Prevent Watch

The Dinner Table Prejudice: Islamophobia in Contemporary Britain

Islamophobia in the UK is common and this report argues that it comes in two different types: religious Islamophobia and racial Islamophobia.

Published in 2022 through the University of Birmingham, this report, entitled The Dinner Table Prejudice: Islamophobia in Contemporary Britain and authored by Stephen Jones and Ann Unsworth, draws from a YouGov survey that examined what British people think about Islam, Muslims and other ethnic and religious minorities.

The report highlights, among other things, that although recent definitions of the term that Islamophobia is a form of racism that targets Muslims, it often manifests as a distinctively anti-religious prejudice.

The authors argue that the reason it is important to recognise this religious form of Islamophobia is that, within British society, it is located differently to anti-Muslim racism, which occurs at street level nationalism.

However, this report argues that prejudice against Islam and Muslims is more pervasive than this and does no necessarily follow a racist pattern.

The prejudice against Islam as a prejudice against religious belief, is more evenly spread across political groups and more common among educated middle classes.

Based on this survey and supporting interview data, the authors propose that religious Islamophobia acts as the ‘acceptable face’ of anti-Muslim prejudice: it is a ‘softer’ prejudice that stymies efforts to secure broad agreement on what Islamophobia is and how to challenge it.

Furthermore, this variety of Islamophobia tends to be neglected in anti-racist activism, which typically focuses on
differential treatment and street-level harassment of Muslims. 

The report argues that opposing anti-Muslim prejudice means opposing both these forms of Islamophobia, but in different ways.

The report is in .pdf format HERE.

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