Islamophobia, anti-racism and the British left: Muslim activists as ‘racialised outsiders’

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Against a backdrop of racialised nationalism and widespread securitisation of Muslim communities, how are those on the British political left responding to the issue of Islamophobia? This paper draws together empirical accounts from anti-racist activists with a series of theoretical contributions from scholars in the field of ‘race’ and racism studies. I point towards an ambivalence in talking about and challenging Islamophobia amongst non-Muslim activists, and highlight accounts by Muslim activists of marginalisation and Islamophobia on the British left. I argue that these trends are best understood – and critically addressed – by drawing on understandings of racialisation and nationalism. Finally, I consider how we might think about the role of Muslim activists on the left, drawing on the concept of the ‘racialised outsider’ (Virdee [2014. Racism, Class and the Racialized Outsider. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan]) to argue that their experiences and analyses place them in a unique position from which to challenge Islamophobia in the current moment.
Original languageEnglish
Journal Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies
Early online date12 Nov 2021
Publication statusPublished - 12 Nov 2021


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