Recognising Muslims : Religion, Ethnicity and Identity Politics in Britain
In this short paper I want to trace the emergence and maturation of a Muslim identity politics in Britain during the 1980s and 1990s. I begin, before the events of the Rushdie Affair in 1989, with an examination of the first crystallisation of Muslim assertiveness on the local level, with special reference to the city of Bradford in West Yorkshire. Bradford is currently home to around 80 000 Muslims who make up 16% of the total population and over half of all numbers in key inner city wards. Throughout the 1980s Bradford became something of an icon of multiculturalism in Britain with its recognition of Muslim `rights' in the public space and especially state education. My paper continues with an exploration of why, by the time of the Rushdie Affair, there was a need for Muslim identity politics to shift to the national level. This is followed by some reflections on the Rushdie Affair itself, during which I highlight the different orientations of some of the Islamic organisations presently represented in Britain. Elite Muslim organisations tend to be politically engaged on the national level but lack in substantial support at the grassroots. By contrast, other movements with power-bases in mosque networks routinely combine devotionalism or scripturalism with an ethnic orientation towards the Indian-subcontinent. The final part of my paper concerns the increasing recognition of Muslims as `Muslims' on a national level in the decade or so between the Rushdie Affair and September 11 2001.
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Sean MCLOUGHLIN, « Recognising Muslims : Religion, Ethnicity and Identity Politics in Britain », Cahiers d’études sur la Méditerranée orientale et le monde turco-iranien, 33 | 2002,
Sean MCLOUGHLIN, « Recognising Muslims : Religion, Ethnicity and Identity Politics in Britain », Cahiers d’études sur la Méditerranée orientale et le monde turco-iranien [En ligne], 33 | 2002, mis en ligne le 01 avril 2004, consulté le 26 avril 2017. URL : http://cemoti.revues.org/723Haut de page
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