Discrimination against Muslims in Scotland

Authored by: Stefano Bonino

The Routledge International Handbook of Islamophobia

Print publication date:  February  2019
Online publication date:  February  2019

Print ISBN: 9780815353751
eBook ISBN: 9781351135559
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter explores the realities and perceptions of ethno-religious discrimination among Muslims in Scotland during both everyday social interaction with the indigenous Scottish community, and contact with police and security officers. It traces the history of discrimination against ethnic minorities in Scotland and particularly focuses on the multifaceted manifestations of anti-Muslim sentiments within a post-9/11 global climate of distrust towards Islam. This climate and the increased visibility of Muslim identities are posited to drive real and perceived discrimination during interactions with non-Muslims in everyday life but particularly at loci of security, such as airports, where Muslims feel a sense of social inequality, misrecognition and powerlessness. The chapter uses a mixture of recorded racist incidents, qualitative data, institutional reports and various academic literatures to support this position. It concludes by arguing that the overall life experiences of Muslims in Scotland are more positive than those of their fellow correligionists in England due to a number of political, social and cultural factors: an inclusive politics that rests on a civic, rather than ethnic, nationalism; friendly social dispositions towards diversity; the role of sectarianism and Anglophobia in partly displacing Islamophobia; a smooth settlement in the country; and the specific demographic and economic nature of the Muslim community in Scotland.

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