Addressing religious discrimination and Islamophobia: Muslims and liberal democracies, the case of the United Kingdom

Journal article


Weller, Paul 2011. Addressing religious discrimination and Islamophobia: Muslims and liberal democracies, the case of the United Kingdom. Journal of Islamic Studies. https://doi.org/10.1093/jis/etl001
AuthorsWeller, Paul
Abstract

At the time of the submission of the medata for this article to the University of Derby research repository (2.12.2011), the author of the article concerned was also a Visiting Fellow at the Oxford Centre for Christianity and Culture, based at Regent's Park College, University of Oxford; and an international Collaborateur of the SoDRUS: Groupe de recherche société, droit et religions de l’Université de Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada.

The article examines contemporary claims of Islamophobia and religious discrimination against Muslims in the United Kingdom in the context of the broader dynamics of religious discrimination in British history. How the ‘struggle for existence’ of religious groups who were initially concerned with ‘establishing an identity of their own’ became ‘ the struggle for equality’ among both nonconformist religious minority groups in the nineteenth century as well as among twentieth century Muslim UK citizens of predominantly migrant and minority ethnic origin is examined. The identification of ‘Islamophobia’ as a specific form of discrimination and hatred of ‘the other’ is located in the rise of a late twentieth century ‘politics of identity’ as it emerges from the impact of ‘globalization’. The relationship between the distinctive features of the Muslim experience of discrimination on the basis of religion and that of other groups is explored by reference to the findings of the UK Government Home Office commissioned Religious Discrimination in England and Wales Research Project conducted during 1999–2001, as well as by reference to Orientalist and Islamophobic imagery. This article considers strategies for combating religious discrimination and hatred, from public education through to legal instruments, such as the Human Rights Act 1998 and the Employment Equality (Religion of Belief) Regulations 2003. The visceral and deeply embedded nature of ‘Islamophobia’ is illuminated by reference to the deep-seated and multi-layered admixture of religion and politics in Northern Irish ‘sectarianism’. The article concludes by advocating that it is the responsibility of all groups, of good governance in society, and in the ultimate interests of all, to tackle the phenomenon of religious discrimination and hatred under whatever guise it appears.

KeywordsIslamophobia; Religious discrimination; Liberal democracy; Muslims; United Kingdom; Human rights; Religion; Religious prejudice; Religious hatred; Direct religious discrimination; Indirect religious discrimination; Religious disadvantage; Institutional religionism; Islam; Communalism; Sectarianism; Human Rights Act 1988; Employment (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003; Religious minorities; Nonconformists; Orientalist
Year2011
JournalJournal of Islamic Studies
ISSN0955-2340
1471-6917
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1093/jis/etl001
Web address (URL)http://hdl.handle.net/10545/194589
hdl:10545/194589
Publication dates06 Dec 2011, 10:44
Publication process dates
Deposited06 Dec 2011, 10:44
ContributorsUniversity of Derby
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File Access Level
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