Definition & Reports

  • Report by Stephen H Jones and Amy Unsworth, University of Birmingham, The Dinner Table Prejudice Islamophobia in Contemporary Britain click here.

. . . new definitions of Islamophobia are the result of engagement with two recently developed ideas about what ‘race’ is and how it applies to different groups in society. Looking at these two ideas briefly will give us a sense of why aligning Islamophobia and racism makes sense.

The first of these is that ‘race’ can be better understood as a social process by which groups of people are placed into a hierarchy rather than a natural biological reality. This is not, of course, to deny that people differ in appearance or that biology determines these differences, but it is to say that it is via social processes that people’s different appearances acquire significance. As the theorist of race and racism, Stuart Hall, put it, there are ‘differences of all sorts in the world [… but] it’s only when these differences are organised in language, within discourse, within systems of meaning, that these differences can be said to acquire meaning and become a factor in human culture and regulate conduct’. . . . Past attempts to racially classify Irish people as ‘Iberian’ act as an instructive reminder of how flexible racial thinking has often been, as do the various absurd systems of racial classification developed by European philosophers and scientists in recent centuries . . . Fundamentally, today we can only see such attempts as a way of organising people into social strata. It follows from this that racism is not dependent on the existence of ‘races’, but rather generates classifications by which to organise people and place a value on them.. . .Of course, if one accepts this, it makes no sense to argue that Muslims must form a ‘race’ for Islamophobia to be a form of racism . . .

  • Muslim Council of Britain’s submission to the Equality & Human Rights Commission to investigate the Conservative Party over allegations (2020) click here..
  • All Party Party Parliamentary Group on British Muslims – Islamophobia Defined (2018) click here.

Archive of incidents reported in the media