Tahir Abbas
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Islamophobia in the United Kingdom
The vicious cycle of institutionalised racism and reinforcing the Muslim ‘Other’
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English encounters with Muslim-majority lands from the Crusades, colonial occupations, and most recently the War on Terror, provide a foundation for a nuanced understanding of current-day anti-Muslim racism in the United Kingdom (UK) – i.e., Islamophobia. In the context of the War on Terror, ‘Others’ – Muslims in Britain – have been brutally demonised. Muslims, routinely presented as the source of society’s ills, are subjected to both symbolic and actual violence. Deep-seated and structurally racialised norms amplify the isolation and alienation, impeding Muslim integration. Both these ‘left-behind’ Muslims and white British groups, who perceive themselves as the true nation, are under pressure from ongoing geopolitical concerns in the Muslim world, as well as widening divisions at home. This chapter discusses the symbiotic intersections between interpersonal and institutional Islamophobia and radicalisation, which have fuelled the growth of nativist and populist anti-Muslim protest movements, as well as sanitised state policies and legislation policing the Muslim subject under the guise of national security and curbing ‘extremism’ in the War on Terror. Ultimately, the perpetuation of interpersonal and structural Islamophobia in the UK and beyond creates a cycle of hate crimes, the institutionalisation of Islamophobia, and the normalisation of war and conflict.

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