Islamophobia: An Exploration of the Lived Experiences of British Muslims

Friday, 20 July 2018: 09:15
Oral Presentation
Eve BINKS, Liverpool Hope University, United Kingdom
Neil FERGUSON, Liverpool Hope University, United Kingdom
While there is considerable research exploring Western attitudes towards Muslims, little is known about what it is like to live as a Muslim in Britain and how Muslim’s feel they are perceived and represented in the UK. Previous research has determined that British Muslims are viewed as having values that are incompatible with British society (Kundnani, 2007), while Saeed (2007) suggests that social and political concern related to Muslim groups in the UK constitute cultural racism. In addition to this, the British media have been seen to represent Muslim groups in ways described as hostile and negative (Poole & Richardson, 2006) while Sheridan (2002) highlights an 83% post-9/11 increase in British Muslim reports of implicit and indirect discrimination with overt discrimination rising by 7%. In order to examine the lived experiences of British Muslims, an Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) was employed. Analysis of interviews with nine British Muslims revealed four key emergent themes grouped around media influence, the role of education and integration, experiences of anti-Muslim racism, and the perpetuation of antecedent risk factors. The findings highlighted a frustration with media-fuelled generalisations of British Muslims, a desire for increased integration between Muslims and non-Muslims, experiences of anti-Muslim racism, and a perpetuation of antecedent risk factors for radicalization stemming from UK governmental policies which have the potential to lead into harm’s way the very communities that these policies purport to protect. Findings will be discussed with reference to psychological theory and recommendations made for improving intergroup relations.