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Muslim Britain

Muslim Britain

Tahir Abbas


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Book Details


This edited collection is a cogent exploration of how the events of September 11 and the subsequent war on terror have impacted on the lived experiences of British South Asian Muslims in a number of important spheres, namely, religious and ethnic identity, citizenship, Islamophobia, gender and education, radicalism, media and political representation. The contributors to this volume are specialists in the fields of sociology, social geography, anthropology, theology and law. Each of the chapters explores the positions of South Asian Muslims from different analytical perspectives based on various methodological approaches. A number of the chapters carry primary empirical analysis, therefore making this one of the most pertinent compilations in this field. Other contributions are more discursive, providing valuable polemics on the current positions of British South Asian Muslims.
Tahir Abbas is lecturer in sociology at the University of Birmingham.
'A wide-ranging and invaluable guide to the highly complex and diverse nature of British Muslims from South Asia. Those wishing to get to the heart of Muslim communities should read this book.' - Professor Ziauddin Sardar, author of Desperately Seeking Paradise: Journeys of a Sceptical Muslim 'Plunged into a post-Rushdie and now post-September 11 world British Muslims have had to face urgent issues of Islamophobia, gender, identity and media representation. Dr Tahir Abbas' excellent collection has brought together some of the leading authorities to help make sense of these issues in a rapidly changing and even threatening world'. - Professor Akbar Ahmed, Ibn Khaldum Chair of Islamic Studies and Professor of International Relations, American University, Washington DC, USA 'We are at an important moment in the process of integration between British society and its Muslim communities. The events of 11 September 2001 focused attention on questions which had been simmering but only very carefully placed into the public debate. With increasing vitality, this process has come into the open, often in surprising and usually in surprisingly constructive ways. This collection of papers is a major contribution to that debate and will help move it forward.' - Jorgen S. Nielsen, Professor of Islamic Studies, University of Birmingham 'This essential collection brings a variety of important new data, informed insights and innovative perspectives on key issues affecting British Muslims today. It is a highly welcome and important contribution to the subject.' - Professor Steven Vertovec, Professor of Transnational Anthropology, University of Oxford and Director of the ESRC Centre on Migration, Policy and Society 'The book is a valuable contribution to the vital question of how best to ensure the successful incorporation of British Muslims into the values of a liberal democracy.' - J. Christopher Soper, Pepperdine University 'This collection of rich, stimulating and authoritative articles represents an intellectually challanging addition to the rapidly developing body of knowledge that deals with the highly diverse and complex lives of Muslims in Britain. Easily accessible and free of jargon, this book should be of interest not only to the general readership within Muslim communities but also to academic specialists in the academic world and policy makers.' - Humayun Ansari, Royal Holloway, University of London, UK 'The breadth of subject matter, variety of expertise and insightful analysis are the qualities that impressed me about this book. Particular credit should be given to the editor, Tahir Abbas for managing to squeeze quite a lot in, bringing together a varied collection of essays and managing to make sense of them so that the flow from one part to the next is natural and seamless.' - Huda Jawad, openDemocracy Ltd.

Table of Contents

Section Title Page Action Price
Contents v
List of figures and tables vii
Foreword by Tariq Modood viii
Preface xiii
PART I From Islam to British Muslims… 1
1. British South Asian Muslims: before and after September 11 3
Introduction 3
In the beginning… 5
The British, the colonials and Islam 7
Decolonisation and British South Asian Muslims in the post-war period 8
The nature, origin and significance of Islamophobia 11
Lessons from history and the impact of September 11 13
The state of British multiculturalism 15
Notes 17
2. Muslims in the UK 18
Introduction 18
Geographical distribution 28
Socio-economic status 29
3. Muslims in Britain: Issues, Policy and Practice 31
Education 32
Employment 34
Housing 36
Political participation 38
Religious and racial discrimination and violence 39
Views on policy and practice 42
Conclusions 44
Note 46
PART II Islamophobia, Identity Politics and Multiculturalism 47
4. From Race to Religion: the New Face of Discrimination 49
Terrorists or apologists: post-9/11 Muslims and the new racism 50
Protecting race: unprotecting religion 52
‘Islam out of Britain’: ballot box rhetoric and success 55
‘I am an Islamophobe and proud’: the role of the media 60
South Asian, Muslim or both? Demystifying the 9/11 fog 63
5. Negotiating British Citizenship and Muslim Identity 66
Introduction 66
The Satanic Verses protests 69
Post-Rushdie – the worsening international situation 71
The Second Gulf War and the anti-war protests 73
Conclusion 76
6. In the Shadow of September 11: Multiculturalism and Identity Politics 78
September 11 and the rise of universal values 79
The Blair multicultural project in action and the clash of civilisations 84
Conclusion 90
Notes 91
7. Lobbying and Marching: British Muslims and the State 92
Introduction 92
The government’s management of the Muslim lobby 93
The government creation of a unified Muslim lobby 99
Popular British Muslim opinion and the rise of new anti-war networks 101
Concluding remarks 104
Notes 105
PART III Media Representation, Gender and Radical Islam 107
8. Reading between the Lines: Muslims and the Media 109
Britain’s Muslim press 110
Covering September 11 – the Muslim press perspective 114
Consuming the British Muslim press 118
Muslim press – not just a good read 120
Conclusion 124
Notes 125
9. Educating Muslim Girls: Do Mothers Have Faith in the State Sector? 127
Education, Islam and women’s perspectives 128
Education and fundamentalism 130
Mothers’ own education 131
Academic achievement and future employment 135
Children’s identities in a multicultural and multi-faith society 137
What do Muslim women want? 140
Notes 142
10. Attitudes to Jihad, Martyrdom and Terrorism among British Muslims 144
Jihad 145
Martyrdom 150
Circumstances when acts of violence can be justified 152
Suicide and suicide bombings 155
Terrorism 157
Change of feeling since September 11? 159
Concluding thoughts 161
Notes 163
11. ‘(Re)turn to Religion’ and Radical Islam 164
Introduction 164
The turn to Islam in the West 167
The turn to Islam in the East 169
Radicalising Islam 171
Conclusion 176
Notes 176
PART IV Temporal and Spatial Ethnic and Religious Identities 177
12. All Quiet on the Eastern Front?Bangladeshi Reactions in Tower Hamlets 179
Tower Hamlets and urban struggles 180
Bangladeshis in Tower Hamlets 181
Earlier crises – the Muslim Parliament, the Satanic Verses controversy and the Gulf War (1991) 182
Explanations 183
Faith-based community organisations 186
Opposition and dissent: multiple voices of protest 187
Mobilisation of local support 190
Abuse and public space 191
Conclusion 192
13. Tower Hamlets: Insulation in Isolation 194
Bangladeshis in Britain 194
Migration and the reproduction of religion 196
Religious identity 200
Racism 201
Post-September 11 202
A safe place? 206
Concluding thoughts 206
Notes 207
14. Flying the Flag for England?Citizenship, Religion and Cultural Identity among British Pakistani Muslims 208
Introduction 208
Constructions of British Muslim communities in the official riot reports 210
Flags, football and cultural citizenship 213
Ethnic, cultural and religious identities 216
Conclusions 219
Notes 221
15. Pakistanis in Northern Ireland in the Aftermath of September 11 222
Introduction 222
A brief history of South Asians in Northern Ireland 223
From ‘Paki’ to ‘bin Laden’, from Muslims to IRA terrorists 226
Distancing from Pakistan, becoming Islamic 229
Conclusions 233
Notes 234
An Afterword on the Situation of British Muslims in a World Context 235
The dialectics of the war against terror 235
The position of British Muslims 237
Conclusion 241
Note 243
Bibliography 244
Notes on the Contributors 256
Index 261