Countering Islamophobia in the UK

  • Arzu MeraliEmail author
Part of the Mapping Global Racisms book series (MGR)


This chapter identifies ten key dominant Islamophobic narratives and the ten key dominant counter-narratives to Islamophobia operating in the UK. Islamophobic narratives were found to fix Muslims collectively as, in descending order of prevalence, a threat to security, unassimilable, a demographic threat, an Islamisation threat, a threat to local, national and European identity, responsible for excessive women’s oppression, essentially different and violent, incomplete citizens and a risk to the majority, and essentially homophobic.


  1. Ahmed, S. 2015. Why I Won’t Be Wearing the ‘Poppy Hijab’. Media Diversified. [Online].
  2. Ameli, S.R. 2012. Domination Hate Model of Intercultural Relations. Academic Speech at Faculty of World Studies, University of Tehran.Google Scholar
  3. Ameli, S.R., and A. Merali. 2004. Obligation, Recognition, Respect and Belonging. Wembley: Islamic Human Rights Commission.Google Scholar
  4. ———. 2006. Hijab, Meaning, Identity, Otherization and Politics: British Muslim Women. Wembley: Islamic Human Rights Commission.Google Scholar
  5. ———. 2014. Only Canadian: The Experience of Hate Moderated Differential Citizenship for Muslims. Wembley: Islamic Human Rights Commission.Google Scholar
  6. ———. 2015. Environment of Hate: The New Normal for Muslims in the UK. Wembley: Islamic Human Rights Commission.Google Scholar
  7. Ameli, S.R., A. Azam, and A. Merali. 2005. British Muslims’ Expectations of the Government: Secular or Islamic? What Schools Do British Muslims Want for Their Children? Wembley: Islamic Human Rights Commission.Google Scholar
  8. Ameli, S.R., S.M. Marandi, S. Kara, A. Merali, and S.T. Ahmed. 2007. British Muslims’ Expectations of Government – The British Media and Muslim Representation: The Ideology of Demonisation. Wembley: Islamic Human Rights Commission.Google Scholar
  9. Ameli, S.R., A. Merali, and E. Shahghasemi. 2012. France and the Hated Society. Wembley: Islamic Human Rights Commission.Google Scholar
  10. Baig, A. 2014. Why I Choose Not to Wear a Poppy. Huffington Post. [Online].
  11. Billings, A., and A. Holden. 2008. Interfaith Interventions and Cohesive Communities, the Effectiveness of Interfaith Activity in Towns Marked by Enclavisation and Parallel Lives. The Burnley Project, Lancaster University. PDF.Google Scholar
  12. Bodi, F. 2015. The Politics of Extremism. Islamic Human Rights Commission. [Online].
  13. Boffey, D., and T. Helm. 2016. Vote Leave Embroiled in Race Row Over Turkey Security Threat Claims. The Observer. [Online].
  14. Brighouse, T. Sir. 2014. Trojan Horse Affair: Five Lessons We Must Learn. The Guardian. [Online].
  15. Cameron, D. 2011. Full Transcript: Speech on Radicalisation and Islamic Extremism. Munich. [Online].
  16. Dearden, L. 2014. Britain First ‘Battalion’ Invades Mosque Demanding Removal of ‘Sexist’ Entrance Signs. The Independent. [Online].
  17. El-Khairy, O., and M. Latif. 2016. Drama in the Age of Prevent: Why Can’t We Move Beyond Good Muslim v Bad Muslim? The Guardian. [Online].
  18. Gilligan, A. 2015. Islamic ‘Radicals’ at the Heart of Whitehall. The Telegraph. [Online].
  19. Glenton, J. 2013. The Way We Remember War Is Political and Always Has Been. London Student. [Online].
  20. Goldberg, D.T. 2009. Racial Comparisons, Relational Racisms: Some Thoughts on Method. Ethnic and Racial Studies 32 (7): 1271–1282.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Grosfoguel, R. 2013. Discussion: Decolonizing Postcolonial Studies and the Paradigms of Political - Economy. Wembley: Islamic Human Rights Commission. Scholar
  22. HC Education Committee. 2015. Education - Seventh Chapter: Extremism in Schools: The Trojan Horse Affair. [Online].
  23. Hill QC, M., in L. Dearden. 2017a. Terror Laws Should Be Scrapped, Says Government’s Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation. The Independent. [Online].
  24. ———. 2017b. Meeting of the Independent Reviewer with Cage. [Online].
  25. Holmwood, J., and T. O’Toole. 2018. Countering Extremism in British Schools? The Truth about the Birmingham Trojan Horse Affair. Bristol: Policy Press.Google Scholar
  26. Holmwood, J., G. Bhambra, and S. Scott. 2018. Focus: Integrated Communities, a Response to the Government’s Strategy Green Paper. Discover Society. [Online].
  27. Insted. 2014. The Trojan Horse Affair in Birmingham. [Online].
  28. Islamic Human Rights Commission. 2006. You ONLY have the Right to Silence. IHRC. [Online].
  29. ———. 2009. BRIEFING: UK/Anti-Terrorism – Whose Hearts and Minds? Contest 2 in Context. IHRC. [Online].
  30. Jackson, J.P. 2016. Cross-cultural Research, Evolutionary Psychology, and Racialism: Problems and Prospects. Philosophy and Theory in Biology 8: 20160629.Google Scholar
  31. James, C.L.R. 1963. The Black Jacobins. New York: Vintage.Google Scholar
  32. Jones, J. Revd. 2017. The Patronising Disposition of Unaccountable Power. A Chapter to Ensure the Pain and Suffering of the Hillsborough Families Is Not Repeated. HM Stationery Office. [Online].
  33. Jones, Lady, et al. 2015. Groundless Anti-terror Laws Must Go | Letters. [Online].
  34. Kundnani, A. 2002. The Death of Multiculturalism. Institute of Race Relations. [Online]. Scholar
  35. Leslie-Smith, H. 2013. This Year, I Will Wear a Poppy for the Last Time. The Guardian. [Online].
  36. Macpherson, W. Sir. 1999. The Stephen Lawrence Inquiry. Chapter of an Inquiry. Presented to Parliament. PDF.Google Scholar
  37. Malik, N. 2014. The Sun’s ‘Unite against Isis’ Campaign Is a Proxy for Anti-Muslim Bigotry. The Guardian. [Online].
  38. Manzoor-Khan, S. 2017. This Is Not a Humanising Poem. [Online]. Accessed 27 November 2017.
  39. Meer, Nasar. 2015. Citizenship, Identity and the Politics of Multiculturalism: The Rise of Muslim Consciousness. Basingstoke: Palgrave.Google Scholar
  40. Merali, A. 2013. Schools, Lies and Muslimness. Islamic Human Rights Commission. [Online].
  41. ———. 2014. Ashura and the Misappropriated Poppy. Islamic Human Rights Commission. [Online].
  42. ———. 2017a. Workstream 1: Dominant Islamophobic Narratives – UK. Working Paper 10. Countering Islamophobia Toolkit. [Online].
  43. ———. 2017b. Yes, Another White Man Is UK’s Terror Watch Dog - But Diversity Is Nothing without Reform. Middle East Eye. [Online].
  44. ———. 2018. Workstream 2: Dominant Islamophobic Narratives – UK. Working Paper 14. Countering Islamophobia Toolkit. [Online].
  45. Milicent, T. 2006. France: A Story of a Society Falling Down. Islamic Human Rights Commission. [Online].
  46. Modood, Tariq. 2005. Multicultural Politics, Racism, Ethnicity and Muslims in Britain. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.Google Scholar
  47. ‘Our Migration Story: The Making of Britain’. 2017. Website.
  48. Parkinson, J. 2012. Ray Honeyford: Racist or Right? BBC News. [Online].
  49. Payton, M. 2016. Muslim Women Ridiculing David Cameron over Comments About ‘Traditional Submissiveness’. The Independent. [Online]. ews/uk/home-news/lim-women-ridiculing-david-cameron-over-comments-about-traditional-submissiveness-a6832351.html.
  50. Phillimore, J., and N. Signora. 2018. The Government’s Hostile Environment and Its Consequences on Integration. Discover Society. [Online].
  51. Razack, S.H. 2008. Casting Out: The Eviction of Muslims from Western Law and Politics. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.Google Scholar
  52. Rose, E., et al. 1969. Colour and Citizenship: A Chapter on British Race Relations. London: Oxford University Press. Cited in Spencer, S. (2011). The Migration Debate. Bristol: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  53. SACC. 2017. Written Submission from SACC to EHRiC for its Inquiry into Bullying and Harassment of Children and Young People in Schools. PDF.Google Scholar
  54. Salih, R. 2013. Hardly any Muslims Wear Poppies … and with Good Reason. [Online].
  55. Sayyid, S. 2014. A Measure of Islamophobia. Islamophobia Studies Journal 2 (1): 10–25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Shadjareh, M. 2004. Aliens in Their Own Country. The Guardian. [Online].
  57. Sivanandan, A. 2008. Catching History on the Wing. Institute of Race Relations. [Online].
  58. ———. 2011. Coming to Terms with Multiculturalism. Institute of Race Relations. [Online].
  59. Sontag, S. 1982. A Susan Sontag Reader. London: Penguin.Google Scholar
  60. Turner, J. 2013. Veils Are Used to Control Wives and Daughters. The Times. [Online].
  61. Weller, P., K. Purdam, N. Ghanea, and S. Contractor. 2013. Religion or Belief, Discrimination and Equality: Britain in Global Contexts. London: Bloomsbury.Google Scholar
  62. Younge, G. 2011. The Multiculturalism the European Right Fears so Much Is a Fiction – It Never Existed. The Guardian. [Online].


  1. Afzal, Sumayyah. 2017. Interview with A. Merali Former Diversity Development Officer at Peace Museum, Bradford and Journalist and Former NUS Executive Officer.Google Scholar
  2. Ahmed, Musthak. 2017. Interview with A. Merali Immigration and Employment Law Solicitor, IHRC Legal.Google Scholar
  3. Aked, Hillary. 2017. Interview with A. Merali Researcher.Google Scholar
  4. Bouattia, Malia. 2017. Interview with A. Merali Former President of National Union of Students 2016–17, Journalist.Google Scholar
  5. Contractor, Saraiya. 2017. Interview with A. Merali Head of IHRC Advocacy.Google Scholar
  6. Elahi, Farah. 2017. Interview with A. Merali Research and Policy Analyst, Runnymede.Google Scholar
  7. El-Shayaal, Khadijah. 2017. Interview with A. Merali Researcher.Google Scholar
  8. Francois, Myriam. 2017. Interview with A. Merali Researcher, Journalist, Broadcaster.Google Scholar
  9. Hamid, Sadek. 2017. Interview with A. Merali Senior Researcher at Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies.Google Scholar
  10. Johnson, Azeezat. 2017. Interview with A. Merali Academic, Social Geographer, Lecturer in Human Geography.Google Scholar
  11. Kapoor, Nisha. 2017. Interview with A. Merali Lecturer in Sociology at York.Google Scholar
  12. Kassam, Salim. 2017. Interview with A. Merali Founder and Co-Editor, Muslim Vibe.Google Scholar
  13. Khan, Mohammed. 2017. Interview with A. Merali Tutor in Community Development and Youth Work.Google Scholar
  14. Kundnani, Arun. 2017. Interview with A. Merali Author and Adjunct Professor of Media, Culture and Communications.Google Scholar
  15. Narkowicz, Kasia. 2017. Interview with A. Merali Post-doctoral Researcher.Google Scholar
  16. Poole, Elizabeth. 2017. Interview with A. Merali Senior Lecturer in Media, Communications and Culture.Google Scholar
  17. Rajina, Fatima. 2017. Interview with A. Merali an Academic Specialising on British Bangladeshi Muslims.Google Scholar
  18. Williams, Rowan. 2017. Interview with A. Merali Former Archbishop of Canterbury, Currently Master of Magdalen College, Cambridge.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Islamic Human Rights CommissionLondonUK

Personalised recommendations