Tackling Islamophobia

Passing the Dinner Table Test

Retrospective and Prospective Approaches to Tackling Islamophobia in Britain

From SAGE Open

Given Islamophobia’s timeliness, relatively little scholarly work has been produced, which focuses on governmental policy responses to tackling the phenomenon. Acknowledging this gap and the shift in Coalition thinking, this article critically analyses British governmental policy responses and approaches to Islamophobia over the past two decades. Since the 2010 general election, the Coalition government has brought the issue of Islamophobia much more firmly into the political and policy spaces than its New Labour predecessor. This can be seen in the establishing of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Islamophobia, and the Cross-Government Working Group (CGWG) on Anti-Muslim Hatred (CGWG).

Focusing on three key issues—definition, evidence, and political differences—this article offers a brief overview of what Islamophobia might—and might not—be. It contextualizes the contemporary setting through considering historical policy approaches including “race relations” and equalities agendas. Using the Runnymede report as a landmark, a critical retrospective of the policies to emerge under New Labour is considered before focusing on recent, Coalition-led changes. In conclusion, this article analyses the strengths and weaknesses of the different policy approaches to highlight where future British governmental policy toward Islamophobia may go. As well as reflecting upon a wide range of policy and academic sources, documents from various governmental sources (including some that are unavailable in the public domain) and research notes from exploring Islamophobia at British and European levels from the past decade are also drawn upon.




Through establishing the All Party Parliamentary Group on Islamophobia and Cross-Government Working Group on Anti-Muslim Hatred, the Coalition government has afforded significance to Islamophobia. Focusing on definition, evidence, and politics, this article considers British governmental policy approaches to tackling Islamophobia over the past 15 years. Tracing religiously based discrimination from the 1980s to the publication of the Runnymede Trust’s 1997 groundbreaking report into Islamophobia, this article explores how the New Labour government sought primarily to address Islamophobia through a broadening of the equalities framework. Against a backdrop of 9/11 and 7/7, a concurrent security and antiterror agenda had detrimental impacts. Under the Coalition, there has been a marked change. Considering recent developments and initiatives, the Coalition has seemingly rejected Islamophobia as an issue of equalities preferring approaches more akin to tackling Anti-Semitism. In conclusion, definition, evidence, and politics are revisited to offer a prospective for future British.

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Article details
Lindsay R. Owings, Geoffrey L. Thorpe, Elaine S. McMillan, Rachel D. Burrows, Sandra T. Sigmon, and Dorothy C. Alley
Scaling Irrational Beliefs in the General Attitude and Belief Scale: An Analysis Using Item Response Theory Methodology
SAGE Open April-June 2013 3: 2158244013484156, first published on April 14, 2013 doi:10.1177/2158244013484156

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