’ would more recently be confirmed has since become worse. Many more
as unfounded by a Parliamentary Muslims now feel unsafe, not only on the
Committee who reported that ‘no evidence street, but in their schools, doctor’s
of extremism or radicalisation, apart from surgeries and homes. 365 This means that, at
a single isolated incident, was found by a time of austerity, Muslims are being
any of the inquiries and there was no disproportionately denied access to social
evidence of a sustained plot nor of a similar and civic activities, blocking them from
situation pertaining elsewhere in the political engagement. Muslim students in
country’. 360 After the girls had washed schools and universities report
their Hijabs and returned to class, the withdrawing from political debate 366 and
children told me that being Muslim made barriers to mental health services for
them feel unsafe. They told me that this Muslims have been shown in recent
was in part because headlines like ‘City

359 "Anti-radicalisation strategy lacks evidence base in science | Letters." The accessed 21.06.2018,
Guardian. September 28, 2016. Accessed March 17, 2017. terror-is-promoting-violence/ ; Faure Walker, "Use of the word ‘radicalisation’ is ballooning – and it’s hiding the real causes of violence." The Conversation, March 8,
lacks-evidence-base-in-science. 2018, accessed 21.06.2018,
“Extremism in schools: the Trojan Horse affair Seventh Report of Session 2014–

15”, House of Commons Education Select Committee, (London: The Stationary Office, 365 “Preventing Education? Human Rights and UK Counter-Terrorism Policy in
2015), accessed 21.06.2018, Schools”, Rights Watch UK, July 2016, accessed 21.06.2018,
content/uploads/2016/07/preventing-education-final-to-print-3.compressed-1.pdf ;
361Andrew Gilligan, "City fights new Trojan Horse Islamic schools plot." The Telegraph, “Eroding Trust: The UK’s Prevent Counter-Extremism Strategy in Health and
May 3, 2014, accessed 21.06.2018, Education”, Open Society Justice Initiative, October 2016, accessed 21.06.2018,
Islamic-schools-plot.html. counter-extremism-strategy-health-and-education

Committee on Human Rights: Freedom of Speech in Universities”, House of
362 Abdel-Fattah, Does My Head Look Big in This?
Commons: Joint Committee on Human Rights, March 27, 2018, accessed 21.06.2018,
363 Kathryn Riley, Whose School Is It Anyway?, (London: Falmer, 1998). ;
Hareem Ghani and Ilyas Nagdee, “#MuslimsInEducation”, National Union of Students,
364Rob Faure Walker, "By casting teachers as informants, British counter-extremism March 18, 2018, accessed 21.06.2018,
policy is promoting violence." The Conversation, December 20, 2017, accessed experience-of-muslim-students-in-2017-18
counter-extremism-policy-is-promoting-violence-85474.; Faure Walker, "How
Preventing Terror is Promoting Violence." Discover Society (41), February 1, 2017,

academic research.367 Both of these UN, Parliamentary committees,371
situations have been fuelled by the NGOs,372 and civil liberties
PREVENT Counter-Terrorism Strategy,368 organisations,373 the Government
a strategy that is based on flawed evidence continues to expand the policy.
that is no less racist than early theories of
The earlier mentioned anti-Muslim stories
criminology that tried to identify criminals
in the media are not solitary incidents, they
from the shape of their heads.369
represent a continuing Islamophobic
narrative; recently the Times has been
criticised by the Independent Press
Standards Organisation (IPSO) for
presenting a “misleading” and “distorted”
picture of a Muslim foster family374 and the
editor of the Daily Express told a
Parliamentary committee that his
newspaper had created “Islamophobic
sentiment”.375 These observations suggest
that the media has contributed to
Islamophobia. At a time when the
Government are mired in the Windrush
scandal over immigration targets and the
deportation of legal immigrants to former
British colonies, we might surmise that
they care more about looking tough than in
Figure 1: Early attempts to classify criminals effective policy. And, this might explain
(Lombroso [1876] 2006) why the Government continue to roll out
strategy that alienates Muslims of all
While this targeting of Muslim ages.376
communities is unacceptable, the Home
Office’s recent focus on Far-Right groups PREVENT’s efforts to look tough are
does not obfuscate the harm done by demonstrated by the strategy’s targeting of
PREVENT. As stated by the UN Special political activism in young Muslims,
Rapporteur on racism, “The Prevent duty Rights Watch (UK) reporting the case of
is inherently flawed, and expansion of a Rahmaan Mohammadi who became a
flawed program to cover more groups is by subject of the counter-terrorism strategy
no means curative”.370 In spite of the when he wore a Palestinian scarf to
continued criticism of PREVENT from the school.377 In my own professional life as a

367 Charlotte Heath-Kelly and Erzsébet Strausz, “Counterterrorism in the NHS:
Evaluating Prevent Duty Safeguarding”, University of Warwick and Wellcome Trust, select/home-affairs-committee/inquiries/parliament-2017/inquiry3/
2018, accessed 21.06.2018, 372 “Islamophobia: Still a challenge for us all”, Runnymede Trust, 2017, accessed
minthenhs/project_report_60pp.pdf 21.06.2018,
368Prevent strategy 2011. HM Government, (The Stationary Office Limited, 2011), INAL.pdf ; Asim Qureshi,, "The ‘science’ of pre-crime: The secret ‘radicalisation’
accessed 21.06.2018, study underpinning PREVENT", CAGE, accessed 21.06.2018,
strategy-2011 content/uploads/2016/09/CAGE-Science-Pre-Crime-Report.pdf

Katy Sian, Katy. "Born radicals? Prevent, positivism, and ‘race-thinking’." Palgrave
369 373“Prevent duty must be scrapped: LEA admits discrimination after teachers call
Communications 3 (1):6. police over seven-year-old boy’s toy gun”, Liberty, January 27, 2017, accessed
370“End of Mission Statement of the Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of statements/prevent-duty-must-be-scrapped-lea-admits-discrimination-after ;
Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance at the Conclusion “Preventing Education? Human Rights and UK Counter-Terrorism…”
of Her Mission to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland”, United
Nations Human Rights, Office of the High Commissioner, accessed 21.06.2018, 374“Ruling 20480-17 Tower Hamlets Borough Council v The Times”, edited by Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO), 2018, accessed 21.06.2018,

371“Counter-Extremism: Joint Committee on Human Rights: Second Report of Session 375 “Joint Committee on Human Rights: Freedom of Speech…”
2016-17”, House of Lords and House of Commons, July 20, 2016, accessed 21.06.2018, 376 “Eroding Trust: The UK’s Prevent Counter-Extremism Strategy…”
“Home Affairs Committee: Hate crime and its violent consequences”, House of
Commons, October 23, 2017, accessed 21.06.2018, 377 “Preventing Education? Human Rights and UK Counter-Terrorism…”

secondary school teacher, I have also seen An experimental analysis conducted by the
Muslim children steered away from EHRC on Schedule 7 powers assessing the
political activism by school authorities prevalence of racial disproportionality in
when they have not been allowed to collect stops and examinations found that Asians
money for Muslim Aid to support Syrian and individuals of “other” ethnic groups
refugees and I have heard other Muslims were 11.3 times more likely than White
school children criticised for raising money people to be stopped and questioned.
and awareness of the plight of the Comparatively, Black people were 6.3
Rohingya in Myanmar, years before the times more likely and those of mixed
mainstream media caught up with this ethnicity were 3.6 times more likely to be
tragedy. stopped and searched.379 The study further
concluded that although the total
As scenes from Gaza, Syria and the vast
proportion of examinations of Asians or
camps for Rohingya refugees in
“other” ethnic minorities at all ports and
Bangladesh are beamed live to us via our
airports was 46.6% in 2010/11, an analysis
TVs and phones, the global solidarity
of airports indicated that 63.5% of total
demonstrated by Muslims could show us
examinations were of Asians and “other”
how we should respond with compassion
ethnic minorities. Meanwhile, 65.2% of all
and affirmative action. Though this
port and airport examinations and
solidarity might point the way to a more
detentions lasting over an hour were of
harmonious future, Muslims who express
Asians or other ethnic minorities.
a concern for recent British foreign policy
and for the plight of Muslims abroad are This level of disproportionality in Schedule
often represented as a threat to Western 7 stops has continued to grow over recent
values, resulting in referrals via years. While the overall number of
controversial strategies like PREVENT, or Schedule 7 examinations has fallen since
in more insipid self-censoring of school 2011/12, the proportion of those stopped
children and university students.378 Such who are from Asian or “other” ethnic
oppression of any community should not backgrounds continues to grow. Despite
be tolerated. It is a bitter irony that the individuals of Asian ethnicity comprising
compassion that Muslims show for one of just 8% of the overall population,
another is being cast as a threat, rather than 2015/16 marked the first year where those
as a model for how we could all be living. stopped of Asian ethnicity (30%)
outnumbered those stopped of White
ethnicity (27%), with those of Asian or
Schedule 7
Asian British ethnicity being most likely to
Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act and the be detained under Schedule 7 powers.380
powers to stop and search at ports and
The former Independent Reviewer of
airports without “reasonable suspicion”
Terrorism Legislation, David Anderson
have been another major source of
QC previously said that the use of
antagonism in minority communities with
Schedule 7 powers has “given rise to
the issues of racial profiling and
resentment among some Muslim groups
disproportionality resurfacing in studies
who feel they are being singled out” by
assessing the impact of the powers on
authorities.381 He further noted that

Ibid; “Eroding Trust: The UK’s Prevent Counter-Extremism Strategy…”; Ghani

378 380Operation of police powers under the Terrorism Act 2000, financial year ending
and Nagdee, “#MuslimsInEducation”. March 2016, accessed 29.05.2018,
379Karen Hurrell, An Experimental Analysis of Examinations and Detentions under the-terrorism-act-2000-financial-year-ending-march-2016/operation-of-police-
Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000, report, Equality and Human Rights powers-under-the-terrorism-act-2000-and-subsequent-legislation-arrests-outcomes-
Commission, Winter 2013, accessed May 29, and-stop-and-search-great-britain-financial-y
an-experimental-analysis-of-examinations-and-detentions-under-s7-of-the-terrorism- 381Rowena Mason, ‘UK terror law watchdog calls for end to detention at borders
act-2000.pdf without suspicion,’ The Guardian, December 01, 2013, accessed 29.05.2018,

Schedule 7 detentions and examinations Islamophobia, securitisation,
were imposed upon members of ethnic
minority groups to a greater extent than
PREVENT, and Schedule 7
“their presence in the travelling population As our definition of Islamophobia argues,
would seem to warrant”,382 suggesting Islamophobia may be articulated and
evidence of disproportionate use. maintained through policies, legislation,
However, in his December 2016 report, and structures which serve to exclude,
Anderson concluded that as Schedule 7 is restrict, or discriminate against Muslims,
not supposed to be a randomly-exercised and which have the effect of nullifying or
power, the continuing disproportions of impairing the recognition, enjoyment or
Asians being stopped “do not constitute exercise, on an equal footing, of human
evidence that Schedule 7 powers are being rights and fundamental freedoms in the
used in a racially discriminatory political, economic, social, cultural or any
manner”.383 other field of public life.
Following consultation, Schedule 7 powers As this chapter attests, processes of
were amended in the Anti-Social securitisation have the natural effect of
Behaviour, Crime, and Policing Act 2014. excluding, restricting, and discriminating
Changes included reducing the maximum against Muslims in every area of public
examination period in detention from 9 to life. Meanwhile, this securitisation has
6 hours; granting individuals detained culminated in legislation which, through
access to legal counsel; and repealing its application, specifically targets Muslims
powers to take ‘intimate samples' of on the basis of their ethnocultural and
biometric data. The Independent Reviewer religious identities, and thus impairs their
further called for the introduction of a abilities to fully enjoy their fundamental
"suspicion threshold" in the exercise of the freedoms on an equal footing with other
powers, along with a statutory bar members of society.
rendering answers given under Schedule 7
It is for this reason, that MEND urges for
questioning inadmissible in criminal trials.
the immediate need to conduct an
While changes introduced in the 2014 Act independent review of PREVENT and all
are a positive step towards addressing the counter-terrorism legislation enacted since
encroachment on the civil liberties of 2000 with a particular attention afforded to
minority communities, the changes do not the manifestations of Islamophobia within
go far enough. For example, their development, scope, training
recommendations by the Joint Committee procedures, and application.
on Human Rights to collate data on the
self-declared religious identity of
individuals stopped have yet to be
adopted. With the broadening of powers at
the disposal of border officials, including
passport seizure powers, collecting data
that enables evaluation of compliance with
equalities legislation is of paramount
importance, as is the proper training of
officers to ensure racial and religious
stereotyping is avoided at all cost. 383 David Anderson, QC, The Terrorism Acts in 2015, December 1, 2016,
382 David Anderson, QC, The Terrorism Acts in 2011, June 27,

While noteworthy and commendable steps
Crime, Policing and have been made to improve equalities in
the Criminal Justice the Criminal Justice System since the
publication of the Macpherson report,
System Muslims and ethnic minorities remain
over-represented. Therefore, Islamophobia
While Islamophobia is often associated must be examined as a mechanism
with blatant acts of violence or aggression potentially maintaining inequalities at all
against Muslims, its manifestations can be levels of the Criminal Justice System.
much more subtle and difficult to detect
and include institutionalised practices of Overrepresentation of Muslims
discrimination and structural racism. and minorities in the Criminal
Institutional Islamophobia relating to Justice System
discriminatory practices ingrained within
the Criminal Justice System is particularly In 2016, the Lammy Review exposed a high
significant because of both its disruption to level of discrimination and
the lives of many Muslims and for its long- disproportionate representation of British
term consequences to their future social Muslims in the Criminal Justice System.
engagement as equal members of society. Indeed, despite making up just 14% of the
population, BAME individuals constitute
Institutional racism is not a new concept in 25% of prisoners, while over 40% of young
the analysis of the modus operandi of the people in custody are from BAME
Criminal Justice System. The 1999 backgrounds. Over the past decade, the
Macpherson Inquiry, which was number of Muslims in prison increased by
established to scrutinise the Metropolitan nearly 50%, from 8,900 to 13,200. As such,
Police Service’s investigation into Stephen Muslims make up 15% of the total prison
Lawrence’s murder, produced a critical population, while only amounting to 5% of
report accusing the Metropolitan Police the general population.386 Interestingly, as
Service of “institutional racism” and Lammy pointed out, this dramatic rise in
advanced 49 recommendations to improve the number of prisoners is not linked to
policing and its impact on racial minorities. terrorism offences, as only 175 Muslims
The Macpherson report found that ethnic were convicted of terrorism-related
minorities were “over policed... and under offences between 2001 and 2012.387
protected” 384 with encounters between
race groups and police forces influenced by Today, ethnic minorities are
a high incidence of stop and search. The disproportionately more likely to be
Macpherson report proposed priority stopped and searched than at the time of
measures to “increase trust and confidence the Macpherson report, with the ratio of
in policing among minority ethnic Black to White stops increasing from 5 to 1
communities” through policy directives in 1999 to 8 to 1 in 2002.388 Meanwhile,
regulating the use of stop and search figures published by the Equalities and
procedures and improvements in the Human Rights Commission in separate
recruitment and retention of ethnic reports in 2010 and 2013 found that the
minority officers in the police force.385 ratios steadily increased, demonstrating a
growth in the degree of disproportionality.

384William MacPherson, The Stephen Lawrence Inquiry, report, February 24, 1999, 387 Ibid.
tachment_data/file/277111/4262.pdf 388Ben Bowling, Alpa Parmar, and Coretta Phillips, ‘Policing ethnic minority
communities,’ Handbook of Policing, 2003, wp-
385 Ibid. content/uploads/2012/02/Policing%20ethnic%20minority%20communities.pdf

386“The Lammy Review: final report”,, September 8, 2017, p. 3, accessed


In its 2010 “Stop and Think!” report, the Explaining overrepresentation
EHRC found that Black people were at
least six times as likely to be stopped and As noted above, the current political
searched as a White person and an Asian climate that identifies Muslims as
almost twice as likely to be stopped and individuals belonging to a community ‘at
searched.389 In 2013, the EHRC concluded risk’ contributes significantly in their high
that during 2010/11 and 2011/12 Black level of representation in the Criminal
people were 29 times more likely to be Justice System. However, there are a
stopped and searched in some areas when number of structural issues that also
stops and search were assessed by police contribute towards creating the conditions
force area and the respective size of the for Muslims, and the BAME population
BAME population. Similar findings were more generally, to suffer from
seen in 2015/16, with Black people being disproportionate representation in the
over six times more likely to be stopped Criminal Justice System.
than White people. Overall, those from Cultural stereotypes
BAME groups were three times more likely
According to Dr Zubaida Haque, a
to be stopped and searched than those who
researcher on race disparity for the
are White. Figures showed that just 16% of
equalities think-tank, the Runnymede
stops led to an arrest, with 76% of stops
resulting in “no further action”.390 Trust, the increase in the representation of
Muslims in the Criminal Justice System can
The detrimental impact of the stop and only be explained as a result of “cultural
search powers can be observed in their stereotypes” and poverty. Indeed, she
effect on Muslim males. As the EHRC suggests that the widespread
noted in a report in 2011, “For many young Islamophobia that has developed
Muslim men on the streets, stop and search throughout the 21st Century has had an
under Section 44 of the Terrorism Act (s44) impact on the Criminal Justice System and
has become their most frequent and the unconscious bias against Muslims
regular contact with the police… Such across the whole spectrum of the justice
measures were seen to add to perceptions system.
of racial and religious profiling and
The stigmatisation of Muslims further
discrimination.”391 Meanwhile, a survey by
contributes to widening the divide
the HMIC of 391 BAME people revealed
between Muslim and non-Muslim
that police officers may not be following
communities, whilst having a profound
stop and search procedure in all
impact on the Criminal Justice System and
cases: 44% of respondents said the police
its approach to Muslim individuals.
did not treat them with respect; 42% said
Indeed, over the past decade, the public
they did not understand why they were
discourse on Muslim has been almost
stopped and searched; 47% felt they were
exclusively associated with crime,
not treated with respect; and 37% said they
terrorism and issues of integration, which
were not told the reason why there were
stopped and searched.392 creates the impression that young Muslims
are less integrated, have less in common
with their non-Muslim peers, and possess
ambivalent loyalties.

389Stop and think: A critical review of the use of stop and search powers in England 391Tufyal Choudhury and Helen Fenwick, The impact of counter-terrorism measures
and Wales, report, Equality and Human Rights Commission, March 2010, on Muslim communities, report, Equality and Human Rights Commission, May 12, 2011,
report.pdf. 72-the-impact-of-counter-terrorismmeasures-on-muslim-communities.pdf.

390Home Office, Police powers and procedures England and Wales year ending 31 392“Stop and Search Powers: Are the police using them effectively and fairly?” HMIC,
March 2016, October 27, 2016, 2013, accessed 19.07.2017,
/562977/police-powers-procedures-hosb1516.pdf. 20130709.pdf

Furthermore, there is an issue of to provide a fair and less discriminatory
discrimination occurring in the Criminal justice service.
Justice System, with harsher sentences, or
Homogeneity in the Criminal Justice
at the very least a different judgement,
being passed on the basis of an individual
ethnicity/religiosity. Indeed, the last major Another issue affecting the treatment and
study published on the subject and judgement of BAME individuals within
covering decisions made in five Crown the Criminal Justice System is a potential
Court Centres in the West Midlands in lack of understanding of the experiences of
1989, showed that substantially longer minorities. At the core of this problem is
sentences were given to both Black and homogeneity and a lack of diversity within
Asian offenders than White offenders. A the system itself.
more recent study published in 2005 also Although the judiciary are independent
showed that Asian males, were more likely office holders, they provide a significant
to receive a custodial sentence.393 public service and were, therefore,
Socio-economic challenges included within the Government’s recent
Race Disparity Audit. In 2016, 6% of court
Considering the severe economic
judges who declared their ethnicity were
deprivation experienced by Muslims (with
from non-White ethnic groups.
nearly half living in the 10% of the poorest
Representation of those from non-White
areas in England and Wales), the increase
ethnic groups was more than twice as high
of Muslim inmates should in fact be seen as
among tribunal judges and non-legal
the result of discrimination, both socio-
members of tribunals combined, at 14%.
economic and within the justice system
Asian people made up the largest non-
itself.394 Indeed, the Race Disparity Audit
White ethnic group in these roles, with
showed that 31% (or around 343,000) of the
around 3% of court judges and 8% of
Pakistani population and 28% (or roughly
tribunal judges and non-legal members.
113,000) of the Bangladeshi population
Around 16% of court judges and 12% of
lived in the most deprived 10% of
tribunal judges and non-legal members did
neighbourhoods in England. All Black
not disclose their ethnic group.397
ethnic groups were also disproportionately
likely to live in the most deprived As pointed out by the research conducted
neighbourhoods.395 Research has further by T2A Alliance, a senior probation officer
demonstrated that living in deprived emphasised the importance of accounting
neighbours has a negative spill-over effect for the background of magistrates: “I
on multiple aspects of life, including would argue whether you could even say a
general well-being, education, magistrate has been through any type of
employment, and crime.396 formal training. They are people from a
particular background who won’t
The socio-economic issues faced by BAME
understand the needs of ethnic minority
individuals, and Muslims particularly, are
critical to understand and tackle
criminality, but are also pivotal in an effort

393“Section 95 Criminal Justice Act 1991 Race and the Criminal Justice System: An 2018,
overview to the complete statistics 2003–2004”, Criminal Justice System, February 2005, audit-summary-findings.pdf
accessed 15.02.2018, 396“Communities in recession: the impact on deprived neighbourhoods”, Joseph Rowntree Foundation, October 2009, accessed 05.03.2018,
394“The Muslim Prison Population Has Surged, Here's Why The 'Stereotypes And recession-impact-neighbourhoods.pdf
Myths' Are Wrong”, Huffington Post, September 8, 2017, accessed 24.10.2017 “Race Disparity Audit Summary Findings from the Ethnicity Facts and Figures

prisoners_uk_59afcaa0e4b0b5e531022f26 website.”

“Race Disparity Audit Summary Findings from the Ethnicity Facts and Figures
395 398 “Young Muslims on Trial”, Maslaha, March 2016, accessed May 29, 2018,
website”, Cabinet Office, October 2017 (revised February 2018), accessed June 21,

Lack of understanding of British Muslim thus results in the inability to understand
diversity the proclivities and aspirations of young
Muslims living in the UK. This not only
Another issue concerns the fact that
results in a broad-brush application of the
Muslims are often perceived as having a
law, but also in difficulties in addressing
homogenous identity. Those within the
the root cause for criminality among these
Criminal Justice System lack the
understanding of the different Muslim
communities, whether they are Somali or In addition, and as mentioned earlier in
Pakistani, Shia or Sunni, or how their lives this report, simplistic characterisations
are affected if they live in different areas in inherently contain the seeds of
the country. It is in fact crucial to Islamophobia. Indeed “when others
understand the rich diversity within assume all Muslim individuals share the
Muslim communities if appropriate same experiences, religious practices, or
services are to be provided. As pointed out behaviours, they make a judgment that
by the Runnymede Trust, “Muslim there are no differences between members
communities are constructed as ‘suspect’ of a certain group, that an entire religious
through the frequent implicit and explicit group is completely homogenous.” 402 This
juxtaposition of the terms ‘law-abiding results in the belief that there is no
majority’ and ‘extremist minority’ when flexibility to the practice or tradition and
discussing both sets of communities”.399 that every single person of the group must
engage in such a behaviour. Therefore, a
The issue of the Criminal Justice System’s
homogeneous view of Muslims through
perceived homogeneity of British Muslims
the lens of counter-terror has the
is significant for a number of reasons.
unavoidable consequence of pre-
Firstly, because it frames Muslims within
criminalising all Muslims.
the war on terror narrative, thus making
the simplistic distinction between “bad” In short, “to ensure that everyone receives
and “good”. In the Criminal Justice fair and equal treatment, it is critical to
System, this can result in discrimination understand the needs of equality and
occurring on the simple basis of prejudice minority groups and identify what
deriving from the mainstream separate provision may be required. This is
interpretation of what constitutes an likely to be different not just across different
acceptable interpretation of Islam.400 protected characteristics but within them.
Indeed, one of the key things highlighted…
Moreover, such a simplistic
was the importance of not assuming
characterisation disregards other key
homogeneity amongst the needs of all
factors that can lead to a more equitable
individuals from a particular group.”403
understandings and just conclusions
within the Criminal Justice System, such as Mistrust
ethnicity, education, class, place, gender These issues create a mutual feeling of
and political outlook. The failure to
mistrust that has a profound impact on the
acknowledge the inherent difference lives of Muslims,404 and has unavoidable
among the many Muslim communities
repercussions in the relations between

399 Kjartan Páll Sveinsson, “Criminal Justice v. Racial Justice Minority ethnic 402Kevin L. Nadal et al., “Subtle and Overt Forms of Islamophobia: Microaggressions
overrepresentation in the criminal justice system”, Runnymede, accessed 15.02.2018 toward Muslim Americans”, Journal of Muslim Mental Health, Volume 6, Issue 2, 2012.
403“Tackling inequality in the Criminal Justice System”, Clinks, May 2015, accessed
400 Scott Poynting and Victoria Mason, “Tolerance, Freedom, Justice and Peace”?: 20.02.2018,
Britain, Australia and Anti-Muslim Racism since 11 September 2001”, Journal of
Intercultural Studies, Volume 27, 2006 - Issue 4. nks_Report.pdf

401Gabe Mythen and Fatima Khan, “Futurity, Governance and the Terrorist Risk: 404“Young, Muslim and British: Between rhetoric and realities”, LSE Blog, accessed
Exploring the Impacts of Pre-emptive Modes of Regulation on Young Muslims in the 24.10.2017,
UK”, accessed 20.02.2018 and-british-between-rhetoric-and-realities/

Muslims and the Criminal Justice System. real) is perceived in the Criminal Justice
For example, the justice system provides System.407
incentives for those who have committed
Some, for example, felt they had been
crimes to admit guilt, such as potential
discriminated against by judges on the
reductions of sentences or access to
basis of the records of their brothers, older
interventions that keep them out of prison
cousins, or even uncles. One man reported
altogether. Yet, pleading “guilty” implies a
that, “I don’t know what it is about our
level of trust between the accuser and the
family but we never seem to get bail – you
accused that BAME individuals simply do
get people nicked on big conspiracy
not have, due to a real or perceived
charges who get bail.” Others went as far
disparity in the way they are treated.
as saying: “they give excuses and say
As the Lammy Review suggested, “Many things like oh we think you’re going to
BAME defendants neither trust the advice commit further offences”.408 Overall, the
that they are given, nor believe they will research showed a high degree of mistrust
receive a fair hearing from magistrates” of British Muslims in relation to the way
and are thus instinctively more prone to they are sentenced. One example of this is
plea “not guilty” than their White the testimony of a young man, who said:
counterparts.405 However, this means that “We know a lot of it has to do with our
BAME defendants face harsher sentences if religion. I’ve met people in jail who have
found guilty. The punitive treatment been scared to grow a beard because
reserved to BAME individuals who plea they’re worried they will get a high-end
“not guilty” cannot be addressed sentence.”409
overnight but is critical nonetheless. While
A study published by The European Journal
a concerted and durative effort to build up
of Psychology Applied to Legal Context
trust between BAME groups and the showed that White individuals had a
Criminal Justice System needs to become a higher degree of satisfaction with the
priority, the Criminal Justice System also
outcomes received from the justice system,
needs to put in place a system that allows as well as with the legal processes and
interventions to be set up prior to the procedures. Conversely, citizens belonging
to ethnic minorities perceived more
Furthermore, the climate of mistrust that unfairness in both cases.410 This is due to
has characterised the relationships the fact that societal discrimination and
between Muslim and non-Muslim even more so, discrimination within any
communities in British society has area of the Criminal Justice System,
produced a spill-over effect in the way reduces the level of confidence that
Muslims are judged within the Criminal individuals have in the Criminal Justice
Justice System at virtually every stage. System. Finally, the underrepresentation of
Several Muslims who took part in minorities groups can lead to a lesser
interviews conducted by the T2A Alliance, degree of sympathy for the complexities
a charity organisation that deals with and diversity of the BAME individual,
discrimination and fair treatment in the particularly for individuals belonging to
Criminal Justice System, lamented the communities already considered “at risk”,
existence of prejudice in the way their or communities often misunderstood and
criminality (whether it being alleged or

405 “The Lammy Review: final report”, p6. 409 Ibid.

406 Ibid, p27-28. 410Estefanía Estéveza , Marina Rachitskiy, and Carla Rodríguez, “Is perception of the
mainstream legal system homogeneous across ethnic groups?”, The European Journal of
407 “Young Muslims on Trial." Psychology Applied to Legal Context, 5 (2013), pp. 155-161, accessed June 21, 2018,
408 Ibid. main.pdf?_tid=spdf-03747654-b1a3-4bcd-9374-

misrepresented across broader segments of community it serves. People of a BAME
British society. background wishing to develop their
careers within the police service often lack
The issue of trust in the Criminal Justice
role models, encounter barriers when
System is important because people can
trying to access necessary training and face
accept decisions and outcomes from the
selection panels which are almost always
justice system more willingly when they
lacking in diversity.413
believe that the authorities are using fair
procedures based on trustworthy It is crucial that steps are taken to ensure
motivations.411 that police forces are representative of the
many segments of British society and the
Recruitment of BAME in the communities they serve. This need is
Police Force evidenced by the recent Race Disparity
Audit, published by the Government in
For many people, the police form the most
late 2017, which found a significant
visible representation of the state. As such,
disparity in the representation of
it is incredibly important that the
minorities in both the police force and the
relationship between minority
wider Criminal Justice System. In 2016,
communities and their local police are
94% of prison officers in England and
characterised by trust and understanding.
Wales who disclosed their ethnicity were
Therefore, recruitment and adequate
White. The same year, around 1 police
representation of minorities within the
officer in every 17 was from a non-White
force is an important asset in nurturing
ethnic minority group. While this ratio
understanding, trust, and a feeling of
differed greatly according to rank, type of
representation within this relationship.
work and geography, there has been a
The “Police Diversity” report prepared by slight increase in the proportion of officers
the House of Commons found that while from a non-White background over the last
there has been a steady increase in the 10 years, indicating promise.
overall proportion of officers and staff who
It is crucial that police forces are equipped
are of a BAME background, particularly
with the necessary tools to understand the
since this issue was brought to the
cultural intricacies of the communities they
attention of the Government in 2013.
serve. This can not only result in a more
However, progress remains somewhat
nuanced understanding of the incidents
slow and there is wide variation between
they investigate, but can also help the
forces and increased numbers of BAME
building of a more positive relationship
police officers remain overwhelmingly in
between them and the communities they
the most junior rank. Even allowing for
serve. Indeed, police forces are seen as a
appropriate career progression, the
representation of the state, and a positive
number of BME officers above the rank of
relationship with them can result in an
Inspector remains very low. These results
increased sense of belonging of
were thus deemed “unacceptable” by the
communities that often find themselves at
the outskirts of society.
The issue of BAME representation at junior
levels is particularly problematic. Indeed,
the lack of senior BAME representation in
the police service affects its leadership,
culture and understanding of the

411 Ibid. 413 Ibid.

412“Police diversity First Report of Session 2016–17”, House of Commons Home Affairs
Committee, accessed 20.02.2018,

Case study: Bijan Ebrahimi, neighbours, who repeatedly accused him
of being a paedophile and threatened to
victim of institutional racism in kill him. On one occasion, Mr James saw
the police force Mr Ebrahimi filming him and his children
Bijan Ebrahimi was murdered on July 14, as they were walking around the estate and
2013 by his neighbour Lee James, who believed him to be a paedophile. However,
punched and kicked him to death, before the IPCC report revealed that Ebrahimi
setting fire to his body outside his house in told police officers that he had taken the
Bristol. It emerged that, prior to his death, photographs as evidence that Mr James
Mr Ebrahimi had contacted the police was drinking in the public areas of the
several times in light of Lee James’s estate whilst in charge of children. He said
behaviour, but the force had regarded him that this was a regular occurrence, which
as a nuisance. Following the incident, a resulted in “a mess”.
report was prepared by the Independent Indeed, the report reads, “There was
Police Complaints Commission evidence, not least from Mr James himself,
(IPCC), revealing that police officers may of Mr Ebrahimi taking a great deal of
have been biased against Mr Ebrahimi and trouble over the appearance of his flat, by
failed to protect him. A total of seventeen cultivating plants and flowers in pots
officers and staff were interviewed, and outside. He plainly considered the
IPCC Commissioner Williams determined behaviour of Mr James and his associates,
to refer the files concerning three police drinking in the public areas and discarding
officers, a control room supervisor, a call cans, to be anti-social behaviour, with
taker, and a police community support which many people may agree. It was
officer to the Crown Prosecution Service, possible, even likely that as a result of
for consideration of offences of misconduct previous complaints, and he had been
in public office. It was additionally advised to take photographs or video to
determined to refer the offence of evidence this behaviour.”
perverting the course of justice for
consideration against the police In the days before his death, Ebrahimi
community support officer. called the police to say his neighbour Lee
James had barged into his home and
Mr Ebrahimi, 44, was born in Iran in 1969 attacked him by punching him in the face.
and lived there during his formative years. Rather than arresting Mr James, the police
His parents both died when he was a officers handcuffed Mr Ebrahimi, who was
young man and he was their full-time carer escorted into the police car before a crowd
for some time before their death. He had of cheering neighbours.
moved to a new neighbourhood in Bristol
after his previous home was set on fire by A neighbour said that she saw Mr James
his neighbours. stood by the washing line and heard him
shout either “I’ll f*****g kill you” or “I’ll
The report prepared by the IPCC reveals f*****g get you” towards Mr Ebrahimi. She
that Mr Ebrahimi was a vulnerable man, saw that both female police officers were
whose first language was not English and present but neither reacted or did anything
who was subject to numerous unfounded in response to these shouted threats. The
allegations against him. He had turned to IPCC also found that one of the officers, PC
the police for help several times in the Helen Harris, approached Mr James and
months leading to his death. Mr Ebrahimi’s told him “off the record I would have done
final call to a police officer occurred just the same thing”. She also told him that they
one hour before he was murdered. were going to arrest Mr Ebrahimi for
Between 2007 and 2013, Mr Ebrahimi breach of the peace.
experienced a number of issues with

The IPCC noted that by arresting Mr action, or failure to act, Article 2 requires
Ebrahimi and not Mr James, PC Harris and there to be an independent and effective
PC Winter undoubtedly “discriminated” investigation to determine the
between them. Indeed, the officers could circumstances and causes of the death. The
have been in no doubt about the danger IPCC found that “from the outset, there
that Mr Ebrahimi was in, having heard the were serious breaches of Avon and
remarks about “firebombing” him out and Somerset Constabulary hate crime
Mr Ebrahimi being labelled as a policy.”
“paedophile”. PS Hill’s remark that the
Two men, beat manager PC Kevin Duffy,
“pitch fork and burning torch brigade are
and community support officer Andrew
after him”, provided an indication of how
Passmore, were both jailed over how they
serious they knew the situation to be.
dealt with Ebrahimi after being found
However, instead of protecting Mr
guilty of misconduct in a public office.
Ebrahimi, they mistreated him, humiliated
They and two other constables, Leanne
him, and even intimidated him before
Winter, 38, and Helen Harris, 40, who
releasing him back “without any
arrested Ebrahimi, have been dismissed
meaningful risk assessment”.
from the force.415 In all, 18 police staff and
The evidence from CCTV in the Custody officers, including sergeants and
Suite showed PC Harris’ treatment of Mr inspectors, face disciplinary proceedings.
Ebrahimi to have been rude and
unprofessional, including striking him on
the back of his hand with the folded sheets
of paper, an action which can only be
described as indicative of contempt.
Mr David McCallum, independent chair of
the review process, accused Bristol City
Council and Avon and Somerset police
officers of institutional racism, intended as
“The collective failure of an organisation to
provide an appropriate and professional
service to people because of their colour,
culture, or ethnic origin. It can be seen or
detected in processes, attitudes and
behaviour which amount to discrimination
through unwitting prejudice, ignorance,
thoughtlessness and racist stereotyping
which disadvantage minority ethnic
people”. 414
Article 2 of the European Convention on
Human Rights (ECHR) places an
obligation on the state not to take life,
except in very limited and defined
circumstances, and to take reasonable steps
to protect life where there is a real and
immediate risk. If there is an indication
that a death may be the result of police

414“Safer Bristol Partnership Multi-Agency Learning Review Following The Murder 415“Police officers jailed over Bijan Ebrahimi murder case”, The Guardian, February 9,
of Bijan Ebrahimi”, accessed 29.05.2018. 2016, accessed 29.05.2018, news/2016/feb/09/bijan-ebrahimi-murder-bristol-police-sentenced

asked her permission to raise money for
Political charities assisting Palestinian children
Representation and affected by the conflict. She gave me the go
ahead and told me I could bucket collect in
Exclusion the college for an entire week. With the
help of some friends, we raised over £1000.
Developing Civic Sensibilities The point I want to focus on, however, is
not the achievement but more so on the
Aman Ali decision made by the teacher. She could
Head of Community and Development, have easily decided otherwise, citing
MEND reasons such as it would distract me from
my upcoming exams, or let the teachers
Growing up as a teenager living in organise something you don’t worry about
London, I gave very little thought to my it, or any number of logistical concerns. But
civic responsibilities in my early she didn’t. She heard me out, saw that I
adolescence. I guess, like most people my had a plan and let me run with it.
age back then, I had my own individual
plan that I hoped to follow, which included The morale of the story being always give
typical things like getting a good young people a chance to make a
education, a good job and having a family difference.
one day. Many young people I am sure have had the
Being a British Muslim of Bangladeshi urge to change something around them but
origin, I went through life not seeing may have never had the right person
myself represented very much in society. I around them to enable them or encourage
didn’t see other British Muslims of them. Our collective failure to provide
Bangladeshi origin feature prominently in support to young change makers risks
public life. Whether that be on the news, excluding them from being civically
watching sports or going about my daily engaged in the future, thereby losing their
life such as going to school or to the contribution to society.
hospital. A second significant incident took place
Hence, I guess, I just went through my during my time at University. I was in a
teenage years with my head down and got guest lecture where a speaker made a very
on with life. It was only after having had profound point that really reshaped my
my eyes opened up to certain realities outlook on civic responsibility. Addressing
around me, that I began lifting my head up what was a very diverse audience which
and taking notice of the world around me. included people from various walks of life,
young and old, and various ethnic
Often it can be a tragic incident that forces backgrounds. Pointing to everyone in the
a person to take notice. For me, the first eye audience he said “You have just as much
opener was in college when the Gaza War right to shape the future of this country as
broke out in 2008. Witnessing the massacre any other person living in the UK. That
that was inflicted upon the Palestinians left responsibility is not reserved for a
me enraged and fuming. I took to the privileged few but a right that should be
streets like many others and joined protests exercised by every citizen, including
calling for the end of the massacre of the you!”
Palestinian people.
It was such a powerful point the speaker
But something within my conscience told made. Never had I thought about my
me I hadn’t done enough by just marching personal responsibility towards society in
on the streets. I wanted to do more. So, I such a manner. Never for a moment had I
approached the Head of the college and thought this responsibility was even mine

in the first place. Never did I think such a discrimination based upon ethnicity,
responsibility was meant for people like religion, sexual orientation, and gender no
me. longer plagues our society.
Remember, I grew up not seeing myself
represented much in public life. So, for Political representation and
someone to tell me I had such a big exclusion
responsibility was very much a cognitive
paradigm shift. Islamophobia should be understood as a
mechanism which marginalises and
After that speech, I went searching for excludes Muslims from being able to fully
further opportunities to try and be more participate in social, political and civic life.
active. I took part in more charitable While data shows a growing trend of
initiatives, got involved with local Muslim engagement in the field of politics,
campaigning and came across this this chapter addresses the challenges
organisation called MEND one day. They Muslims face when operating within the
were addressing an issue which was close political sphere and the barriers to
to me, the issue of Islamophobia. Having engagement that still exist.
had unfortunate experiences involving
myself or family members in the past, I It concludes that our political institutions
wanted to play an active role in combatting need to reflect the communities they serve
Islamophobia in the UK. and encourage Muslim representation
within Parliament. In these efforts, political
Alongside the work of tackling parties need to address structural barriers
Islamophobia, I came to realise MEND that exclude Muslims and other minority
were actively encouraging greater civic groups.
involvement on the part of the Muslim
community in the UK. They provided Moreover, it is essential that the
training courses on how to engage Government’s policy of disengagement
effectively with politics and media and had with credible mainstream Muslim
a big focus on empowering communities to organisations and leaders be urgently
become active citizens through their reversed so that the relationship between
working groups set up across the country. Government and Muslim communities
may be recalibrated.
I’ve been with MEND now for a number of
years and my work revolves around Muslim representation
reaching into communities and finding
Forming one of the most diverse Muslim
like-minded people who have realised
communities in the world, British Muslims
their civic responsibility and want to make
are an integral part of the social fabric of
a difference.
the nation through their significant
Together we are creating a movement in contribution to the economy (valued at £31
the UK of British Muslims who are playing billion) and their presence across a wide
a vital role in promoting active citizenship range of professions in the public and
amongst Muslims in the UK. Our desire is private sectors, most notably the NHS.416
to see a UK very different to the According to Lucy Michael, the
unrepresentative one most people in my “integration of minority groups in equality
generation grew up in. And, finally our terms” can be measured by engagement in
aspiration is to shape society where party politics and governance.417 To some

416Esmat Jeraj, ed., The Missing Muslims: Unlocking British Muslim Potential For The West, Surrey: Association of Muslim Social Scientists (UK) and Foundation for
Benefit Of All, Report by the Citizens Commission on Islam, Participation and Public Political, Economic and Social Research, 177 – 197. Cited in p.22 of Mustafa, Anisa.
Life, 2017, p46, 2015. "Active Citizenship, Dissent And Power: The Cultural Politics Of Young Adult
content/uploads/2017/07/Missing_Muslims_Report_-full-report.pdf British Muslims.". Ph.D, University of Nottingham.

Michael, Lucy. 2009. “Securing civic relations in the multicultural city”. 164-186, in

Krause, W. (Ed.) Citizenship, Security and Democracy: Muslim Engagement with the

extent, this can be demonstrated by the in public life has been brutal”, adding that
election of the first Muslim MP, “Muslims who engage with politics or any
Mohammad Sarwar, in 1997. In two other institutions are to be viewed as
decades since this historic landmark, the suspicious and Muslims who don’t engage
number of Muslim MPs has risen to 15, are to be treated as suspicious for being
eight of whom are women. Also, separatist”.419 Adding to this notion of
politicians who identify as Muslim or are suspicion, Muslim MPs, Rupa Huq and
of Muslim heritage have served as Tulip Siddiq, recently spoke out about
ministers in the past three governments being disproportionately stopped by
under Gordon Brown, David Cameron and security staff within Parliament and
now Theresa May - with Baroness Warsi having their credentials questioned, with
becoming the first Muslim female minister Huq stating that “[b]ecause of our
under the Cameron administration in 2010. pigmentation we are treated
differently”. 420
While barriers have been broken by
individuals such as Mohammad Sarwar, Scepticism towards Muslims engaging
Sayeeda Warsi, Naz Shah, Yasmin within the political realm is further
Qureshi, Shabana Mahmood and evidenced in the fact that 14 out of 15
Rushanara Ali, to name but a few, Muslim constituency Labour parties (CLPs) placed
representation of 2% of the House of under “special measures” have sizeable
Commons still lags far behind what is Muslim populations, varying from 11%
proportional considering the population of (Brentford & Isleworth) to 50%
British Muslims, which stands at 4.4% (Birmingham Hodge Hill).421 “Special
according to the 2011 census. This measures” refers to the administrative
highlights the lack of equitable mechanism introduced first in the 1980s to
representation of Muslims in public life prevent “hostile takeovers of constituency
and, therefore, according to Michael’s parties and local councils”.422 When
assessment of integration and equality, one imposed on constituency groups, members
may argue that Muslims are far from equal. are vetted and selection processes are
The reasons for this underrepresentation centrally controlled. While special
ranges from political parties fearing a measures may be the appropriate cause of
backlash for fielding more Muslim action in a few extreme situations, it is only
candidates, discrimination against meant to be a short term measure, as
Muslims within political party structures, highlighted by the Chakrabarti Report into
the centralised nature of the party system anti-Semitism and other forms of
and Muslims feeling alienated from the racism within the Labour Party.423
democratic system.418 However some CLPs had been under
special measures for more than two
Barriers to political engagement decades before being reinstated under
Experiences of discrimination and Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.424 Craig, in a
Islamophobia are rife at all levels of piece about Birmingham Hall Green CLP,
political engagement. Baroness Warsi, for points out that the four Birmingham CLPs
example, remarked that “being a Muslim in special measures are in areas with a high

418Anisa Mustafa, "Active Citizenship, Dissent and Civic Consciousness: Young 421Mark Ferguson, "The Kafkaesque Farce of the Labour Party "special measures"
Muslims Redefining Citizenship on Their Own Terms," Identities23, no. 4 (2015): 22, Revisited...," LabourList, July 03, 2013,
doi:10.1080/1070289x.2015.1024127. kafkaesque-farce-of-the-labour-party-special-measures-revisited.

419Homa Khaleeli, "Sayeeda Warsi: 'Where Are My Grandkids Going to Call Home? 422Radhika Sanghani, "Labour Reveal Constituencies Under Central Control," The
What World Will They Grow up In?'" The Guardian, March 25, 2017, Telegraph, July 03, 2013,
are-my-grandkids-going-to-call-home-what-world-will-they-grow-up-in. constituencies-under-central-control.html.

420 "The Londoner: Rupa and Tulip in Racist Security Row," Evening Standard, May 423Hattie Craig, "23 Years in "special measures"," The Clarion, October 01, 2016,
24, 2018,
424 "Labour Reveal Constituencies Under Central Control."

Muslim or Pakistani population, and Student events have become subject to
emphasises that there is “a feeling of increased bureaucratisation, and at times
injustice from members of these groups even shut down outright. We note that the
that they are under suspicion, that having findings of a recent report by the NUS
lots of members from these communities in Black Students’ and Women’s Campaign,
the party is regarded as a bad thing”.425 echoed these concerns and experiences,
identifying PREVENT as contributing
Islamophobia in politics is also
towards a deficit in civic engagement for
characterised by discourse which is
Muslim students; impacting their ability to
divisive, fuels hate and promotes hatred
engage in certain discussions and deterring
and fear of Muslims. The dog-whistle
them from running for elected positions.426
politics displayed during the London
mayoral election against Sadiq Khan, The Henry Jackson Society and Student
where he was branded an “extremist” by Rights
opponent Zac Goldsmith was arguably the
An organisation that exemplifies the
most high-profile example of what is a
attempts to shut down the voices of
regular experience for Muslims
Muslim students is the Henry Jackson
participating in electoral politics. Coming
Society, through the guise of its project
from the political establishment and being
Student Rights. Student Rights claims to
led by senior CCHQ officials gave the
support “equality, democracy and
episode an added gravity. In the eyes of
freedom from extremism on university
Muslims, it translated fundamentally into
campuses”.427 However, despite these
a message that the Muslim community
claims to equality, it is striking that Student
may be accomplished in their education
Rights appears to focus almost exclusively
and professional careers, but they will
on Muslim students and student groups
never be fully accepted into mainstream
and has repeatedly used the language of
society. Seeing high-profile Muslim
counter-extremism to demonise Muslim
politicians being subjected to a vilification
students and societies. It has especially
campaign with racial and Islamophobic
targeted students who are vocal about their
undertones reaffirmed the feeling of
support for the Palestinian cause and those
disillusionment with the political process
critical of counter-terror strategies.
that many Muslims felt, and has
undoubtedly negatively impacted the Furthermore, far from living up to its
aspirations of young Muslims in pursuing name, Student Rights has no basis as a
public office. representative body for students and has
no affiliation with any student union and
Obstructing political engagement has frequently attracted severe and
in universities widespread criticism for its agenda-driven
narratives and activities.428
The fear of being labelled “extremist” is
pervasive within the context of Muslim Student Rights has been accused of seeking
students at British universities. What to pressure universities to “impose
should be spaces of empowerment for restrictive measures on Muslim students
young Muslims have become more heavily that would, in effect, institutionalise
securitised under the PREVENT duty, Islamophobia” and its work has been
particularly impacting the work of Islamic described as seeking “to narrow the space
societies and pro-Palestine societies. for all radical political dissent on

425 "23 Years in “special measures””. 427 "Student Rights - About Us," Student Rights, accessed June 21, 2018,
426"Our Research into the Experiences of #MuslimsInEducation" NUS Connect, March
18, 2018, 428Hilary Aked, "Muslim and LGBTQ Students Unite Against 'Student Rights' in Run
experiences-of-muslimsineducation. Up to NUS Conference," HuffPost UK, May 19, 2014,

campus.”429 Student Rights has also been exclude, and marginalise Muslims within
condemned by the NUS for its use of civil society and political life. Indeed,
flawed methodologies and has Muslim organisations have been
subsequently been widely criticised for its progressively isolated and excluded from
“dishonest pseudo-science in support of a the realm of legitimate political discussion,
toxic narrative”.430 Meanwhile, the as highlighted by the Government’s
conclusions of Student Rights’ reports have current policy of non-engagement with
been discredited and labelled as “a witch- organisations such as the Muslim Council
hunt which makes sweeping judgments of Britain.
about student Islamic societies”.431
Levied against such organisations are
Interestingly, Student Rights claims to accusations of “extremism” that are
protect free speech and has expressed frequently baseless but accompanied by
opposition to student unions’ no-platform long-lasting stigma. In turn, accusations of
policy for the BNP.432 However, it has “segregation” and “refusal to integrate”
simultaneously severely criticised are used as justification to enact increased
speakers it sees as “extremists” who have surveillance and securitisation of Muslim
been invited by Islamic and Palestinian communities.
societies,433 as well as Muslim students
Meanwhile, attempts to engage with
who criticise the current PREVENT
political life lead to smears and suspicion,
thus creating a damaging and inescapable
Moreover, the Institute of Race Relations cycle. As demonstrated by Sayeeda Warsi’s
has noted with concern that Student earlier quote,437 Muslims become restricted
Rights’ work and reporting has been used between two very uncomfortable positions
by far-right groups to target Muslim of “isolationism” and “entryism”.
student events.435 Indeed, several British
Rather than engaging with a broad
universities have been forced to cancel
spectrum of Muslim organisations and
events after material from SR has resulted
voices, the Government has traditionally
in threats of violence from far-right groups,
insisted in dealing with a handpicked
including the EDL.436
minority who already support their policy
This group represents just one in a network positions, particularly on issues such as
that seeks to monitor and police Muslim counter-terror, media regulation and
political engagement, going far beyond the Palestine. Consequently, think-tanks and
realm of legitimate critique into brazen NGOs which do not possess the confidence
discrimination. of British Muslims have exercised
considerable influence in shaping public
Policies of disengagement policies, thus resulting in widespread
At the heart of Islamophobic rhetoric, what feelings of alienation and frustration
we see is a concerted effort to regulate, amongst Muslim communities. As

429 Critical Perspectives on Counter-terrorism, p.192. 434"Salford Student President who opposes Prevent reveals troubling views on social
media," Student Rights, accessed August 08, 2017,
430 Hilary Aked, "Student Rights 'Campus Extremism' Study: Dishonest Pseudo-
Science in Support Of a Toxic Narrative," HuffPost UK, July 15, 2013,
study_b_3277503.html?utm_hp_ref=uk-student-rights. "Far Right targets Islamic events," Institute of Race Relations RSS, accessed July 28,

431"'Extremists' preaching to UK student societies," BBC News, May 13, 2013, accessed
Also see UniofReading, "Statement on Discover Islam Week events at the University
07.11.2017, of Reading – University of Reading," University of Reading, accessed July 28, 2017,
432"London Student issue 10 (March 1st 2010)," Yudu - Your Digital editions, accessed
July 27, 436"EXPOSED: Quilliam leadership directly involved with neocon Douglas Murray's
2017, Henry Jackson Society,", August 20, 2016,
433"Student Rights - Tackling Extremism on Campuses," Student Rights - Tackling involved-with-neocon-douglas-murrays-henry-jackson-society/.
Extremism on Campuses, accessed July 27, 2017, "Sayeeda Warsi: 'Where Are My Grandkids Going to Call Home? What World Will

Also see Asa Winstanley, "How front group "Student Rights" undermines Palestine They Grow up In?'"
solidarity," The Electronic Intifada, February 11,

recommended by the 2017 Citizens UK independent investigations into claims of
report entitled “Missing Muslims”,438 it is institutional Islamophobia – as recently
of pressing urgency that the Government demanded of the Conservative Party by
reassesses its engagement with Muslim the Muslim Council of Britain. The fact that
communities and seeks to mend the such a call has gone unheeded contrasts
“broken relationship” by taking steps to sharply with the vociferous calls for an
end this impasse. The Government must, inquiry into anti-Semitism in the Labour
therefore, urgently reconsider its policy of Party. Such a refusal creates the perception
disengagement with credible Muslim of a hierarchy of acceptable intolerances. In
organisations that have the trust and reality, hatred against all minorities should
support of mainstream British Muslim be confronted with equal vigour.
communities. Engagement does not mean
agreement on every issue but facilitating The Benefits of Participation
the exchange of ideas and perspectives is
an integral component of a democratic Dr Joe Greenwood
society. Barriers to political participation restrict
However, far from seeking to mend the who can get involved, and this places
broken relationship, it appears that the limits on both the individual and societal
Government is set on continuing to benefits of participation, which take at least
distance itself from segments of the British three forms. First, participation contributes
Muslim population. This was recently to the quality of representation and policy
illustrated by the Home Secretary, Sajid outcomes; second, it helps overcome
Javid, when he dismissed allegations of divisions between groups; and third, it
Islamophobia in the Conservative Party offers personal rewards to individuals.
and reiterated the Government position Together, these benefits have the capacity
that it would not enter into a dialogue with to contribute to individual happiness,
the Muslim Council of Britain, the biggest community integration, and improved
Muslim umbrella group in the UK, with societal outcomes
over 500 affiliates.439 The fact that the In the first case, research has shown that
Conservative Party Chair subsequently limits on participation can reduce both
met with the “moderate” Muslim group descriptive and substantive
Tell MAMA, reiterates the Government’s representation. This means that if certain
intention to maintain the “good Muslim”, social groups face barriers to participation
“bad Muslim” dichotomy. This then, concomitantly, they are likely to be
dichotomous narrative is, in itself, a good underrepresented at various levels of
example of institutional Islamophobia in government.441 This can create a divide in
that is seeks to regulate Muslims and which excluded social groups see elected
exclude those who disrupt the institutional representatives as distant and
status-quo. disconnected from them, and has
Moreover, discourse that seeks to implications for the quality of policy
dehumanise, stigmatise and spread hatred outcomes. Indeed, research has shown that
of Muslims must be called out by elected representatives tend to reflect the
politicians across the party spectrum. In views of the groups that are represented
doing so, political parties should conduct and are able to participate.442 This means
that, counter to the principle of an open
438 The Missing Muslims: Unlocking British Muslim Potential For The Benefit Of All, p46. Richard L. Fox and Jennifer L. Lawless, ‘If Only They’d Ask: Gender, Recruitment,

and Political Ambition’, The Journal of Politics, Vol. 72, No. 2 (Apr., 2010), pp. 310-326.
439Greg Heffer, "Sajid Javid in Muslim Council of Britain Spat over Islamophobia
Claims," Sky News, June 03, 2018, Larry M. Bartels, Unequal Democracy: The Political Economy of the New Gilded

muslim-council-of-britain-spat-over-islamophobia-claims-11393750. Age (Princeton, NJ, Princeton University Press, 2008).

Sidney Verba, Kay Lehman Schlozman and Henry E. Brady, Voice and Equality: Civic

Voluntarism in American Politics (Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press, 1995).

democratic discourse, the policy-making and gain the psychological reward of
process is not based on a diverse set of standing up for what they believe in.
views and the resulting policy outcomes
In light of the above, an inclusive
may be sub-optimal.
participatory system has the capacity to
The representation of diverse views in the reduce divides between groups and their
policy-making process is also indicative of representatives, and to ensure diverse
the capacity for participation to build voices are reflected in policy-making.
bonds between groups. There is classic Further, open participatory contexts allow
academic work showing the ease with communities to meet each other, construct
which humans form group identities, and new group identities, and bridge divides.
subsequent research has developed these Finally, participation offers an array of
findings by showing that group identity personal, collective, and expressive
can be context-specific and thus primed.443 benefits to those who get involved. Thus,
This means that if contexts are created in the many benefits of participation can be
which people from various social groups felt by both individuals and society.
can all participate in then it is possible to
build more inclusive group identities.
Thus, an inclusive participatory system can
not only increase the diversity of voices
that contribute to policy making but can
also create bridging social capital between
Increased social capital can also be an
important individual benefit that results
from participation, which enables people
to make new acquaintances. As such, it
constitutes a selective incentive for
participation alongside motivations such
as the desire to seek office and rewards
such as reduced prices for other services.
Selective incentives are one of three sets of
reasons for political participation that are
identified by the general incentives
model.444 Collective goods are the second
motivation for participation, and offer the
opportunity to help a party or organisation
achieve particular policy outcomes.
Finally, there are the expressive benefits of
participation, in the form of the
opportunity to support a cause that one
believes in. Taking all of these potential
benefits together, we can see political
participation as an opportunity for
individuals meet new people and achieve
personal goals, influence policy-making,

443 Henri Tajfel and John C. Turner, ‘The Social Identity Theory of Intergroup 444Paul F. Whiteley, Patrick Seyd, Jeremy Richardson, and Paul Bissell, ‘Explaining
Behavior’, in J. T. Jost and J. Sidanius (eds.), Key readings in social psychology (New York, Party Activism: The Case of the British Conservative Party’, British Journal of Political
NY, Psychology Press, 2004), pp. 276-293; Naomi Ellemers and S. Alexander Haslam, Science, Vol. 47, No. 1 (Jul., 1984), pp. 5-16.
'Social Identity Theory', in Paul A. M. Van Lange, Arie W. Kruglanski, and E. Tory
Higgins (eds.), Handbook of Theories of Social Psychology (Volume 2, London, Sage
Publications, 2012), pp. 379-393.

cultural differences in the private and the
Public Exclusion, public sphere.
Integration and Assimilation

Minority Rights Assimilationist policies attempt to erode

the cultural differences between groups,
As MEND’s definition of Islamophobia both in the public and the private sphere.
highlights, Islamophobia incorporates any The ultimate goal is to make the newcomer
exclusion, restriction, or preference against or minority community indistinguishable
Muslims that has the purpose or effect of from the dominant or host society. Under
nullifying or impairing the recognition, assimilationist strategies, people are
enjoyment or exercise, on an equal footing, required to manifest themselves according
of human rights and fundamental to the dominant culture in public spaces.
freedoms in the political, economic, social, The result of well-enforced assimilation is
cultural or any other field of public life. acculturation, that is to say that the
newcomers or the minority assume the
As such, this chapter seeks to examine the
culture of the dominant group. As Laura
ways in which Muslims become
Coello and Baukje Prins observe, although
discriminated against or excluded from
assimilation was widely used throughout
public life. It pays particular attention to
the 20th century in the United States,
the Islamophobic discourses present
Australia and France, it is increasingly seen
within discussions surrounding
as an unfeasible and unfair practice.445
integration and the rights of minority
communities in public life. The International Covenant on Civil and
Political Rights (ICCPR)
Assimilation, Integration and
In 1976, the UK adopted the International
Multiculturalism Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
For decades, fierce debates have raged (ICCPR). The ICCPR demands that all
surrounding the best strategies and member states must commit themselves to
frameworks through which to manage the ensuring for “all individuals within its
differences between dominant and territory and subject to its jurisdiction the
minority groups, the most cited rights recognized in the Covenant, without
frameworks for which are assimilation, distinction of any kind, such as race,
integration and multiculturalism. colour, sex, language, religion, political or
other opinion, national or social origin,
Despite their common usage within
property, birth or other status.”446
political and social discourse, the
differences between these three concepts There are three particularly relevant
are often only vaguely understood. This articles within the covenant in need of
imprecise understanding is due largely to mention at this stage; Articles 1, 18, and 21
the fact that the strict application of one or Article 1
the other strategy is practically impossible,
and governments have frequently used a All peoples have the right of self-
combination of both assimilation and determination. By virtue of that right they
integration methods in their social policies. freely determine their political status and
For the large part, the difference between freely pursue their economic, social and
these three methods lies in the scope cultural development.
individuals possess to manifest their socio-

Laura Coello and Baukje Prins, Significant Difference?: A Comparative Analysis of

445 446"International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights," The United Nations, Office
Multicultural Policies in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands (Amsterdam of the High Commissioner, accessed May 18, 2017,
University Press, 2010).

Article 18 acculturation of minority groups is clearly
in direct contradiction to the commitments
 Everyone shall have the right to
in the ICCPR.
freedom of thought, conscience and
religion. This right shall include Integration
freedom to have or to adopt a religion
Policies based on integration seek to join
or belief of his choice, and freedom,
people of various ethnic backgrounds
either individually or in community
closer by asserting one, common public
with others and in public or private, to
identity or culture, yet allowing or
manifest his religion or belief in
tolerating manifestations of differences in
worship, observance, practice and
the private sphere. As Coello and Prins
explain: “[w]hen the host community
 No one shall be subject to coercion welcomes or allows the manifestations of
which would impair his freedom to differences, it can lead to fusion: the
have or to adopt a religion or belief of creation of a new identity emerging from
his choice. the contact with elements from the various
groups, but without purposely eliminating
 Freedom to manifest one's religion or
cultural differences.”
beliefs may be subject only to such
limitations as are prescribed by law Castles et. al define integration thus;
and are necessary to protect public
“Integration is a two-way process: it
safety, order, health, or morals or the
requires adaptation on the part of the
fundamental rights and freedoms of
newcomer but also by the host society.
Successful integration can only take place
 The States Parties to the present if the host society provides access to jobs
Covenant undertake to have respect and services, and acceptance of the
for the liberty of parents and, when immigrants in social interaction. Above all,
applicable, legal guardians to ensure integration in a democracy presupposes
the religious and moral education of acquisition of legal and political rights by
their children in conformity with their the new members of society, so that they
own convictions. can become equal partners. Indeed, it is
possible to argue that, in a multicultural
Article 27
society, integration may be understood as
In those States in which ethnic, religious a process through which the whole
or linguistic minorities exist, persons population acquires civil, social, political,
belonging to such minorities shall not be human and cultural rights, which creates
denied the right, in community with the the conditions for greater equality. In this
other members of their group, to enjoy approach, integration can also mean that
their own culture, to profess and practise minority groups should be supported in
their own religion, or to use their own maintaining their cultural and social
language.447 identities, since the right to cultural choices
By adhering to the ICCPR, the UK limits its is intrinsic to democracy.”448
choice of strategies to integration and Ultimately, integration is a two-way
multiculturalism. In light of the protections process, while assimilation is a one-way
afforded within the covenant to religious, process. This is clearly misunderstood by
linguistic and cultural identities, some political commentators and advisors.
assimilationist policies aimed at Dame Louise Casey is a particularly

447 "International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights."
Stephen Castles et al., Integration: Mapping the Field, report, Centre for Migration and

Policy Research and Refugee Studies Centre for the Home Office, University of
Oxford, December 2002,

worrying example of this confusion after Government integration
she famously stated that integration
should not be a two-way street.449 The
strategies and Muslims
reason for special concern over Dame Britain has always claimed to embody a
Louise Casey’s misunderstanding is the proud history of supporting
fact that the Government’s currently multiculturalist principles advocating
proposed integration strategy relies respect and celebration of the multitude of
heavily on the Casey Review. As such, the diverse ethnic and religious identities that
distortions present in Dame Louise Casey’s have led themselves to a British identity
review have infiltrated and informed built upon pluralism and collaboration.
current strategies. This will be discussed However, recent years have seen
further below. simmering resentments and debates
surrounding national identity and a
perceived “ghettoisation” of minorities.
Multiculturalism can be considered as an
In line with the development and
idea, political theory, pursuit of policies, or
consequences of moral panic, these fears
enactment of civil society initiatives that
have culminated in calls for the UK to
establish and foster a society composed of
reassess its policies towards
several groups of individuals that
multiculturalist principles. The result is an
prescribe to different cultures co-existing
increasingly restrictive integration
at the socioeconomic and political level.
strategy, within which examples of
However, the concept does not limit this Islamophobic assumptions and
ideal to individuals restricted to one institutional racism can be readily
culture, rather it suggests that whilst the witnessed regarding the treatment of
cultures are discreet, the individuals may Muslim communities.
prescribe to different cultures for different
The Government recently closed its
aspects of their lives. For example, one may
consultation on its “Integrated
wear western clothing whilst
Communities Strategy Green Paper;
simultaneously enjoying cultural cuisine
Building Stronger, More United
or participating in a multitude of religious
Communities”. This green paper sets out
festivals. Therefore, individuals have the
the Government strategy and approach
freedom to adopt chosen aspects of their
towards integration. As a starting point,
respective cultures to enrich their lives.
the Green Paper heavily relies on the
This adoption of multi-faceted cultural highly criticised 2016 Casey Review. As a
identities can be fostered or regulated consequence, its analysis and suggested
through integrative or assimilative policies strategies are inherently tainted by the
pursued at a governmental level. The same flawed evidence and lack of
pursuit of such policies thus affects the understanding that has guided the
relationship between the majority and Government’s policies on community
minority cultures, either resulting in the cohesion and integration in the past.
dominance of the former over the latter or
The scope of this current report on
allowing individuals to pursue either
Islamophobia does not allow for a full
without restriction.
analysis of the Green Paper.450 However,
there are several key areas wherein the
infiltration of Islamophobic narratives and
assumptions have directed the
development of this strategy, and
449"Louise Casey: Integration 'not a Two-way Street'," BBC, January 09, 2017, 450Indeed, MEND’s submission to the consultation process exceeds 40pages and can be found at
not-a-two-way-street. Submission-to-the-Green-Paper-on-Integration-V1.pdf

therefore, limit its potential to make a policy, the PREVENT strategy, and Brexit,
positive difference. have further contributed to creating a
climate of fear, mistrust and
Overlap with counter-terror
disillusionment that prevents BAME
The Green Paper is littered with references individuals from fully and actively
and allusions reminiscent of counter-terror participating in British society.
strategies that have previously been
Moreover, the absence of any form of
condemned as hugely damaging to
introspection and self-criticism results in a
cohesion and inclusion of minorities. This
very limited understanding of some of the
fear has been heightened with the
key causes that contribute to limiting
publication of the Home Office’s updated
integration between minorities and
counter-terror strategy “CONTEST: The
broader society. For example, there is no
United Kingdom’s Strategy for Countering
mention of the impact of the Government’s
Terrorism”, which explicitly mentions the
policy of austerity and cuts to public
Green Paper in outlining its strategy. It is
service affect minorities’ access to health
imperative that strategies of community
services, nor is there mention of severely
integration and of counter-terrorism do not
reduced police budgets at a time in which
overlap, as this can only result in the
hate crime against minorities is on the rise.
further securitisation of an already
Furthermore, there is an absence of
problematic tripartite relationship between
commentary on how elements of the
government, society and minorities.
British media contribute to spreading
Prescribed views of “acceptable Islam” harmful narratives surrounding
The call for a “clearer interpretation of minorities, as well as a lack of analysis
Islam for life in the UK” is extremely regarding the Government’s recent
worrying for the Muslim community and cancellation of the second part of the
needs to be clarified. The concern is that a Leveson inquiry.
certain liberal interpretation of “acceptable Without a stronger focus on the broader
Islam” will be championed by consultation issues and mechanisms of socio-economic
with Government selected Muslim discrimination and exclusion, the Green
representatives, whilst mainstream Paper will be confined to be a collection of
conservative views will be marginalised as half measures that will be insufficient to
“extremist”. Furthermore, it is concerning bring about positive change.
that Islam has been singled out without
references to any other faith groups. Islamophobia and the myth of
De-contextualising challenges and an Muslim distance
absence of introspection
Dr Jan Dobbernack,
The overall approach of the Green Paper is
highly problematic. By unilaterally shifting Newcastle University
the responsibility and blame for a lack of The idea that Muslims lead “separate
social inclusion almost entirely onto lives” is yet again in the news. Breathless
minority communities, it de-contextualises stories about urban ghettoes and
barriers to inclusion and examines them in dangerous no-go areas have long had a
a vacuum. While there are brief mentions presence in the British press. In a series of
of hate crimes contributing to isolation, policy reports, Theresa May’s government
there is a concerning lack of analysis of now presents its own view on Muslims’
institutionalised and systematic racism in spatial and cultural distance. The Casey
Britain. Similarly, there is no mention of
the way developments, such as the
Government’s “hostile environment”

Review451 and Government’s Integrated conviviality – youth centres, inter-faith and
Communities Green Paper identify outreach initiatives – face chronic
segregation as the main obstacle towards underfunding. How can “libraries and
improving the national condition.452 The other community hubs”, as the Green
remedy that both reports envisage is Paper requests, “maximise their
contact. Both parts of the equation, contact contribution to building integrated
and segregation, need to be unpacked to communities”456 when they cannot even
examine the understanding of Muslim maintain reasonable opening hours in the
“difference” that informs Government’s face of cuts? In light of Government’s
current policy offer. defunding of ESOL instruction, its
emphasis on the importance of language
Casey’s apocalyptic perspective on British
for integration rings hollow.457
Muslims speaks of a “downward spiral
with a growth in regressive religious and It is tempting to disregard the new agenda
cultural ideologies”453 and also underpins of “meaningful contact” and “integrated
the more policy-minded approach in the communities” altogether, and not just
recently published Green Paper. Both because the concerned policies lack
documents proceed from the assumption funding. Their excessive emphasis on
that things go well when there is contact – contact only makes sense against the
when “meaningful interaction” takes place background of dominant myths about
– and that the absence of contact needs to Muslim separation. Government responds
be understood as a critical failure of to manufactured anxieties about Muslim
integration. This is despite the fact that distance, which explain its direction of
contact is an ambivalent remedy. There is political travel much better than any
no sociological evidence that heightened positive definition of “integration”. Echo-
interaction – that is, contact without due chamber bureaucrats, such as Casey, single
attention to socio-economic circumstances, out political, residential and educational
political environments and local choices by Muslim citizens, whom she
geographies that structure the relationship blames for the lack of cross-cultural contact
between social-cultural groups – would in British society. Her understanding of
improve anything, much less resolve the Muslim separation isn’t gleaned from any
problems of multicultural Britain.454 evidence-based approach. It reflects
alluring myths that persist despite a wealth
It is perplexing that UK policy-making,
of readily available counterevidence,
despite some lip service to the contrary,
suggesting that Muslims are as much part
continues to present contact as a
of British society as any other social
comprehensive solution to urgent social
problems.455 Among the reasons is that the
remedy is cheap. Policies that target The myth of separation doesn’t need to be
“segregated” populations for deficient backed up by facts. It brings long-standing
attitudes, not for their socio-economic anxieties about Muslim difference into
circumstances, require fewer resources play. The idea that British Muslims lead
than any material investment in the good “separate lives” draws on cultured
society. At the same time, initiatives that understandings of “the Muslim world” as
do valuable work in fostering local irredeemably different, anti-modern and
451 The Casey Review: a review into opportunity and integration. 455 Integrated Communities Strategy Green Paper, p12.

452Integrated Communities Strategy Green Paper, HM Government, March 2018, 456 Integrated Communities Strategy Green Paper, p15.
tachment_data/file/696993/Integrated_Communities_Strategy.pdf. Maya Goodfellow, "English Language and Integration," Discover Society, May 01,

453 The Casey Review: a review into opportunity and integration, p15.
458Farah Elahi and Omar Khan, eds., Islamophobia: Still a Challenge for Us All, report,
James Laurence, "Reconciling the Contact and Threat Hypotheses: Does Ethnic
454 The Runnymede Trust, 2017,
Diversity Strengthen or Weaken Community Inter-ethnic Relations?" Ethnic and
Racial Studies 37, no. 8 (2013): doi:10.1080/01419870.2013.788727. INAL.pdf

engulfed in a civilizational crisis. There is extremism, this is registered as evidence of
an entire genre of contributions that speaks dangerous distance. The new counter-
of a Muslim “rebellion” against modernity terrorism tsar, Sara Khan, alleges that
which, as one commentator suggests, finds organisations that do not proactively
expression in “aimless and formless engage with the policy belong to a “Salafi-
resentment and anger of the Muslim Islamist line-up”.462 Campaigns for civil
masses at the forces that have devalued liberties and against Islamophobia do not
their traditional values and loyalties”.459 reflect a welcome commitment to the
The description of Muslim life in Casey’s common good, but underscore the alleged
report is not materially different. It is self-centredness of Muslim political
informed by the civilizational agency, which is often portrayed as a
understanding that Muslims are politics of grievance.463
dangerously distant, which it re-describes
The myth of distance draws on a continuity
in the spatial terms of “segregation”. Such
of ideas about Muslim otherness. It is not
distance is slippery and attempts by
possible to discuss here if available
Muslim organisations, including MEND
understanding of Islamophobia capture
and the Muslim Council of Britain, to
this continuity and provide a good basis
defeat the myth by demonstrating
for pushing back against such myths. But
proximity, or by highlighting the civic
there is no doubt that the idea that Muslims
“normality” of Muslim concerns, are
are dangerously distant — for the stigma
always subject to evasive manoeuvres.
that this idea entails and for its
When a recent report by Policy Exchange invulnerability to counterevidence —
found very little difference between constitutes a form of cultural racism that is
Muslim and non-Muslim priorities in both common and widely acceptable in
housing, education, values and national British society.
identity, David Goodhart – one of the
report’s authors – decided to downplay
Protecting Minority Rights
such findings and underline the one
remaining marker of difference that When considering Islamophobia and its