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The politics of voluntary and in voluntary identities: are Muslims in Britain an ethnic, racial or religious minority?

Meer, Nasar (2008) The politics of voluntary and in voluntary identities: are Muslims in Britain an ethnic, racial or religious minority? Patterns of Prejudice, 41, (5), pp. 61-81. (doi:10.1080/00313220701805901).

Record type: Article


The denial that racism operates against Muslims qua Muslims has permeated public and media discourse of late. Intellectuals, commentators and legislators from across the political spectrum have explicitly rationalized this position by distinguishing involuntary racial identities from voluntary religious identities. Meer explores the nature of Muslim identity vis-a`-vis the involuntary and voluntary dichotomy before examining the consequences of recognizing some ‘racial’ identities in anti-discrimination formulas while ignoring others. This is followed by a short case study of some of the ‘commonsense’ arguments about race and religion that surrounded the proposed incitement to religious hatred legislation in Britain. The findings suggest that Muslims in Britain are disadvantaged by the operation of a ‘normative grammar’ of race that materially (in terms of legal instruments) and discursively (in terms of public and media comment) treats their racialization with less seriousness than it does that of other minorities.

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Published date: February 2008
Keywords: anti-discrimination legislation, anti-muslim prejudice, discrimination, ethnicity, islam, islamophobia, muslims, race, racial and religious hatred act, racialization, religion


Local EPrints ID: 71164
ISSN: 0031-322X
PURE UUID: 9436e023-a4e6-44f0-a142-326985c827c0

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 26 Jan 2010
Last modified: 19 Jul 2017 00:01

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