WHEN: 11am – 1pm on Tuesday, 17 November
WHERE: P21 Gallery, 21 Chalton Street, London NW1 1JD
Muslim Experiences of Hostility and Discrimination – more info on reports on France, Canada, USA and UK (2010)
Publication Date: 17 November 2015
£5 (download) £10 (hard copy) / ISBN: 978-1-909853-01-0 (download) ISBN: 978-1-909853-00-3 (hard copy) / 233mm x 156mm / 272 pages / Islamic Human Rights Commission
Environment of Hate: The New Normal for Muslims in the UK provides shocking insight into the UK as an ever developing ‘Stasi state’ rife with hatred for the ‘suspect’ Muslim community. With analysis at every level – from grassroots to institutions – the authors examine the construction of an environment where Muslims are feared and loathed.
The authors have implemented the Domination Hate Model of Intercultural Relations – a critical methodology that argues that hate crimes do not occur in a vacuum. Perpetrators are themselves victim citizens who have been mobilised by structural forces; namely the government and the media. Both perpetrator and victim alike are at the mercy of a broader context of hate policy, hate representation and hate environment.
Taking us back to pre-9/11, the report acknowledges that even then Muslims were seen as exotic, different and a threat to national security. The state is seen as neutral and embodying Britishness and citizens of the state are only defined by their adherence to this specific national identity. Through devoted analysis to the PREVENT strategy and the Channel programme, the authors detail the way surveillance focused specifically on Muslims means they are assumed guilty of terrorism by association. With an overview of headlines in popular media, the report showcases embedded stereotypes and coded discriminatory language. The Muslim minority becomes victim to the social attitudes of the majority – learned through government policy and the media they consume – and this is then expressed in acts of hatred, hostility and violence.
This is the second such study the authors have undertaken in the UK and it takes into consideration age, religiosity and visible Muslimness as well as income and work status. Comparisons are also drawn with the findings in 2010 and the results have been alarming.
The experience of those ‘always’ seeing negative stereotypes of Muslim people in the media has risen from 10% in 2010 to 39.4% in 2014. 87.7% of those surveyed agree that ‘those who discriminate against us are highly driven by media content.’ This is further proof that the media play a key role in perpetuating an environment of hate.
21.3% of those who described their religiosity as ‘practising Muslim’ felt they were ‘always’ witnessing politicians philosophise that Islam is problematic. This indicates that the political discourse is set particularly around targeting the Islamic faith and otherising its tenets. In 2010, 34.2% agreed that they had seen political policies that negatively affected Muslim people. In 2014 this figure had risen to 59.2%. 51.1% of the same sample believed that politicians condone discriminatory acts against Muslims. The statistics paint a startling portrait of current Muslim sentiment towards the UK government. As DHMI explains, the media and the government create an environment such that perpetrators feel justified in acting violently.
58% of those surveyed felt they had experienced being treated with suspicion or being wrongly accused of something. 66% of those surveyed had experienced verbal abuse at some point – a definite increase from the 39.8% in 2010. The study shows that the experience of physical assault has increased from 13.9% in 2010 to 17.8% in 2014 with the intensity of attacks becoming extraordinarily violent.
The recommendations listed are several. Action has to come outside the Muslim community, from the centres of power, in order for the current discourse to change. There must be media regulation in terms of dealing with structural inequalities and systemic racism. There is a need for stronger relationships between Muslim organisations and alliances between groups that have campaigned against prejudice. A drastic change in government strategy towards British Muslims is required and at the very least a structural understanding of racism has to be developed.
From ‘Ushergate’ and Batman to Michael Gove and the Trojan Horse Affair, the report is unrelenting in its depiction of the tragedy facing Muslims today.
‘This will make very uncomfortable reading; not all will agree with every aspect of the analysis, but it is painfully clear that physical and verbal violence against Muslims has risen spectacularly in recent years. As the authors make plain, a failure to challenge the attitudes that produce this is to open the door also to the most overt forms of racism and anti-Semitism. What is described here is a serious reproach to our society’s most humane ideals and values.
– Dr Rowan Williams; former Archbishop of Canterbury and lecturer at Cambridge University
”The Islamic Human Rights Commission have produced a landmark report on the interlocking environments and experiences of anti-Muslim hate in the UK. Impeccably researched and cogently argued, this report provides a robust new evidence base, of 1,782 people who were surveyed in 2014, which provides a solid foundation for the development of initiatives and interventions. Most importantly this report identifies a shocking deterioration in the quality of everyday life since the last report in 2011. Increasing hostility in political and media discourse, increasing hostility on the streets in terms of physical attacks and abuse and increasing hostility in the labour market and in educational contexts are some of the key markers of increasing anti-Muslim hate identified here. This large sample of Muslims also voice an urgent desire for change and make many useful and constructive proposals for what should be done. Opening up the political space through building alliances and creating cross-national, cross-class, trans-racial and multi-gendered coalitions for change on this vital issue is central here. The IHRC have produced a report replete with excellent scholarship, important insights and coherent and appropriate recommendations. A classic study of huge contemporary significance.’
– Professor Ian Law; CERS (Centre for Ethnicity and Racism Studies), School of Sociology and Social Policy, University of Leeds
‘This indispensible report offers a mix of valuable empirical data and analytical arguments to both map and understand the increase of Anti-Muslim hate crime and Islamophobia in the UK. It critically documents the rising levels of hostility, hatred and discrimination, and provides a series of important recommendations for practitioners and policy makers in combatting Anti-Muslim hate crime. This is a much-needed report which uncovers the silent domestic casualties of the war on terror; it carefully combines conceptual rigor and brute facts to lift the lid on the rise of Islamophobia in contemporary British society. This is an important and timely intervention and a must read for those committed to racial justice.’
– Dr Katy P. Sian; Department of Sociology, University of York
The Domination Hate Model of Intercultural Relations (DHMIR) project led by Saied Reza Ameli and Arzu Merali at the IHRC is a fundamental longitudinal study on the development of islamophobic racism in the UK since 2009. The new report shows how the situation for Muslims in the UK, far from improving, has worsened. The Prevent program as the “socialisation of hate” and the recent so-called “anti-terrorist” CTS Act 2015 have produced basic violations of civil/human rights, destruction of democratic procedures, and a hate environment constitutive of the dehumanisation and demonisation of Muslims. These policies have institutionalised a de facto racist police state. The British “Stasi State” is reinforced by the hate representation of Muslims in British media and political discourses reminiscent of the genocidal environment of 1930s Germany. The study shows how these institutional racist domestic policies are linked to British military imperial adventures abroad in alliance with the Western imperial/zionist colonisation of Palestine and Muslim lands. The rigorous empirical evidence as well as the solid theoretical approach, makes of this study a crucial reference for policy makers, activists and social scientists interested in eradicating Islamophobia as one of the dominant forms of institutional racism in the world today.
– Prof. Ramon Grosfoguel, Department of Ethnic Studies, University of California at Berkeley
In the current era of Islamophobia, racism and xenophobia, IHRC gives voice to Muslims’ experiences of anti-Muslim hatred, discrimination and violence. Building on 17 years of experience in recording and responding to anti-Muslim prejudice, IHRC ran a landmark survey designed to assess the nature and extent of Islamophobia towards Muslims in Britain. Similarly to the previous survey (2009-2010), this research project successfully quantifies the level of antipathy faced by Muslims and those perceived to be Muslims in Britain. In this report, Saied Reza Ameli and Arzu Merali present comprehensive, academically rigorous statistics to policy makers about the experiences of Muslims. Additionally, they provide a tool for Muslim community groups to use in their advocacy and campaigning work. Overall, this research report raises awareness amongst wider communities of the scale and nature of anti-Muslim hostility and pushes for change through consultation with those affected, practitioners, policy makers and academics.
– Dr Irene Zempi, Lecturer in Criminology, Nottingham Trent University
‘Environment of Hate:The New Normal for Muslims in the UK’ is an extremely important and timely report on Islamophobia in Britain today. Rejecting the ‘hate crime’ and ‘discrimination’ frameworks which construct racism of any kind as the deviant behaviour of individual ‘bad apples’ within a broader social fabric of a tolerant and peace-loving post-racial Britain, this report offers a structural analysis of contemporary British Islamophobia, demonstrating how policies and media representations have generated an environment in which Muslims are seen as worthy of hatred. Drawing on quantitative empirical research, this rigorous and up-to-date report also details British Muslims’ experiences of street-level and institutional hatred directed toward them. While the report’s analysis is a sombre one, it concludes with positive and practical recommendations for grassroots-led social change, and a commitment to hope over despair.
– Dr Sarah Keenan, Lecturer in Law, Birkbeck, School of Law, University of London
This IHRC report paints a sobering picture of Britain today that will be unrecognisable to the majority of British people, and certainly to those in power in politics or media. They need to read The New Normal for Muslims in the UK. This account of an “environment of hate” is a valuable and serious piece of work, which draws on many academic studies and new research – the bibliography alone runs to more than 50 pages.
The report analyses the UK media and political discourse that has normalised a steady flow of negative ideas about Muslims and about Islam in general (and produced a resurgence of anti-Semitism and anti-black racist discourse). And it reports on “Prevent as the socialisation of hate.” This will not come as a surprise to many teachers, social workers and doctors in Britain today who are increasingly concerned about the statutory duty they now have under this programme to police their students, clients and patients. Far too little understanding of what this means in our society has been expressed in the mainstream media.
A sea change and cultural shift from the top – outside the Muslim community – is one of the report’s recommendations. The authors call too for media monitoring for demonised representation; for better media regulation; for braver speaking out against manifestations of the “environment of hate.”
As a reminder of all the previous highlighting of these issues the report quotes from a 2008 UN report on the UK. The UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief, Asma Jahangir, said then: “The Special Rapporteur would like to emphasize that it is not the Government’s role to look for the ‘true voices of Islam’ or of any other religion or belief”. She went on “the Government should engage with those groups and individuals with whom they may disagree but who will provide them with a more accurate and realistic viewpoint of how it is actually perceived at the grassroots.” Those voices are here in this important piece of research.
– Victoria Brittain, author/journalist
Arzu Merali interviewed – BBC 5Live; 49 minute mark
Majority of British Muslims have witnessed Islamophobia – The Guardian
Rising Islamophobia In Britain ‘Is Creating An Environment Of Hate’ – The Huffington Post UK
Muslims face ‘worsening environment of hate’ in UK – Al Jazeera English
Islamophobia in the UK at unprecedented levels – ITV This Morning
Majority of British Muslims Witness Islamophobia, Study Finds – teleSUR English
Discrimination against Muslims ‘highly driven by media content’ – Lancashire Telegraph
New Study Suggests UK Government Policies Have Negative Impact on Muslims – Latin American Herald Tribune
Muslims ‘negatively affected’ by counter-terrorism policies, says report – Christian Today
Politicians do not care about Muslims – Pulse Nigeria
Massoud Shadjareh interviewed on Drive Time – BCB Radio
Most UK Muslims living in hateful environment – RINF Alternative News
Islamophobia in the UK is on the rise due to politicians and media – World Religion News
Say no to the racist backlash after Paris – Socialist Worker
#MuslimsAreNotTerrorists: The Peril of Islamophobia – The News Hub
British Muslims tell of growing hostility in new report – Religion News Service
Müslümanlara saldırılar arttı – Yeni Mesaj
…and Douglas Murray coverage: