Environment of Hate: The New Normal for Muslims in the UK
Author: Arzu Merali (King's 1989) and Saied Reza Ameli
Publisher: Islamic Human Rights Commission
Environment of Hate: The New Normal for Muslims in the UK provides shocking insight into the UK as an ever developing ‘Stasi state’ rife with hatred for the ‘suspect’ Muslim community. With analysis at every level – from grassroots to institutions – the authors examine the construction of an environment where Muslims are feared and loathed.
Taking us back to pre-9/11, the report acknowledges that even then Muslims were seen as exotic, different and a threat to national security. The state is seen as neutral and embodying Britishness and citizens of the state are only defined by their adherence to this specific national identity. Through devoted analysis to the PREVENT strategy and the Channel programme, the authors detail the way surveillance focused specifically on Muslims means they are assumed guilty of terrorism by association. With an overview of headlines in popular media, the report showcases embedded stereotypes and coded discriminatory language. The Muslim minority becomes victim to the social attitudes of the majority – learned through government policy and the media they consume – and this is then expressed in acts of hatred, hostility and violence.
The authors have implemented the Domination Hate Model of Intercultural Relations – a critical methodology that argues that hate crimes do not occur in a vacuum. Perpetrators are themselves victim citizens who have been mobilised by structural forces; namely the government and the media. Both perpetrator and victim alike are at the mercy of a broader context of hate policy, hate representation and hate environment.
This is the second such study the authors have undertaken in the UK and it takes into consideration age, religiosity and visible Muslimness as well as income and work status. Comparisons are also drawn with the findings in 2010 and the results have been alarming. The statistical surveys highlight levels of hatred experienced on the streets, at work and as consumers of media and political discourse and policy. From ‘Ushergate’ and Batman to Michael Gove and the Trojan Horse Affair, the report is unrelenting in its depiction of the tragedy facing Muslims today.