This report on the current perceptions of citizenship by British Muslims could hardly be more timely or significant. The authors argue convincingly that in age of globalization and multi-cultural societies citizenship has to mean far more than political, legal and social rights. The capacity of minorities to feel that both their unique culture and wider contribution to society is recognized and respected is paramount if they are not to become alienated. It has been their religion that has been so crucial in cementing British Muslims into one 'community' given their otherwise remarkable national, ethnic and sectarian heterogeneity. Paradoxically it has also been Islamic teaching that has generated the greatest willingness to respect British laws and institutions and despite growing media hostility, frequent Islamophobic, and sometimes violent, outbursts and a government reluctant to take appropriate steps to counter these through education/employment programmes, greater legal protection etc. This is a rich, nuanced and balanced report that throws much-needed light on an urgent issue.
- Dr Paul Kennedy, Reader in Sociology and Global Studies, Department of Sociology, MMU
In light of the perceived threat to the rights and liberties of Muslims in Britain in the aftermath of 9/11 and the Iraq war, this timely contribution addresses serious questions about the British state's commitment to its Muslim citizens.
Easily accessible and drawing on extensive empirical data, this research engages impressively with the rich tapestry of contemporary British Muslim experience and offers a complex understanding of their perceptions, feelings and sense of belonging, in the context of emerging notions and practices of citizenship as they are reshaped by cultural plurality and transnationality. There is much to commend the authors' argument that Islamic values complement the principle of good citizenship and an understanding of British
Muslims' expectations of the British government could form a helpful basis for their effective empowerment, inclusion and participation in British civic life.
- Dr K Humayun Ansari, Senior Lecturer, History and Director, Centre for Ethnic Minority Studies Royal Holloway, University of London