Countering Islamophobic Narratives in the United Kingdom

Arzu was the author of the UK research in this groundbreaking project on Countering Islamophobic Narratives

This page (taken from the IHRC website here) provides the key documents, video and links in the Countering Islamophobic Narratives project (CIK) that was undertaken in 2017 – 2018.

The author of research on the UK was Arzu Merali.  Watch the research author Arzu Merali present their findings at the European Parliament in September 2018.


Workstream 1 looked at the Ten Dominant Narratives of Islamophobia in the UK, looking at the historical and contemporary roots of anti-Muslim thinking, policy and practice in the national context.

Ameli and Merali argue that the experience of Islamophobia as understood by Muslims provided within the context of the McPherson Inquiry (1999) and subsequently the Mubarek Inquiry (2006) that the perception by Muslims (or those perceived to be Muslim) that they had experienced antiMuslim racism is enough for the matter to be actionable by whichever appropriate authority. Coming as it does from the perspective of law enforcement that starts with the premise of how to tackle in practical terms the rise of hate crime and discrimination, it acknowledges the existence of the sociological phenomenon of Islamophobia without (as the law also arguably does) requiring a precise definition of what Islamophobia is. Additionally in developing the Domination Hate Model of Intercultural Relations (DHMIR), Ameli (2010) argues that minoritized groups suffer racism as a form of overlapping structural phenomenon (ideology, policy and law, media representation and political discourse) which culminate in its more extreme manifestations, a hate environment. Again, the importance of experience as the effect of narratives employed in the various discourses of culture and praxis provide here the crux of understanding what Islamophobia means to Muslims.

Download it here [42 pages].

Read a short commentary and summary on those findings [external link] – The Wrong Side of Britishness: Anti-Muslim Narratives in the UK 

Workstream 2 looked at the Ten Dominant Counter-Narratives of Islamophobia in the UK, based on interviews with practitioners, lawyers, academics, political actors, NGOs, journalists and others.

The determination of national identities as identified above, constructed by virtue of exclusion are in many ways a contradiction of democratic values based on equality and difference. There is an urgent need for policy makers and institutions to acknowledge this contradiction and seek both measures that immediately mitigate the negative impacts of these narratives, and work on long term policy and strategy that both project and lead on counternarratives to Islamophobia. The impact of measures that otherise Muslims is not simply a rights issue for Muslims individually or a ‘minority rights’ issue for Muslims as (a) community/ies. This level of subalternisation strikes at the heart of what it means to be a democracy. The deficit caused by structural racisms, whether Islamophobia or any other form, undermines the very egalitarian claims that form the basis of democratic identity and praxis, and call into question the self-perception of the state as liberal (Johnson, 2017).

Download it here [84 pages].

Read a short commentary and summary on those findings here [external link] – Delegitimizing Islamophobia: The Legal and Normative Needs of the UK

Workstream 3 is a summary report aimed at policymakers overviewing the findings and the actions needed to tackle Islamophobia. Download it here.

Return to the IHRC index.