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.
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.
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.
'This will make very uncomfortable reading; not all will agree with every aspect of the analysis, but it is painfully clear that physical and verbal violence against Muslims has risen spectacularly in recent years. As the authors make plain, a failure to challenge the attitudes that produce this is to open the door also to the most overt forms of racism and anti-Semitism. What is described here is a serious reproach to our society's most humane ideals and values.'
- Dr Rowan Williams; former Archbishop of Canterbury and lecturer at Cambridge University
'The Islamic Human Rights Commission have produced a landmark report on the interlocking environments and experiences of anti-Muslim hate in the UK. Impeccably researched and cogently argued, this report provides a robust new evidence base, of 1,782 people who were surveyed in 2014, which provides a solid foundation for the development of initiatives and interventions. Most importantly this report identifies a shocking deterioration in the quality of everyday life since the last report in 2011. Increasing hostility in political and media discourse, increasing hostility on the streets in terms of physical attacks and abuse and increasing hostility in the labour market and in educational contexts are some of the key markers of increasing anti-Muslim hate identified here. This large sample of Muslims also voice an urgent desire for change and make many useful and constructive proposals for what should be done. Opening up the political space through building alliances and creating cross-national, cross-class, trans-racial and multi-gendered coalitions for change on this vital issue is central here. The IHRC have produced a report replete with excellent scholarship, important insights and coherent and appropriate recommendations. A classic study of huge contemporary significance.'
- Professor Ian Law; CERS (Centre for Ethnicity and Racism Studies), School of Sociology and Social Policy, University of Leeds