Islamophobia: A new word for an old fear
By Imam Dr Abduljalil Sajid
Chairman Muslim Council for Religious and Racial Harmony UK
Member Commission on British Muslims and Islamophobia
8 Caburn Road, Hove, East Sussex, BN3 6EF, England
Tel: +44 (0) 1273 722438 Fax: +44 (0) 1273 326051
Mobile: +44 (0) 7971 861972

"And they ill-treated them (Believers) for no other reason except that they believed in Allah" (Al-Quran 85-8)
Hostility towards Islam and Muslims has been a feature of European societies since the eighth century of the Common Era. It has taken different forms, however, at different times and has fulfilled a variety of functions. For example, the hostility in Spain in the fifteenth century was not the same as the hostility that had been expressed and mobilised in the Crusades. Nor was the hostility during the time of the Ottoman Empire or that which was prevalent throughout the age of empires and colonialism. It may be more apt to speak of 'Islamophobias' rather than of a single phenomenon.

Each version of Islamophobia has its own features as well as similarities with, and borrowings from, other versions. A key factor since the1960s is the presence of some Forty million Muslim people in European countries. Another is the increased economic leverage on the world stage of oil-rich countries, many of which are Muslim in their culture and traditions. A third is the abuse of human rights by repressive regimes that claim to be motivated and justified by Muslim beliefs. A fourth is the emergence of political movements that similarly claim to be motivated by Islam and that use terrorist tactics to achieve their aims.
The word Islamophobia was first used in print in 1991 and was defined in the 1997 Runnymede Trust report as 'unfounded hostility towards Islam, and therefore fear or dislike of all or most Muslims'. The term Islamophobia refers to unfounded hostility and fear towards Islam. It refers also to the practical consequences of such hostility in unfair discrimination, prejudice and less favourable treatment against Muslim individuals and communities, and to the exclusion of Muslims from mainstream political and social affair. The word 'Islamophobia' has been coined because there is a new reality which needs naming - anti-Muslim prejudice has grown so considerably and so rapidly in recent years that a new item in the vocabulary is needed so that it can be identified and acted against. In other European Union countries it is customary to use the phrase 'racism, xenophobia and anti-Semitism' as a way of summarising the issues to be addressed. The phrase is cumbersome and is unlikely to be widely used in Britain.
Islamophobia is the fear and / or hatred of Islam, Muslims or Islamic culture and history. Islamophobia can be characterized by the belief that all or most Muslims are religious fanatics, have violent tendencies towards non-Muslims, and reject as directly opposed to Islam such concepts as equality, tolerance, and democracy. It is a new form of racism whereby Muslims, an ethno-religious group, not a race, are, nevertheless, constructed as a race. A set of negative assumptions are made of the entire group to the detriment of members of that group. During the 1990's many sociologists and cultural analysts observed a shift in racist ideas from ones based on skin colour to ones based on notions of cultural superiority and otherness.
Anti-Muslim Racism
Anti-Muslim racism has been a feature of European culture at least since the Crusades, but has taken different forms at different times. In modern Britain its manifestations include discrimination in recruitment and employment practices; high levels of attacks on mosques and on people wearing Muslim religious dress; widespread negative stereotypes in all sections of the press, including the broadsheets as well as the tabloids; bureaucratic obstruction or inertia in response to Muslim requests for greater cultural sensitivity in education and healthcare; and non-recognition of Muslims by the law of the land, since discrimination on grounds of religion or belief is not unlawful with exception of EU Directive of 27 Nov 2000 which has been enacted in British domestic laws since 2 December 2003 only in the area of employment. Further, many or most anti-racist organisations and campaigns appear indifferent to the distinctive features of anti-Muslim racism, and to distinctive Muslim concerns about cultural sensitivity. Silence about anti-Muslim racism was particularly striking in relation to the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry report on 24 February 1999.
Islamophobia inhibits the development of a just society, characterised by social inclusion and cultural diversity. For it is a constant source of threat and distress to British Muslims and implies that they do not have the same rights as other British citizens. Islamophobia increases the likelihood of serious social disorder, with consequent high costs for the economy and for the justice system. Persistent Islamophobia in the media means that young British Muslims develop a sense of cultural inferiority and lose confidence both in themselves and in their parents. They tend then to 'drop out' and may be readily influenced by extremist groups which seem to give them a strong sense of identity. Islamophobia makes it more difficult for mainstream voices and influences within Muslim communities to be expressed and heard. In consequence many Muslims are driven into the hands of extremists, and imbibe extremist opinions.
Islamophobia prevents Muslims and non-Muslims from cooperating appropriately on the joint diagnosis and solution of major shared problems, for example problems relating to urban poverty and deprivation. Further, it prevents non-Muslims from appreciating and benefiting from Islam's cultural, artistic and intellectual heritage, and from its moral teachings. Likewise it inhibits Muslim appreciation of cultural achievements in the non-Muslim world. Islamophobia means that Britain is weaker than it need be in political, economic and cultural relations with other countries and it actively damages international relations, diplomacy and trade.
Islamophobia makes it more difficult for Muslims and non-Muslims to cooperate in the solution and management of shared problems such as global political, ecological issues and conflict situations (for example Bosnia, most notably, in the former republic of Yugoslavia). Many Muslims believe Islamophobia has played a major part in Western attitudes to events in Bosnia, and has prevented a just and lasting settlement. Recently there have been several efforts by non-Muslims to combat Islamophobia. In the wake of September 11, for example, a few non-Muslim women practiced hijab in a show of solidarity with their Muslim counterparts, who it was feared would be particularly vulnerable for reprisal given their distinctive dress. Non-Muslims also helped form community watches to protect mosques from attack.

In Britain as in other European countries, manifestations of anti-Muslim hostility include:

" verbal and physical attacks on Muslims in public places

" attacks on mosques and desecration of Muslim cemeteries

" widespread and routine negative stereotypes in the media, including the broadsheets, and in the conversations and 'common sense' of non-Muslims - people talk and write about Muslims in ways that would not be acceptable if the reference were to Jewish people, for example, or to black people

" negative stereotypes and remarks in speeches by political leaders, implying that Muslims in Britain are less committed than others to democracy and the rule of law - for example the claim that Muslims more than others must choose between 'the British way' and 'the terrorist way'

" discrimination in recruitment and employment practices, and in workplace cultures and customs

" bureaucratic delay and inertia in responding to Muslim requests for cultural sensitivity in education and healthcare and in planning applications for mosques

" lack of attention to the fact that Muslims in Britain are disproportionately affected by poverty and social exclusion

" non-recognition of Muslims in particular, and of religion in general, by the law of the land, since up until recently discrimination in employment on grounds of religion has been lawful and discrimination in the provision of services is still lawful

" anomalies in public order legislation, such that Muslims are less protected against incitement to hatred than members of certain other religions

" laws curtailing civil liberties that disproportionately affect Muslims.

Several of these matters are discussed later

Contextual factors

Islamophobia is exacerbated by a number of contextual factors. One of these is the fact that a high proportion of refugees and people seeking asylum are Muslims. Demonisation of refugees by the tabloid press is therefore frequently a coded attack on Muslims, for the words 'Muslim', 'asylum-seeker', 'refugee' and 'immigrant' become synonymous and interchangeable with each other in the popular imagination. Occasionally, the connection is made entirely explicit. For example, a newspaper recycling the myth that asylum-seekers are typically given luxury space by the government in five-star accommodation added on one occasion recently that they are supplied also with 'library, gym and even free prayer-mats'. A member of the House of Lords wishing to evoke in a succinct phrase people who are undesirable spoke of '25-year-old black Lesbians and homosexual Muslim asylum-seekers'. In 2003, when the Home Office produced a poster about alleged deceit and dishonesty amongst people seeking asylum, it chose to illustrate its concerns by focusing on someone with a Muslim name. An end-of-year article in the Sunday Times magazine on 'Inhumanity to Man' during 2003 focused in four of its five examples on actions by Muslims.

A second contextual factor is the sceptical, secular and agnostic outlook with regard to religion that is reflected implicitly, and sometimes expressed explicitly, in the media, perhaps particularly the left-liberal media. The outlook is opposed to all religion, not to Islam only. Commenting on media treatment of the Church of England, the Archbishop of Canterbury remarked in a speech in summer 2003 that the church in the eyes of the media is a kind of soap opera: 'Its life is about short-term conflicts, blazing rows in the pub, so to speak, mysterious plots and unfathomable motivations. It is both ridiculous and fascinating. As with soap operas, we, the public, know that real people don't actually live like that, but we relish the drama and become fond of the regular cast of unlikely characters with, in this case, their extraordinary titles and bizarre costumes.' At first sight, the ridiculing of religion by the media is even-handed. But the Church of England, for example, has far more resources with which to combat malicious or ignorant media coverage than does British Islam. For Muslims, since they have less influence and less access to public platforms, attacks are far more undermining. Debates and disagreements about religion are legitimate in modern society and indeed are to be welcomed. But they do not take place on a level playing-field.

A third contextual factor is UK foreign policy in relation to various conflict situations around the world. There is a widespread perception that the war on terror is in fact a war on Islam, and that the UK supports Israel against Palestinians. In other conflicts too the UK government appears to side with non-Muslims against Muslims and to collude with the view that the terms 'Muslim' and 'terrorist' are synonymous. These perceptions of UK foreign policy may or may not be accurate. The point is that they help fashion the lens through which events inside Britain are interpreted - not only by Muslims but by non-Muslims as well.

The cumulative effect of Islamophobia's various features, exacerbated by the contextual factors mentioned above is that Muslims are made to feel that they do not truly belong here - they feel that they are not truly accepted, let alone welcomed, as full members of British society. On the contrary, they are seen as 'an enemy within' or 'a fifth column' and they feel that they are under constant siege. This is bad for society as well as for Muslims themselves. Moreover, time-bombs are being primed that are likely to explode in the future - both Muslim and non-Muslim commentators have pointed out that a young generation of British Muslims is developing that feels increasingly disaffected, alienated and bitter. It's in the interests of non-Muslims as well as Muslims, therefore, that Islamophobia should be rigorously challenged, reduced and removed. The time to act is now, not some time in the future.

A further negative impact of Islamophobia is that Muslim insights on ethical and social issues are not given an adequate hearing and are not seen as positive assets. 'Groups such as Muslims in the West,' writes an observer, 'can be part of trans-cultural dialogues, domestic and global, that might make our societies live up to their promises of diversity and democracy. Such communities can … facilitate communication and understanding in these fraught and destabilising times.' But Islamophobia makes this potential all but impossible to realise.

'The most subtle and for Muslims perilous consequence of Islamophobic actions,' a Muslim scholar has observed, 'is the silencing of self-criticism and the slide into defending the indefensible. Muslims decline to be openly critical of fellow Muslims, their ideas, activities and rhetoric in mixed company, lest this be seen as giving aid and comfort to the extensive forces of condemnation. Brotherhood, fellow feeling, sisterhood are genuine and authentic reflexes of Islam. But Islam is supremely a critical, reasoning and ethical framework… [It] or rather ought not to, be manipulated into "my fellow Muslim right or wrong".' She goes on to remark that Islamophobia provides 'the perfect rationale for modern Muslims to become reactive, addicted to a culture of complaint and blame that serves only to increase the powerlessness, impotence and frustration of being a Muslim.'

Violent language

On 11 September 2001 and the following days there were strong feelings of powerlessness, impotence and frustration amongst non-Muslims as well as among Muslims. When people feel powerless and frustrated they are prone to hit out with violent language. Below "You don't Belong here" for example, shows the kind of violent language that was used in email messages to the Muslim Council of Britain immediately following 11 September, 2001. The writers were under great stress and at least one of them later apologised. Their messages were nevertheless significant, for they expressed attitudes and imaginings that are widespread amongst non-Muslims and that are recurring components of Islamophobia.

You don't belong here

Email messages to the Muslim Council of Britain, September 2001 - March 2003

You don't belong here and you never will. Go back to fornicating with your camels in the desert, and leave us alone. (11/9/01)

Are you happy now? Salman Rushdie was right; your religion is a joke. Long live Israel! The US will soon kill many Muslim women and children. You are all subhuman freaks! (11/9/01).

I really have tried not to follow my father who was a simple racist. However, I saw your people celebrating in Palestine and Libya and I was sick with despair. How on God's earth can you justify killing in this way? HOW can you celebrate? I no longer have any respect for you. None at all. I am so sorry, but I just despise you and your cruel God. You are not people. Just cold killers. May God forgive you but from now on, may the Americans find you and remove you from my country. I can no longer be civil to you. I am so angry, so hurt, just...oh, leave it, and leave it there. Just get out of the UK. Go back to your homes and leave us alone. Cowards. (11/9/01).

The rest of the world will now join to smash the filthy disease infested Islam you must be removed from Britain in body bags. Hope you like the bombs, payback for your satanic religion. We will kill you all if we have too stayed in the stone-age and may Islam burn under US bombs. (14/9/01)

Why do you bother to live here? You hate the English with a passion. You hate Christianity. You hate America. But all of you like taking our hospitality and money and then turning on us. If we get attacked in this country I along with thousands of normal Christians will make absolutely sure that all Muslims will suffer. the worst thing this country did was offer refuge to animals who call themselves humans bombing places like the world trade centre is the action of scum. (13/2/03)

We know where to find you. (14/2/03)

Source: this is just a small selection of such messages posted on the website of the Muslim Council of Britain ( Original spellings and punctuation have been retained.

It has been argued by some, most notably Edward Said, that the denigration of Islamic civilisation associated with Islamophobia is central to the concept of Western Civilisation. The ousting and marginalising of Islam marks the debut of 'Western' Civilisation and, thus, explains the depth and longevity of western Islamophobia:

"Islam was a provocation in many ways. It lay uneasily close to Christianity, geographically and culturally. It drew on the Judeo-Hellenic traditions. It borrowed creatively from Christianity - it could boast unrivalled military and political successes. Nor was this all. The Islamic lands sit adjacent to and even on top of the biblical lands. Moreover, the heart of the Islamic domain has always been the region closest to Europe... Arabic and Hebrew are Semitic languages, and together they dispose and re-dispose of material that is urgently important to Christianity. From the end of the 7th century to the 16th century, Islam in either its Arab, Ottoman, North African or Spanish form dominated or effectively threatened European Christianity. That Islam outstripped and outshone Rome cannot have been absent from the mind of any European." Edward Said: Orientalism, Penguin Books, 2003 Edition. Page 74.

Examples of Islamophobia

Rep. C. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA): "Just turn (the sheriff) loose and have him arrest every Muslim that crosses the state line" (to Georgia law officers, November 2001) (

Ann Coulter: "We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity." (

Robert Kilroy-Silk: "Muslims everywhere behave with equal savagery. They behead criminals, stone to death female - only female - adulteresses, throw acid in the faces of women who refuse to wear the chador, mutilate the genitals of young girls and ritually abuse animals"

Jean-Marie Le Pen
: "These elements have a negative effect on all of public security. They are strengthened demographically both by natural reproduction and by immigration, which reinforces their stubborn ethnic segregation, their domineering nature. This is the world of Islam in all its aberrations."

Jerry Vines: "Christianity was founded by the virgin-born Jesus Christ. Islam was founded by Mohammed, a demon-possessed paedophile who had 12 wives, and his last one was a 9-year-old girl." (

Little Green Footballs: "Refugee camp my tuchus!! Centre of terror and genocide, maybe, but no refugee camp. Is this part of the area the UN is bleating that it can't feed? I hope so. If every subhuman piece of excrement in the Rafah non refugee camp dies slowly and painfully of starvation, I'll have a great Passover" (

Michael Savage: "I think these people [Arabs and Muslims] need to be forcibly converted to Christianity ... It's the only thing that can probably turn them into human beings." [05/12/03] (On his radio show The Savage Nation)

Institutional Islamophobia

The failure of race equality organisations and activists over many years to include Islamophobia in their programmes and campaigns appears to be an example of institutional intolerance.

'The concept of institutional racism,' said the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry report, '… is generally accepted, even if a long trawl through the work of academics and activists produces varied words and phrases in pursuit of a definition.' The report cited several of the submissions that it had received during its deliberations and then constructed a definition of its own. If the term 'racism' is replaced by the term 'Islamophobia' in the submissions, and if other changes or additions are made as appropriate, the statements are as follows:

'Institutional Islamophobia may be defined as those established laws, customs and practices which systematically reflect and produce inequalities in society between Muslims and non-Muslims. If such inequalities accrue to institutional laws, customs or practices, an institution is Islamophobic whether or not the individuals maintaining those practices have Islamophobic intentions.'
(Adapted from a statement by the Commission for Racial Equality.)

'Differential treatment need be neither conscious nor intentional, and it may be practised routinely by officers whose professionalism is exemplary in all other respects. There is great danger that focusing on overt acts of personal Islamophobia by individual officers may deflect attention from the much greater institutional challenge ... of addressing the more subtle and concealed form that organisational-level Islamophobia may take. Its most important challenging feature is its predominantly hidden character and its inbuilt pervasiveness within the occupational culture.' (Adapted from a statement by Dr Robin Oakley)

'The collective failure of an organisation to provide an appropriate and professional service to Muslims because of their religion. It can be seen or detected in processes, attitudes and behaviour which amount to discrimination through unwitting prejudice, ignorance, thoughtlessness and stereotyping which disadvantage Muslims.' (Adapted from the Stephen Lawrnece Inquiry report)

The impact of institutional Islamophobia is described below in examples. The An-Nisa Society, mentioned earlier in this chapter, provides a range of services for Muslim people in north-west London.

Institutional Islamophobia: Some Examples

Khalida Khan, director of the An-Nisa Society, says the draining effect of institutional Islamophobia affects entire communities and has both practical and psychological consequences. 'Relentless Islamophobia directly affects the morale of Muslims themselves,' she said. 'It lowers their self esteem leading to withdrawal and stress.'

One person who sought help from An-Nisa gave a graphic example of how individuals are affected. 'Sometimes the discrimination is subtle. It starts from the time they find out your name or the way you dress. Then they keep prodding you to see how much you can take. I normally don't take much nonsense but soon you get tired. You can't spend all your life trying to educate people who have decided to be ignorant. To be honest I have neither the time nor energy.'

An-Nisa argues strongly that the failure of institutions to service Muslim communities properly can be blamed, at least in part, on the reluctance of legislators and subsequently of officials to recognise Muslims as a distinct group. 'For the last two decades Muslims have been subsumed under the category of "Asians". And even then, the term only covers people from the Indian sub-continent. Whoever coined that term wiped off Turks, Iranians, Chinese, Filipinos and others from the continent of Asia. Workers on the ground are well aware that Muslims come from many races and national origins. But by treating such diverse communities as if they are one, the organisers of services have inadvertently devised insensitive and unjust policies with serious consequences.'

If institutions evolve a corporate ethos which is prejudiced against Muslims, or which doesn't take their needs into account, how will their workers respond? Evidence compiled by An-Nisa suggests workers operating in such an atmosphere act in accordance with that ethos. Khalida Khan says one case brought to her attention proves how devastating ignorance or just lazy thinking can be. 'A social worker was sent to assess a family in connection with a child being fostered and perhaps adopted. She was told that the family prayed five times a day so she said that they were fundamentalists. The father was asked what he would do for the future and it is Allah's will and we cannot predict the future. That too led to them being regarded as fundamentalists.' (Source: interview by Hugh Muir, summer 2003)

The concept of cohesion

The concept of cohesion was central to the arguments debates on multiculturalism in Britain by the Commission on the Future of Multi-Ethnic Britain, chaired by Lord Parekh. But unlike the government's approach, the commission stressed that cohesion is only one value amongst others. Two other, equally important, social values, it argued, are equality and respect for significant difference. The three core values of cohesion, equality and respect for difference are like the three legs of a stool; if any one of them is de-emphasised the other two are damaged as well. In a lecture on cohesion organised by the Runnymede Trust in autumn 2002, Lord Parekh explained the concept of cohesion as follows:

'A society is cohesive if (a) its members have a common commitment to the well-being of the community and are related to each other in a way that they are not related to outsiders; (b) its members are able to find their way around in it, that is, they know how to navigate their way through their society, if they understand its conceptual and cultural grammar, and know how to relate to each other; and (c) its members share a climate of mutual trust, and know that were they to make sacrifices today for the wider community, it will take care of them when the need arises.'

The Future of Multi-Ethnic Britain pointed out also that a cohesive democracy must accept disagreements, differences and disobedience, and commended and reprinted in this respect the distinctions between closed and open approaches to disagreement proposed by the Commission on British Muslims and Islamophobia. Further, such a democracy must vigorously tackle racism in its various forms, including for example Islamophobia and the kinds of institutional racism in public institutions identified and described by the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry report. The reports on northern cities and the government's ensuing policy documentation about community cohesion contained little engagement with such points. For this reason, and because they similarly showed no awareness of the arguments set out by the Institute of Race Relations, they were an uncertain basis for action or for evaluation. They were, however, accompanied by quite substantial funding programmes. These led to some valuable projects, as outlined later in this chapter. It remains at present (early 2004) to be seen whether they lead also to useful development of theory. Two Home Office papers published in 2003 were not promising, at least with regard to addressing Islamophobia and recognising British Muslim identity.

The concept of community

The Future of Multi-Ethnic Britain gave considerable attention to the meaning of the term community. It acknowledged that the term usually refers to something rather amorphous, but pointed out that nevertheless it can have legal significance, as for example in Northern Ireland. The Oxford English Dictionary defines it as 'a body of people having a religion, a profession, etc, in common ... a fellowship of interests … a body of nations unified by common interests'. This definition reflects the fact that in everyday usage terms such as the following are all fairly familiar: 'the local community', 'a valued member of the community', 'the disabled community', 'a mining community', 'the scientific community', 'the gay and lesbian community', 'the two communities in Northern Ireland'. It would be consistent with the dictionary definition to envisage the United Kingdom as a community whose four principal constituent parts are England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, and also to envisage each of the constituent parts as a community, as also each separate region, city, town or borough. Any one individual belongs to several different communities. This was vividly illustrated in a statement made to the Bradford Commission in 1996:

'I could view myself as a member of the following communities, depending on the context and in no particular order: Black, Asian, Azad Kashmiri, Mirpuri, Jat, Marilail, Kungriwalay, Pakistani, English, British, Yorkshireman, Bradfordian, from Bradford Moor … I could use the term 'community' in any of these contexts and it would have meaning. Any attempt to define me only as one of these would be meaningless.'

Since communities overlap and interact, and since every individual belongs to more than one community, it is helpful to picture Britain as a community of communities rather than as a single monolithic whole. Similarly each town or city - Bradford, Burnley and Oldham, for example - may appropriately be pictured as a community of communities. A cohesive town or city is made up of cohesive communities in constant interaction with each other. Also, it shows due regard for the rights of individuals, not just (so speak) for the rights of members of communities. The commission's full phrase to evoke the kind of society it commended was 'a community of communities and citizens'.

Negative stereotyping

The negative image of Muslims and Islam began as early as the Crusades when Christian and mercenary soldiers marched to Palestine in order to "free" Jerusalem and the Holy Land from Islamic influence and authority. Songs were the sung by marching Crusaders characterizing Islam and Muslims not only negatively but Muslims as infidels and idolaters. Ever since the early Crusades, Islam and Muslims have been portrayed in a derogatory fashion. With the declaration of the Jewish state of Israel at the expense of the Palestinians in 1948, there has been a continuing, sometimes covert, oftentimes obvious and blatant effort to stereotype Arabs and Muslims as barbaric terrorists possessing no conscience or mercy in their war against the civilized populations of the world.

Novels and encyclopaedic information either subtly and shrewdly or manifestly insert defamatory statements about Arabs and Muslims in such a way that the reader is unaware of these attacks. The film industry is even more effective in the portrayal of Arabs and Muslims in a manner that creates hate and prejudice in the hearts and minds of international viewers. Arab and Muslim groups living within the United States have struggled to combat these negative images but do not have the power, the means nor possess as effective a voice as the billions of dollars that back the entertainment industry.

A United Nations special investigator on religion, a Tunisian lawyer, Abdul Fattah Amor, said on March 17, 1999, that a pervasive Islamophobia exists in the United States and is fed by a "hate-filled" image of Muslims presented in the media. Amor, who compiled his report after a visit to the United States in January and February of 1999, argues that, "The Muslim community can certainly flourish freely in the religious sphere, but it has to be recognized that there is an Islamophobia reflecting both racial and religious intolerance." He went on to say, "This is not the fault of the authorities, but of a very harmful activity by the media in general and the popular press in particular, which consists in putting out a distorted and indeed hate-filled message treating Muslims as extremists and terrorists."

It is sad that some of the greatest enemies of Islam can be found in the dictators of Muslim countries. Examples of so-called Muslim leaders who want a secular state at the expense of the lives and welfare of their people can be found in Algeria and Turkey. They day-to-day massacres of Algerian civilians are not carried out by true Muslims, but by paid mercenaries wishing to turn the hearts of the people against Islam. There are many other leaders of Muslim countries whose prisons are full of those wishing to promote Islam and Muslim governments.

Essentially foreign
Some findings from research on Media and British Muslims

A study was made of all articles on British Muslims that appeared in The Guardian/Observer and The Times/Sunday Times in the period 1993-97. There were 837 articles altogether, 504 in the Guardian/Observer and 333 in The Times/Sunday Times. In addition stories about British Muslims in 1997 were studied in the Sun and the Mail. A count was also made of stories about Muslims in the wider world. The findings of the research included:

Only one story in seven was about Islam in Britain, as distinct from the wider world. The implication was that Islam is essentially foreign.

Muslims in Britain were frequently represented irrational and antiquated, threatening British liberal values and democracy.

The agenda of Muslims in Britain was seen as being dictated by Muslims outside Britain.

A strong focus on extremist and fanatical Muslims marginalised the moderate and pragmatic stance of the majority of British Muslims.

Muslims in Britain were depicted as being involved in deviant activities, for example corruption and crime.

The Guardian gave much more coverage to Muslim issues than other papers and was more likely to write positively and to provide alternative viewpoints. It is read by far fewer people than other most other papers, however, and its secular, human rights stance means Islam is sometimes formulated as offensive to its liberal norms.

Commenting later on the findings, the author noted that Muslims are becoming a more powerful lobbying force and have made efforts to create a representative body, the Muslim Council of Britain, with which the government can negotiate. She judged that lobbying by Muslims has had a positive effect on both the government and the media (Source: the research was undertaken by Dr Elizabeth Poole, University of Staffordshire. It is published in "Reporting Islam", I.B.Tauris, 2002.)

Post September 11 there was a genuine recognition among most media outlets of the need to avoid content that would be inflames the relationship between Muslims and non-Muslims in Britain. Led by the line from Downing Street, even The Sun - long saddled with a reputation as a racially intolerant and a sensationalist newspaper - issued a high profile appeal for calm. On September 13, 2001, a full-page article written by David Yelland - then the editor - proclaimed "Islam Is Not An Evil" Religion. It may have been stating the obvious. But at the time it made a valuable contribution - a fact recognised by the Commission for Racial Equality which short listed the article for a Race in the Media Award.

Whose watchdog?

In July 2001, a month before the US terrorist atrocities, senior officials from the Muslim press and the Muslim Council of Britain met with Lord Wakeham, then the chairman of the Press Complaints Commission. Together the learned gathering discussed the 'negative stereotyping' of Muslims and Lord Wakeham assured those present that he understood their concerns. On the 15th of November, 2001 amid the pleas for calm and mutual tolerance and the establishment of Islam Awareness Week to promote greater understanding across the communities, the Daily Express published an article by columnist Carol Sarler which seemed to encapsulate all of the worries conveyed to Lord Wakeham just four months previously.

Under the headline Why Do I have To Tolerate The Rantings of Bigots Just Because They Are Muslim, Ms Sarler said even she, as a 'conscientious, secular liberal' felt unable to voice legitimate doubts about the Islamic faith and its adherents. The irony of the fact that she was doing so over an entire page of a national newspaper did not trouble her. Citing one single opinion poll which, she said, showed 70 per cent of British Muslims either support or condone Osama bin Laden, she said: 'We are constantly told that the vast majority of Moslems in this country are moderates and hush your mouth if you even might think, oh really, so where are they then?' She said many refer to Islam as 'a religion of tolerance, peace and love', adding: 'Which is jolly splendid but goes nowhere towards explaining why every Moslem state in the world today is a cauldron of violence, corruption, oppression and dodgy democracy: the direct opponents of everything a liberal holds dear; yet at your peril do you mention it.' The Qur'an she dismissed as 'no more than a bloodthirsty little book.' The equivalent insult if her target had been Christianity would have been 'Jesus was no more than a bloodthirsty little man.'

On the day of publication, an Express reader submitted a complaint to the Press Complaints Commission, still led by Lord Wakeham, on the grounds that the article was discriminatory and inaccurate. But the complaint was rejected. In its adjudication, the PCC accepted the Express's argument that 'the article, headed as comment, was clearly distinguished as the opinion of the columnist, in accordance with terms of the Code.' It noted the Express printed a letter of rebuttal from the Muslim Council of Britain the following week. Other complaints from the Muslim Council of Britain have been rejected on the grounds that individuals have a right to reply if inaccurate reports are printed about them, but not organisations on behalf of a religious faith. The PCC said: 'Clause 13 (Discrimination) relates only to named individuals and, as in the article no specific persons were subject to prejudiced or pejorative attack based upon their race or religion, did not consider that a breach of the that clause could be established.' There are no plans to close this loophole, even when the new press regulator assumes responsibility.

What also disturbed many was the fact that the PCC seems unable or unwilling to act even when many of the comments made by the author are based on claims that are themselves open to challenge. For example, the columnist claimed that few Muslim leaders had spoken out against September 11. In point of fact the Muslim Council of Britain issued a condemnatory press release within three hours of the atrocity on 11 September and within 48 hours convened a meeting of community leaders from which emerged a joint statement denouncing the atrocities as indefensible. It is clear that the PCC is not an adequate bulwark against Islamophobia in the media. A more reliable bulwark, if it can be created, would lie in a revised code of professional ethics


As the shock from September 11 subsided, however, Muslim concern about the media's tendency to elevate fringe figures to a place of mainstream importance became, once again, a live issue. For many years Muslims had complained about the prominence given to Omar Bakri Muhammed - the North London cleric with a penchant for publicity and the provocative quote. For all the good intentions, after September 11 many newspapers and broadcasters still found him a hard habit to break. But the appeal of Omar Bakri paled dramatically when set against the attractions of Abu Hamza. Here, just waiting for an unquestioning press, was a villain straight out of central casting. He has an eye patch, a hook replacing an amputated hand, a claimed association with Taliban training camps and a knack for issuing blood-curdling threats.

In an analysis of the media post September 11, 2001 the academic researcher Christopher Price noted that the Daily Mail printed the same photo of Abu Hamza on the 15th, 17th, 18th, 20th and 21st. The paper also printed an interview with him on the 13th September 2001 that was partially repeated on the 15th and 18th as well. Days after the beginning of the war in Iraq, his views were sought again. The Press Association, which supplies all national and regional papers, described him as 'one of Britain's best known Muslim preachers'. For journalists from the Telegraph to the Today Programme, and from the News of The World to Newsnight, he was a top attraction.

Of course, figures like Hamza and his associates have a right to have their views reported, as does any other citizen of this country. But too often such views are reported as representative of all Muslim communities. Moderates who sought to place them in their proper context struggled to make their voices heard. Inayat Bunglawala of the Muslim Council of Britain voiced the frustrations of many. 'There are over 1800 mosques in the UK and only one of them is run by a known radical. Yet this one mosque (Finsbury Park, London) seems to get more coverage than all the rest put together! The situation is akin to taking a member of the racist BNP and saying his views are representative of ordinary Britons.'

Ahmed Versi, the editor of the Muslim News says that frustration remains. 'The Muslim community is attacked for not denouncing September 11 enough, yet the newspapers and television news will give an enormous amount of space and airtime to people like Abu Hamza and not seek out moderate voices. He is a nothing figure in the Muslim community. He doesn't have a major following. Young Muslim men are not particularly attracted to his teachings. So why do newspapers continue to give him so much space?
It is Islamophobia.'

'Historically,' the Archbishop of Canterbury said in his Christmas Day sermon in 2003, 'religious faith has too often been the language of the powerful, the excuse for oppression, and the alibi for atrocity. It has appeared as itself intolerant of difference (hence the legacy of anti-Semitism), as a campaigning, aggressive force for uniformity, as a self-defensive and often corrupt set of institutions indifferent to basic human welfare. That's a legacy that dies hard, however much we might want to protest that it is far from the whole picture. And it's given new life by the threat of terror carried out in the name of a religion - even when representatives of that religion at every level roundly condemn such action as incompatible with faith.'


Hostility towards Muslims is still a major problem in Britain, according to a new report published on Tuesday 2 June 2004 and is not being taken seriously enough by race relations bodies. The report is by the Commission on British Muslims and Islamophobia. It was seven years ago that the Commission produced its first report. This follow-up report, researched by journalists Hugh Muir and Laura Smith, considers the progress that has been made and the unfinished business still needing attention.

Credit for tackling anti-Muslim prejudice over the last seven years, the report says, must go first to Muslim organisations, particularly the Muslim Council of Britain. But also the Government deserves some credit. It has made important changes in employment law and the criminal justice system and most schools and hospitals are more sensitive to Muslim needs and concerns than they used to be.

But 9/11 has made the position of British Muslims more difficult and the race relations industry has been slow to respond. The report quotes a range of Muslim opinion about this. Baroness Uddin says: 'After Sept 11th, the Prime Minister made a real effort to communicate to the world that ordinary Muslims were not the target of the effort to tackle terrorism. But actions spoke louder than words and the attacks on Iraq have taken us back decades. Each of us is constantly being asked to apologise for the acts of terror that befall the world. To make matters worse, there is not a day that we do not have to face comments so ignorant that even Enoch Powell would not have made them.'

The Muslim Council of Britain declares: 'Very little progress has been made in tackling the horror of Islamophobia in the United Kingdom since it was brought into sharp focus by the Commission on British Muslims and Islamophobia in its report published in 1997.

'Whilst we recognise the adverse impact of international politics on the perception of Islam generally and Muslims living in the United Kingdom, we strongly feel that the government has done little to discharge its responsibilities under international law to protect its Muslim citizens and residents from discrimination, vilification, harassment, and deprivation.'

The report discusses employment, education, policing, legislation and the media and considers the potential of the government's community cohesion programmes to heal conflicts on the streets. It strongly criticises antiracist organisations for failing to tackle Islamophobia as a form of racism. It ends by revisiting the 60 recommendations that were made in its 1997 report and points out that too many of them have not yet been implemented..

But it's upbeat too. It sets out its vision for a fairer and more inclusive Britain and sketches a roadmap for getting there.

Its key questions, says Dr Richard Stone, the commission's chair, are these:

Ø How can a broadly secular society such as Britain, but with many Christian traditions and reference points, provide space for observant Muslims?

Ø How much action has been taken since the alarm was first raised about the debilitating effects of Islamophobia?

Ø Has there been a genuine, principled response from officialdom, or just rhetoric and grudging compliance?

Ø Why is the antiracist movement so reluctant to address prejudice, hate and discrimination based on religion?

Ø Should Islamophobia be defined as a form of racism, in much the same way that anti-Semitism clearly is, and should the full force of race relations legislation be brought to bear to defeat it?

Ø Should a key idea in the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry, institutional racism, be adapted, so that tackling institutional Islamophobia is put firmly on the agenda?

Ø Is the failure of the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000 to refer to anti-Muslim prejudice a poignant example of institutional Islamophobia?

Open and closed views
In order to begin answering this question it is useful, we suggest, to draw a key distinction between closed views of Islam on the one hand and open views on the other. Phobic dread of Islam is the recurring characteristic of closed views. Legitimate disagreement and criticism, as also appreciation and respect, are aspects of open views.
In the tabulation below we itemise eight main features of closed views, and contrast them in each instance with eight main features of open views. We hope that readers will look quite closely at the table, since it underlies much of our Islamophobia report. A disadvantage of tabulations such as this, however, is that the various points which are itemised, each in its own tidy little box, can appear separate from each other. In point of fact closed views feed off each other, giving and gaining additional resonance and power and giving each other kick starts, as it were - they are joined together in vicious circles, each making the others worse. Also they sometimes provide codes for each other, such that whenever one of them is explicitly expressed some of the others may also be present, tacitly between the lines. Similarly it happens that open views feed off each other, and give each other additional clarity - they interact in virtuous circles, each making the others stronger and more productive.
In summary form, the eight distinctions which we draw between closed and open views are to do with:
1 Whether Islam is seen as monolithic and static, or as diverse and dynamic.
2 Whether Islam is seen as other and separate, or as similar and interdependent.
3 Whether Islam is seen as inferior, or as different but equal.
4 Whether Islam is seen as an aggressive enemy or as a cooperative partner.
5 Whether Muslims are seen as manipulative or as sincere.
6 Whether Muslim criticisms of 'the West' are rejected or debated.
7 Whether discriminatory behaviour against Muslims is defended or opposed.
8 Whether anti-Muslim discourse is seen as natural or as problematic.

Closed and open views of Islam

In the following paragraphs we consider each of these eight issues in turn. In each instance we discuss mainly the features of closed views, i.e. the features of Islamophobia. But first, we recall briefly the historical context.

The historical context

In 1920, when the French army entered Damascus, their commander marched directly to Saladin's tomb and declared, famously: "Nous revoila, Saladin" - "we're back!" or "here we are again!" [1] It was the end, so the commander believed, of an episode which had begun in November 1095, when Pope Urban II urged his audience to undertake a 'just war' against Muslims. The episode included the spread of the Ottoman Empire as well as the Crusades themselves. When Constantinople fell to the Ottoman Turks in 1453, Cardinal Bessarion, writing to the Doge of Venice, encapsulated the view which dominated western perceptions for centuries: "A city which was once so flourishing ... has been captured, despoiled, ravaged and completely sacked by the most inhuman barbarians ... by the fiercest of wild beasts". In the nineteenth century the French humanist Ernest Renan said that a Muslim is "incapable of learning anything or of opening himself to a new idea". [2] Such views were used to legitimise the colonisation of most Muslim countries by European powers.
Whether there is a continuous line from the Crusades of medieval times through the Ottoman Empire and European colonialism to the Islamophobia of the 1990s, with each main event having an element of "here we are again", is a question on which historians disagree. At first sight, certainly, there appears to be continuity. It is present in the perceptions of both Muslims and non-Muslims. An alternative view is that human beings make selective use of the past in order to understand and to justify aspects of the present, and that the past is continually being re-defined, even re-invented. [3] According to this view both Muslims and non-Muslims choose to 'remember' the past (more accurately, choose stories from the past) to illustrate feelings, fears and animosities in the present. Either way, the task of combating Islamophobia involves a repudiation of the power which stories about the past in general, and about the Crusades in particular, do certainly have. The task involves having an open view of Islam, in opposition to the closed view which the stories themselves reflect and perpetuate.

'Mindless Islamophilia'

In The Guardian (18/9/01) Julie Birchill drew an interesting and potentially valuable distinction between what she called 'mindless Islamophobia' and 'mindless Islamophilia'. She appeared, however, to think that the latter is considerably more prevalent and serious than the former and directed virtually all her polemic at fellow journalists who try to counter Islamophobia by presenting positive images of Islam in their work. She mocked the BBC for giving airspace to what she called a Strong Muslim Woman (SMW for short), and for systematically implying that 'British Empire = bad' whereas 'Islamic Empire = good'. There was no mention during the BBC's recent Islam Week, she complained, of 'the women tortured, the Christian converts executed, the apostates hounded, the slaves in Sudan being sold into torment right now.' She continued: 'Call me a filthy racist - go on, you know you want to - but we have reason to be suspicious of Islam and treat it differently from the other major religions … While the history of the other religions is one of moving forward out of oppressive darkness and into tolerance, Islam is doing it the other way round.'

Birchill's emotive generalisations and imagery ('oppressive darkness') were deeply offensive. Her claim that she was being rational, however, ('we have reason…') was interesting and worth attending to. For clearly there is such a thing as legitimate criticism and suspicion of religious beliefs and practices, even if Birchill's colourful language implied that she was not herself in this instance engaging in it. In castigating both mindless Islamophobia and mindless Islamophilia she was commending a stance that is mindful. Such a stance is suspicious when suspicion is warranted. But also it is ready, as appropriate, to respect and appreciate.
The eight differences between open and closed views are discussed and illustrated below.

1. Islam seen as monolithic and static rather than as diverse and dynamic
Closed views typically picture Islam as undifferentiated, static and monolithic, and as intolerant of internal pluralism and deliberation. They are therefore insensitive to significant differences and variations within the world of Islam, and in particular they are unable to appreciate that there are tensions and disagreements amongst Muslims. For example, they ignore debates about human rights and freedoms in Muslim countries and contexts, and about appropriate relationships between Islam and other world faiths, and between Islam and secularism. In short, debates and differences which are taken for granted amongst non-Muslims are neither seen nor heard when they take place within Islam.
Sweeping generalisations are then made about all Muslims, in ways which would not happen in the case of, for example, all Roman Catholics, or all Germans, or all Londoners. Also, it is all too easy in these circumstances to argue from the particular to the general - any episode in which an individual Muslim is judged to have behaved badly is used as an illustrative example to condemn all Muslims without exception.
Diversity within Islam, as also diversity within other religions, is multi-faceted and multi-dimensional. Some of the differences within a religion are doctrinal, to do with interpretations of historic beliefs, the nature and role of symbols, the authority of scripture, the authority of leaders. Others are about forms of worship and organisation. Others again are about lifestyle, cultural customs and personal morality, and about views of politics and social justice. Further, there are of course well-known differences in all religions between the 'observant' or 'committed' (whether 'from the cradle' or 'born-again') and the 'nominal' or 'cultural'. Further, in Islam as in all other religions that there are overlaps between religious and non-religious differences. Often the latter are more significant in determining how conflicts arise and develop, and how they are managed or resolved.
The following list summarises some of the differences and diversity which are ignored or over-simplified in much Islamophobic discourse.
o between the Middle East and South Asia, Iranians and Arabs, Bosnia and Chechenia, Nigeria and Somalia, Pakistan and Bangladesh;
o between Muslims who are profoundly critical of the human rights records of certain Muslim countries and those who maintain that such criticisms are merely symptoms of Islamophobia;
o between different interpretations of specific terminology, doctrines and injunctions in the Qur'an and Islamic traditions;
o between the perceptions and experiences of women and men;
o between older and younger generations, particularly in the Muslim communities of Western Europe;
o between members of different social classes;
o between a wide range of political movements, parties and projects which have little in common with each other apart from the tendency of their opponents to label them as fundamentalist;
o between major strands and paths in the twentieth century, for example between Sufism and Islamism, or between the movements known as modernism and revivalism.
A recurring phrase in the Western media nowadays is 'fundamentalism'. It is not, we believe, a helpful term. In a lengthy footnote at the end of this paper we provide a brief history of the term 'fundamentalism', recalling that it was coined as self-definition in the first instance by a strand within Christianity and only much later, almost as a metaphor, to criticise aspects of Islam. It is emphatically not a term which Muslims themselves ever use for purposes of self-definition, and the 'fundamentals' in Islam to which it claims to refer are of a different order from those to which it refers in Christianity.

2. Islam seen as other and separate rather than as similar and interdependent
Closed views see total difference between Islam on the one hand and the non-Muslim world, particularly the so-called West, on the other. Islam is 'other', with few or no similarities between itself and other civilisations and cultures, and with few or no shared concepts and moral values. Further, Islam is seen as hermetically sealed off from the rest of the world, with no common roots and no borrowing or mixing in either direction.
The alternative, 'open' view sees similarities and shared values, as also incidentally shared problems and weaknesses, and also many kinds of interaction. In the open view it is impossible to assert that - for example - Islam is 'East' and Europe is 'West' (or 'Judeo-Christian'), with no inter-connections or commonalities. On the contrary, the open view stresses that there are close links between the three Abrahamic religions. At the same time it acknowledges that there are significant differences between Islam, Christianity and Judaism, and that each has its own specific outlook on what these differences are, and on how they should be managed.

3. Islam seen as inferior not different
Claims that Islam is different and other often involve stereotypes and claims about 'us' (non-Muslims) as well as about 'them' (Muslims), and the notion that 'we' are superior. 'We' are civilised, reasonable, generous, efficient, sophisticated, enlightened, non-sexist. 'They' are primitive, violent, irrational, scheming, disorganised, and oppressive. An open view rejects such simplifications both about 'us' and about 'them'. It acknowledges that Islam is distinctively different in significant respects from other religions and from 'the West', but does not see it as deficient or as less worthy of esteem. Us/them contrasts, with 'them' seen as inferior, are typically expressed through stories - anecdotes, rumours, gossip, jokes and news items as well as grand narratives. In a later chapter we recall the power of stories in the media. In the meanwhile some examples of such stereotypes and them/us dualism are summarised in non-narrative form below.

4. Claims about otherness and inferiority
o That Muslim cultures mistreat women, but that other religions and cultures have outgrown patriarchy and sexism.
o That Muslims co-opt religious observance and beliefs to bolster or justify political and military projects, but that such fusing of spiritual and temporal power is not pursued in societies influenced by other religions.
o That they do not distinguish between universal religious tenets on the one hand and local cultural mores (for example, those of rural Pakistan) on the other, but that a similar failure to distinguish between universal faith and local culture does not occur in other religions.
o That they are literalist in their interpretation of scriptures, but that analogous literalism is found only on the fringes of other faiths.
o That they have difficulties in sending representatives to meet external bodies, but that issues of political representation and legitimacy are unproblematic in other religions.
o That they are compliant and unreflective, but that other religions and societies have their healthy internal debates and diversity.

5. Islam seen as an enemy not as a partner
Closed views see Islam as violent and aggressive, firmly committed to barbaric terrorism, and implacably hostile to the non-Muslim world. Islam was once, said Peregrine Worsthorne in the early 1990's, "a great civilisation worthy of being argued with". But now, he continued, it has "degenerated into a primitive enemy fit only to be sensitively subjugated" [4] . When our consultation paper was published in February 1997, he again asserted that all Muslims, all over the world, approve of terrorism and atrocities perpetrated against the West, and implied that they are morally inferior to Christians:
"How would Islam react if Saddam Hussein, out of the blue, succeeded in dropping a nuclear bomb on Israel? Would the Islamic people as a whole recoil in horror, or would they be dancing in the streets? Based on what we know of the Islamic world's reaction to the earlier atrocities of Saddam, I think we can guess at the answer. Just as not one reproach was heard from a single mosque about these atrocities, including genocide, so there would be not one word of reproach from a single mosque if he incinerated Tel Aviv by a sneak nuclear attack. Nor, in all likelihood, would there be any more if a city belonging to the great Satan, America, were to suffer the same fate ... Contemporary Islam ... is a truly frightening force. When Nazis erupted in a Christian country, the other Christian countries combined to smother that evil. The other Muslim countries have done very little to smother either Saddam or the Iranian Ayatollah and still less to put down terrorism. To worry about contemporary Islam is not mad. It would be mad to do otherwise." [5]
We wish to consider this statement in some detail, particularly since it was written in direct response to something written by ourselves and since it received high-profile publication. There are four main points we wish to make.
First, semantic points which may at first sight seem rather trivial but which is in fact of considerable importance. Mr Worsthorne appears to use the word 'Islamic' as a synonym for 'Muslim' - not only are all 'Islamic people' Muslims but also, in his view, all Muslims are 'Islamic people'. If indeed this is his meaning, his key statement is simply false. However, it may be that the author is using the word 'Islamic' to refer to what is sometimes known as 'political Islam' as distinct from 'religious Islam'. The more usual term, if this is his intention, is 'Islamist' rather than 'Islamic'. It refers to all political movements, including democratic movements committed to the rule of law as well to terrorists and to oppressive regimes, which maintain that they are motivated by Islamic principles. The use of the word 'Islamic' to refer to terrorism or to oppression is deeply offensive to the vast majority of British Muslims.
Second, the equation of some Muslims (those who support terrorism or run the governments of certain countries) with all Muslims is an example of what we have called a closed view of Islam, even if the statement about some Muslims is accurate.
Third, it is no doubts true that "not one reproach was heard" from Muslims about Saddam's atrocity by Mr Worsthorne himself. But this is a comment on the western media's failure to report such reproaches, not on their actual non-existence. In point of fact, to repeat, very large numbers of Muslims, both in Britain and throughout the world, regularly express disapproval of terrorism perpetrated in, and justified by, the name of Islam.
Fourth, we wish to emphasise that our concern throughout this report, as also in the consultation paper to which Mr Worsthorne was responding, is with the situation of British Muslims, and with the impact of Islamophobia upon them, not primarily with issues of geo-politics. There is a place, both in Britain itself as well as in the world more generally, for robust disagreements about the policies and programmes of Islamists. But, particularly within Britain, it is important that such disagreements should be conducted within the parameters of what we have called here an open view of Islam. The absence of an open view and the expression on the contrary of closed views, systematically acts to the disadvantage of British Muslims. This is our fundamental point. It is on this point that we should welcome further debate with Mr Worsthorne, and with others (of whom, we readily acknowledge, there are many) who hold the same views as he.
It is no accident, some commentators have suggested, that the recent demonising of Islam began at much the same time that the "evil empire" of communism receded as a real threat. Western political and popular culture required a new enemy, an implacable other, to replace the Soviet Union. Also, it is cynically if plausibly claimed, the western armaments industry needed a new enemy.
Be that as it may, it is certainly the case that Islam is depicted in Islamophobic discourse as wholly evil, wholly bent on - to recall an influential phrase used by Professor Samuel Huntington of Harvard University - "a clash of civilisations". [6] The impending war will be with foreign states, the argument runs, and also there will be "waves of boat people", all of them Muslim, descending on the shores of Southern Europe and "there will be riots in the cities of Europe with much bloodshed" [7] .
When Prince Charles called for bridge-building between Islam and the West, in a speech on spirituality and science at Wilton Park in December 1996, there were widespread Islamophobic criticisms of his views in the press. Most coverage ignored what he had said about modern science and about spirituality, and focused instead on topics he had not referred to at all, such as immigration or aspects of geo-politics. An article in the Daily Telegraph, for example, headlined 'Prince Charles is Wrong - Islam does threaten the West' implied that Prince Charles' proposals should be rejected since "many British Muslims ... feel, first, members of the worldwide Muslim community and only secondly members of British society" [8] . The quotations below express the perception that Islam is essentially a threat, both in the world at large and within Britain in particular. They mention Islam as a successor to Nazism and communism, and contain imagery of both invasion and infiltration.

6. Perceptions of Islam as a threat: Some columnists' views

"At least as dangerous"
"Muslim fundamentalism is at least as dangerous as communism once was. Please do not underestimate this risk ... at the conclusion of this age it is a serious threat, because it represents terrorism, religious fanaticism and exploitation of social and economic justice." (Willi Claes, Secretary General of NATO) [9]
"Chief threat to global peace"
"Muslim fundamentalism is fast becoming the chief threat to global peace and security as well as a cause of national and local disturbance through terrorism. It is akin to the menace posed by Nazism and fascism in the 1930s and then by communism in the 1950s." (Clare Hollingsworth, defence correspondent.) [10]
"Different civilisation"
"The underlying problem for the West is not Islamic fundamentalism. it is Islam, a different civilisation whose people are convinced of the superiority of their culture and are obsessed with the inferiority of their power." (Samuel Huntington, Harvard University.) [11]
'There will be wars'
We do not know who primed and put the Oklahama bomb in its place; we do know that they were, in the fullest meaning of the word, fanatics. Unlike most of us, they do not in the least mind being killed; indeed, they are delighted, because they believe that they are going to a far, far better place … Do you realise that in perhaps half a century, not more and perhaps a good deal less, there will be wars, in which fanatical Muslims will be winning? As for Oklahama, it will be called Khartoum-on-the-Mississippi, and woe betide anyone who calls it anything else. (Bernard Levin, columnist.) [12] **(Muslims had in fact no responsibility for the Oklahama bombing.

All Muslims, like all dogs
"All Muslims, like all dogs, share certain characteristics. A dog is not the same animal as a cat just because both species are comprised of different breeds. An extreme Christian believes that the Garden of Eden really existed; an extreme Muslim flies planes into buildings - there's a big difference." (July 25, 2004) By Will Cummins (Telegraph Jul 25, 2004) in "Muslims are a threat to our way of life "

A Tory platform hostile to Islam
Do the Tories not sense the enormous popular groundswell against Islam? Charges of "racism" would inevitably be made against the party but they would never stick. It is the black heart of Islam, not its black face, to which millions object. The Conservatives would be charged with cynicism and expediency: look who would be talking! But unlike the "Nazi-Soviet Pact" that the feminist, pro-gay Left has forged with Britain's Muslims, a Tory platform hostile to Islam would be neither incongruous nor immoral. An anti-Islam Conservative Party would destroy the BNP as quickly as Margaret Thatcher despatched the National Front in 1979 when she warned that, unless immigration was curbed, Britain would be "swamped" by "an alien culture". Infinitely more is at stake now. The Tories must confront Islam instead of kowtowing to it, Will Cummins, The Daily Telegraph, 18 July 2004

Highly indignant
The Crusades - for which the Pope has apologised to Islam (he did so again last week), rather as an old lady might apologise to a mugger for trying to retrieve her purse - were simply an attempt by medieval Christians to get their homelands back. Spain, Sicily, and parts of the Balkans were recovered. Palestine wasn't, though the Muslim colonisers there - who are no more "native" to the Holy Land than the European Jews who removed them - were largely ejected in 1948. It goes without saying that today's Muslims - who, unlike today's Westerners, are very proud of their history of imperialism - are highly indignant at being parted from this stolen property.
Dr Williams, beware of false prophets, Will Cummins, The Daily Telegraph, 4 July 2004

Forced themselves on us
A virulent hatred of Muslims can no more be racism than a virulent hatred of Marxists or Tories. Nobody is a member of a race by choice. Such groups are protected from attack because it is unfair to malign human beings for something they cannot help. However, nobody is a member of a community of belief except by choice, which is why those who have decided to enter or remain within one are never protected. Were such choices not open to the severest censure, we could no longer call our country a democracy.… A society in which one cannot revile a religion and its members is one in which there are limits to the human spirit. The Islamic world was intellectually and economically wrecked by its decision to put religion beyond the reach of invective, which is simply an extreme form of debate. By so doing, it put science and art beyond the reach of experiment, too. Now, at the behest of Muslim foreigners who have forced themselves on us, New Labour wants to import the same catastrophe into our own society. "We must be allowed to criticise Islam", Will Cummins, The Daily Telegraph, 11 July 2004

Mr. Will Cummins writes distorting facts about Islam in Sunday Telegraph;

"…three of the four schools of Islamic law enjoin faithful Muslims to murder anyone who wishes to leave the faith, thus limiting every Muslim's freedom of action", he wrote in an article published on 11th July, 2004 entitled "We must be allowed to criticise Islam." In his most recent article entitled "Muslims are a threat to our way of life" published on Sunday Telegraph 25th July 2004, Mr. Will Cummins compared 'Muslims to dogs' and called Britain 'Islamo-fascist'. His previous articles explicitly incite religious hatred, 'All but an infinitesimal minority of our Muslims are peaceable and law abiding' he stated in the article of Sunday Telegraph 18th July 2004".

We learnt that Sunday Telegraph writer was in fact the Press officer of the British Council - the agency who has been working to promote Britain within Muslim World and was celebrating diversity of British culture. This fact was revealed by the Daily Guardian, the author of a number of poisonous articles against Islam and Muslims which appeared in the Sunday Telegraph in July 2004, was indeed Harry Cummins, Press Officer of the British Council. Writing under the pseudonym "Will Cummins", Harry Cummins compared Muslims to Dogs and argued that it is Islam's 'dark heart' rather than its 'dark face' that people should fear. For an individual with such appalling views and racist tendencies to be occupying a prominent position in the British Council, which promotes Britain and its culture to the Arab and Muslim world, is repulsive. Will Cummins, seems to relish making vitriolic statements about Muslims. For example Will Cummins said:

"Do the Tories not sense the enormous popular groundswell against Islam? Charges of "racism" would inevitably be made against the party but they would never stick. It is the black heart of Islam, not its black face, to which millions object." (Sunday Telegraph July 18, 2004)

"Now, at the behest of Muslim foreigners who have forced themselves on us, New Labour wants to import the same catastrophe into our own society." (Sunday Telegraph July 11, 2004)

"Christians are the original inhabitants and rightful owners of almost every Muslim land and behave with a humility quite unlike the menacing behaviour we have come to expect from the Muslims who have forced themselves on Christendom, a bullying ingratitude that culminates in a terrorist threat to their un-consulted hosts." (Sunday Telegraph July 4, 2004)

I believe that these sentiments are clearly designed to provoke readers of the Sunday Telegraph into hating British Muslims and their faith. This ignoble endeavour is, of course, utterly at odds with the purpose and mission of the British Council which is to encourage understanding and build ties between different peoples.

One can read some of Will Cummins writings in the Telegraphs website

1.. "The Tories must confront Islam instead of kowtowing to it"

2.. Will Cummins articles can be downloaded from the following links
"Muslims are a threat to our way of life;sessionid=D5P01UD5EORIDQFIQMGS


3.. "We must be allowed to criticise Islam"

4.. "Dr Williams, beware of false prophets"

5. Sunday Telegraph Anti-Islam Columnist: A British: Council Employee

An article by Anthony Browne was published in weekly Spectator (24 July 2004)
Spectator Cover Story : The Muslims are Coming - 101k

Spectator magazine (UK) 24 July 2004 has a lead article by Anthony Browne, a well known London Times journalist, arguing that: "Islam really does want to conquer the world. That's because Muslims, unlike many Christians, actually believe they are right and that their religion is the path to salvation for all".

We are absolutely stunned that a mainstream journalist can get away with
sparking such religious hatred. Anthony Browne's cover article in the Spectator 24/7/04 (see below) prompted the following ignorant reaction illustrating for the umpteenth time the consequences of the unfair portrayal of Islam within the media:

"…a demonstrative, indulgent, obsessive, hateful, judgmental religion that leads by religious inspiration POLITICALLY… judicially perverse, teaching wife battery, death by a 1000 cuts, beheading, (often of innocent bystanders), demeaning of women, the hatred of Israel, and the west who stands in the way of a war with Israel. The 6th day war, the denial of Jews a homeland, suicide bombers, a prophet-leader who bedded a 9 year old girl....(Mohammad)"

The article incited this hatred by comparing Islam's teachings to Hitler's behaviour, and to add insult to injury, Times journalist Anthony Browne arrogantly states:

"There's no plot… Islam really does want to conquer the world. That's because Muslims, unlike many Christians, actually believe they are right, and that their religion is the path to salvation for all."

Nobody who is in the influential spotlight of the media should be able to get away with comments that, time and again, add fuel to the fires of anti-Muslim hatred.

o Anthony Browne's ignorant and inflammatory article relies on misinformation from notorious Islamophobes such as Bernard Lewis (Spectator 24/7/04).

o If Islam is as bad as he portrays it, why would thousands of Westerners be freely choosing to convert to Islam, as he mentions?

o Anthony Browne's belief in freedom of religion was preached 1400 years ago in the Qur'an: "Let there be no compulsion in religion" (2.256)

o The Qur'an also teaches: "God does not love the aggressors" (2.190).

o It is only natural that people should want to share what they believe is beneficial with others - whether this is Christianity, Islam or Atheism. Indeed many British churches run 'Alpha courses' for this purposes, and Jehovas Witnesses offer their message door to door.

o Anthony Browne seems unaware of the fact that Christian missionaries operate freely in many Muslim countries across Asia and Africa - Bangladesh being just one example. The restrictions imposed by tyrannical regimes such as the US- and UK-supported Saudi royal family are completely un-Islamic.

o Browne also seems unaware that the 1988 Education Act requires that Religious Education and Collective Worship in state schools must be "mainly Christian".

o Is Anthony Browne implying that because Muslims allegedly want to "take over the world" that the "persecution and mass murder" of Muslims would be justified?

"The hooded hordes will win"
"You can be British without speaking English or being Christian or being white, but nevertheless Britain is basically English-speaking, Christian and white, and if one starts to think that it might become basically Urdu-speaking and Muslim and brown, one gets frightened and angry … Because of our obstinate refusal to have enough babies, Western European civilisation will start to die at the point when it could have been revived with new blood. Then the hooded hordes will win, and the Koran will be taught, as Gibbon famously imagined, in the schools of Oxford". (Charles Moore, editor of The Spectator 19 October 1991.) [13]

Islam wants the whole world to Submit
"Islam means "submission" (not "peace") and it is the aim of Muslims ("those who have submitted") to make the whole world submit. The teaching seems not to envisage the idea of Muslims as a minority, except as a temporary phenomenon. The best that non-Muslims - in Britain that means Sikhs and Hindus, as well as Jews and Christians - can hope for is that they be treated as "dhimmis", second-class citizens within the Islamic state."in "Islam is not an exotic addition to the English country garden" By Charles Moore (Telegraph: 21/08/2004)
"Whatever the outcome for poor Ken Bigley, this horrible sequence of events should surely provoke the West to get tougher, not to back off. In particular, we should push much harder against the claims by Zarqawi and his kind that there is anything justified by religion in their actions. The videos of the murders include Koranic chants. Imagine if we saw film of "Christian" terrorists playing Onward, Christian soldiers as they beheaded their victims. Is there a bishop in the West that would not condemn them without equivocation? Yet even now, one finds too few Muslim leaders who speak out without qualification. Yes, most do condemn, but in the same breath they attack the occupation of Iraq, the policy towards Palestine, the refusal of Cat Stevens's entry into the United States, or whatever other grievance occurs. It may be legitimate to make these points, but not in that context. Religion is invoked here, and it is religion that should find its true voice. When will we hear a fatwa emerging from the UK Council of Mosques or, better still, from the sheikh of Al Azhar University in Cairo, the intellectual centre of the Sunni Muslim world? When will it be stated on authority that men like Kenneth Bigley's kidnappers have no warrant for thinking that their deeds will bring them to paradise, but rather risk hell?" The man with blood on his hands is not Blair but Zarqawi by Chalrles Moor (Telegraph: 25/09/2004)
"Islam is a very evil, wicked religion"

"Islam is, quite simply, a religion of war… [American Muslims] should be encouraged to leave. They are a fifth column in this country." Why Islam is a Threat to America and the West by Paul Weyrich and William Lind

"We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity. We weren't punctilious about locating and punishing only Hitler and his top officials. We carpet bombed German cities, and killed civilians. That's war. And this is war."
Columnist Ann Coulter, National Review, 13 September 2001 Ann Coulter: "We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity." (

"Muslims pray to a different God …Islam is a very evil and wicked religion … "
Franklin Graham (son of Billy Graham), speech on NBC Nightly News, November 2001

"They want to coexist until they can control, dominate and then, if need be, destroy … I think Osama bin Laden is probably a very dedicated follower of Muhammad. He's done exactly what Muhammad said to do, and we disagree with him obviously, and I'm sure many moderate Muslims do as well, but you can't say the Muslim religion is a religion of peace. It's not. "Rev Pat Robertson, founder of Christian Coalition, CNN, February 2002

"Islam is a religion in which God requires you to send your son to die for him. Christianity is a faith in which God sends his son to die for you." John Ashcroft (US Attorney General), Los Angeles Times, 16 February 2002

"Muhammad was a demon-possessed paedophile…Allah is not Jehovah… Jehovah's not going to turn you into a terrorist that will try to bomb people and take the lives of thousands and thousands of people." Rev Jerry Vines, past president of the Southern Baptist Convention, speaking at the Convention in June 2002

"Was world communism ever such a threat as militant Islam now is? If Islam was to draw a noose about the world, could it be resisted, would its political and economic consequences be worse, would its dominion last longer than the half-century of communism after the Iron Curtain dropped?' Brian Sewell, Evening Standard

Oppressive darkness
"Call me a filthy racist - go on, you know you want to - but we have reason to be suspicious of Islam and treat it differently from the other major religions … While the history of the other religions is one of moving forward out of oppressive darkness and into tolerance, Islam is doing it the other way round." Julie Birchill, The Guardian

Treachery and deceit
"Orientals… shrink from pitched battle, which they often deride as a sort of game, preferring ambush, surprise, treachery and deceit as the best way to overcome an enemy… This war [in Afghanistan] belongs within the much larger spectrum of a far wider conflict between settled, creative, productive Westerners and predatory, destructive Orientals." John Keegan, The Daily Telegraph, 8 October 2001

Blind, cruel faith
"Islamist militancy is a self-confessed threat to the values not merely of the US but also of the European Enlightenment: to the preference for life over death, to peace, rationality, science and the humane treatment of our fellow men, not to mention fellow women. It is a reassertion of blind, cruel faith over reason." Samuel Brittan, The Financial Times, 31 July 2002

Fifth column
"We have a fifth column in our midst… Thousands of alienated young Muslims, most of them born and bred here but who regard themselves as an army within, are waiting for an opportunity to help to destroy the society that sustains them. We now stare into the abyss, aghast." Melanie Phillips, Sunday Times, 4 November 2001

When the Runnymede Trust Commission on Islamophobia published a consultation paper in 1997 it quoted from an article by a prominent journalist. Islam was once, he had said, 'a great civilisation worthy of being argued with'. But latterly it had degenerated into 'a primitive enemy fit only to be sensitively subjugated'. Seeing himself quoted in this context, the journalist immediately published a defiant response. He entitled it 'I believe in Islamophobia' and concluded: 'To worry about contemporary Islam is not mad. It would be mad to do otherwise.' (Peregrine Worsthorne, Sunday Telegraph, 3 February 1991)

7. Muslims seen as manipulative not as sincere

It is frequently alleged that Muslims use their religion for strategic, political and military advantage rather than as a religious faith and as a way of life shaped by a comprehensive legal tradition. The Observer article which first popularised the term 'Muslim fundamentalism', quoted in the extended footnote at the end of this paper, asserted that Islam had been "revived by the ayatollahs and their admirers as a device, indistinguishable from a weapon, for running a modern state". Muslims are assumed to have an instrumental or manipulative view of their religion rather than to be sincere in their beliefs, for their faith is "indistinguishable from a weapon".
This image of Islam is often expressed succinctly in cartoons. In a later chapter we re-print several cartoons from the British press which imply that Muslims use their religion merely as a way of mobilising political support. A cartoon which first appeared a few years ago in the Washington Post, and which was later syndicated throughout the western press, showed "an Islamic holy man". He was presented as an 'authoritarian ayatollah' or 'mad mullah', as are some of the characters in the cartoons re-printed here later and was considering the day ahead of him. "Let's see," he said. "Things to do today. I'll shut the newspapers, kill an adulteress, flog her lover, shoot the Kurds, send 'em some money, assassinate an orchestra, and oh, yes ... mustn't forget about God. If he prays, I'll listen." The same view that Muslims are not sincere in their religious beliefs is reflected over and over again in the quotations elsewhere in this chapter. An open view of Islam, however, shows respect for Muslim beliefs and practices, and tries to understand them rather than dismiss them as devious or insincere.

8. Discrimination against Muslims defended rather than challenged
Islamophobia in Britain is often mixed with racism - violence and harassment on the streets, and direct or indirect discrimination in the workplace. A closed view of Islam has the effect of justifying such racism. The expression of a closed view in the media, for example, gives support and comfort to racist behaviour, regardless of whether this was the wish or aim of the journalist responsible. Islamophobia merges with crude colour racism, since most Muslims are perceived to have black or brown skins, and also anti-immigrant prejudice, since Muslims in Britain are perceived to have alien customs, specifically 'Asian' customs.
The ways in which anti-Muslim feeling may be combined with anti-immigrant and anti-'Asian' feeling were strikingly seen in a satire which appeared a few years ago in the Sun newspaper. [14] It is reprinted below. The paper ridiculed a primary school in Birmingham which had decided to remove images of pigs in the illustrations of the alphabet on its classroom walls, since depictions of pigs were offensive to some of the school's Muslim (specifically Pakistani-background) parents and children.
The Sun's offensive satire on Islam involved a scattergun approach which took in the Middle East much more than Pakistan, and also the whole South Asian presence in Britain as represented by 'Indian' restaurants and food. Further, it was directed at initiatives within the education system to make schools more generous and inclusive, such that pupils of all backgrounds, religions and ethnicities have access to, and may benefit from, the curriculum.
"For far too long we have been teaching English in a white, middle-class, racist, sexist fashion. If we want to encourage immigrants to assimilate into our society we must help them to learn our language. For this reason, the Government has decided to scrap the old A is for Apple, B is for Ball, C is for Cat method and introduce a new alphabet tailored to the needs of Muslim pupils. From next term, all schools will be required to use the following system.
"A is for Ayatollah, B is for Baghdad, C is for Curry,
D is for Djabella, E is for Emir, F is for Fatwa,
G is for Gaddafi, H is for Hizbollah, I is for Intifada,
J is for Jihad, K is for Khomeni, L is for Lebanon,
M is for Mecca, N is for nan, O is for Onion Bhaji,
P is for Palestine, Q is for Q8, R is for Rushdie,
S is for Saddam, T is for Teheran, U is for United Arab Emirates,
V is for Vindaloo, W is for West Bank, X is for Xenophobia,
Y is for Yasser Arafat, Z is for Zionist Imperialist Aggressor Running Dogs of the Great Satan."

The Sun, 12 November 1991
Hostile views of Muslims are frequently combined with attacks on 'political correctness', and on 'liberals', the Race Relations Act, and the Commission for Racial Equality. A columnist says she is happy to accept Muslim customs if she encounters them when on holiday in a Muslim country:
"When I go into a shop in Luxor, and find its keeper bobbing up and down on a prayermat like a demented yo-yo, I don't interrupt. I steal away quietly and come back later. When I'm woken in Aswan at five in the morning by high-decibel wailing outside my window, I don't yell back. I plug my ears and try to go back to sleep. It's only courteous." [15]
Having established thus her readiness to respect Islam, she turns her attention to liberalism and political correctness back in Britain:
"With the wishy-washy excuse that 'it's their culture', we are supposed to tolerate idiots slaughtering goats on streets in Kensington, groups of idiots burning books on streets in Bradford and wealthy bigger groups building mosques on streets everywhere (try building a Methodist church in the central square in Riyadh and see how you get on). Inside these mosques they encourage the murder of Salman Rushdie, a British citizen, as decreed by a dead idiot in Iran, but, say the liberals, don't worry about that: let's change OUR religious services instead, to make sure WE don't cause offence. And so we get schoolchildren denied the fun of singing Christmas carols - and, while we're at it, let's cancel the food of British tradition and serve halal food at inner-city council meetings."

Muslim criticisms of 'the West' rejected not considered

Criticisms which Muslims make of Western liberalism, modernity and secularism are frequently dismissed out of hand, not worthy of debate.
In point of fact there is much debate within Western countries about, for example, the limits of freedom of speech. Similarly under debate are the claims of religious and theological ideas and beliefs to be taken seriously in public forums, norms of reticence and modesty with regard to sexuality, and moral issues relating to gambling and alcohol. On this latter point one of our correspondents wrote as follows, commenting on the need for Muslims to play a full part in mainstream affairs:
"In certain areas it would not be wise to try to persuade or expect Muslims to 'play a full part' in the prevailing economic and cultural life of the country. There is, just to mention one example, the major potentially divisive use of lottery money for the funding of literary, cultural and even religious projects, as the millennium celebrations loom. Far from expecting Muslims to fall in with such aspects of the economic and cultural life of the country, we respectfully submit that the nation will have a great deal to benefit - in terms of the strengthening of the work ethic, family cohesion, physical and mental health, etc - if the absolute Islamic ruling on gambling and alcohol should find resonance in the country as a whole."
Islamophobia prevents Muslims from being invited or encouraged to take a full part in society's moral deliberations and debates, and prevents their views from "finding resonance", as our correspondent put it, in the country as a whole. At a conference on Muslim community development in 1996 Tariq Modood referred to the respect in which the Chief Rabbi is widely held and looked to the day when Muslim spokespeople will command a similar hearing:
"He does not just talk on Jewish matters or just to a Jewish audience. A lot of what he does is aimed at a broad national public ... He is listened to and debated with on that basis, as someone that has something interesting to say ... Insha'Allah a time will come when Muslims will contribute to newspapers, to public debates and to arguments, and will be heard and appreciated, addressing not just Muslim issues but common social, national and international problems ..." [16]

Anti-Muslim discourse seen as natural not problematic

The expression of anti-Muslim ideas and sentiments is increasingly respectable. They are a natural, taken-for-granted ingredient of the commonsense world of millions of people every day. This aspect of Islamophobia was illustrated by the quotations above, and is illustrated at length in our later chapter on the media.
It is not only tabloid newspapers which demonise Islam. There are routine derogatory references in all the British press, and in a range of widely-distributed pamphlets and books. Even organisations and individuals known for their liberalism and anti-racism express prejudice against Islam and Muslims. One of our correspondents put the point as follows:
"A deep dislike of Islam is not a new phenomenon in our society. What is new is the way it is articulated today by those sections of society who claim the mantle of secularism, liberalism and tolerance. They are in the forefront of the fight against racism and against Islam and Muslims at the same time. They preach equality of opportunities for all, yet turn a blind eye to the fact that this society offers only unequal opportunities for Muslims."
Liberalism's prejudices are seen in particular, the argument continues, in the slowness and lukewarm assent with which the race relations lobby has responded over the years to proposals that discrimination on grounds of religion should be made unlawful and in insensitivity to Muslim concerns and sense of outrage in relation to the Rushdie Affair. [17] On this latter point one of the century's leaders of liberal opinion, Stephen Spender, wondered in the Spectator "how far democracy is taught in English schools where there are large numbers of immigrants" [18] . And he added that he found himself thinking "almost nostalgically of American schools, where children are made every morning to salute the American Flag" and wished that there was "a flag of democracy, symbolising freedom of speech, which children going into English schools were made to salute". In context it was clear that the term 'immigrant' here meant Muslim, and that Spender believed Muslim children in Britain, as distinct from other children, need special training in democracy and patriotism.
Islamophobic discourse, sometimes blatant but frequently subtle and coded, is part of the fabric of everyday life in modern Britain, in much the same ways that anti-Semitic discourse was taken for granted earlier in the century. Those who urge that it should be countered and reduced have such parallels in mind. They do not, it follows, underestimate the difficulties before them, or the seriousness and urgency of the task.

Consequences and connections of Islamophobia

The consequences of Islamophobia may be summarised as follows.
1. Injustice
Islamophobia inhibits the development of a just society, characterised by social inclusion and cultural diversity. For it is a constant source of threat and distress to British Muslims and implies that they do not have the same rights as other British citizens.
2. Effects on the young
Persistent Islamophobia in the media means that young British Muslims develop a sense of cultural inferiority and lose confidence both in themselves and in their parents. They tend then to 'drop out' and may be readily influenced by extremist groups which seem to give them a strong sense of identity.
3. Dangers of disorder
Islamophobia increases the likelihood of serious social disorder, with consequent high costs for the economy and for the justice system.
4. Muting of mainstream voices
Islamophobia makes it more difficult for mainstream voices and influences within Muslim communities to be expressed and heard. In consequence many Muslims are driven into the hands of extremists, and imbibe extremist opinions.
5. Waste in the economy
Islamophobia means that much talent is wasted. This is bad for wealth creation and the economy, and bad also for international trade.
6. Obstructing cooperation and interchange
Islamophobia prevents Muslims and non-Muslims from cooperating appropriately on the joint diagnosis and solution of major shared problems, for example problems relating to urban poverty and deprivation. Further, it prevents non-Muslims from appreciating and benefiting from Islam's cultural, artistic and intellectual heritage, and from its moral teachings. Likewise it inhibits Muslim appreciation of cultural achievements in the non-Muslim world.
7. Harming international relations

One of the great strengths of a multicultural society is that it is more likely to be efficient and competitive on the world scene. But Islamophobia means that Britain is weaker than it need be in political, economic and cultural relations with other countries and it actively damages international relations, diplomacy and trade.
Further, Islamophobia makes it more difficult for Muslims and non-Muslims to cooperate in the solution and management of shared problems such as global ecological issues and conflict situations (for example, most notably in recent years, in the former republic of Yugoslavia). Many Muslims believe Islamophobia has played a major part in Western attitudes to events in Bosnia, and has prevented so far a just and lasting settlement. One of our correspondents (not himself a Muslim) wrote as follows:
"During the Bosnian war I had many encounters with politicians, including a senior cabinet minister. It was clear to me that irrespective of their political loyalties their reluctance to sanction military intervention in Bosnia was rooted in a large degree in their reluctance to support the creation of a new Muslim polity in Europe. 'Muslims have a tendency to radicalism,' the cabinet minister told me, when I asked why the government was refusing to lift the arms embargo against the Bosnian government."

How can Islamophobia be fought? To answer this we must examine its causes. Firstly, there is prejudice, and no amount of education will dispel it. The only answer is power. In 1913, Leo Frank, a Northern Jewish industrialist in Georgia, was wrongly convicted of the sexually-motivated murder of young Christian girl Mary Phagan. He was lynched in 1915 by 'The Knights of Mary Phagan', which metamorphosed into the Ku Klux Klan. Attacks on Jews followed his conviction, and Medieval smears of 'Jewish ritual murder; re-surfaced. The case caused the Jewish community to be more pro-active and they formed the Anti-Defamation League specifically to combat negative stereotypes of Jews. By the 1940s, few US politicians could afford to offend the community as it became an influential political force. British Muslims should learn from this, by voting tactically en bloc, not just against the BNP but against any candidates supporting the Occupation of Muslim lands. Then the parties and media will be too scared to promote (or even acquiesce in) Islamophobia in future.
Secondly, the smear of terrorism: I am truly tired of the slanders issued by leading figures that Muslims have not sufficiently condemned Al-Qaeda. Have these people blocked eardrums or glued eyelids? Muslims both in the Islamic world and in the West have been vehement in their denunciation of 9/11, 3/11 and the murder of Nick Berg. This modern 'blood libel' happens because Western Muslims are politically weak. Again the display of electoral power is the answer, and something further, which we will now explore.
The third cause is ignorance. The Hijab issue is a classic example. I wonder how far Muslims realise that non-Muslims have little understanding of Islamic distinctive. Only grass-roots contact can combat this. Recently I spoke in a mosque at a Christian-Muslim 'Meeting for Better Understanding'. Instead of debating, the imam and I presented the position of our religions on the particular topic. These meetings have proved immensely helpful in building understanding and good community relations. Holding them would enable greater understanding of issues like the Hijab or why Muslims were so offended at Rushdie's obnoxious book. They would also nail the lie that most Muslims support Al-Qaeda.
Finally, the fourth cause is the lack of democracy in the Muslim world, both in terms of free elections and public liberties. Here is the one issue where critics have a point. Only a minority of Muslim states are genuine democracies, and in far too many non-Muslim minorities are marginalised if not harassed. Even if the average Briton rarely darkens a chapel door, traditional British sense of fair play will cause him to view negatively the denial of religious liberty and/or equality to non-Muslims, especially Christians. Of course, Islamophobic politicians and other leading figures are hypocritical in their attacks at this point, ignoring that many despotic Muslim states are pro-Western, such as Egypt and Tunisia where the Presidents romp home with over 95% of the vote, but the fact remains that most Muslim states are repressive.
British Muslims cannot be held responsible for this, except if they are silent about religious discrimination against non-Muslims, or in some way collaborate with such regimes. Anti-Catholic prejudice was rife in 1920s America, and helped prevent the Democratic Party candidate, Al Smith, a Catholic, from being elected. Protestant Americans associated Catholicism with the sectarian and undemocratic states to the south in Latin America. Any association with such regimes would have been the kiss of death for US Catholics. By contrast, it is no secret that British Muslims frequently approach undemocratic regimes for financial sponsorship. This frequently comes back to haunt them, as when Birmingham Muslims approached the Iraqis for finance and are now stuck with an imposing edifice called 'Saddam Hussein Mosque'. In other cases, ambassadors representing states devoid of religious freedom have been invited in public ceremonies to dedicate mosques.

Vision for the future: A statement of vision

The 1997 report on Islamophobia included a statement of vision. It is reprinted here. Together with doubts and fears expressed earlier in this chapter, and with the review of positive developments summarised below, it provides the context for the report that follows.

The day will come when …

British Muslims participate fully and confidently at all levels in the political, cultural, social and economic life of the country.

The voices of British Muslims are fully heard and held in the same respect as the voices of other communities and groups. Their individual and collective contributions to wider society are acknowledged and celebrated, locally, regionally and nationally.

Islamophobic behaviour is recognised as unacceptable and is no longer be tolerated in public. Whenever it occurs people in positions of leadership and influence speak out and condemn it.

Legal sanctions against religious discrimination in employment and service delivery are on the statute book and offences aggravated by religious hostility are dealt with severely.

The state system of education includes a number of Muslim schools, and all mainstream state schools provide effectively for the pastoral, religious and cultural needs of their Muslim pupils. The range of academic attainment amongst Muslim pupils and students is the same as for the country generally.

The need of young British Muslims to develop their religious and cultural identity in a British context is accepted and supported.

Measures to tackle social and economic deprivation, unemployment and neighbourhood renewal are of benefit to Muslims as to all other communities.

All employers and service providers ensure that, in addition to compliance with legal requirements on non-discrimination, they demonstrate high regard for religious, cultural and ethnic diversity.

The Runnymede Trust Commission on British Muslims and Islamophobia, 1997, slightly adapted (

Extended Footnote: the history and meaning of 'Fundamentalism'

Fundamentalism in Christianity

The term 'fundamentalism' was coined as a proud self-definition by a movement within American Protestantism in the period 1865-1910. It became publicly well-known from 1919 onwards, with the foundation of the World Christian Fundamentalist Association The movement stood for a re-affirmation of historic Christian theology, morality and interpretation of scripture - the so-called 'fundamentals' - and was in opposition to modernising and liberalising tendencies in American church life. Its essential distinguishing feature was an insistence on a literal interpretation of the Bible, as distinct from treating stories such as the Creation in the light of modern scientific knowledge, and therefore as symbolic. For decades after 1919 the only people who used the term 'fundamentalist' were Christians. Some used the term in proud self-definition, others as a term of disapproval.
Fundamentalists tended to be in sympathy with, and frequently indeed associated with, the political right. Christian fundamentalism, in both its theological aspects and in its interaction with right-wing politics, continues to be considerably stronger in the United States than in Europe.

Application to Islam
The term was first used about Islam in the Middle East Journal in 1957. But it was not until 1981 that its application to Islam gained currency. On 27 September 1981 there was an article by Anthony Burgess in the Observer. This referred to "the phenomenon of the new, or rather very old, Islam, the dangerous fundamentalism revived by the ayatollahs and their admirers as a device, indistinguishable from a weapon, for running a modern state". Burgess said also that Muslim states such as Iran were "little more than intolerant, bloody, and finally incompetent animations of the Holy Book [the Qur'an]". He compared the Qur'an to Mein Kampf and concluded that there is "more blood and stupidity than glamour in the theocracy of the Sons of the Prophet".
Burgess's article was widely influential and quite soon the terms 'Islamic' and 'fundamentalist' became almost inseparable in the Western media. For example, in the Daily Telegraph's on-line archives from November 1994 to May 1997, there were 194 items containing the word 'fundamentalist' and 142 of these (almost three quarters) also contained the word 'Islamic'. Only 29 (15 per cent) contained the word 'Christian'.
When applied to Islam the term refers virtually always to political matters not to theology, and more especially to the use of terror or repression. But because of its origins in Christian theology and disputation, particularly with regard to doctrines about the inerrancy of scripture, there is a tacit assumption in the Western media that the use of terror by dissidents or repressive states is sanctioned or even encouraged by the Qur'an. Actually, this assumption is no more true of the Qur'an than of the Bible.
Groups around the world labelled as fundamentalist by their opponents have relatively little in common with each other. They include (a) pro-democracy movements engaged in struggles against authoritarian regimes; (b) separatist or secessionist movements; (c) dissidents in exile; and (d) various governments with appalling human rights records. Politically they have a wide range of goals and religiously a wide range of belief and practice.
Information about the full report from which this extract is taken can be obtained from the Commission on British Muslims and Islamophobia. The report itself can be ordered through any bookshop (ISBN 0 9022397-98-2). A progress report entitled Addressing the Challenge of Islamophobia, published by the Commission in late 2001
The new report on Islamophobia entitled "Islamophobia: issues, challenges and action" was published on 21 June 2004 by Trentham Books, ISBN 1 85856 317 8, price £12.99
This report is a successor to Islamophobia: a Challenge for Us All, published in 1997 and launched at the House of Commons by Jack Straw, then the Home Secretary. The new report, Islamophobia: Issues, Challenges and Action, says that not enough progress has been made in tackling the problem since the earlier report. Hostility towards Islam permeates every part of British society and will spark race riots unless urgent action is taken to integrate Muslim youths into society, according to this new devastating report on Islamophobia.
The Commission on British Muslims and Islamophobia (CBMI), which is chaired by a key government adviser to the Stephen Lawrence inquiry, warns that more and more Muslims feel excluded from society and simmering tensions, especially in northern English towns, are in danger of boiling over. Members of the commission interviewed scores of British Muslims for their report, which will be published this week and will conclude that Britain is 'institutionally Islamophobic'.

"Muslims in Britain are now at the sharp end of race hatred and xenophobia."

For further information contact:

Uniting Britain Trust C/O The Stone Ashdown Trust, 4th floor, Barakat House, 116-18 Finchely Road, London NW3 5HT

Trentham Books, Westview House, 734 London Road, Oakhill, Stoke on Trent ST4 5NP
[1] Cited in, for example, 'Christianity and Islam' by Jeremy Johns, in John McManners, ed (1990), page 194.
[2] Both Bessarion and Renan are quoted by John Esposito in The Islamic Threat: myth or reality, 1992.
[3] See for example Islam and the Myth of Confrontation by Fred Halliday, I.B.Tauris 1996.
[4] Sunday Telegraph, 3 February 1991.
[5] 'I Believe in Islamophobia', Daily Telegraph, 1 March 1997.
[6] Samuel Huntington: The Clash of Civilisations and the Remaking of World Order, Simon and Schuster 1996.
[7] The quotations are from a speech by David Atkinson MP at a meeting of the Western European Union, reported in his local newspaper, the Bournemouth Evening Echo, 7/8 December 1994.
[8] 'Prince Charles is wrong - Islam does menace the West', by Patrick Sookhdeo, Daily Telegraph, 19 December 1996.
[9] Television interview reported by Inter Press Service, 18 February 1995.
[10] Clare Hollingsworth: International Herald Tribune, 9 November 1993.
[11] Samuel Huntington, The Clash of Civilisations and the Remaking of World Order, 1996, page 217.
[12] Bernard Levin: The Times, 21 April 1995.
[13] Charles Moore: 'Time for a More Liberal and "Racist" Immigration Policy', The Spectator, 19 October 1991.
[14] The Sun, 12 November 1991.
[15] Carol Sarler, The People, 15 January 1995.
[16] 'Muslim Community Development: a starting point', Leicester, March 1996.
[17] One comment which gave much offence in this connection was the claim that the Qur'an is "food for no-thought. It is not a poem on which society can be safely or sensibly based. It gives weapons and strength to the thought police." (Fay Weldon: Sacred Cows, 1989.) The author later maintained in an interview that these "peaceful and apt" words are "a perfectly valid comment to make about either the Bible or the Koran." She said also: "I say hooray for Muslims and down with Islam. The mullahs have done everyone a great disservice." (Independent on Sunday, 2 March 1997.)
[18] Stephen Spender: 'Hoist By His Own Canard', The Spectator, 16 November 1991.

IMAM Dr Abduljalil Sajid
Chairman Muslim Council for Religious and Racial Harmony UK
Secretary Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) Mosques and Community Affairs Committee and member of Commission on British Muslims and Islamophobia
8 Caburn Road, Hove, East Sussex, BN3 6EF, England
Tel: +44 (0) 1273 722438 Fax: +44 (0) 1273 326051
Mobile: +44 (0) 7971 861972

APENDIX 1: Further Reading

[Jeremy Seabrook: Religion as a Fig Leaf for Racism (,11374,1267567,00.html)]
Wards adherents of Islam. Responding to Hate Speech: A Citizen's Guide]

[Dr Anya Rudiger of The European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia discusses Islamophobia as a form of racism. (]

[ Tariq Ramadan: Islam and Muslims in Europe (]

[Maleiha Malik discusses the social exclusion of Muslims in UK due to Islamophobia. (]

[Runnymede Trust. Islamophobia: A Challenge for Us All (]

[Forum Against Islamophobia and Racism, a charity that promotes inter faith understanding and defines Islamophobia as a form of racism. (]

[European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (]
[ADL Responds to Violence and Harassment against Arab Americans and Muslim Americans (]

[Oxford & Princeton Universities:
Muslims in Europe Post 9/11. (]
[Trapped in the Ruins. William Dalrymple examines attempts to re-write the history of Islam in India. (,,1172782,00.html)]

Examples of use by the writer Faisal Bodi:
The Guardian: Call this monster by its name (,3604,715150,00.html)
The Guardian: Old hatred, new style (,3604,528063,00.html)
The Guardian: To say that jihadis are a threat is not Islamophobic (,3604,719159,00.html)


(All publishers are in London, except where indicated)

Ahmed, Akbar (2003) Islam under Siege: living dangerously in a post-honour world, Cambridge: Polity Press

Ahmed, Nafeez and Faisal Bodi, Raza Kazim and Massoud Shadjareh (2001) The Oldham Riots: discrimination, deprivation and communal tension in the United Kingdom, Islamic Human Rights Commission

Allen, Christopher (2003) Fair Justice: the Bradford disturbances, the sentencing and the impact, Forum Against Islamophobia and Racism

Allen, Christopher and Jørgen Nielsen (2002) Summary Report on Islamophobia in the European Union after 11 September 2001, Vienna: European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia

Ali, Tariq (2002) The Clash of Fundamentalisms: crusades, jihads and modernity, Verso

Alibhai-Brown, Yasmin (2001) We British Muslims Must Reclaim Our Faith from the Fanatics, The Independent, 5 November

Ameli, Saied Reza (2002) Globalisation, Americanisation and British Muslim Identity, ICAS Press

Amnesty International UK (2003) Justice Perverted under the Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001, Amnesty

Anwar, Mohammed and Qadir Bakhsh (2003) British Muslims and State Policies, Warwick: Centre for Research in Ethnic Relations

Aziz, Mohammed (2003a) Envisioning Religious Equality in Britain over the Next Ten Years, Equal Opportunities Review, January

Aziz, Mohammed (2003b) Equality and Diversity in Modern Britain: the Muslim perspective, Connections, Commission for Racial Equality, February

Bell, David (2003) Access and Achievement in Urban Education: ten years on, Fabian Society

Bennett, Catherine (2001) Blunkett Pays Lip Service to Free Speech, The Guardian, 18 October

Berkeley, Rob (2002) Foreword, in Runnymede Trust, Cohesion, Community and Citizenship, The Runnymede Trust

Bhatia, Amir (2003) The Fight Against Antisemitism and Islamophobia: bringing communities together, Brussels: EU Directorate-General for Employment and Social Affairs

Bhattacharyya, Gargi, Lisa Ison and Maud Blair (2003) Minority Ethnic Achievement and Progress in Education and Training: the evidence, Department for Education and Skills

Birt, Yahya and Philip Lewis (2004)
Birt, Yahya (2001) Being in a Real Man in Islam: drugs, criminality and the problem of masculinity', Masud Khan Homepage, June

Bodi, Faisal (2002) Muslims Got Cantle, What They Needed Was Scarman, The Guardian, 1 July

Bodi, Faisal (1999) Is there life after Macpherson? Q News, March

Bunglawala, Inayat (2003) Don't Let the Evil of Extremism Taint Islam's Good Name, The Daily Telegraph, 17 September

Bunglawala, Inayat (2002a) British Muslims and the Media, in Muslim Council of Britain, The Quest for Sanity, pp 43-52.

Bunglawala, Inayat (2002b) It's Getting Harder To Be A British Muslim, The Observer, 19 May

Cabinet Office Strategy Unit (2003) Ethnic Minorities and the Labour Market, Cabinet Office

Churches' Commission for Racial Justice (2003) Redeeming the Time: all God's people must challenge racism, Churches Together in Britain and Ireland

Commission for Racial Equality (2003a) The Murder of Zahid Mubarek, Commission for Racial Equality

Commission for Racial Equality (2003b) Racial Equality in Prisons, Commission for Racial Equality

Commission on British Muslims and Islamophobia (1997), Islamophobia, a challenge for us all, Runnymede Trust

Commission on British Muslims and Islamophobia (2001), Addressing the Challenge of Islamophobia: progress report, 1999-2001, Uniting Britain Trust

Commission on the Future of Multi-Ethnic Britain (2000), The Future of Multi-Ethnic Britain: the Parekh Report, Profile Books

Connolly, Paul (2000) What Now for the Contact Hypothesis? - towards a new research agenda, Race Ethnicity and Education, vol. 3 no.2, June

Cook, Robin (2003) France need not fear schoolgirls in headscarves, The Independent, 19 December

Council of Europe (2000) Combating Intolerance and Discrimination Against Muslims, 27 April

Cox, Caroline and John Marks (2003) The 'West', Islam and Islamism: is ideological Islam compatible with liberal democracy? Civitas

Cross-Party Working Group on Religious Hatred (2002) Tackling Religious Hatred, Edinburgh: Scottish Executive

Davies, Merryl Wyn (2002) Wilful Imaginings, New Internationalist, no. 345, May

Ealing Education Authority (2003) Preventing and Addressing Racism in Schools, London Borough of Ealing

European Centre for Work and Society (2001) Situation of Islamic Communities in Five European Cities, Vienna: European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia

European Monitoring Centre (2002) The Fight Against Antisemitism and Islamophobia: bringing communities together, Vienna: European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia

European Monitoring Centre (2002) Racism and Cultural Diversity in the Mass Media, Vienna: European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia

Fukuyama, Francis (2001), The Real Enemy, New York: Newsweek, special issue, December

Haddock, Maureen (2003) Community Cohesion Initiatives in Oldham Primary Schools, Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council

Halliday, Fred (2002) Two Hours that Shook the World, IB Tauris

Hansen, Randall (2003) Measures of Integration, Connections, Commission for Racial Equality, summer
Haque, Zubaida (2000) The Ethnic Minority 'Underachieving' Group? - investigating the claims of 'underachievement' amongst Bangladeshi pupils in British secondary schools, Race Ethnicity and Education, vol. 3 no.2, June

Henzell-Yhomas, Jeremy (2002) The Challenge of Pluralism and the Middle Way of Islam, Association of Muslim Social Scientists

Hepple, Bob and Tufyal Choudhury (2001) Tackling Religious Discrimination: practical implications for policy-makers and legislators, Home Office Research Study 221

Hershberg, Eric and Kevin Moore (2002) Critical Views of September 11: analyses from around the world, New York: The New Press

Hertsgaard, Mark (2002) The Eagle's Shadow: why America fascinates and infuriates the world, Bloomsbury Publishing

Hewstone, Miles (2003) Intergroup Contact: panacea for prejudice? The Psychologist, vol. 16 no. 7, July

Hoge, James and Gideon Rose (2001) How Did This Happen? Oxford: Public Affairs Ltd

Home Office (2003a) Community Cohesion Pathfinder programme: the first six months, Home Office

Home Office (2003b) Building a Picture of Community Cohesion: a guide for local authorities and their partners, Home Office

Hurst, Fiona and Mohammed Nisar (2003) Positive Contacts between British Muslims and Jews: a model of good practice for all British communities, Stone Ashdown Trust

Hussain, Asad (2003 new edition) Western Conflict with Islam, Leicester: Volcano

Imran, Muhammad and Elaine Miskell (2003) Citizenship and Muslim Perspectives: teachers sharing ideas, Birmingham: Development Education Centre

Inter Faith Network (2003a) Local Inter faith Activity in the UK: a survey, Inter Faith Network

Inter Faith Network (2003b) Partnerships for the Common Good: interfaith structures and local government, Inter Faith Network

Kelly, Elinor (2004) Integration, Assimilation and Social Inclusion: questions of faith, Policy Futures in Education, vol.2 no. 1, March

Khan, Humera (2002) The Next Intifada, Q News, July/August

Kundnani, Arun (2001) From Oldham to Bradford: the violence of the violated, Institute of Race Relations

Kundnani, Arun (2002) An Unholy Alliance? - racism, reigion and communalism, Institute of Race Relations, 30 July

Lederach, John Paul (1998) Beyond Violence: building sustainable peace, in Eugene Weiner, ed, The Handbook of Interethnic Coexistence, New York: Continuum Publishing, pp. 236-245.

Lewis, Philip (2002) Between Lord Ahmed and Ali G: which future for British Muslims?, in Shahid, W.A.R. and P.S. van Koningsfeld, eds, Religious Freedom and the Neutrality of the State: the position of Islam in the European Union, Leuven: Peeters

Luton Borough Council (2003) Sticking Together, Embracing Diversity: report of the community cohesion scrutiny panel, Luton

Malik, Aftab Ahmad, ed. (2003) The Empire and the Crescent: global implications for a new American century, Bristol: Amal Press

McManus, Jim (2001) Friends or Strangers? - faith communities and community safety, National Association for the Care and Rehabilitation for Offenders

Modood, M.S. (2003) My Faith and I Rest Here, privately published

Modood, Tariq (2002a) The Power of Dialogue, in Muslim Council of Britain, The Quest for Sanity, pp 112-116.

Modood, Tariq (2002b) Muslims and the Politics of Multiculturalism in Britain, in Hershberg, Eric and Kevin Moore (2002) Critical Views of September 11: analyses from around the world, New York: The New Press, pp 193-208.

Muir, Hugh (2003) Mosques Launch Protests over 'Terror' Arrests, The Guardian, 13 December

Mukherjee, Bharati (2003) Alien Nation, Financial Times Magazine, 13 September

Muslim Council of Britain (2002) The Quest for Sanity: reflections on September 11 and the aftermath, Muslim council of Britain

Muslim Liaison Committee (2001) Revised Guidelines on Meeting the Religious and Cultural Needs of Muslim Pupils, Birmingham Central Mosque

National Association of Schoolmasters and Union of Women Teachers (2003) Islamophobia: advice for schools and colleges, NASUWT

National Health Service (2003) Chaplaincy: meeting the religious and spiritual needs of patients and staff, Department of Health

Noor, Farish (1997), ed, Terrorising the Truth, Penang: Just World Trust
Noorani, A. G. (2002) Islam and Jihad - prejudice versus reality, Zed Books
Open Society Institute (2002) Monitoring Minority Protection in the EU: the situation of Muslims in the UK, Budapest and New York: Open Society Institute

O'Sullivan, Jack (2001) Voices behind the Veil, The Guardian, 24 September
Ouseley, Herman (2001) Community Pride Not Prejudice: making diversity work in Bradford, Bradford: Bradford Vision

Parekh, Bhikhu (2002) Common Belonging, in Runnymede Trust, Cohesion, Community and Citizenship, The Runnymede Trust, pp 1-8

Porter, Henry (2001) We Are Right to Fight, The Observer, 14 October
Poulter, Sebastian (1990) Towards Legislative Reform of the Blasphemy and Racial Hatred Laws, Public Law, autumn

Prasad, Raekha (2003) No Holds Barred, The Guardian, 10 December
Ramadan, Tariq (2003) Western Muslims and the Future of Islam, Oxford University Press
Ramadan, Tariq (1999) To be a European Muslim: a study of Islamic sources in the European context, Leicester: The Islamic Foundation

Race, Alan (2001) Interfaith Encounter: the twin tracks of theology and dialogue, SCM Press
Rattansi, Ali (2002) Who's British? - Prospect and the new assimilationism, in Runnymede Trust, Cohesion, Community and Citizenship, The Runnymede Trust, pp 96-105

Richardson, Robin and Berenice Miles (2003) Equality Stories: recognition, respect and raising achievement, Stoke on Trent: Trentham

Rifkind, Jeremy (2001) Dialogue is a Necessity, The Guardian, 13 November

Runnymede (2003) Developing Community Cohesion: understanding the issues, delivering solutions, Runnymede Trust

Runnymede (2002) Cohesion, Community and Citizenship: proceedings of a Runnymede conference, Runnymede Trust

Said, Edward (1987, reprinted with new introduction 2003) Orientalism, Penguin
Said, Edward (1981, reprinted with new introduction 1997) Covering Islam: how the media and the experts determine how we see the rest of the world, Vintage

Samad, Yunas (1998) Media and Muslim Identity: intersections of generation and gender, Innovation, vol 11 (4), pp 425-438.

Sardar, Ziauddin and Merryl Wyn Davies (2002) Why Do People Hate America? Cambridge: Icon Books
Sardar, Ziauddin (2003) Cultivating the Soil, Emel, September/October 2003
Sardar, Ziauddin, and Merryl Wyn Davies (1993) Barbaric Others: a manifesto on western racism, Pluto Press

Scruton, Roger (2002) The West and the Rest: globalisation and the terrorist threat, Continuum

Skapinker, Michael (2003) Beyond Belief, Financial Times Magazine, 9 August
Seddon, Mohammad Siddique, Dilwar Hussain and Nadeem Malik (2003) British Muslims: loyalty and belonging, Leicester: Islamic Foundation

Shain, Farzana (2003) The Schooling and Identity of Asian Girls, Stoke on Trent: Trentham Books
Sibbitt, Rae (1997) The Perpetrators of Racial Harassment and Racial Violence, Home Office
South Yorkshire NHS (2003) Caring for the Spirit, South Yorkshire NHS
Stothard, Peter (2003) 30 Days: a month at the heart of Blair's war, HarperCollins
Taylor, Charles (1993) The Politics of Recognition, in Amy Gutmann, ed., Multiculturalism and the Politics of Recognition, Harvard University Press

Thatcher, Margaret (2002) Islamism is the New Bolshevism, New York Times, reprinted in The Guardian, 12 February

Toynbe, Polly (2001) Last Chance to Speak Out, The Guardian, 5 October

Villate-Compton, Pascale (2002) La Menace Sans Visage: images de l'ennemi dans la presse britannique à la suite des attentats du 11 septembre 2001, France: Université de Tours

Weller, Paul and Alice Feldman and Kingsley Purdam (2001) Religious Discrimination in England and Wales, Home Office Research Study 220

Whitaker, Brian (2002) Islam and the British Press, in Muslim Council of Britain, The Quest for Sanity, pp 53-57.

White, Amanda (2002) Social Focus in Brief: ethnicity, Office of National Statistics
Williams, Rowan (2002) Writing in the Dust,
Wilson, David (2003) Playing the Game: the experiences of young black men in custody, Children's Society
Yahmed, Hadi (2003) Islamophobia Escalates in France, Islam Online, 17 November
Yarde, Rosalind (2001) Demons of the Day, The Guardian, 12 November
Young, Hugo (2001) A Corrosive National Danger in our Multicultural Model, The Guardian, 6 November 2001
Younge, Gary (2003) The Wrong Way Round, The Guardian, 8 September

APENDIX 3: Websites on Islamophobia

On Islamophobia, the first port of call is the Forum against Islamophobia and Racism (FAIR) at Amongst other things FAIR has a valuable news service whereby subscribers receive free of charge, several times a week, a selection of news items.

Guidelines from the National Union of Schoolmasters and Union of Women Teachers on combating Islamophobia in education can be downloaded from

The Honest News site ( has substantial discussions of Islamophobia in the media.

At the Runnymede Trust ( there are extracts from the 1997 report.

Honest News ( - substantial discussions of Islamophobia in the media.

Islamic Human Rights Commission ( - strong international focus as well as British

Islamic Society of Britain ( - conferences, news and events

Muslim Association of Britain ( - comment, news, discussions and articles

Muslim Council of Britain ( - a wide range of comment and useful statistics, updated several times a week

Muslim Directory ( - substantial lists of contacts and links

Muslim News ( - substantial archive of news items, articles and comment

Muslim Voices pages at the Guardian ( - views of international affairs

Q News ( - brief summaries of key articles over the years