NOT ALL MUSLIMS ARE STEREOTYPES
Failure to understand diversity among Muslims leads to ill-thought out government policy
‘The New Muslims’ report finds that dominant perception of Muslims are damaging as they do not take into account the vast complexities and differences in British Muslim identities. This report examines the wide range of Muslim identities in the UK through looking at a number of factors, including changing demographics, Muslims in the army, Muslims in the media, the unique histories of different Muslim groups in the UK, and youth culture. It makes recommendations based on the failure of policy to reflect the lived experiences of British Muslims.
This report is published weeks after the Home Office has been accused of using racial profiling in Stop and Search and the ‘Go Home’ campaign, and during a time when the Government will be revisiting its approach to integration and security after the murder of Lee Rigby in May 2013
The report is accompanied by a film called ‘Muslim Multicultures’ and a series of recorded conversations which explore the challenges currently facing Muslims in Britain. Participants include Rushanara Ali MP, Humza Yousaf MEP, Yasir Mizra of the Guardian and the graffiti artist Mohammad Ali.
‘The New Muslims’ is produced by the Runnymede Trust, University of Manchester and ESRC. The collection emerged from a workshop on ‘The New Muslims’ and a panel on the ‘The Muslim Question’ held at the University of Manchester in 2013.
The report is edited by Claire Alexander from the University of Manchester whose main publications include The Art of Being Black (1996) and The Asian Gang (2000), Victoria Redclift (University of Manchester) and Ajmal Hussain (University of Manchester). Contributors include Yunis Alam a novelist, short-story writer and literary editor based at the University of Bradford, Abdoolkarim Vakil from Kings College London and Vron Ware from the Centre for Socio-Cultural Change (CRESC) and the Centre for Citizenship, Identities and Governance (CCIG) at the Open University, she is the author of Out of Whiteness (2002) and Who Cares about Britishness (2007).
Rob Berkeley, the Director of Runnymede said: “Through this publication we hope in some small way to counter the dominant understandings of British Muslim identities where these are based on falsehoods and generalizations, and to highlight the complexities, nuances and diversity of identities among Muslims in Britain. We do this as part of our ongoing project to ensure that our public policy debates and public discussions are based on robust, evidence-based analysis rather than sensationalist, knee-jerk responses.”
AbdoolKarim Vakil, Kings College London, as quoted in the Muslim Multicultures film: “If we stop talking about the Muslim question, Muslims will not suffer any less…Muslims are exceptionalised in a number of ways; they are made to account for their presence, made to explain their identity, their faith to account for themselves in relation to what are dominant values in society”